Armor 3 (PS4): D.I.Y. switch accessibility help

Armor 3 pinout guide.

Armor 3 pinout guide.

Armor 3 pinout guide.

Armor 3 PS4 controller

Above is a pin-out guide for the third party Playstation 4 controller the "Armor 3". It's very easy to adapt for switch access. Removing the joysticks though is difficult (desoldering braid essential, plastic levering tools and patience). The sticks are also unusual in design, with very wide compressed springs. Click the small PCB image above for a big view.

D-PAD: 1 = GND, 2 = LEFT, 3 = UP, 4 = DOWN, 5 = RIGHT, 6 = SHARE.


T9 = L1 and T11 = R1 (use shared ground point).

T19 + T28 = L2
T29 + vdd = R2

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Space Echo

Beautiful combination of a Rhodes 73 Electric piano and Roland space Echo box that uses looped tape. Oh, and buckets of talent to play with them.


Profile Shifting (Titan One and Titan Two adapters)

Profile shifting diagram on a HORI Pro controller for PS3/PS4.

For people using a reduced number of controls, for instance a single stick and a few buttons, it's often very difficult to take part in modern day games on game consoles. One of a number of things that can help immensely is profile shifting. People have been doing this for a long time in the likes of JoyToKey and more recently the brilliant UCR (Universal Controller Remapper)

Above if you tap a special "SHIFT" switch (here linked to the share/view/select/back button), you can swap the right-stick in func
tion between acting as the left or right-stick (for someone perhaps who can only use the right-stick and a few buttons). If you hold "SHIFT" and momentarily push the right-joystick in one of four directions detailed above, it will change the stick to act as the D-pad, Shape buttons, touch-pad or emulate six-axis controls. Two switches (X and O) will also change in function to give quick access to the essential Playstation/Xbox and Start/Options button.

The great thing about the Titan One and Titan Two adapters is that do away with the complexity and expense of an added PC for some benefiting from an easier set-up. For this, all that's needed is a printed crib sheet which can eventually be memorised ideally. Oh, and what's also needed is more games like FIFA that offer a simplified control scheme, so that you don't need every button, stick and feature on a controller to play. Roll on the day when "simplified controls" is a common option in games....

Titan Two adapter mock-up. Two USB ports on a grey and green box. Two buttons marked with up/down arrows. A small single digit seven-segment display.

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Red and black Ferrari branded steering wheel, with Xbox 360 triggers in place.

Rear view of steering wheel, with two black Xbox 360 triggers cut from an original joypad controller fixed to the steering wheel.

I recently finished off a controller that came to me part-built by Gav Tan for SpecialEffect. It was a Thrustmaster T150 Ferrari Steering Wheel (for PS3/PS4/PC). The aim was to transfer the analogue foot pedals to steering wheel mounted controls.

Perhaps because I wasn't as methodical as I might be, it was a bit of a horrible job. For anyone considering it, here's some tips that I wish I'd better followed myself.

1. Install the firmware updates and PC/Mac test driver from

2. Test everything is working up front, especially so the pedals.

3. Make a note of where the screws go, as you can damage the case with overlong screws in the wrong place. Open up the main steering wheel shroud.

4. Order some custom 12 core curled cable from or the like. The specifications I inherited that worked well are 12 x 0.14mm Curlyflex Pur Black. Closed 75mm extends max 300mm. Cable diameter 5.6mm. Curlyflex diameter 20.20mm. This was not cheap but worked very well internally in dealing with the amount of turning possible with the controller from full lock to lock.

5. Very carefully take note of the wiring to the pedals left and right-side potentiometers. You will have to replicate this exactly with the additional wiring you'll be taking from the main-unit and threading through to the steering wheel.

6. With the pedals attached, test your soldering to the steering wheel extra wiring. If good, disconnect the pedals as they'll no longer be needed.

7. Within the disassembled steering wheel, cut a clear path for the extra wiring to go to the 10 to 2 o'clock position where you'll be fitting the triggers. Make sure nothing is snagging, such as on the paddle-shifters (which should click nicely when put back together).

8. Use a salvaged Xbox 360 standard controller cut in half and shaved down as small as you can, but still with space to fit two bolts through into the controller. I used M4 standard nuts and bolts and a drill to make big enough holes for them. Use hot-glue to keep things tidy and secure.

9. Recalibrate the steering and "pedal" controls within the game to suit. For steering, consider only turning a small way of the possible range for the lock to lock calibration. Otherwise it's very hard to keep hold of the triggers if turning 360 degrees to get a hard left or right turn.

Alternatively, there's a fantastically engineered alternative via as pictured below. This uses a pair of metal rings that allow for full analogue hand controls with a greater range of movement allowed for.

Added to the OneSwitch Accessible Gaming Shop Various section.

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Electronic Soup Podcast: Audio Games and How far we've come....

Above I've uploaded the 2010 SpecialEffect electronic soup podcast's to YouTube. The four-parts include audio games and playing with a visual impairment.

These were put together by Dark of and myself for the much missed SpecialEffect Accessible GameBase and the Dave Banes Access Collective podcast. There's been some heartening progress since those podcasts, with audio games making it to more platforms, especially so iOS devices. Sony and Microsoft have added some good features to the PS4 and Xbox One, as indicated in the video below in the PS4 game Unchartered.

Microsoft have also just announced some helpful software development tools for live text to speech and vice versa for in game communications. Would love to see that expanded to emoticon use too and translated to whatever language you're using. A basic form of Bliss and Esperanto to help people of all kinds communicate.

Image of a customised set of over the ear headphones, themed on Michael Jackson's Thriller video. A werewolf bursts out of a door attached to a headphone, and zombies rise from their graves. Text reads, Special Effect, electronic soup podcast. A small can of Game Base condensed Electronic Soup can be seen at the bottom right.

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Importing Japanese Accessible Game Controllers: Buyee

Image of a HORI Separate controller advert in Japanese. Yahoo's Japanese Auction site is the eBay of Japan, and a fertile source of obscure controllers. It's the place that I first discovered the HORI Separate controller pictured above, and my first port of call when trying to track down the super-rare ASCII Grip V2 controllers.

So, in the spirit of sharing, this is my advice for those wanting to track down rare Japanese accessible controllers:

2017 Update: Try Buyee: ASCII Grip V2, HORI Separate Controller and HORI SRWC. This offers an alternative to the system I've long used below.

1. Install Google's web browser toolbar, then enable the "Translate" tool. This will help you to get a rough translation of auction item quality in English-ish.
2. Set up a PayPal account.
3. Set up a Japanese Auction Agency (JAA) account. JAA will bid on items on your behalf, deal with the seller, receive the item, the repackage and send to your address. I highly recommend this helpful and professional company.
4. Have a mooch around Yahoo Auctions Japan. Copy and paste the following Kanji into the Yahoo Auctions search text box to further assist: Ascii/Sammy Grip V2 (グリップV2); HORI Super Robot Wars (スーパーロボット大戦コントローラ); HORI Separate Controller (セパレートコントローラ); HORI Fighting Stick (ファイティングスティック). Alternatively you may find stuff on your local Amazon.
5. If you find something you like, and can afford (use for a currency conversion) go back to your JAA account, make a deposit, then carefully step through their auction buying service.

Bare in mind that a lot of Japanese sellers seem to go for short auctions of 3 to 5 days, so check regularly if you are keen. Also take into account any additional customs charges you may incur if the item is expensive. Good luck!


Xbox One Co-Pilot Accessibility Feature

Image of a white controller, with text to the left reading Xbox Wireless Controller with five selectable boxes: Update, Assignation, Volume, Buzz and Turn on Co-Pilot.

Reads "Select the controller that your co-pilot will use".

Two white Xbox One controllers.

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.



A planet with wonkey band around it surrounded by concentric circles starting from deep purple, ending as lime green.

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.

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Dear Telltale Games....

Image of two people, large subtitles and tiny dialogue text options, rendering the game inaccessible for many.

Tiny icons in Telltale Games Walking Dead.

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. 



White dual-shock looking controller with "P3" where the Sony Playstation button would normally be.

PCB with pin-out pointers.

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.


5 (or ADC) = GND

7 ("24") = START
8 = ("26") = SELECT

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.

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