IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group

"Access Controller" finds a manufacturer



Access Controller - Ben Heck designed one handed versatile controller for Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3Potentially fantastic news today for many one handed gamers. Ben Heckendorm has created another one handed controller for the Xbox 360, with plans for PS2 and PS3 versions too. The "Access Controller", has interchangable control modules, (similar to the Radica Phoenix Revolution) and wireless compatibility.

The big news is that Ben has found a manufacturer for this device in eDimensional. Please, if you are interested in this type of controller, get in touch with them now! They need to know just how important this controller will be: access@eDimensional.com.

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Gaze Controlled Games



COGAIN - Eye Tracker - Gaze Controlled Games.COGAIN (Communication through Gaze Interaction) have just published a list of eye-tracker compatible games with assistance from the IGDA's GASIG members.

"One of the major goals of the COGAIN network is to provide people having physical disabilities with affordable, flexible, comfortable and easy to use hardware and software tools to interact with their environment through gaze control. Beyond applications that facilitate basic communication, our work also focusses on developing and sourcing games and other entertainment applications."

Thanks to Michael Heubner of COGAIN for this update.

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1979 "Air Attack"



Air Attack - Supersoft 1979 - Commodore Pet one switch game.I've just received a copy of the first ever commercially released true one switch home computer game (to my knowledge). By true, I mean that no other controls are needed at all. The game is "Air Attack" and was released for the Commodore Pet in 1979 by Supersoft. I hope to make this available to one switch gamers shortly in my Emulators pages. Watch this space...

With many thanks to Golan Klinger and Tom Luff of TPUG.

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Vocal Joystick



Vocal Joystick - Robotic Arm The Vocal Joystick is a research project that holds much promise. Speech recognition for computer control can be a frustrating affair even today. I loved playing the microphone controlled game Seaman on the Sega Dreamcast where you rear a half-man/half-fish creature, but half the time he didn't have a clue what I was saying. The Vocal Joystick gets over the recognition problems it seems by relying upon the user making more simple vocalisations rather than actual words. If that doesn't make sense, take a look at the video demonstrations for more - especially the Voicebot clip and Fishtale video game clip.

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Games for People with Disabilities to Make Showing at E for All 2007



This Event Marks the First Game Industry Consumer Expo to Include A Group Advocating Awareness of Gamers with Disabilities.

The Game Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG) of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has been invited to participate as exhibitors at next week's E for All Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, October 18 - 21.

SIG members hope that this opportunity will help raise awareness amongst game consumers and developers that people with disabilities also want the chance to play commercial games designed for computers and popular console systems.

"The message we hope to convey is that games are for everyone and are an important part of life today that cannot continue to be inaccessible for people with disabilities," said Michelle Hinn, chairperson of the Game Accessibility SIG and game design instructor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. "The majority of games on the market remain unplayable by up to 10-20% of the population. This is not simply an opportunity for developers to increase revenue - it is an issue of social injustice that must be corrected."

SIG members also hope that their participation in the first annual E for All will raise awareness amongst potential gamers with disabilities who want to learn more about game hardware alternatives - often created by hobbyist supporters and SIG members - that already exist to make game play possible for some people with certain types of disabilities, usually mobility disabilities. But there are many other types of disabilities - learning, auditory, and visual disabilities - and people with these disabilities require other solutions, such as closed captioning.

"The gaming industry cannot just assume that because these controllers exist that they are off the hook," Hinn added. "There are many types of disabilities that impact game play in different ways. Even if someone is using these controllers, many are quite costly and many games still remain impossible to play due to issues such as button combination choices that seem to be complex just to be complex. But this criticism has not only been made by disability advocates - Industry veterans such as Ernest Adams and Peter Molyneux have also spoken out on the game complexity control issue for gamers in general.

Solutions that help gamers with disabilities can enhance the game play experience for ALL gamers."The Game Accessibility SIG will be exhibiting at booth #1056 in the Los Angeles Convention Center. The SIG will be presenting games, game mods, and game hardware designed for gamers with disabilities.About the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) The International Game Developers Association is a non-profit professional society that is committed to advancing the careers and enhancing the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community.

For more information on the IGDA, please visit http://www.igda.org/

About the IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG): The IGDA Game Accessibility SIG is a game industry advocacy group formed to promote awareness of the issues that gamers with disabilities face and to help provide solutions that can be used to design games that are accessible to all.

Press inquires should be directed to the SIG chairperson Michelle Hinn at hinn@uiuc.edu

For more information on the IGDA Game Accessibility SIG, please visit www.igda.org/accessibility.

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Brain Control



Brain-computer interface for Second Life
"Keio University bioengineers have demonstrated the control of a Second Life avatar using a non-invasive brain-computer interface. The news release is in Japanese but the Neurophilosophy blog reports that the device monitors electrical activity in the motoro cortex via external electrodes on the scalp. A video demonstration is also available on the site. From Neurophilosophy:

'All a user has to do to control his/her avatar is imagine performing various movements. The activity monitored by the headpiece is read and plotted by an electroencephalogram, which relays it to a computer running a brain wave analysis algorithm that interprets the imagined movements. A keyboard emulator then translates the data into signals which can be used to control the movements of the user's on-screen avatar in real-time.'
"Link to Neurophilosophy, Link to YouTube video, Link to Keio University news release."

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Strange Attractors 2



Strange Attractors 2Strange Attractors 2, the sequel to one of the most inventive of all one switch games, is on its way...

"Ominous Development has been hard at work (on the weekends =) creating the next iteration of Strange Attractors, taking the successes of the previous version and dropping it in an all new in house 3D engine and giving it a lot more juice. Levels are much larger and more intricate, enemies are more imposing and varied, and new game modes offer varied play types. Pretty much more impressive in every way. "

Can't wait...

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"As Baby Boomers Go Grey"



As Baby Boomers Go Grey...
There's a fine article on CNET regarding ageing and gaming, linking up with the current baby boomer generation: "As boomers go gray, will big money mean better tech?". Let's hope so...

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