My Feral Heart

Hugely enjoyed watching My Feral Heart last night which was shown as part of the Southend-on-Sea Film Festival. Recommend that you do too if you can get a chance. Fingers crossed for a DVD release.


(Electronic Waves of) Game Accessibility Guidelines

The gamepad rider, in black and white on digital waves.

This is a partial (updated) historical list of Accessible Game Design resources. Loads of info, but there's still such a long way to go. It's still far too hard to find accessible games and equipment to suit individual needs.

Microsoft's Making Games Accessible (02-2017)
AbleGamer's Includification (09-2012)
Ian Hamilton headed Game Accessibility Guidelines (09-2012)
CEAPAT Best Practices in Video Games (Spanish 04-2012)

IGDA GASIG Top 10 (revised 09-2011) - (alternative)
SpecialEffect's Top 5 Tips for Game Developers (09-2011) and here.

SpecialEffect's Wish List for Accessible Game Design (05-2011)
7-128's Blind Computer Games Guidelines (01-2011)
BBC's internal Accessible Games Standards v1.0 (08-2010)

OneSwitch Design Tips for... (08-2008)
Eelke Folmer's Help You Play Interaction Design for Games (05-2007)
UA-Games Game Over! (04-2007)
IGDA GASIG Top 10 (09-2005)
RetroRemakes "Why Can't They Play?" (04-2005 onwards)
IGDA GASIG White Paper (10-2004)

You can find more still at the current and Way Back Machine back-ups at To be honest, you can't go too far wrong with most of the above. Dive in!

This isn't everything developers need, and the sheer quantity of information can seem daunting (try addressing one point of a Top 5 or Top 10 for a gentler route in). There's still a long way to go before there's a truly one-stop resource for all you need. Perhaps there never will be. Don't let that stop you trying to boost accessibility. And never forget that even if you add just one accessibility feature, it can make a massive difference.

This all very much ties up with the UN's Convention of the Right of the Child, Article 31:

"1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity."

Labels: ,

Low Pressure Xbox One and PS4 Games

Below is a list of PS4 and Xbox One games that are good for players wanting a lower pressure game. These are also all suitable for shared controls between two or more players.

It's possible to share controls in a number of ways. Perhaps using the Xbox Co-Pilot system with two controllers. Perhaps using Sony's Shared Play system across the internet. Perhaps using a Titan Two adapter. Perhaps using a switch adapted or custom controller. Perhaps just sharing a single controller and squishing up together.

ABZU: Scuba Diving game (PS4 and Xbox One): Scuba Diving with freedom to explore. Some nice controls to share include Circle/B (head over heels), R2/RT (swim), Square/X (communicate).

Burnout Paradise (Xbox One): Free exploration driving game where it's as fun to crash as win (optional) races. Get the Xbox 360 version on disc then set up on an internet connected Xbox One for backwards compatibility with this brilliant game. I can help with a Titan adapter script to reduce the top speed of the car to make it more manageable.

Dear Esther (PS4 and Xbox One): Starts off on a fairly depressing Scottish island, but swiftly becomes stunningly beautiful.

Everybody's Golf (PS4): Due out in the 2nd half of 2017. Everybody's Golf is low pressure and typically has quite simple controls. Looking forward to this one. Lots of Golf games on other machines if simpler controls are not so necessary.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4): An extremely beautiful game exploring an English Village, but adult content. The world can be explored fairly freely using both sticks. If possible to divide out the left-stick UP motion, this allows the user to move forward. Right-stick left and right are enough to change direction. The PS4 requires six-axis controls at certain points. The PC version has an accessibility option removing this constraint, but requires a powerful machine.

Flower (PS4): Nature and magic game. Tilt the controller and press Cross to pollinate the flowers and bring life back into the world. Using a Titan adapter, it's possible to use a conventional joystick and/or switch controls. Again I can help with this.

HoHokum (PS4): A puzzle game that starts very slow with high contrast and relaxing music. Can be treated as a toy throughout with no pressure to solve anything at all. Use the L2 and R2 buttons to change direction or just create nice squiggly lines. Hold Circle to go slower.

Journey (PS4): A desert based puzzle game with magical and mystical content. One stick to move around, Cross and Circle  for jump and interact are enough to play.

Peggle 2 (PS4 and Xbox One): Bagatelle type puzzle game. Game waits indefinitely until you launch a ball to bounce around the pegs. Controls to share include left and right (aiming) and Cross/A (launch ball).

Pure Chess (PS4 and Xbox One): Very nicely presented game of chess. Can be played with two (or more) local players and has a nice grid based interface (left-stick or d-pad accessible) and optional legal moves highlighting.

Pure Pool (PS4 and Xbox One): Pool (and Snooker with an optional upgrade). The free practice with auto-aiming help enables play using right-stick back then up to take shots. Taking shots can be made one-switch accessible with a Titan One adapter and a custom set-up I'm happy to help with.

Labels: , , ,

Blind Accessibility in Gaming

Gaming Through New Eyes: Toby Ott talks of his gaming passions without vision. An absolutely brilliant short documentary that explains some methods needed to enjoy playing games blind or with a sight impairment. Gaming Through New Eyes Facebook page here.

Blind Japanese boy sends Nintendo heartwarming thank you letter, gets amazing response: Hibiki Sakai sent a letter to Nintendo saying how much he loves the Rhythm Tengoku series of games, as they're the only ones he's found that he can play, could they please make some more. Nintendo got back in Braille stating a desire to make games that everyone can play.

Sightless Kombat takes on all comers at the BBC: Using Killer Instinct, accessible gaming advocate and gamer Sightless Kombat took on all challengers at the BBC. This was part of their significant day long Global Accessibility Awareness Day efforts.

Dark oblong box with two groups of arcade push buttons, and no stick.

TV screen shows two players, one up against the wall being attacked in a video game.

A Hero's Call by Out of Sight Games: A blind accessible fantasy RPG by a Seattle based team including a blind programmer and blind composer. This has been funded 3 and a half times over on Kickstarter and is due out in June 2017.

How a blind man plays mainstream video games and the future of accessibility in games: This story links to Steve Saylor's excellent Blind Gamer YouTube channel. It talks of EA Games welcoming ideas and suggestions from players to make their games more accessible. It mentions Nintendo's 1-2 Switch being largely playable without a screen and some future hopes for accessible Virtual Reality.

Update [24-5-2017]: The Rapidly Changing Landscape of Accessibility for Blind Gamers: A really thorough look at how things are progressing in the world of gaming by Ian Hamilton over at Gamasutra.

Links: Gaming Through New Eyes via Kotaku..... Hibiki Sakai story via James Montagna.... Sightless Kombat story via the BBC.


"I'm More Powerful Than You Think"

"The latest challenge is flying a drone to film a video. With only the use of switches, Is breaking down this barrier too much to hope for?"

Posted by Christopher Hills on Global Accessibility Awareness Day.


Road Trips (Tar Heel Gameplay)

Image of a road winding by a river towards some mountains.

Day Time Slow Drive in Switzerland (Silent)

A day time drive in Switzerland. No sound. Use your switch to keep driving: every 10 seconds, every 20 seconds or every 30 seconds.

Blue motorbike racing past a car.

Fast Motorbike Ride

A fast ride in the sun. Very noisy engine sounds. Use your switch to keep riding: every 10 seconds, every 20 seconds or every 30 seconds.

Motorway driving in the rain in the UK.

Rainy UK Slow Drive

A relaxing drive in the rain in the UK. Rain and car noises. No radio. Use your switch to keep driving: every 10 seconds, every 20 seconds or every 30 seconds.

Night time driving in Tokyo, under street lights on a clean road.

Tokyo Slow Night Drive

A night time drive around the streets of Tokyo. Car noises and radio. Use your switch to keep driving: every 10 seconds, every 20 seconds or every 30 seconds.

There are some excellent driving videos on YouTube that are easy to convert to cause and effect one-switch activities for people of all abilities using the brilliant Tar Heel Game play web-site and the likes of the Scenic Drives and Driving Movie channels. Maybe try these videos too: Go-Karting, Motorbike ride in Greece or Morocco. You can see more of my Tar Heel activities at OneSwitch here.

I highly recommend searching YouTube with the terms "ASMR", "slow TV", "Gyro" or "Steady cam" along with an extra word such as "trip", "bike", "car", "drive", "driving" or "race". Check your videos for harsh motion which can cause motion sickness. Many "POV" (point of view) videos can be very hard to watch for some people.

Any problems, try the Chrome browser. If on a Windows PC, try pressing F11 for full screen too. There is an alternative way of doing this using UCR and JoyToKey. Get in touch for more help.

Labels: , , ,

Xbox One: Model 1708 Pin-out PCB guide for switch access

Xbox One controller, model 1708.

The following guide can help in adding switch sockets to an Xbox One controller. The easiest sockets to add are to the LS, RS, LB and RB contacts. Others can be very tricky to solder to. The Xbox One has some nice basic remapping features and a Co-Pilot option to enable two controllers to act as the same player one controller. Lots of possibilities. Using a Titan One much more is possible.

PCB 1 (Battery terminals PCB):

A = TP21 (mid left under battery terminals)
X = TP22 (above TP21)
Y = TP23/D8 (left of TP21 next to the "8" of D8)

MENU = TP24/FT4 (bottom left of PCB, bottom left of small square chip)
VIEW = TP25 (right of small square chip
XBOX = TP33/C11 (mid right of central PCB connector block)

PCB 2 (Thumbsticks PCB):

B = R29 (top of mini resistor, underside of "B" contacts, in between TP7 and TP26)

LB = Right top side of PCB under microswitches (top)
RB = Left top side of PCB under microswitches (top)
LT = Top pin of 3-pin hall sensor under LT trigger (right side of PCB)
RT = Bottom pin of 3-pin hall sensor under RT trigger (left side of PCB)
LS = Bottom left pin (of group of four) under the left-stick (right side of PCB)
RS = Bottom left pin (of group of four) under the right-stick (left side of PCB)


GND = TP35 (bottom right pin on underside of the right thumb-stick)

See OneSwitch DIY pages for more help. "1708" model is denoted under the battery cover.

Labels: , ,

The Dreams of the Computer (1969)

The Dreams of the Computer (1969) by Christopher Evans and Jackie Wilson. A fascinating glimpse into the past, glimpsing into the future. For increased unease, play all three videos simultaneously, muting the top one.

Via: Mind in Chains edited by Dr. Christopher Evans (1970).

Labels: ,

Game Accessibility Talks (2017)

Below lists some of the progressive accessible gaming talks and slides from this year so far. Some from the recent Game Accessibility Conference (GAConf) and some from the Game Developers' Conference 2017. There's so much movement now in game accessibility. This is good as there's patently still so much to do. Looking forward to a tidy grab-all list from the GAConf's speaker's list.

Evolve: An Adventure in Retro Fitting Accessibility (Tara Voelker - Gaikai) - Subtitled version to come.

Friction that Fits (Bryce Johnson - Xbox).

Game Accessibility: Practical Visual Fixes from EA's 'Madden NFL' Franchise (Karen Stevens - EA) - Madden Slides.

Improving Games Accessibility in Children's Games through QA (Hannah Bunce - BBC).

Raising the Bar: 2016's Accessibility Advancements (Ian Hamilton - Independent).

Reaching More Gamers Through Xbox Accessibility (Evelyn Thomas - Xbox).

Sources of Inspiration for Approaching Accessibility in VR (Hannah Gillis and Ben Peck - Lucasfilm)


PDP-1 (Psychedelics and 1960s Video Gaming)

Lyle Bickley, of the PDP-1 restoration team, showcase a DEC PDP-1 computer first built in 1959. DEC donated one to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). Inevitably some fun was squeezed in amongst the more serious applications, including Spacewar!, Snowflake and a 4-voice music programs.

Video via "CuriousMarc" on YouTube. This PDP-1 is homed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.




Click to view my TWITTER feed.

Google Language Translation