My Carnival hopes to become a video game for children with Cystic Fibrosis. If it reaches it's funding total, it will be released free of charge on PC. It's a laudable project, by the proven and brilliant AccessAble Games, but it needs support or it won't happen this way. 12 days to go at the time of writing...
Via: Javier Mairena on the IGDA GASIG mailing list. Poster below.
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Fancy an eye-gaze unit that is the price of an Xbox or PC Kinect and $60? Sounds good doesn't it? The NUIA eyeCharm from 4tiitoo.com is looking to be just that.
The device will come with developer tools including a scripting language to set-up controls that will interface with other main-stream eye tracker units. There's three weeks to go to help them reach their goal of $100,000.
Link with thanks to Techni Myoko.
Labels: Eye Tracker Games
Global Game Jam is an annual game hack weekend, where teams around the world are given a common theme to work to (this year's was 'heart beat'), and divide into teams to produce an entire end to end functioning game by the end of the 48 hours. Read on...
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Sad news to hear that game accessibility advocate and pioneer Kenji Eno died this week at the age of 42. Kenji produced the first ever audio game to make its way onto a games console, RealSound: Kaze No Regret (aka The Regret of the Wind). Here's a brief excerpt from a 2008 interview with 1UP.com:
1UP: After D, you surprised Warp's fans by creating an offbeat Sega Saturn adventure game, Real Sound.
KE: Oh, that's a funky game.
1UP: Yeah, not only was it funky, it was also a game without any visuals. What inspired it, and how did you get Sega to publish it?
KE: After I released D, people were always expecting more CG graphics from me, and I got tired of that. I didn't want people to think that they could predict what Warp would do next. Also, I had a chance to visit people who are visually disabled, and I learned that there are blind people who play action games. Of course, they're not able to have the full experience, and they're kind of trying to force themselves to be able to play, but they're making the effort. So I thought that if you turn off the monitor, both of you are just hearing the game. So after you finish the game, you can have an equal conversation about it with a blind person. That's an inspiration behind this game as well.
So Sega was asking for exclusive rights to the game, and I said, "OK, if you'll donate a thousand Saturns to blind people, then I'll donate a thousand games along with the Saturns." And my condition was that if Sega would go for this idea, I would make that game Sega exclusive. So, that's how this happened. It's been several years now, and of course the contract probably isn't valid anymore, but the reason that I haven't done anything with this game is that I made this promise with Sega back in the day, and it's exclusive because of those conditions.
Labels: Audio Games
The symbol above is a public domain method of marking any computer product (game, controller, utility, console and so on), as having easy to reach accessibility information.
This can support potential end-users of a gaming product decide if it might suit their own personal abilities. It will hopefully also support developers to better promote the accessibility of their own gaming ware.
A simple example of this would be for an indie game developer to include the symbol on their game's home-page, alongside a short hyper-link pointing to a game review that includes a break down of game accessibility.
See the "Game Accessibility Information Symbol" web-page to learn more, and to down-load the image pack.
Wheelchair Slalom is a sport for people with cerebral palsy, in which the players go through a course made up of various obstacles and tests in the shortest time possible.
'Slalom, the Videogame' provides an insight into the sport without the need for space, time and personnel required for its practice.
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Remappable/reconfigurable controls has been one of the more successful calls for game accessibility in recent times, helped by the likes of Chuck Bittner and other advocates (examples: 1, 2, 3). There's such a broad range of people using idiosyncratic ways of playing, often with non-standard controllers, that you'd think the vast majority of game designers would keep this in mind.
So does that mean that most games now have the facility to set-up controls to suit your own playing style? No. Not yet, not even for simple left-hand play modes. In general, things are good on PCs, and bad on consoles. Meanwhile, there's a few things that can help:
There are a very small number of off the shelf Joypads that allow you to remap buttons, such as the Thrustmaster 3 in 1.
Some gaming devices allow you to move interchangable control pod clusters such as MadCatz MLG Pro Circuit controllers, eDimensional's Access Controller and the hard to find Radica Phoenix Revolution controller.
Switch interfaces allow for controls to placed within easier reach, in a highly versatile but often quite expensive way.
Some controller adapters, such as the Max Shooter allow a keyboard to be used to control game functions, and to be configured as needed.
Re-mapping modules from the likes of Chinese boffins, XCM, enable PS3 or Xbox 360 reconfiguration (to a degree). See a short review and video over at SpecialEffect's GameBase of XCM's Xbox Remapper and PS3 Cross Battle Adapter.
So does all of this weaken the call for reconfigurable controls in games? No, not at all. Being able to auto-load and auto-save favourite profiles within games adds comfort and convenience for all. For many, it's the difference between a playable and unplayable game. Seems like a small thing to ask to me.