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Physical Challenges and Gaming. Who do I have to do to be heard on this issue?

post #1 of 2
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For years I have been playing games. I remember the first time I held a controller with both my hands and played Final Fantasy on a Nintendo system when I was probably 5 years old. I've had experiences playing a multitude of console and PC games since then and it's become quite a pastime.

In 2008 I was in a devastating car accident that caused me to completely lose function in my left arm. After countless surgeries and hours upon hours of therapy, I was able to regain some minimal level of function, but I had to set the controller down. I didn't want to stop doing what I loved, so I did some research and found a forum online that discussed accessibility options for gamers with physical challenges. Hearing the issues others had and being able to relate to many of them, led me to realize that alot is taken for granted, and much is left ignored in the industry.

With a bit of wishful thinking and a thirst for answers, I discovered a way to play games on my PC using a 5 button Microsoft Intellimouse and my keyboard's numpad. I resumed my gaming career with FPS games and titles like Arkham Asylum, that if I had not devised this strategy, i would not have been able to play, period. I have a PS2 and I discovered that Gran Turismo 4's controls were fully custom and that I could rebind all the controller functions - this I found extremely useful as typically console games do not give you this kind of 'customizability', as would a PC - so I re-binded all the relevant functions to the right side of the controller and I was able to play. There was no way I could play an FPS with a controller however and so I was married to my mouse and keyboard, which still left much to be desired.
A clip of me using my PC method

I searched and searched online and found many options. However when scrutinized, any 'one-handed' device made by specialty firms were either way too expensive, or did not even help the situation entirely as they involved typically big mat-like input devices with palm rests and awkwardly large buttons that tend to remind me of Twister mats. It didn't pique my interest at all, so I concluded that there was not one viable solution that gave one-handed gamers a proper access to the games that two-handed players can.

So recently, a relative of mine heard that I liked games but that I'm not good with controllers, so they thought that motion detection would be a suitable and practical solution. They got me a Playstation Move. I don't have it in my hands as yet (I should've said hand) but I've been doing some light research on it and it does seem to be an excellent way for me to play games on console, which widens my options. However, taking a closer look, you can notice that for many, especially for the better games, that you still need to use both of your hands. That's going to narrow my scope a bit, but it's not going to stop me. However I would appreciate some professional help.

So my point is this: gamers like myself and ones that need even more comprehensive solutions, should not be overlooked. I totally understand the dynamics of market forces and the way business is dealt based on demand. The demand may not be felt by makers among the physically challenged, so suppliers will not acknowledge that side of the market. Which is a shame. I find that making solutions isn't even difficult and I have a few practical ideas of my own, inspired by existing creations or products that are not even made for one-handed gaming.

An example of a useful looking one handed controller - http://www.joystiq.com/2006/12/04/hand-it-to-heck-the-xbox-360-one-handed-controller/

A few good ideas/points/thoughts on things that I think should be looked into:

1. Ambidextrous mice are extremely useful
2. Customizable controls in games on every platform
3. Single handed devices with analog control functionality and pistol/joystick-like grip (much like Wii and Move controllers)
4. Centralizing all useable functions on one device for games that have a multitude of functions
5. Foot pedals
6. Pressure sensitive devices that can respond to unconventional body movements
7. Controller adapters like the 'rifle controllers' of motion detection console systems but with modular, customizable layouts
8. Modular controllers


And that's all I can think of now. That's why I need help and attention. If anyone knows how I can forward my thoughts to the relevant companies, please help me to do so.If I can get a response from a major manufacturer or the companies themselves, then I'll feel like I'm getting closer to a user-friendly consumer-level solution. I believe that information is key here, and necessity is the mother of invention. So please entertain my ideas and participate in this discussion, I don't think giving access to one handed and other challenged gamers is remotely difficult.

A clip of a 'rifle' controller for PS Move. Notice that the movement function AND the trigger function is controlled with the same hand. It's simple innovations like that, that make games accessible. Now Let's see one with more functions on the 'trigger hand'


Thanks for reading this incredibly long post. Enjoy the videos, comment constructively, and have a nice day!
Subdued
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2500k @ 3.3Ghz ASUS P8Z68-V PRO XFX 9800GTX+ Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD Caviar Black  Samsung Writemaster Intel Stock  Windows 7 x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Acer X223W Logitech Classic 200 Corsair 750TX Cooler Master Cosmos S 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Microsoft Intellimouse Optical None Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI-E 
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Subdued
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2500k @ 3.3Ghz ASUS P8Z68-V PRO XFX 9800GTX+ Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD Caviar Black  Samsung Writemaster Intel Stock  Windows 7 x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Acer X223W Logitech Classic 200 Corsair 750TX Cooler Master Cosmos S 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Microsoft Intellimouse Optical None Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI-E 
  hide details  
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post #2 of 2
I think this is great and awhile ago i saw a article on how game makers want to start including fully custom controls. If you like to bring some more attention to it send email to major companies and descirbe how a couple lines of code (making custom possible) would make them another sale. Good luck
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