Published by OneSwitch.org.uk Thursday, 16 February 2017 9:33 pm.
Had my first chance to play quickly with the Xbox One "Co-Pilot" feature today. It enables two wired or wireless Xbox controllers to be used together simultaneously both acting the same as one another.
It's a great boost for a number of accessibility uses, as well as the obvious one of two people playing a one-player game together. It would benefit from some more user-definable options (e.g. sensitivity of the analogue controls and remapping). It would also benefit from an on-screen test utility, so you can see what your controls do, and that they're all working, thinking of people using custom controllers.
It's due to be rolled out soon (I hope) for all Xbox One users. Really fantastic to see Microsoft slowly improving the access of their games console in this way. Hugely impressed.
Labels: xbox one
The recent Global Game Jam for 2017 turned up 385 games that are under the "Spaced" diversifier. What that means is a whole ton of people have been making and thinking about one-switch accessible games.
The games had to follow the theme of "Waves". I haven't had a chance to pore through many of them, but there's bound to be one or two gems in there. I'll hope to find some time to share some of the better ones.
I really like your style of games, but there's a few really easy to fix accessibility issues, that are a massive barrier as they stand.
1. Tiny text, tiny icons and pointless closed-captions size options: I can't read or see what options you're giving me since the latest engine build (on PS4), unless I sit close to my screen. And as you can see in the top picture, selecting large closed-captions is rendered utterly pointless when you can't actually read the dialogue options because "large text" is not applied across the board.
2. Button mashing: If you could offer an accessibility option to replace the QTE/Track and Field button mashing with something easier (aka possible), it would open the game up for many more.
3. Time: An accessibility option to give the player much longer to respond would take into account those with slower reading speeds (many reasons for this) or for those using slower input devices.
Telltale games are great if you can play them, but I'd say for too many, the games are unnecessarily inaccessible. It would take so little to fix this. I really hope you won't turn away from implementing these basic improvements.
The "P3" marked Playstation 3 controller above is another controller that is easy to add switch sockets to. Click on the PCB picture above for a bigger view.
1 = TRIANGLE
2 = CIRCLE
3 = CROSS
4 = SQUARE
5 (or ADC) = GND
7 ("24") = START
8 = ("26") = SELECT
11 = D-PAD DOWN
12 = D-PAD LEFT
13 = D-PAD RIGHT
14 = D-PAD UP
"L1", "L2", "R1" and "R2" all marked on the PCB.
R3 and L3 = use both contacts on the underside of the stick push-button. Don't use the 5/ADC for the ground/common connector for these.
To lighten sticks, use the following method. Straighten thumb-stick legs from underneath using a plectrum/plastic implement (e.g. phone repair tool). Desolder using desoldering braid and a desoldering gun. This is tricky. You may need to go back and add fresh solder, then attempt to desolder again, wobbling the legs a bit as you go.
Lever the sticks off carefully, open them from underneath, then fit lighter springs (e.g. "RS Pro Stainless Steel Compression Spring, 34.1mm x 3.45mm, 0.06N/mm" - code 821-251) cut to the same length as the original springs. Put back together onto the board and re-solder. Good luck! More help at the OneSwitch DIY index. To support game accessibility please consider donating to SpecialEffect.
Published by OneSwitch.org.uk Thursday, 9 February 2017 12:32 pm.
The HORIPAD FPS Plus controller (found via Ben Heck) is a very easy to adapt controller for PS3 and PS4. Using an appropriate adapter, it should be easy to get working on other machines too. The following advice should help with switch adaptations and this guide should help with lightening the thumb-sticks. For information, this is a wired only controller with no rumble-motors.
JP3 = GROUND/Common for the following:
BD(OWN) = CROSS / A / 1
BR(IGHT) = CIRCLE / B / 2
BL(EFT) = SQUARE / X / 3
BU(P) = TRIANGLE / Y / 4
R1 / RB
R2 / RT
L1 / LB
L2 / LT
GND (BOTTOM RIGHT) for the remainder:
OPTION / START / MENU
SHARE / SELECT / BACK / VIEW
L3 / LS
R3 / RS
TAR = (REAR TARGET BUTTON)
TAPD = TOUCH-PAD
It's been a busy time recently building controllers for SpecialEffect and OneSwitch. Some definitely better than others. Credit where due, the white controller was mostly by Gav Tan which I finished off. The 3D printed housing was by Shaz Hossain. Most recently, set-up a controller that enabled a single thumb-stick, smart-nav, switch and voice to get better control over a PS4 to play race games, Pure Pool and the like. Pretty chuffed with that one. More to follow.
Published by OneSwitch.org.uk Saturday, 28 January 2017 10:49 am.
GAConf 2017 is a day of talks and networking exploring recent and future advancements in the field of game accessibility. Updates, case studies, and in-depth guides.
Covering a wide range of topics, such as accessibility as a micro-indie, designing for older gamers, blind gaming, Uncharted 4's accessibility features, and the challenges of retrofitting accessibility into a live product. Latest updates on Twitter and a full-break down of the day planned here.
Mon, February 27, 2017
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM PST
Published by OneSwitch.org.uk Tuesday, 24 January 2017 9:05 pm.
Tomorrow at the BETT show at the ExCel London in the Learn Live: SEN area (C438 near entrance N9), Open University Professor, Jane Seale will be presenting...
Learning from our histories: What can we draw from the experiences of experts in the field of special needs and technology that can inform our future practice?
Between 10:30 and 11 Jane will draw on examples from interviews she has conducted with 45 experts who have worked in the field of SEN and technology from the 1970's onwards. She will use the examples to discuss what we can learn from these histories to inform future practice.
You can follow this fascinating project at Jane's blog, "The History of Special Needs Technology in the UK".
Published by OneSwitch.org.uk Monday, 23 January 2017 10:21 pm.
Exciting game accessibility news from David Dzumba at Microsoft, in the tentative partial launch of the Co-Pilot feature. This is the blurb:
"Enabling Xbox One to be accessible for everyone: One important area for us with this release is to enable Xbox One to be able to be used and played by everyone. Take for instance our new Copilot feature which allows two controllers to act as if they were one. This will help make Xbox One more inviting to new gamers needing assistance, more fun by adding cooperative controls for any game and easier for players who need unique configurations to play — whether that is with hands apart, hand and chin, hand and foot, etc.. We are also adding new enhancements to Magnifier and Narrator, as well as giving more options over audio output and custom rumble settings on a controller, which was previously reserved for the Xbox Elite Controller. You can find these accessibility options, and more, in Settings and Ease of Access."
As well as the benefits of using two standard Xbox One controllers, it should also be possible to:
• Use one or two modified Xbox One controllers, using the likes of remapper flexi-pcbs.
• Use a standard controller alongside a non Xbox One controller using an adapter including the super-powerful Titan One.
• Mix all of this together.
Labels: xbox one
Published by OneSwitch.org.uk 9:27 pm.
The German company my3dbase produce a number of "Easy Mapper" (aka remapper) flex boards. These can be fitted to PS4 and Xbox One controllers (make sure you get precisely the right one) enabling easier access to wire up switch sockets and push-buttons.