Technical Issues Part 2

BBC 1967 Test Card: (c) BBC, ITC & BREMA 1967 - BBC Research & Development Department - Do not duplicate without this credit.Things are running a little slow at OneSwitch regarding updates and replying to e-mails. I'm in the process of fixing my sickly computer. If you have contacted me recently, please don't think I'm ignoring you, but I may have lost your e-mail (the last ten have been lost). Things will get back to normal ASAP.

D.I.Y. switch accessible mouse

D.I.Y. switch adapted mouse guide
Dmitri Gourkine at MERU has just uploaded a superb D.I.Y. switch adapted mouse guide. Very easy to follow text with crystal clear photos makes this one of the best D.I.Y. guides I have ever seen. Lovely work added to my D.I.Y. pages here.

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Free Symbols

Free Symbols On-line.

The following list has lots of free (and not so free) resources for building inclusive communication to print-out. To start off though, you'll need some software to edit photos with. If you don't have anything like Photoshop, I recommend looking at some of the really good free on-line picture editing systems such as Pixlr.com and the screen grab utility PixTick.

You can find photos galore from the likes of Google Images and Flickr. For symbols and systems to boost inclusive communication, have a good root round the following:


ARASAAC - Searchable symbols from a hugely impressive range.

Sclera - great for sight impaired too if made at the appropriate size. Worth checking out their links page too.

How It Is - lots of symbols based around feelings - "An image vocabulary for children about feelings, rights and safety, personal care and sexuality".

Personal Communication Passports - Great for many children and adults alike to get across things that are important to them.

Possyan-La-Coocan: Symbols from Japan.

SEN Teacher - Some lovely resources, such as clocks, money and games that you can tailor-adjust yourself.

Noun Project - A variety of free icons and symbols (not compatible with Internet Explorer, so use something like Firefox of Chrome if you can).

Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs - All this fine blog's symbol related posts. I recommend researching Kate's "Symbol and Photo Sets and Programs to Use Them" post for a huge range of resources.

Partners in Rhyme - Free sounds. Could be very useful tying up with cheap sound devices such as Talking Tins and Talking photo albums.

SymbolWorld - A fine news and features magazine composed in symbols.

iSpeek - Free communication passports and more.

Symbaloo - Superb symbol based front end to the internet.

Through the Maze Symbols
- Pretty essential range, neatly organised. UPDATE: Presently unavailable (April 2011)

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Project: U-Knight

Born Warriors - Project: U-Knight.

Born Warriors is an interesting fledgling project aimed at creating an on-line community, in some ways similar to MySpace and FaceBook, for isolated disabled people. Visit www.bornwarriors.org to find out more.

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The Man Who Killed Himself 99 Times

Playstation 2 controller above two crossed basedball bats."The Man Who Killed Himself 99 Times" is a thought provoking blog entry at the New York Post web-site. Stirred up a bit of heated discussion with my wife and I. Try the BBC's Ouch web-pages as an anti-dote.

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Foundations - Kate Nash



Really, really like Kate Nash's music, like I like The Specials. Some more favourite tracks: Mariella and The Nicest Thing.

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Google Sky

The Clangers. 1969 Children's Animation set on the moon. Lovely! Just been having a play with Google's new "Google Sky" an upgrade for "Google Earth". It's fantastic zooming around the stars.

Audacious Audiopuzzles Book

Just been sent a link from AudioPuzzles.com to their new "Audacious Audiopuzzles Book". Could be worth a look.

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Official Playstation 2 Magazine - UK (issue 89)

Official Playstation 2 Magazine - UK (issue 89) - with Accessible Gaming Article.This month sees the Accessible Gaming Campaign take a step into the mainstream, with a five page article in the September 2007 Official Playstation 2 Magazine - UK.

This is the UK's best-selling PS2 magazine, so to have a five page article on accessible gaming is something special. For it to feature interviews with some of the IGDA's Game Accessibility Special Interest Group, including me, is very nice too! Go out and get yourself a copy!

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Cooper Car

Cooper Car. Image of a small brightly coloured six-wheeler mini-space buggy. Controlled by two able-net switches with a young lad grinning broadly whilst controlling the car. RJ Cooper, a fantastic USA based enabling technology company, have two of the above Cooper Car's up for sale. They remind me a bit of a Hitari Tumbler R/C car crossed with a psychedelic space buggy. What great fun.

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Left Hand Fighter PS2 Controllers - Back In Stock

Left Hand Fighter left hand Playstation 2 JoyPad by Farmer.
Left Hand Fighter Playstation 2 controllers by Farmer are back in stock in the Accessible Gaming Shop.

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On-line Musical Instruments for Head Trackers

Andy Allenson's on-line musical 'Phase Toys'. Image of three blocky grids.Following up from Mr. Fastfinger and the Guitar Shred Show, I remembered some fun on-line musical 'phase toys' that should work well for head-tracker musicans. Try them here:

http://pickledonion.com/phase/index.htm
http://pickledonion.com/musicbox/index.htm

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Guitar Shred Show

Mr. Fastfinger in action - ZEN Guitar Hero. Something that always bothers me about the OneSwitch site is the gaps waiting to be filled, none more so than my art and music section. I guess accessible gaming is distracting me at present, but there will be a day when I throw myself into accessible creation tools for one-switch musicians and artists.

In the meanwhile, I've just added the 'Guitar Shred Show' to my Art Gallery links. This is wonderful fun. Click on the picture above and jam away! Works just as well as a cause and effect activity for one-switch musicians, as a way to teach guitarists Zen like skills on their instrument.

Accessibility tips: The Jam mode is the most accessible, allowing for a lot of experimentation at your own pace. Using my adapted Namco Arcade Stick or something similar with JoyToKey and one to fourteen switches should allow for some serious guitar shredding action. It may be useful to obtain a latching box device for switch users struggling to hold a switch down.

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The Crossing - Gorgeous Head Tracker Game

The Crossing. Beautifully hand drawn scene of dears jumping a brook, with the help of the player's paddle.

The Crossing by Ferry Halim is a very basic but beautifully animated on-line flash game. It has a very basic mouse based interface and gentle pace that should suit many head-tracker gamers very comfortably.

Via: The Independent Gaming Source

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ASCII Grip V2 controllers back in stock

ASCII Grip V2 one hand Playstation controller. Also known as a SAMMY Grip V2. ASCII Grip V2 one hand controllers are back in stock in very small numbers. These work as standard on Playstation and Playstation 2 and on many other games consoles via joypad adapters. These include the Xbox 360, Gamecube, Dreamcast and as far as I can work out, the Playstation 3.

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Games For Health

Image of Nintedo DS game box cover of Trauma Center. Anime medical scene."On August 23, the eve of Penny Arcade Expo, the Games for Health Project is hosting a day long West Coast Meetup devoted to games and healthcare.

Games for Health Day Seattle is designed to provide a unique overview and introduction to this fast emerging approach to health communications, training, and therapy. This event features hands on demos of game projects aimed at health and healthcare and an array of interesting sessions.

This event is free to the first 50 participants who RSVP to rsvp@seriousgames.org. Thereafter attendance is $99.00 a person.

Games for Health Day Seattle runs from 9am-7pm including a networking reception and is located at the Hotel Deca (4507 Brooklyn Avenue, NE)."

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Audio Game Maker

Audio Game Maker logo
"The Accessibility Foundation proudly presents the beta release of the Audio Game Maker, a free application which enables visually impaired people to make their own sound-based computer games. The Audio Game Maker is part of Game Accessibility.com, a series of activities conducted by the Accessibility foundation in order to improve the accessibility of computer games for players with impairments.

A beta-version of Audio Game Maker was scheduled for download February 1st 2007. Unfortunately, a large fire burned the Accessibility building completely to the ground. Currently, we found a replacement office and ordered new software. The beta-release is delayed and we keep you up to date!"
This is a great achievement. I'd love to see something like this for one-switch gamers wishing to make their own games. One day...

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"Love & Berry" and "Stacker"

Image of two one-switch arcade machines. Sega's Love and Berry and LAIGames Stacker Prize game.I mentioned earlier this week that I'd seen a couple of (near) one-switch arcade games on my recent holiday. One was 'Stacker' which is a bloomin' hard game of skill where you can win prizes. My daughter and I didn't win a thing, nor did we come close. None the less, I've just uploaded a PC version called 'Slacker' into the OneSwitch library as well as a review at the Special Effect GameBase, which is worth a play.

The second game was Sega's "Love and Berry" (Dress up and Dance). This is not really a true one-switch game as you need to scan collectable fashion cards and also have to press two buttons simultaneously as certain points. My 9-year old daughter cringed through me asking her to play this. It's extremely soppy, where you dress up your character with cards (collect the lot for £180 if you get no doubles!). When you achieved this, you then go to the one-switch mode: hit your switch to time slapping a tamborine. Sheesh - it was grim! Not the most exciting one-switch game ever - but Japanese kids loved it orginally I'm told. Well, I did say not to get too excited.

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Entertainment for All

E for All logo.
The replacement for the proper E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), "E for All" takes place on October 18-21 - at the LA Convention Center in North America. It will be jammed packed with video gaming companies with a ton of games to play.
What's really exciting for accessible gaming, is that the organisers really mean it - and have invited along the IGDA's Game Accessibility Special Interest Group.
What this means from us, is that there truly will be "Entertainment for All" (unless you don't like games of course). Fantastic!

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Point-N-Click Mini Compo

Useless Point and Click Adventure Game image of a hand drawn lounge.
Just a reminder that the Retro Remakes mini competition to make the best "Point and Click" adventure game runs for the rest of this month.
Hopefully many of these games will then be accessible to head-tracker gamers as well as many others. There's some interesting work going on, including the earliest entry "The Useless Point & Click Game" as pictured above, which is actually quite fun.

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New CBBC on-line one-switch games

New CBBC on-line one-switch games.CBBC (Children's BBC) have just launched five new on-line one-switch games: Scuba Scramble, Walkie Talkie, Target Zone, Splat Attack and Line of Defence. God bless the BBC (and stand and salute!).

This news thanks to David Colven who adapted/created these games, posting on the IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group mailing list. He has also developed a very useful guide aimed at UK software developers, helping them understand the law and accessibility. Free guide download here.

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Xbox 360 "Scene It?" Controllers

Microsoft Scene It! Controller.Well, I take it back... Microsoft did release a new more accessible controller at E3 this year. I'm sorry! Looking very much like a BUZZ controller, and coming out with a quiz style game - these may hold some promise for more accessible gaming on the Xbox 360. Apparently there is talk of more games coming out for the Scene It? controllers. A perfect candidate for a load of one-switch games maybe, Microsoft?

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OneSwitch is back from its holiday...

(c) Etherbrian - image of a Space Invader suitcase.Appologies for the lack of posts recently, but I've been off on holiday for the past 10 days with no internet access. My family and I spent time bombing about on our bikes at Center Parcs in Elvedon and had a very lovely time.

I obviously had to pop into their "House of Games" and was quite pleased to see not one but two one-switch games: "Stacker", a one-button prize (not) giving machine and Sega's extremely girly "Love and Berry". I'll post more on these soon (don't get too excited), with links to a fully one-switch PC version of Stacker. News and updates back to normal soon...

Cool image via: Etherbrian

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