Accessibility hacks?

hey folks, so long story short I have been struggling with some injury or other RSI like thing that is making it hard to use mice, keyboards, and controllers. been going on for a while and I’ve been experimenting with various things to make it possible to play games. (I’ve been working with a doctor on the root cause too)

I recently hit upon a really useful tip and thought it would be cool to start a thread to share that but also solicit advice, suggestions, stories and so on from any other folks who have figured out neat ways to play games with alternate inputs!

Okay so first a story: most of the games I play are strategy games, which are best with a mouse & keyboard. I’ve really struggled with a good replacement, the best was a Steam controller which I successfully used to play Total War 3K, but still flared up my symptoms. Anyway, I had kinda given up but then found this neat hack: velcro a cheap gyro remote to a hat and combine it with (also cheap) voice software for clicks. the video of playing Into the Breach with it was truly revelatory to me, it looked so easy! so I bought this set up a couple of weeks ago and have been getting used to it. It’s hardly perfect but given that other head mice cost an order of magnitude more it is amazingly effective, and means I am not compromising at all with continued use that causes problems. so far I haven’t had any neck pain or anything but it’s obviously something I’m trying to watch out for.

And now a question: I’ve also been playing Ring Fit Adventure, which is very doable for me (well it wipes me out because I’m out of shape, but anyway it doesn’t cause me pain) and I’ve been thinking how that controller could be repurposed for general purpose (think of the menu mapping with rotate left/right/up/down, you basically have a D-pad) and it made me think of DDR pads. There are all those folks doing wild things like beating Dark Souls with a dance pad and I wondered how hard it is to use them as a general purpose controller for slower paced turn based games like ITB, or other tile based RPGs and so on, where a D-pad and some buttons are all you need. Has anyone messed with this at all? The little research I did wasn’t super helpful, I was a little disheartened that the hardware seems real hit or miss.

Anyway! hope this topic is not out of place, and thanks for reading …

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Rebinding a DDR pad shouldn’t be too hard actually assuming it’s following the normal input standard, I think there’s also a few third party manufacturers for PC. Probably combine it with JoyToKey or UCR to remap to whatever you need.

Logitech sells a lot of stuff I feel like could be repurposed for accessibility including an Adaptive Gaming kit. I believe, I have not confirmed this, that almost all of their devices play nice with JoyToKey and UCR.

Razer sells an interesting mini keyboard with a 8 way direction dpad attached to it, could be good if it’s just one hand/arm that you can’t use.

Kensington makes a lot of different trackball devices including this rather large one

There’s apparently now wireless handheld trackball devices that might work for you

Look up USB Foot Pedal on Amazon, there’s a decent selection of these types of devices now.

People have built a few homebrew PC programs for using with the XBOX Kinect to control mouse movement.

The DIY electronics market has exploded over the last few years so being able to make your own custom controller setup is not too far outside the realm of possibility. Look into arcade parts, a lot of that works well with an Arduino which your PC can then recognize as a normal HID.

yeah I assumed it was straightforward, was more curious if anyone has experience doing this or has recommendations wrt hardware…

this depends on the Xbox adaptive controller right? or are the bits from Logitech standalone USB devices? I had looked at the XAC a while ago but dismissed it as it can’t really replace a mouse afaik, but I should look into it again to combine with my new set up

I actually have a foot pedal and forgot to mention it in my post. It’s a little awkward but I have been trying to figure out how to fit it into my set up.

That’s a good tip as I had forgotten about the Kinect, will look into it

Looking more into it, yes that would appear to be the case. However the Xbox adaptive controller is an Xbox controller so it should register as a normal Xbox controller on your PC it just has different input methods.

Quite honestly I’m a bit surprised that there isn’t a company out there who is trying to be the madcatz of accessibility gaming. Like I said we are kind of in a golden age of small electronics and there’s a lot of potential for building out cool accessibility devices using off the shelf electronics parts.

For example capacitive touch sensors could be used to allow someone to make their own custom buttons.