"There is one important thing that has been kept in place for me since losing most of my vision and that is my ability to dream in Technicolor. I do not know how to explain it and how/why it has continued like this for me, but there you have it."
Read the rest at Donna Jodhan's wonderful "Advocating Accessibility For All" blog. Image from Katamari.
The videos above demonstrate the controller utility Glove Pie being used to play games with voice alone. Alex Kostov was behind the Track Mania Nations demo (giving thanks to InsaneLogic for help in creating the script). The FIFA demo is by Bill Donegan of SpecialEffect.
Glove Pie relies upon a scripting language, which is a very basic form of programming. It may well be worth persevering with as it is hugely versatile. You can connect many Wii compatible devices to your PC, Midi, microphones and more. This YouTube guide gives tips on how to use GlovePie with speech control.
For alternative speech access, see Say2Play or VAC (those links thanks to Mark Barlet and Steve Spohn of AbleGamers). All added to the Accessible Gaming Shop under Various and Software Utilities.
Assistive Technology Partners invites children with disabilities, 3 - 21 years of age to their third annual event, Switch It Up! [previously called AbleGames], in Denver, USA.
Switch It Up! offers a fun filled day of adapted gaming for the whole family. Enjoy the Wii, computer games, pinball and an assortment of games and activities designed and modified to be accessible for kids with physical and sensory challenges. We are Switching Things Up so that everyone can play and be fully included. Come and experience the possibilities of what accessible gaming and assistive technology can do to enhance the quality of life for children with disabilities. Gear up and get your game on!
See their official event flyer for more. To learn of other accessible gaming events across the globe, and to share details of your own, please see the "Events" pane at SpecialEffect's GameBase.
"a11y Hackspace" is the free accessibility 'doing' event that DevCSI and Full Measure are running on June 21/22.
This will be 2 days of practical working on real world accessibility problems using open techniques. We'll also be creating interesting accessibility features or assistive technology using open development techniques. A dynamic mixture of users, specialists, FE/HE developers and other interested folk will share knowledge and experience while working on challenges and innovative solutions. The actual topics discussed and worked on will be selected on the day, after a brainstorming session. There will be opportunities for pre event discussion on the mailing list. We're also having keynotes and
We're providing one night accommodation and evening meal so you can work late if you feel inspired.
Full details of the event on the DevCSI website, where you should register. Numbers are restricted so I advise early registration.
Name: A11y Hackspace
Date: Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 June 2011
Venue and accommodation: Conference Aston Hotel and Conference Centre, Birmingham
Info and Registration:
Via: Steve Lee of Full Measure
ICE (of Stacker fame) have created a ticket winning arcade machine based on Frogger. Hit the glowing green switch once to set your frog off in action. It's as hard as you might imagine to get to the top, but still a bit of quick fun. Read more on one-switch redemption games at the SpecialEffect GameBase and play the best one-switch version of Frogger, Froggy Ribbit, via my game library.
"Some people play videogames just for fun, and it's a perfectly legitimate reason. I'm a lot more competitive though, and this naturally means I want to win and be more than good at them when I play. Unfortunately, having a physical disability and the resulting reduced function of my hands often hinders my game playing ability.
One way to get around this is to play videogames that don't rely on hand eye coordination, and instead focus on story and strategy instead. Whilst these games are all well and good on some (even most) occasions, I still like playing the faster paced and action oriented varieties.
But as I mentioned above, I want to be good at these games and I want to win. So even if it is possible for me to relatively competently play a videogame that requires fine motor skills, I'm not satisfied with just being competent."
Read more on Carl Thompson's efforts to excel at gaming in his splendid blog "Working at Perfect".
Labels: enabled gamers
It's really good when you see something that you know many people want, turn into reality. Origin Instruments have created a switch interface for Amazon's Kindle (an electronic book) called the PageBot. It's a convenient way for switch users to read books on the go. This is progress on from the super expensive real-world switch accessible book page turners.
Available from Origin's Amazon page, and retailing at $379 USD for Kindle DX and $329 for Kindle 2. Link found via Dave Banes and Accessibility and Technology Geek blog.
Labels: one-switch stories
A couple of nights ago, I popped out the back of my house to water my tomatos (yes I live an exciting life), and there jammed part way under the decking steps was a huge hedgehog. I thought it must be very ill, as it wasn't moving, so I scooped it up into a box, and popped it in my garage. I didn't want it to become rat/fox fodder, and I fully expected it to be dead in the morning.
Next day, I pop in the garage. The hedgehog had cleared off to hide under my broken pinball machine. It looked a bit less dozy and spent some time sussing me, my wife, daughter and her friend out as we peered at it, and named it Harry.
Quick trip down to the wonderful South East Essex Wildlife Hospital, saw Harry turn into Harriet. They said they'd check her out properly, but thought she looked fine. They wondered if we'd like to take on two new hedgehogs for our garden in the near future, as they had 200. We're looking forward to the phone call and saying yes. Have I become completely middle-aged now?
Whilst working on the SpecialEffect Accessible GameBase ratings system, I've been scratching my head over one thing. What symbol might best represent Game Accessibility. Something you might see on the box or web-site of a game, that will tell you straight away, this game has accessibility features, and without too much effort, I should be able to find out more about them.
The internationally recognised symbol for accessibility is presently a wheelchair user on a blue back ground. This is an imperfect symbol of course, but what might be better? And what might be better to represent game accessibility?
Some really interesting concepts have come my way. Top left was a 1996 competition winner to represent Web Accessibility. Middle left is a very clever concept from Dimitri Gramenos explained from slide 187 here. The Pac-Man ghosts representing four categories of disability and the joystick on a wheelchair came from Richard Van Tol's efforts at Game-Accessibility.com.
I'm still not sure though on what might be the best. Any other thoughts would be much appreciated...
Really chuffed that Atari have given the okay for their lovely old Teddy Bear symbol to be used with SpecialEffect's brand new accessible game rating system.
Atari were the first game company to label their games for having additional accessibility options back in 1981 marked as having a "Special Feature". SpecialEffect are using the bear in a different context, using it to mark games that have "content unlikely to cause offence".
The ratings system is under development, but will be tying up with the on-line Wish List for Accessible Game Design. Watch that space...
N-Control's 'The Avenger' is a case that fits over any standard Xbox 360 joypad to bring controls into easier access. There's a great story at CBS Miami on the origins of this device and it enabling a young man who was unable to use a standard Xbox controller.
Link with thanks to Sheri Rubin. Added to the OneSwitch Accessible Gaming Shop.
"The right to play is enshrined in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the UK government in 1991. The government has a duty under this convention to protect and promote play opportunities for all children and young people."
See also: International Play Association; Children's Right To Play; Play England.
Sony aren't very popular these days are they? They do have a bit of a history of being very heavy handed (remember Lik-Sang, anyone?) with non-conventional use of their PS3. They've bashed the accessibility of their own console since update 3.50, by making it very hard to connect alternative controllers to their console. They've also lost millions of people's personal details and likely credit card details too. Things have got to get better haven't they?
On the up side, there is at least one PS2 to PS3 adapter left that still works, available via the likes of eBay (search on "ps2 xbox 360 ps3 converter adapter"). Like the previously working Logic 3 adapter, hold SELECT then press UP to call up the XMB menu when needed. Please Sony, do the right thing and leave at least this one working!
Tip thanks to Bill Donegan at SpecialEffect's Accessible GameBase.
The video above shows the LEPMIS prototype ORTHROS one-handed controller. Compatible with PS3, Xbox 360 or PC, it's great to see new one-handed solutions coming out.
Highly reconfigurable and available to buy now for around £235 + £375 for the PS3 Switch Access Pod, contact Geoff Harbach for more details.
For alternative one-hand controllers, see the OneSwitch shop.
For more regular accessible news, take a look at SymbolWorld.org and the BBC's Accessible news-reader. Amusingly the BBC are running with a "Royal Wedding Sick Bag for sale!" story under the UK news.
Added to the OneSwitch page on accessible news.
I've mentioned Burnstudio's Audiotool before, but it's worth a second mention. It's an amazing on-line music creation studio. You can drag and hook up various expensive sound modules, effects pedals and more. Once you've got a nice rhythm flowing you can play/pause using a switch hooked up to the SPACE BAR. Alternatively, you can use left-click to switch some elements on and off that with pre-planning can be very effective.
Alternatively, if you have accurate point, click and dragging skills you'll have massive control over creating some fantastic sounding music.