How to Program the Hitch 2.0 Switch Interface

Photo of a Hitch 2.0 with a Buddy Button accessibility switch connected to it via a 3.5mm jack connection..
Photo of the Hitch 2.0.

At SpecialEffect we use a range of switch interfaces. Some are designed specifically for playing games, such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller or Hori Flex, and some are designed for more general computer access, such as the Eneso Encore Plus  and Hitch 2.0. However, these may also be used in some instances for accessing games.

This post focuses on the PC switch interface device, the AbleNet Hitch 2.0, which we tend to use to act as a single keyboard key press or a macro for up to four keyboard presses when programmed.  Since the programming function can be useful, this post will talk through how to program the Hitch 2.0 so that you can map the specific keys used in your games, to switch inputs.

Please note: the Hitch 2.0 will not work for any actions which require the key to be pressed and held for a period of time and will only work as a single press of your chosen key.

For example, if you wish to program it to output the ‘C’ key, to crouch in a game, which may require a single press of the input to activate, it will do this. However, if you would like to press and hold the ‘C’ key to prone in game, this will not work and we would suggest looking at an alternative switch interface, such as the Eneso Encore Plus which allows you to hold down keys for various lengths of time.

What You Need

1 x Hitch 2.0 switch interface

1 x USB keyboard 

1 x PC (the Hitch 2.0 is ‘compatible with most Windows, Mac OS X, Google Chrome, or Android operating systems’)

At least 1 x 3.5 mm jack accessibility switch (we use an AbleNet Buddy Button in this tutorial)

Programming the Device

Photo showing the Hitch 2.0 connected by USB to a laptop and with a keyboard connected to it by USB and a Buddy Button accessibility switch connected to it via a 3.5mm jack connection.

Step 1. Start by plugging the Hitch 2.0 into the PC’s USB socket.

Step 2. Plug in the external keyboard USB into the Hitch 2.0’s USB programming port on the left side of the device:

Photo of the Keyboard USB port on the Hitch 2.0 interface.

Step 3. Press the small button labelled ‘Select Mode’ on the top of the device until the light on the bottom row is lit up:

Close up photo of the Select Mode button on the Hitch 2.0.

Step 4. Plug your preferred switch into one of the switch ports at the bottom of the device:

Photo of a Hitch 2.0 with a Buddy Button accessibility switch connected to it via a 3.5mm jack connection..

Step 5. Slide the switch on the left of the device to ‘Program’:

Photo of the 'Program' slider switch on Hitch 2.0 with a Buddy Button accessibility switch connected to it via a 3.5mm jack connection.

Step 6. Press your chosen switch once (the bottom row light should flash).

Step 7. Press the key or keys on the keyboard you wish to program the switch port as.

Step 8. Press the switch again to confirm (the light should stop flashing).

Step 9. The switch port is now programmed for your chosen key press.

You can repeat Steps 6-9 for each of the five switch sockets on the device and program custom key inputs for each one.

If you make a mistake, just start again from Step 6.

We hope that this post has been useful. For more information on the switch interfaces we use at SpecialEffect, please use the ‘Switch Interfaces‘ category on the site.

For more information on the Hitch 2.0, please visit the AbleNet website: https://www.ablenetinc.com/hitch-2/ 


Below is a list of the specialist equipment we used or mentioned above, with unaffiliated links to the products on the manufacturer’s own websites, where possible. Other suppliers are available in most cases:

Hitch 2.0 Switch Interface: https://www.ablenetinc.com/hitch-2/

AbleNet Buddy Button: https://www.ablenetinc.com/buddy-button/

Eneso Plus: https://www.eneso.es/en_US/shop/product/encore-plus and here: https://www.eneso.es/encoreplus/manual-usuario

USB Keyboard: This can be any external keyboard with a USB connection obtainable from many online retailers or local technology stores.

PC: Please see the product overview at purchasing location to confirm your PC operating system is compatible. In this post we used a Windows 10 PC. 

The Quarry | Motor Accessibility-Related Options

Screenshot of The Quarry title page
Screenshot of The Quarry title page

The Quarry [PEGI 18] is a standalone interactive drama horror title from developers Supermassive Games, available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S and Windows PC.  In a similar style to the developer’s previous games, the player’s choices in-game have far reaching consequences affecting the routes and dialogue options further into the game, and, of course, who may or may not survive unharmed.

The game features a range of accessibility options which can customise the gameplay experience. In this post we will be looking at the options which may help with the motor accessibility of the game on Xbox One, but the control options are the same for Xbox, PlayStation and PC. Testing and screenshots were taken on the Xbox One X version of the game.

The information in this post is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing (October 2022).

Controller Menu

Within The Quarry settings is a Controller menu which allows the player to turn On/Off controller vibration as well as choose between two control layout presets – primary and alternate. In either layout, you can use either the Left or Right Joystick to select choices for Quick Time Events (QTEs).

Irrespective of layout choice the following buttons will always be mapped as follows for Xbox One:

A: Confirm/Select

B: Cancel/Back

RT: Shoot

LB: Walk Faster

Primary layout is more of the standardised layout for games, with Left Stick for walking, and Right Stick for controlling the camera and aiming with a weapon.

Alternate is set out like a Southpaw mode with Right Stick controlling walking, and Left Stick for camera and aiming.

Screenshots of the primary and alternate layouts side by side.
Screenshots of the primary and alternate layouts side by side.

Accessibility Menu

In the Accessibility Menu you will find several options to help with input access relating to Choice Timers, QTEs and Interrupt Speed as well as other game-specific options.

The Accessibility Menu can be found within the Settings and changes at any time during gameplay via the Settings.

Please note that Settings changes do not work in the Wolf Pack feature.

Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the default Simple QTE option.
Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the default Simple QTE option.
Simple QTEs

The game features Simple QTEs which at Default require joysticks to be moved in the specified direction. Within this menu, Any allows you to use any joystick direction or D-pad instead, if one particular movement is more challenging. You can also choose Auto, where the Simple QTE will always succeed.

Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Auto Simple QTE option.
Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Auto Simple QTE option.
QTE Speed

Alongside Simple QTEs, QTE Speed can help if you are finding it difficult. QTE Speed enables you to adjust the speed as follows:

Default: the default timer speed for the QTE

Min: shortens the timer for QTEs

Medium: slightly increases the timer speed from default

Long: significantly increases the timer for the QTEs

Max: the maximum length of time for the QTE the game allows

Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Max Timer for QTE speed.
Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Max Timer for QTE speed.
Choice Timer

Your choices in the game can have far-reaching consequences, so sometimes the default timer for those decisions may not be enough time. In this menu you can choose to increase the choice timer to give yourself enough time to make the decision.

Default: the default length of time for the Choice Timer

Medium: slightly increases the timer length from default

Long: significantly increases the timer length

Max: the maximum length of time for the Choice Timer

Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Max option for the Choice Timer.
Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Max option for the Choice Timer.
Interrupt Speed

During gameplay you may encounter moments where you can observe an event in progress. You may be prompted to choose whether to intervene or not. This is called an Interrupt. You can adjust the length of the Interrupt timer in the Accessibility Menu.

Default: the default timer speed for Interrupts

Auto: all Interrupts will be triggered

Medium: slightly increases the timer speed from default

Long: significantly increases the timer for Interrupts choice

Max: the maximum length of time for the Interrupt choice the game allows

Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Auto option for the Interrupt Speed.
Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Auto option for the Interrupt Speed.
Button Mash

Some actions in the game require repeated button presses (Button Mash). The game also gives options for those who find repeated button mashing difficult.

Default: within a time limit you must press the prompted button enough times

Hold: within the time limit, press and hold the indicated button

Tap: within the time limit, tap the indicated button once to progress

Auto: all Button Mash events will automatically succeed

Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Auto option for Button Mash events.
Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Auto option for Button Mash events.
Don’t Breathe

Like most horror games, they will not be complete without being able to find a place to hide when being hunted. The Quarry is no different and when you need to hide it triggers an event called Don’t Breathe. Under Default the aim is to press a button to get your character to hold their breath until the coast is clear. However, if pressing and holding a button for a long period of time is difficult, the game has an Auto option where the event will automatically succeed as the story intends.

Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Auto option for Don't Breathe events.
Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Auto option for Don’t Breathe events.
Aim Assist

Within parts of the game, you will be able to use a weapon. The game offers an Aim Assist which can help guide you towards your target.

Off: no target guidance given

On: aim will be guided towards the target

Auto: combat encounters will automatically succeed – no aiming required

Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows Aim Assist option turned on.
Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows Aim Assist option turned on.
Death Rewind

Death Rewind is a feature that enables you to replay the last scene to prevent a death of a character during certain events, though sometimes your previous choices will have already determined this outcome.

You can choose a total of three death rewinds in a playthrough. To use this feature, choose to Use A Life and you will be taken back to the root cause of the death to enable you to choose a different path in the hopes of saving the character.

You can turn On/Off Death Rewind in this menu.

Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Death Rewind option is turned on.
Screenshot of the Accessibility Menu. It shows the Death Rewind option is turned on.

Other Display Settings

Display Settings

Here you can adjust the screen brightness and access any add-ons (such as Character Packs and Filters).

Screenshot of the Display Menu.
Screenshot of the Display Menu.
Camera Settings

The game features several camera settings. Some enable you to invert the X and Y axis of the Camera Joystick.

You can also adjust the Look Sensitivity of your Camera Joystick to suit your needs.

Screenshot of the Camera Menu. It shows the Invert Y Axis is turned off.
Screenshot of the Camera Menu. It shows the Invert Y Axis is turned off.
Movie Mode

If you find that you would enjoy the story but cannot access the controls to play, the game has a Movie Mode which plays out the story as if watching a film with predefined outcomes.  

Screenshot of Movie Mode.
Screenshot of Movie Mode
Wolf Pack and Couch Co-op

Wolf Pack is a mode which enables you to host up to seven friends to play online and as a group decide on the fate of the characters as you play.

Similarly, Couch Co-op mode enables you to play as a group, but local play (i.e. the same room on the same console). You can choose which characters each of your group would like to act as and the game will prompt you when to pass your controller to the next person.

Screenshot of the Couch CO-OP.
Screenshot of the Couch CO-OP.

We hope that this post has been useful. If you have any questions about motor accessibility in video games, please visit the ‘Contact Us’ page.

Developer Resource:

SpecialEffect DevKit logo

For more video examples of how developers have improved the motor accessibility of their games, please visit https://specialeffectdevkit.info/

Android Access, Episode 1: Using Settings and Options to Improve Motor Accessibility in Games

Show Transcript

Intro

In this short series we will look at some of the ways Android players can customise and improve the motor accessibility of games.

This can be done by adjusting options in games or by using alternative controller, such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

In this video we’ll be looking at some of the optional features and settings found in some Android games, which may improve the motor accessibility for players. The aim is to demonstrate some of the available options to players in these specific games, but also as examples of what to look out for when playing a new game. We also aim to show developers these features so that they may consider whether similar features may be appropriate for their own games.

If you are a game developer who is interested in adding motor accessibility features to your game or a future project, SpecialEffect have created the SpecialEffect DevKit.

Over seven main topics, the DevKit covers many of the motor accessibility options we look for when assessing how accessible a game might be to some players.

The topics fall into one of two categories – Input, which focuses on how players interact with a game through the input devices that they use, and Gameplay, which looks at ways of altering the gameplay to allow players to play at a level of challenge that suits them with their current setup.

Please visit the SpecialEffect DevKit website to get started at specialeffectdevkit.info.

Brawlhalla

Brawlhalla is a platform fighting game that allows you to play using a controller as an alternative to touch. You can remap the inputs if using a controller and you also choose to disable the controller which can be useful for players, for instance, if using a controller to emulate touch on a device, rather than use it as a controller. It also features the option to move the touchscreen controls as well as resize them to create a customised layout to suit players using the touchscreen and place them where they are most comfortable accessing them. It also has a ‘Press Up to Jump’ option, which removes the need for the Jump action as a separate button input. So, if accessing the Left Stick or D-Pad are preferred for players using a controller, they can use the up direction on these instead. Players can test these settings and practice the controls in a in a pressure free Testing area.

For developers, the following modules on the SpecialEffect DevKit have more examples of these types of features: 1.2 Supporting Multiple Input Devices, 2.2 Remapping, 1.4 Blocking Input Devices, 6.5 Analog Action Assists and 5.6 Testing Configurations.

 

Dead Cells

Dead Cells is a roguelike-Metroidvania where you make your way through procedurally-generated levels by defeating enemies and collecting power-ups and weapons along the way.

Controllers that are compatible on Android are supported and you can remap the button and trigger inputs.

You can also alter the left stick deadzone. By allowing players to adjust this area, players can choose the amount of input required on the Left Stick to initiate an action.

Increasing the deadzone can be useful for players with trying to avoid unintentionally performing an action. Decreasing the inner deadzone can be useful for players who would prefer to initiate an action with less input from the device, and therefore less physical movement overall.

You can also choose a ‘Controls Tutorial’ which shows control tips at the start of the game, which can help players become familiar with the inputs that are required sooner, if their controls need to be tailored to the game.

For developers, the following modules on the SpecialEffect DevKit have more examples of these types of features:2.2 Remapping, 4.2 Inner Deadzones and 5.2 Action Information .

 

Apex Legends Mobile

Apex Legends Mobile is a battle royale shooter game. At start up you are asked to choose a configuration, which can later be changed in the Settings menu. One of these options is that  ‘Auto-Firing will be enabled.’ This means that when you aim at the enemy you will shoot automatically. It also contains a range of sensitivity options. And it also has an Aim Down Sights tap option, so the input does not have to be held. It also has a customisable layout for onscreen joysticks and buttons.

For developers, the following modules within the SpecialEffect DevKit have more examples of these types of features: 7.3 Automatic Digital Actions and 4.5 Action Values.

 

Call of Duty Mobile

Call of Duty Mobile is a first- and third-person shooter. The game provides controller support within a match to give alternative access to the game using controllers supported on Android devices, such as a standard Xbox controller or an Xbox Adaptive Controller. Touch input is still required for many of the menus.

The game includes a ‘Simple Mode’, which, like Apex Legends Mobile, auto fires when aiming at an enemy, which reduces the need for an additional input for shoot. It also includes sensitivity options for different contexts and a toggle option for aiming down sights, which removes the need to continuously hold this input.

Call of Duty mobile also includes an Auto Sprint option which will allow you to continue sprinting without holding an input until you cancel it for both touchscreen players and players using a controller.

Like some other games mentioned, it also includes moveable and scalable onscreen inputs.

For developers, the following modules on the SpecialEffect DevKit have more examples of these types of features: 1.2 Supporting Multiple Input Devices, 7.3 Automatic Digital Actions, 4.5 Action Values, 3.3 Continuous Holds and 6.5 Analog Action Assists.

Minecraft

Minecraft can be played using a connected controller or touchscreen controls. You can choose to use Auto-Jump, which reduces the need to press an input for it manually when you approach an obstacle. Again, you can remap the buttons and trigger inputs to actions of your choice if using a controller. You can also choose alterative touchscreen control schemes, such as ‘split’ controls or ‘lefty’ mode for left-handed game play. You can adjust the sensitivity of camera controls. You also have the option to choose difficulty and play in Creative mode, for a less competitive style of play.

 

Within the SpecialEffect DevKit, developers can find further examples of these features: 1.2 Supporting Multiple Input Devices, 7.3 Automatic Digital Actions, 2.2 Remapping, 4.5 Action Values and 6.3 Game Difficulty.

 

Asphalt 9: Legends

The racing game, Asphalt 9: Legends, has a steering mode called ‘TouchDrive’, that allows a player to tap onscreen icons to indicate which route you’d like to choose, rather than manually steering the vehicles by swiping, tilting or moving a joystick. When you approach a turn, for instance, the game will give you a window to choose one of the onscreen options for which direction to take.

When using manual controls, it also allows players to adjust the steering sensitivity, whichever input they are using. You can choose from swiping onscreen, tilting the device or using a connected controller to steer.

For developers, the following modules within the SpecialEffect DevKit have more examples of these types of features: 7.4 Automatic Analog Actions, 4.5 Action Values & 4.7 Input Methods.

 

PubG Mobile

In PubG Mobile, a battle royal game, players have the option to adjust the type of event that performs the action when firing Shotguns and Crossbows. They can choose to fire when the onscreen input is released or when it is pressed, allowing players to adjust what method works best for them and their use of inputs and timing.

More examples of which may be useful for developers can be found on the SpecialEffect DevKit.

Outro

This is just a small range of games available on Android which have options that may make them more accessible to some players. When playing a new game, it can be worth taking a look at the Settings or Options menu to see what features can be adjusted to customise the game.

Please be aware certain games shown may cost money to buy, have in-app purchases or have age restrictions.

In this short 3 episode series, we will look at some of the ways players on Android devices can customise their experience and improve the motor accessibility of games.

This could be by adjusting options in games or by using alternative controls with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, or both.

In Episode 1, we look at some examples of the optional settings and features within some Android games, that may improve the motor accessibility for players when used. We will highlight some of the available options to players in these specific games, but, more widely, these act as examples of what to look out for in the Settings and Options when playing any new game.

We also aim to show developers these features so that they may consider whether similar ones may be appropriate for their own games. If you are a game developer who is interested in adding motor accessibility options to your game or a future project, SpecialEffect have created the SpecialEffect DevKit. Over seven main topics, the DevKit covers many of the motor accessibility options we look for when assessing how accessible a game might be to some players. Please visit the SpecialEffect DevKit website to get started: specialeffectdevkit.info

Timestamps:

0:00 | Intro

1:42 | Brawlhalla

3:07 | Dead Cells

4:20 | Apex Legends Mobile

5:17 | Call of Duty Mobile

6:58 | Minecraft

8:20 | Asphalt 9: Legends

9:27 | PubG Mobile


Links:

Episode 2 in this series looks at connecting an Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) to an Android device: Episode 2

Episode 3 looks at some games that can be used as a starting point for players using an XAC on Android: Episode 3

Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) – For additional information on the XAC, use the ‘XAC‘ tag on the GameAccess website.

Music in Episode 1: Skipping by Ian Post, Little Eyes by Yehezkel Ram, Assembly Line Dreams by Ostin Drais, Binary Love by Stanley Gurvich, Ezra by Notize, Dawning Light by Tristan Barton, When the Sunrise (Instrumental Version) by Yehezkel Raz, Europa by Yehezkel Raz and Tomb by VESHZA (all artlist.io).

Android Access, Episode 2: How to Use the Xbox Adaptive Controller on Android Devices

Show Transcript

At SpecialEffect we aim to highlight the motor accessibility options that may make playing game more accessible for some players.

In this video we are going to look at how an Xbox Adaptive Controller can be used as an option to create a customised controller for playing Android games.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller, also known as an ‘X.A.C’ or ‘Zak’, was created as a first party controller for Xbox and Windows, but it is also recognised as a supported controller on Android devices.

The XAC is a controller which can be used as an accessibility switch and assistive joystick interface and also includes some buttons built-in. This enables you to customise your set up with a range of switches and joysticks that you find easier to access than the buttons and sticks on a standard controller. You can use it to play Android games, which have controller support, on devices using Android 5.1.1 or later.

In this video we will show you how to connect an XAC to an Android device and also some examples of the switches and joysticks we use with it at SpecialEffect.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller connects in the same way that a standard Bluetooth controller would connect. You can’t use a cable to connect it. You connect it using Bluetooth.

Step 1. Turn on Bluetooth:

The first step is to turn on your compatible Android device, and open Settings, then ‘Connections’, Select Bluetooth and turn On. You can often also access the Bluetooth setting by swiping downwards from the top of your screen and selecting the Bluetooth icon.

 

Step 2. Turn on and sync your XAC:

Next you need to press and hold the guide button with an Xbox ‘X’ icon on it to turn on your XAC and press the Sync button to the right of the Y switch port on the back of the XAC. The light on the XAC should flash rapidly and you should see Xbox Adaptive Controller listed in the Available Devices list on your Android device.

 

Step 3. Pair your XAC:

Now we just select the discovered Xbox Adaptive Controller listed on your available devices.

Depending on your device settings, you may need to enter your password to pair it.

For this device, it required approval of the Bluetooth pairing request.

 

Step 4. Set up your controls:

Once paired, you can plug in the combination of joysticks and buttons you require to play a compatible game.

Many games will require additional inputs alongside those found on the XAC itself, so joysticks and accessibility switches will need to be added for these. Different games will require different inputs.

 

An online search may help to discover what these are, or you may need to install and open a game to find out. For example, for Sonic the Hedgehog Classic, I would need access to the Left Stick or D-Pad as well as the A button to Jump. Then you plug in your preferred input method- here we have opted for a Oneswitch Ultrastik joystick and the Large button from the Logitech adaptive gaming kit, to give us a large joystick and button to use with a certain amount of resistance offered to activate them.

We could also use a smaller low force joystick, such as this J3 one from Celtic Magic, alongside a low force accessibility switch like this Ultra-Light HD one from Marblesoft, to give us lighter controls with less resistance.

Some of the other joysticks we use at SpecialEffect with the XAC are:

·       OneSwitch ZikZaks with various bases

·       OneSwitch standard and low force XAC Mini joysticks

·       Celtic Magic feather joystick

·       Pretorian Optima Joystick

·       Evil Controller’s Mini XAC Thumbstick

…and some of the accessibility switches are:

·       AbleNet Buddy Buttons

·       AbleNet Specs Switches

·       Other Switches from the Logitech Adaptive Kit

Step 5. Finding compatible games:

You can find compatible games by searching for them in the search bar of the Google Play store. We have another video showing some games which are compatible with the XAC on Android as a starting point.

Please be aware certain games may cost money to buy or have in-app purchases.

Additional Tips:

Depending on your Android device, you may be able to interact with the operating system using the XAC to open games. You may need to move their location to the home screen, for instance, using touch first, to do this.

To disconnect the controller, you can either hold the Guide button with an Xbox ‘X’ icon on it for approximately 5 seconds or you can turn it off in your Android devices Bluetooth settings.

To update your controller’s firmware, use the Xbox Accessories App on an Xbox One or Series console or on a Windows 10 or 11 PC. To charge the controller, you can use an AC Adapter which is sold separately or connect it to an Xbox or PC.

We hope that this video has been useful. For more information as to what joysticks and buttons can be used with the XAC, you can use the XAC tag on the SpecialEffect Game Access Site.

In Episode 2 of this short series looking at access to Android games, we are going to look at how an Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) can be used to create a customised controller, as an alternative option to using the touchscreen or a standard controller.

The XAC was created as a first-party controller for Xbox and Windows 10/11, but it is also recognised as a supported controller on Android devices. It acts as a controller interface, allowing you to customise your set-up with a range of switches and joysticks that you find easier to access than the buttons and sticks on a standard controller. You can use it to play Android games, which have controller support, on devices using Android 5.1.1 or later.

Timestamps:

0:00 | Intro

1:21 | Step 1: Turn on Bluetooth

1:49 | Step 2: Turn on and sync your XAC

2:17 | Step 3: Pair your XAC

2:36 | Step 4: Set up your controls

4:23 | Step 5: Finding compatible games

4:49 | Additional Tips


Links:

Episode 3 in this ‘Android Access’ series looks at some games that can be used as a starting point for players using an XAC on Android: Episode 3

Episode 1 looks at examples of touchscreen and controller options and settings in some Android games that may help improve the motor accessibility of a game for players. This may also be of interest to game developers looking to improve the motor accessibility of their game for players: Episode 1

Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) – For additional information on the XAC, use the ‘XAC‘ tag on the GameAccess website.

Music in Episode 2: Dawning Light by Tristan Barton, Eminence Landscapes (Pizzicato version) by Ian Post and To Edinburgh by Ian Post (all artlist.io).

Android Access, Episode 3: Xbox Adaptive Controller Compatible Games

Show Transcript

At SpecialEffect we often use the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which we call the ‘XAC’.

The XAC acts as a switch and joystick interface, allowing us to create customised controllers for the individual.

When using it on Android, it gives an alternative option to using the touchscreen to play games.

In this video, we are going to look at some controller compatible games on Android that may be a good starting point to try some games using the XAC. For more information on the Xbox Adaptive Controller, please check out our other video on this and the ‘XAC’ tag on the SpecialEffect GameAccess site.

We will be introducing games from the Google Play store that have controller support and compatible with the XAC and going through the main controls. We will be looking at some games that require fewer inputs as a starting point, but also some that use many of the inputs available on a controller. We will also note some of the motor accessibility features in the games, that could help make them more accessible to players using the XAC.

Oceanhorn

Oceanhorn is an action-adventure game where you explore the islands of Uncharted Seas. The game uses a reduced control scheme to allow you to play using just one stick and two buttons. The joystick (Left Stick) is used to move your character. Pressing either A or X is attack and holding, then releasing, either of them does a special move. A or X are also interact, such as to open a trunk, or a door, or to push an object, which requires holding the input.  You can also press A or X when next to a throwable object to pick it up and then you press it again to throw it, whilst using the Left Stick to choose the direction.

You can play the first chapter for free and then you can purchase the game to continue.

Limbo

Limbo is a puzzle-platformer. Again, the game uses a reduced control scheme to allow you to play using just one joystick and two buttons. Left Stick is used to move, A is used to Jump and B is used to hold. You will need to use touch to navigate some of the menu inputs.

You can play a demo of Limbo before purchasing the full game.

Sonic the Hedgehog Classic

Sonic the Hedgehog Classic is a platformer. To play, you use the Left Stick (or D-Pad) to move Sonic, Tails or Knuckles left or right and use A for jump. Much of the menus can be controlled using the controller, but some screens may need touch input.

You can play an Ad Supported version for free or purchase an Ad Free version within the game. However, the Ad supported version will require small arrow and cross icons to be selected using touch to close Ads.

 

Rocket League Sideswipe

A 2D version of the 3D console and PC game Rocket League, Rocket League Sideswipe keeps the objective of getting the ball into the opponent’s goal. The game uses Left Stick to move Left and Right when on the ground and to move Up and Down whilst in the air. A is used to Jump and B is used to Boost.  Use of the touch screen is needed in menus and to bring up menus in-game.

Asphalt 9: Legends

Asphalt 9: Legends contains a range of accessibility options as well as being compatible with the XAC.

By default, TouchDrive mode will be enabled, so during a race you will move the Left Stick or D-Pad to choose a path within the decision window from the options that appear onscreen, such as taking a left or right turn or taking a jump. You can switch to TouchDrive controls by using Up on the D-Pad or go to the Settings menu. They also appear in the screen before a race.

If using Manual controls, instead of choosing a path, you will manually steer using the Left Stick or D-Pad. As with TouchDrive controls, the car will accelerate automatically.

Using either Manual or TouchDrive controls, you also use A, Right Trigger or Right Bumper to use Nitro. You can double tap them when your Nitro is full for a Shockwave. You use X, Left Trigger or Left Bumper to Drift. Drifting helps fill the Nitro metre. B can be used to respawn. Double pressing Left Trigger, Bumper or X performs a 360.

The Menu button is used to open the in-game menu.

You can navigate the menus using the Left Stick or D-Pad and the A button is used to select. B can be used to go back and X is a shortcut for some options. Some menus require the Bumpers to tab through them.

You can adjust the steering sensitivity too in the Controls Settings menu.

The game is free to play, but credits are awarded if you watch Ads and the game contains in-app purchases.

 

Brawlhalla

Brawlhalla is a fighting game. The aim being to knock your opponent into one of the blastzones.

Left Stick or D-Pad is used to move, A to Jump, B or Y are Heavy Attack, X is quick attack and pickup, Bumpers Throw Items and Triggers are used to Dodge and Dash. Right Stick selects Emotes. The Menu button brings up the in-game menu. The majority of the menus can be navigated using a controller with the occasional selection, such as customising the touch controls or disabling the controller, requiring touch input. You can also remap the controller inputs.

Brawlhalla is free to play, with the option of in-game purchases for items like characters or cosmetics.

Sky: Children of the Light

Sky: Children of the Light is described as having no pressure as you explore the 7 realms of its kingdom. Right Stick is used to Look and for navigating in-game and other menus. Left Stick is used to move when on the ground or steer when in the air (Up to fly high and Down to dive low) and the camera does follow you automatically as you move, so Right Stick is not needed all the time to look. The camera also automatically pans to items of interest. A is used to jump when pressed and to rise up to fly, when held for a short duration. Y opens the interaction interface and A can be used to select items within it. Y is used to level up your wing and claim new abilities. Pressing X brings out your light and interacts with nearby objects and people when an onscreen prompt appears. 

The Menu button opens the in game menu. When lost, pressing B will call and your Light will reveal the path. Right Bumper toggles your flight style. Left Bumper opens your currency. The View button opens the chat function and keyboard, but touch is required to use this.

The game is free to play, but you can purchase cosmetics.

Dead Cells

Dead Cells is a roguelike-Metroidvania where you make your way through procedurally-generated levels defeating enemies and collecting power-ups and weapons along the way.

Controllers are fully supported and many of the inputs on the controller are used. These are Left Stick to Move, A to Jump, B to Roll, X to use Primary Weapon and Y to use secondary. The Triggers do left and right skills. Left Bumper is Heal and Right Bumper is Use. The Menu button is Pause and the View button Views the map.

You can remap these buttons and trigger inputs to different actions and also alter the Left Stick deadzone.

Dead Cells can be purchased in the Google Play store.

 

Minecraft

In Minecraft you build and explore in infinite worlds. Minecraft for Android has full controller support (except when using the chat keyboard).

The controls use the full controller inputs. These are Left Stick to Move and Right Stick to Look and Aim. A to jump or fly, Right Trigger to Attack or Destroy, Left Trigger to use item or place block. X is to Craft and Y is for your inventory. You also use A, B, X, Y, Bumpers and Triggers within the inventory to navigate and select. B is used to Sneak and Fly down. The bumpers cycle left and right through items. Down on the D-Pad Drops items and Up on D-Pad toggles your perspective. Left does emotes and right open the chat.  Left Stick Click Sprints and Right Stick Click Flies Down Slow. Options that can be changed for playing with the controller include remapping these controls, adjusting Sensitivity, and also an Auto Jump option. You can also play in Creative mode with unlimited resources before trying Survival mode.

Minecraft can be purchased in the Google Play store.

 

Outro

This is just a small selection of the games available in the Google Play store, which have full or partial controller support.

You can find controller compatible games by searching for them in the search bar of the Google Play store.

Please be aware certain games may cost money to buy, have in-app purchases, include adverts or age restrictions.

We hope that this video has been useful. For more information as to what joysticks and buttons can be used with the XAC, check out the XAC tag on the SpecialEffect GameAccess info site.

In Episode 3 of this short series looking at access to Android games, we will be highlighting some games that can be played using the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC). Originally created for Xbox and Windows 10/11 PCs, the XAC can also be used to play games on Android, as an alternative option to using the touchscreen or a standard controller.

The XAC is a switch and joystick interface that allows us to create customised controllers for individuals, by connecting joysticks and accessibility switches that are appropriate for a particular individual when positioned correctly..

We will be introducing games from the Google Play store that have controller support and that are compatible with the XAC. We will start by looking at games that require fewer inputs as a starting point, and then some that use many of the inputs available on a controller. We will also note some of the motor accessibility features in the games that could help make them more accessible to players using the XAC.

Timestamps:

0:00 | Intro

1:21 | Oceanhorn

2:17 | Limbo

2:50 | Sonic the Hedgehog Classic

3:37 | Rocket League Sideswipe

4:06 | Asphalt 9: Legends

6:02 | Brawlhalla

7:03 | Sky: Children of Light

8:40 | Dead Cells

9:41 | Minecraft 


Links:

Episode 2 in this ‘Android Access’ series looks at connecting an XAC to an Android device: Episode 2

Episode 1 looks at examples of touchscreen and controller options and settings in some Android games that may help improve the motor accessibility of a game for players. This may also be of interest to game developers looking to improve the motor accessibility of their game for players: Episode 1

Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) – For additional information on the, use the ‘XAC‘ tag on the GameAccess website.

Music in Episode 3: Eminence Landscapes by Ian Post, Skipping by Ian Post, Little Eyes (Instrumental Version) by Yehezkal Raz, Binary Love by Stanley Gurvich, When the Sunrise (Instrumental Version) by Yehezkal Raz, Ripples by Palm Blue and Tomb by VESHZA (all artlist.io).

 

David’s Adapted Gaming Controller | Case Study

David’s gaming set-up

David used to love playing football games on a games console when he was younger. He has quadriplegic cerebral palsy which meant that as consoles became more complex, a standard controller became too difficult to use. His mum contacted SpecialEffect to find out whether there were options which could help David play again.

Through video calls, SpecialEffect supported David and his mum remotely throughout the COVID-19 restrictions. An initial call took place to discuss his game of choice, FIFA.  An initial set-up was agreed, equipment was loaned and a follow-up call was booked to talk through setting up the equipment.

In this post we will share the techniques and equipment the SpecialEffect team used to create David’s custom set-up specific to his needs and abilities. By sharing David’s gaming solution, we hope to show a wider range of the options available for gaming using a set-up tailored to the individual.

The information in this article is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing (Dec 2021).

Screenshot of Fifa 22 Accessibility menu.
FIFA 22 Accessibility Menu

Accessing the Controls

Challenge: David’s cerebral palsy makes any controlled movement difficult for him.  He demonstrated that he found fine motor movements difficult, so couldn’t achieve accurate control of small controller joysticks.  David needed access to at least the left joystick to play FIFA.   

Solution: Since David reported he felt he had the movement to use a large joystick successfully, we trialled a Pretorian Optima Joystick as its low profile design is sturdy for mounting and the joystick resistance and topper shape appeared compatible with his movements.  It is also compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC), which could act as a switch interface for David’s set-up (see below). The joystick was mounted, using a Manfrotto mounting arm above and at an angle to the joystick on his wheelchair.  This position enabled David to achieve accurate control of his players in FIFA. 

Challenge: David was unable to use his hands to access any small buttons.  FIFA requires access to the ‘A’ button, at the least, on an Xbox One console.

Solution: David was able to demonstrate good head movement to the left, which he had previously used to access a head switch.  A Buddy Button switch, acting as the ‘A’ button, was mounted to the headrest of his wheelchair using Velcro. 

He was happy to trial this as a starting point.  If it becomes uncomfortable over time, a softer topped switch or alternative switch position can be explored. 

A photo of a Pretorian Optima joystick.
A Pretorian Optima Joystick with small nub topper.

Making the joystick and switch work on the Xbox One

Challenge: The switch ports that are built into the Optima Joystick would not natively work as the ‘A’ button for the Xbox One. A compatible switch interface is required to facilitate the button and joystick to work with the Xbox One.  

Solution: An XAC was used to get the Optima Joystick and Buddy Button working on the Xbox One.

The XAC is a switch interface which enables you to create a customised controller set-up. For more information, please see this video for a detailed overview of the XAC: An Xbox Adaptive Controller Overview – GameAccess

Image of the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC).
Photo of the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC)

Independence

Challenge: David wanted to be able to play FIFA independently, if possible.

Solution: David is able to successfully control a large joystick and one switch, as described above.  FIFA has a variety of accessibility features.  The joystick was plugged into the ‘left joystick’ port on the XAC to enable David to control the player’s movements. By changing the settings to ‘One Button Mode’, David can access the game independently using just one joystick and button. (More details on these settings in FIFA 21 here. )

Challenge:  David was also interested in other games that don’t have the same accessibility features as FIFA and cannot be played with a single joystick and switch. 

Solution:  Copilot is an accessibility feature available on Xbox One, Xbox Series consoles and Windows 10 PCs. It allows you to combine inputs from two Xbox One controllers. Xbox Copilot mode would enable a family member or friend to use the standard Xbox One controller to play alongside David as the same player within any game.  Using the XAC, David’s switch could be made to act as one key control within whatever game was being played.  His partner could use the standard controller for the rest of the controls.

This article goes into detail about how Copilot works, and how to turn it on on Xbox console and Windows 10 PC: How to set up Copilot on Xbox One & Windows 10 | How To… Video – GameAccess

Photo of David with his head switch velcroed onto his head rest.
Close-up of David’s head switch

Access to other equipment while gaming

Challenge : David needs access to his Tellus device for communication at all times. He controls this using his SmartNav device, so he wanted access to this whilst gaming.

Solution: The joystick, switch and TV were all carefully positioned so that David could still access his wheelchair controls via the Tellus device whilst gaming.  

Photo of David's set-up being used to access Fifa.
Close-up of David playing FIFA

List of Equipment Used:

Below is a list of the equipment we used to create David’s set-up, with unaffiliated links to the products on the manufacturers’ own websites where possible. Other suppliers are available in most cases:

Xbox Adaptive Controller:

Xbox Adaptive Controller | Xbox

Screenshot of the Xbox Adaptive Contoller as it appears on the Xbox One when initially setting it up.
XAC screenshot from Xbox One settings

Optima Joystick | Pretorian

Image of Pretorian Optima joystick with large foam ball topper.
Pretorian Optima Joystick with large foam ball topper

Buddy Button:

Buddy Button | Inclusive Technology (other resellers also available)

Image of a Buddy button.
Buddy Button switch

Softy Top:

Softytop | Inclusive Technology (other resellers also available)

Image of a Softy top switch.
Softytop switch

We hope that reading about an individuals controller set-up gets with ideas on creating your own customised controller. More examples of custom controller set-ups can be found using the Case Study tag.

If you have any questions about this controller set-up, please visit the Contact Us page.