Button Mapping For All


[Tim] came across a Kotaku story about a handicapped gamer who’s starting an Internet petition for button mapping features in all games. First of all, watch this guy play Modern Warfare 2 with a stock control, he’s got some mad skills. We’d normally be looking for a hardware solution like this PS3 Frankenstein controller or a controller emulator to do the job. There’s also the mix-and-match controller that Ben Heck sells. But we’re inclined to agree that button mapping is a useful feature for everyone, especially if you’re in [Chuck Bittner’s] shoes. We still miss the console and macro capabilities of the original Quake… oh why didn’t that functionality make it into console gaming?

36 thoughts on “Button Mapping For All

  1. I agree with this wholeheartedly.

    Since Playstation there has been a standard in place for game controls.

    The Xbox threw that standard out the window with games like Flatout.

    The bottom button is Gas (at least the devs got that right), but the left button above that should be the brake, and the right button should be the e-brake. For some reason they brain-farted and the game is ridiculous.

    They fixed it in Flatout 2, but there is no local network play, and yes, you guessed it Live is now dead for original Xbox.

    If only to fix what the crazy devs do, this should be supported.

    I contend that it be supported at the BIOS, OS, or firmware level of the consoles. A simple patch and you can choose to re-map in the console menu.

  2. seems like a combination of gestural control, eye direction mapping, and speech recognition could present this guy with a much better solution than having to mash keys with his mouth. i imagine playing the way he does in the video is bad for his lips, gums, and teeth….

  3. That’s why you just buy a Gaming PC, where nearly -every- game has the ability to rebind keys/buttons. You know, I can’t think of a game where I haven’t been able to do that, and both UE3 and Source engine games have an extensive console and ‘macro’ system as well.

  4. I’m sure I speak for the majority if I say that you’re not welcome here with comments like that. I’m sure so called cripples justify their existence, not just by paying as much tax as you but leading rewarding fulfilling lives. If you’re offended, then fuck off!

  5. As a Veteran and an alumnus of Walter Reed Army Hospital, I’ve wanted to start a site for disabled gamers for a long time.
    The content would center on resources, advocacy and user made hacks and kludges to help this largely ignored population get the most out of their gaming experiences.
    Anyone who wants to help or who is interested in any way shoot me a mail at fugatj@yahoo.com


  6. Maybe you could ask benheck.com to add a section for disabled gamers in the forum and advert it on the main page to get it started?

    I know he makes custom controllers, in fact he designed a one-handed completely customizable controller.

  7. While we’re at it, I’d love if games would allow full keyboard configuration. Most of them actually hardcode the keyboard scancodes in which makes it difficult for Dvorak typists like myself to use them.

    I admit to being self-interested in such a result but it benefits the handicapped as well. Lots of people who only have (or only have use of) one hand for typing tend to use a left or right-handed Dvorak layout or some other variant.

  8. XCM has an accessory for the Xbox 360 that allows you to connect your keyboard as a controller called the XFPS 360. I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve read articles saying that it’s pretty nice.

  9. @hoschi wouldn’t work well for this guy since he’s quadriplegic. That means that he can’t really control arms or legs that well.

    My method would be to figure out which traces on a controller’s pcb to solder to to get the right button mapping, then make some controller that he can implement (waterproof with bite, tongue, and head-tilt, maybe implementing eye-tracking).

  10. Hey Guys Chuck the Capper her,

    Thanks for the support! So the PC question gets asked a bunch, I play ith Bro & Dad & buddies on PS3 so going PC I lose that.

    2nd this will benefit every console gamer at some point so it is not just for cappers.

    3rd dude who wanted me to die, man your just mean I hope your life gets better being bitter is a drag sorry you have been hurt so bad by life!

    4th mind control will rock but “ll be chasing down ladies in all the FPS ;)

    5th be awesome guys & girls!

    Chuck Bittner the Capper

  11. It would be more appropriate to start a movement AGAINST too much catering to the handicapped in FPS’s (read on, I’m not making the point of the troll earlier, this is another kind of rant), they do not belong on consoles (first person shooters that is) but they are there and now all the FPS’s are ‘consolified’ on PC’s with everything being done automatically and aim-assist and stuff like that so that its now usable by handicapped people and toddlers, now I have nothing against them, but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater and ruin any challenge and interesting aspect of games to make them suitable for everybody, or at least don’t make PC versions the same as console versions, all simplified.
    As for the issue of the handicapped, well the handicapped should use tools designed for their use, programmable controllers and such that compensate for their problem and can’t expect things to be suitable out-of-the-box, and you can argue there’s nothing wrong with games having button assignment but after years of issues with flaky button assignment in PC games I’m thinking perhaps they hope for too much to expect their wishful thinking to become a reality.

  12. @Whatnot

    Chuck is not asking for auto-assist, he’s asking for hardware assist. Although button assignment is done in software, it changes the physical interface.

    And there is no link at all between helping handicapped in gaming and making games more accessible for casual gamers…

  13. My remarks were about trying to make a game accessible to everybody out of the box, even to small groups that normally would find fixes for their unique issues themselves, and collecting signatures to push and promote that, and my thought on where that leads to, namely oversimplifying things so they are suitable for everybody but ending with games that are too simple to be playable with much enjoyment.

  14. @Whatnot This is so simple I am asking to do something that some games do all ready and many games in the past did. I don’t want auto aim, auto fire or auto play. Heck i’ll just watch game video’s on youtube and pretend I’m gaming ;)

    Man this will help every gamer I’m just the tool that will turn the screws.

    So just to reiterate this IS SOMETHING FOR EVERY GAMER. Really it is also for the industry as they will sell more games (I would have bought AvP if it had remapping)

  15. Reconfigurable controls are sorely needed for many players out there. Great to see this call get such good coverage. If people want to learn more about this, then I highly recommend a trip over to Alt-Controls.com, OneSwitch.org.uk, AbleGamers.com and the like.

  16. A full body controller is what he should have, would help people with parkingsons too. Press left foot, press right foot, press left arm down and press right arm down for XO[]/_\. Looking to left joystick. Moving might be done with tong.
    The problem is that there will be a point that there isn’t enough one can move to have sufficient controls for everything, it ends somewhere.
    I wouldn’t mind an extra arm if you know what i mean.

    Ps. I like how some don’t notice the troll’s name.

  17. Shame about some of the embarassingly ignorant comments above. Adding accessibility features to games is a design choice, and the right thing to do, if done well. They tend to be optional, so if you want to play a difficult game, set your game up for hard-core mode, and don’t make use of any optional assist modes. Baffles me how many people can’t grasp that. For those who still don’t like that concept, why not campaign for the removal of wheelchair ramps and level access to public buildings? Campaign for the removal of subtitles on DVDs? Etc. It’s daft not to see the bigger picture, and the fact that anyone can become disabled at any time in their life. If that does happen, do you just give up on wanting to play the games you previously loved? Or would you rather there were some accomodations in your options screen that can help to keep the game playable and fun?

  18. Argh! I hate when the devs try to limit your control options!

    Fighting games, I almost always and up remapping the controls to something I’m more comfortable with. This should be an option for any game, any time, anywhere. Consoles are worst about it, but PC inputs need this kind of functionality built-in, too.

    Case in point: Mechwarrior 4, which was recently released for free(no really, download it at http://www.mektek.net, it’s awesome!), but if you want to play with a nonstandard joystick(like my Dualshock 3 or my best friend’s limited edition Ace Edge dual-stick which came with Ace Combat 6), you’re out of luck, because the number of available control remaps is horribly limited, the game doesn’t even recognize some analog axes, and you can’t, for example, map an analog axis to a button push(which is absurd, because you CAN map mouse movements to button pushes).

    Compare to Descent 3, which allows you to map anything to anything. This is the way it should always be done.

    While we’re at it, I’d like to see more games like The Bouncer that let you pull up a graph of all your inputs and adjust your dead zones and sensitivity for the analog inputs.

  19. While I’m here, I’d also like to mention: AskACapper, you’re awesome, if only for being able to play Modern Warfare WITH YOUR FACE! Mad props for that alone.

  20. @AskACapper Well it’s not like I would try to stop selectable buttons, even if I used consoles, I was talking as a general view prompted by this subject, I made that clear in my first post, of course this particular thing is no issue to implement (or should not be), but if I were you I’d find another way though because as I said waiting and hoping for sony and MS to step up to the plate can be a decade-long endeavour and you are probably better off trusting on your own ideas and fixes really.

  21. @Whatnot
    YOU: “waah waah disabled people threaten my gaming abilities. they should just deal with it and stop complaining because nothing will ever change anyway!”

    get out, troll.

  22. @whatnot Ok My first stop is getting Devz to step up, once they do (one is talking about my idea as it’ll be killer PR) then when enough are on board they push the big guys MS/Sony to just build it in to the consoles. it is a two part plan.

    Plus I love saying I didn’t buy a game because I can’t play it because it isn’t reMappable. The companies lose money because they don’t allow remapping.

  23. PC gaming is the way to go, period. You can re-map any key to any function, and even 3rd party software will allow you to remap whole key combination to a single keystroke. If consoles do not want to cater to your needs, and do not even put features like button mapping in their games, then I ask you why on earth are you purchasing their products??? If your relatives actually enjoy playing online with you, I would not think it would be a huge deal for them to purchase a descent PC for a gaming rig. You could then host your own games, and never have to worry about “dropped” gaming sessions because some server decided to stop working for a heartbeat. No Xbox Live fees to pay for access that is intermittent… it’s a win win situation!

  24. @AskACapper: I think what you’re talking about it an awesome idea. Have you considered focusing much of your attention on the console manufacturers themselves (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft). They have a huge amount of influence when it comes to how game developers implement basic features like this. All you’d need to do is convince them to make re-mappable controls a quality control requirement for a developer to get their game approved for publishing and/or improvements to the core console SDK that include re-mapping support automatically. It’s unlikely that most game developers stray too far from the SDKs control functions in the first place.

    Good luck in your efforts.

  25. @colecoman The manufactures kinda are the problem their QA testing mean the DEVz need to “test all possible aspects of a game” (was told this by a major developer guy) so the companies need to test the remapping extensively & and expensively. Some do it and benefit (Bio Shock and Gran T 5) I see the Devs pushing them as the way to go. But I got some hooks inside MS Game division so I try.

  26. Does testing control remaps really take that long if you just do it right the first time and adhere to proper Object-Oriented Code standards?

    I’m going to discover this in-depth for myself in a couple of months, when I add remap to a game I’m using to teach myself OpenGL, but the theory in my head is that if you segregate the manner of input from what the input does(and make both sides properly idiot-proof), it shouldn’t matter if the person on the other end is using a keyboard, a hacked-in home-build custom controller of some sort, or using equipment that generates signals based on where his eyes are pointing.

  27. Not that the controller would be any better, I am not positive what would be optimal for that but on the PC, the xbox accesory adapter apparently supports up to four wireless controllers. I have only ever tried to use one with mine but the buttons are fully configurable in your game and the program xpadder helps. Now I don’t know current pc games that support many controllers but I cant see why you couldn’t configure them to play emulators multiplayer (just off the top of my head I think of goldeneye for 64 and mariokart 64 but those are pretty old school).

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