Switch Accessible Programming

Programming with a switch is not an easy thing. Programming is not easy full stop, but it can be huge fun. Christopher Hills shows how he's getting into the hobby/profession with iOS switch access and Swift.

For PC users, it's possible to use some custom (free) software I can provide and Windows on screen keyboard to do similar things. Using some type of notepad might help too.

Some well known game languages include Scratch, Game Maker and Twine. There's a nice list at at ScienceBuddies.org. Additionally, it's possible in theory, to design levels in things like Little Big Planet and Boulder Dash using OneSwitch Pulse that I can also supply.

[UPDATE]: This post from RetroGamers in 2009 details a large range of programming resources many of them free. The BBC have some essential computing educational help on-line in their BBC Bitesize pages.

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Atari Steeple Chase (1975) - German Video

Atari Steeplechase 1975 being played in 2015 by a group of young Germans.

Perhaps the worst gaming nightmare of a haphephobic was Atari's 1975 Steeplechase. If I had the space I would absolutely love one. For absurd geeks like me, you can also catch a glimpse of this in the Dawn of the Dead's arcade.

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Shout Box: Extra Switch Input

Assistive technology set-up for sound / breath control over video games and beyond.

A small box of electronics with radiating lines, three coloured LEDs, a microphone cover and two plugs going into the box.

Image of a black and blue arcade stick adapted for switch use, pictured with a red able net switch and a Shout Box.

The Shout Box pictured above was a tie up between OneSwitch and the very talented Jason Hotchkiss of 1D Pong fame. It allows a person to make any sound (down to a gentle puff of breath) to act as switch input. This can be converted to latched, pulsed or momentary (held until released) output at the flick of a switch.

The dial lets you adjust the sensitivity from the lightest breath to a shout (hence the name). It's pretty brilliant in use, running off 3x AA batteries, and a very easy way to give someone an extra input to control a switch adapted gadget or game.

OneSwitch is undergoing a make-over right now in the back-ground, but expect to see the ShoutBox and more appear a little later this year when the site is rolling again. Update: The Shoutbox is now available in the OneSwitch shop.

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iOS 10: Hold at Point (aka Momentary) switch mode

Great news for switch users with Apple's iOS10 yearly big operating system update comes in the form of the new "Hold at Point" mode. This enables switch users to (finally) press a switch for different lengths of time quickly at a fixed point. The video above from the ACE Centre explains more along with this iOS10 guide from AbleNet.

This makes a lot of previously unplayable "tap to play" games playable. These include Uppercup Football, Fotonica, Badland (as in the video), Ski Safari: Adventure Time, Alto's Adventure (try Zen mode), 100 Balls type games and so on. It also opens up some fantastic cause and effect and creative apps such as Beamz and Garage Band. Thank you Apple. And where are you Google?

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East Harlem Bus Stop


Super Mario Run (Nintendo on iOS/Android)

Mario is due to be coming out on iOS in one-momentary-tap style soon as I understand. Android too. Might work great for switch users. This is the blurb from iTunes:

"A new Mario game you can play with one hand!

At long last, Mario jumps into a new adventure on iPhone and iPad, this time playable using only one hand.

In this game, you constantly move forward through the courses while using a variety of jumps to navigate. Your character will behave differently depending on the timing of your taps, so it's up to you to show off particularly smooth moves, gather coins, and reach the goal.

Super Mario Run offers three different game modes:
- The first mode features challenging courses for you to complete.
- In the second mode, you challenge the play data of other people's completed courses. You compete to see who can finish the course with the most style!
- In the third mode, you can create your own Mushroom Kingdom using coins collected by playing the first two game modes."

Picture of Super Mario Run, with Mario jumping to collect some gold coins around grass platforms.

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