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Games Entertainment

Disabled Fans Shut Out of Galaxies 387

Ant writes "Wired News' Game|Life reports on Nick Dupree, a disability rights activist and writer who is confined to a wheelchair with severely limited mobility. He used to use one thumb and an index finger to play MMORPG Star Wars: Galaxies. This limited mobility was more than adequate to play the game when it was a sandbox-style adventure, and he was a devotee of the game. With the New Game Enhancements, he is no longer able to play because of the reliance on keyboard/mouse combinations and the action-style combat." There really is nothing good to report on this game update.
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Disabled Fans Shut Out of Galaxies

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:35AM (#14283745)
    He could just set up a bot to play for him like half the other people who used to play galaxies...
  • by Saven Marek ( 739395 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:35AM (#14283746)
    > With the New Game Enhancements, he is no longer able to play because
    > of the reliance on keyboard/mouse combinations and the action-style combat."

    It's a good thing to make a change to something that makes it explicitly more accessible to the disabled but if that change also makes it worse to play for the able bodied then that is reverse descrimination. That to me is political correctness at its worse. What about the able bodied majority who find it easier when they are able to use more keys. should we all go around and change every gui so it can be used with a one button mouse and three keys on the keyboard? no! we should make it accessible to all

    Not pander to a minority that might be some hundreds of people among millions of players. The producers arent in this for free.
    • I really think you're missing the point here. The old setup of SWG was not a "sandbox-style adventure" for reasons of political correctness, but instead to favor strategy and precise action over frenetic action. This just mentions one of the side effects of the "New Game Enhancements", which changed SWG into more of a "twitch" game. And no, this is not "reverse descrimination [sic]". Rather, I get the impression that the update mentioned in the TFA would simply offer players the option of greater custom
      • by Hope Thelps ( 322083 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @05:46AM (#14283939)
        I really think you're missing the point here. The old setup of SWG was not a "sandbox-style adventure" for reasons of political correctness, but instead to favor strategy and precise action over frenetic action.

        I don't see how he's missing the point. As you say, the original game wasn't designed that way specifically for disabled access and, as you presumably realise, the changes weren't made specifically to remove that access. Criticising the game changes is valid. Using some disabled rights angle as an excuse to bash the game providers is really offensive.

        If you don't believe that they are allowed to change their game then say so. If you believe that they are then sometimes those changes are going to affect players that they don't even know about.
    • by The Slashdotted ( 665535 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:54AM (#14283815)
      Society has no obligation to people when a profit is unable to be made?
      Is this the same slashdot that panders to the 1% who likes Linux?

      Of course if you were blinded, or lost your arm, or can only sit for 3 hours a day, this product isn't for you. The mantra of the hacker to be certain.
      Better yet, fuck the WASD key people, I like my arrow keys and that's how I'm programming it.

      We should make a reasonable effort to help others. If that mean's a new preferance, do it. If that means a fork of the universe because the new feature requires typing OMFWTFBBQ, consider it.

      When a freak accident occurs, and you face being in pain and incapacitated for life, that doesn't make you worthless.
      • When a freak accident occurs, and you face being in pain and incapacitated for life, that doesn't make you worthless.
        Correct. It also means that you have to accept that there are some things that you can no longer do. That's what "incapacitated" means.
        • accept that there are some things that you can no longer do

          I define a man/woman on what they can do. It is the right thing to do.

          There are the same people who have to accept:
          - they loose their job because they're in pain?
          - they're unable to travel, to see friends/family.

          If Richard Stallman was to get arthritis/RSD, would he no longer be a programmer?
          If an IT person could not touch a computer, can he no longer manage?
        • When a freak accident occurs, and you face being in pain and incapacitated for life, that doesn't make you worthless.

          Correct. It also means that you have to accept that there are some things that you can no longer do. That's what "incapacitated" means.

          My wife had a stroke about 2 years ago and became disabled. What you quote is true, but in my (limited 2-year) experience I've found that notion to be an excuse for insensitivity. Perhaps this is not true of the parent poster, but I'd suggest caution

      • We should make a reasonable effort to help others. If that mean's a new preferance, do it. If that means a fork of the universe because the new feature requires typing OMFWTFBBQ, consider it.

        I think people just resist two things: change, and considering unintended consequences of their actions.

        There's a bit of sound psychology in this resistance. If you keep changing direction, you never get anywhere. If you try to take everything into account, then you'll keep changing direction and never get anything done
    • should we all go around and change every gui so it can be used with a one button mouse and three keys on the keyboard?

      Certainly not! Why the hell would you need three keys if you have a mouse AND one button!

      /life-long mac user
    • Sorry to troll, but let me echo another reply who points out that you only need one finger to use a mac. Dumbass. And like that other dude said, you're completely missing the point.
    • >should we all go around and change every gui so it can be used with a one button mouse and three keys on the keyboard?

      Hey ! Leave the Gnome project out of this (ducks)
    • "It's a good thing to make a change to something that makes it explicitly more accessible to the disabled but if that change also makes it worse to play for the able bodied then that is reverse descrimination."

      Your comments are totally irrelevant, because THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED.

      The "change" was simply not allowing us to customize our keymaps anymore (even though we can still access the same "change keymap menu" we always have had, we just can't commit the changes), not something to make it "worse" for an
  • by jwigum ( 813234 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:39AM (#14283764)
    Macro buttons/programs. They're either time consuming to set up(programs), or expensive, but so is all the other specialized equipment for someone that's severely(as TFA's subject) disabled.

    The other answer, of course, is that these customers are a very small portion of the consumer base. While it sounds cold, it would be a bad marketing decision to hold the game back because someone couldn't play it(due to a lack of ability on their part).
    • They're either time consuming to set up(programs), or expensive,

      And they're violations of the Terms of Service, which in some jurisdictions could make installing them the equivalent of felon computer-intrusion.

      If a disabled person wanted to play Counter-strike, she'd need a client-side AimBot, which is very clearly cheating. Your suggestion is not as bad, but it's on the same lines.
  • I have full function of all my limbs, and I still have a hard time playing these games.
    • Funny you should mention this.

      I was hanging out with my 20 year old cousin today (I'm 27) and even those 7 years makes a huge difference in gaming aptitude. I grew up using the simplistic NES controller while he's been using the Xbox/Playstation style controller for as long as he has been gaming.

      Today, i found myself instantly lost playing a sports game where you had to use the two joystick like thumb controls as opposed to the directional pad on the left side of the controller. To me, it seemed so
      • That's what Nintendo intends to change next year. The Revolution controller looks like the old NES controller and there's an add-on (comes with the machine) that adds a joystick and an extra button or two. The rest is all gyroscope. Hooray for simplicity. The Nintendo DS is also a wonder of simple controls (when the developers actually, you know, cared).
  • Is this it?

    Original (fine) -> Combat update (bad) -> Original (fine) -> NGE (bad)

    I haven't followed Galaxies very closely (MUD player), but it seems like the game's due for another revolution of the wheel in a few months once everyone complains loud enough.
    • What MUD? Seems it is impossible to find anything that isn't a complete time-sink (Armageddon) or costs a lot of money (Achaea). I want RP, but I refuse to "level" or "bash" ever again, and I want something more coded and "gamey" than a MUCK/MUSH where I have to RP death and so on. I suppose I should just go back to waiting for Fallout 3... disappointment looms...
  • Unfortunate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blank89 ( 727548 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:43AM (#14283775)
    I hate to say it, but the gaming company has control over how their game works. If they feel that they will get more profit this way, then they have the right to do so, unless it causes some kind of damage or harm.
    • What about the thousands of people who bought a copy assuming it would play one way, and then had it changed on them? I would say they were most definitely harmed. THis wasn't just a minor balance tweak, it was a major sitch up.
      • > What about the thousands of people who bought a copy assuming it would play one way, and then had it changed on them? I would say they were most definitely harmed.

        Given the changes to the game that mean everyone who played the game prior to the NGE.
    • You are making a statement of fact, while the story concerns how things should be. Do you claim this is right and proper?
  • by mister_llah ( 891540 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:45AM (#14283786) Homepage Journal
    Video games aren't like public buildings, you shouldn't need to make the handicap accessible.

    That they were before is great... but they're not now, sad, sure, but move on, it's just a game.

    ===

    There are plenty of other games which don't rely on keyboards AND mice...

    Here is one that has always been handicapable!
    http://www.nethack.org/ [nethack.org]
    • by The Slashdotted ( 665535 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @05:08AM (#14283850)
      The thing is that I have a gamer friend who fell down a flight of stairs. Games are the only thing that distracts from the pain. What's the difference between porting WoW to linux, and adding a custom interface for people with limited mobility? We are all one accident away from loosing our livelyhood, our gaming, our collegues, and our health. One shitty game of Nethack doesn't replace that. Were something to happen to you, I think you'd see things differently.

      • What's the difference between porting WoW to linux, and adding a custom interface for people with limited mobility?

        Nothing. I expect a company to do neither, nor do I think they should in any way be required to do so. Would it be nice for a company to do either things? Sure. This is a damn videogame we're talking about here, not a supermarket.

        Were something to happen to you, I think you'd see things differently.

        And laws should be based on the person who's most clouded by personal involvement? There's a
  • Tough crowd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rank_Tyro ( 721935 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (11orytknar)> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:45AM (#14283787) Journal
    How hard would it be to offer an accessability patch which might be available for a small fee?

      I can't see any reason that sort of thing would be unreasonable.
    • I can't see any reason that sort of thing would be unreasonable.

      How about this? Imagine a headline like: "disabled people charged extra for services".

      It wouldn't be seen very different by the public from locking disabled bathroom stalls and putting a machine that only allows access when a fee or lifetime purchased ATM-like card is used.

      Even if the price were to be .25 cents, not only would it cause a serious lashback, it's against the law in the USA to discriminate based on disabilities.
      • it's against the law in the USA to discriminate based on disabilities.

        The ADA requires certain accomodations for "public accomodations." Guess what, MMORPGs aren't listed. (But things like doctors offices, zoos, parks, and hospitals are listed.)

        You can go here [usdoj.gov] for a quick summary of disability rights laws passed in the US. Most of the laws merely require providing a way to access buildings, or against employment discrimination. While many groups publish documentation on ways to help provide access to yo
    • I hope no one is on a long-term prepaid subscription for SWG. Halfway through a patch is issued that makes it impossible for you to play, do you get a refund?
  • A way around this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LParks ( 927321 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:46AM (#14283790)
    Is there not a different way to set up the game controls to allow for a simpler or older style control set to be used with the new interface?
    If not, then there should be.
    This does not just affect disabled people, but it also affects older people and the casual, non-computer proficient gamer. Even people who prefer a simpler interface. This affects a significant portion of their user base.
    • Re:A way around this (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @09:01AM (#14284434)
      Thought I would respond here...

      Basically there are no ways to simplify the controls or the interface. SOE/LA really screwed up the interface for the game, even long time (well abled) customers find the new interface a freaking nightmare. (Most of us say it requires 6 hands to play now).

      Here is an example if you are a Jedi...

      Find NPC to attack.
      Click or press 6 to tell the system you want your right click skill to be your defense stance.
      Click your Right Mouse button to activate it.
      Click or press 8 to tell the system you want to activate your blaster blocking.
      Right Click Mouse to Activate.
      Click or press 7 to tell teh system you want to hit harder
      Ricght Click Mouse to Activate
      Click or press 3 to tell system your want your right click attack power to be lightning.
      Left click on target to start attacking it.
      Right Click to Activate ligtning. (Timer Rolls)
      Click or press 2 to tell system to use Choke
      Right Click to choke target
      Left click many more times or hold it down
      Do all this whil staying in a 5m range of target using your wasd keys to chase target and then repeat several times all of the above - since all the items above are on short timers and have to be reset, several times even in a simple battle with an NPC of your own level.

      Oh, and with the NGE you also have to keep your cursor hovering over the targer at all times, as this is their idea of a 'targeting system'. It is like a sick joke and bad interface version of 1992 Duke Nukem.

      Sounds fun uh? Not...

      In the old system, you targeted NPC and clicked how you wanted to attack it. You did NOT have to the click on the power and then right click to activate it (redundant UI concept from hell, and in current form is buggy and many times the right click power never fires as you have both mouse buttons down at same time and system gets confused).

      Truly imagine a system with no character or creature collision detection and yet they are trying to strap on a targeting system. It is an insane idea at best.

      Also, in old system you could also walk and navigate and everything with the mouse and one hand, using the cursor keys or wasd was not necessary but available. (Now you find that even more complex games like CoH are 100 times easier to play and at least have a better line of site, collision detection, and more realistic targeting system.)

      The old SWG was a great game that they never let it fulfill itself, the original designers had a great vision that is now completely gone. It was probably the first MMO that had no need for quests or developer created content as such. Players created their own. They made their own adventures and their own content. From Player Cities and housing to guild ran quests. All of which is now worthless, and they are moving the game to a quest based system fully, but yet using crappy beta code for line of site and targetting to make it 'seem' like a FPS.

      As for the people saying that a disabled person has no rights here, they are not listening and are really cold hearted and minded.

      What if I sold someone here a condo in a building that had wheel chair ramps and such and they bought it because it was easy for them to get in because they are disabled, then a month later, I replace the ramps with stairs and tell them tough luck. Do you not think they would be a little angry? Or should we just tell them to learn to walk or move? Not fair.

      Even if this does not fall under the disabilities act, it does fall under bait and switch laws. PERIOD.

      (This post is not all directed at the poster I am replying to, it was just a good place to jump into this conversation.)
  • Online-only games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StillAnonymous ( 595680 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:46AM (#14283791)
    Here's another reason I dislike online-only games. You're forced to endure the updates they provide, good or bad. If you don't update, you can't play. At least with a single-player game, you can decide if you want to apply the next patch/update/enhancement or not.

    "Content" publishers want control over everything. Well, guess what? *I* want some control as well.
    • Re:Online-only games (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tim C ( 15259 )
      "Content" publishers want control over everything.

      That's not the case in this situation. Here, what they want is a recurring monthly income. Trust me, it's much preferable to get a steady flow of money than the occasional big bang (which then peters out as time progresses) when you release a new game. Not only is it really better (as you have a much better idea of how well you're doing both now and in the near future, financially), but it looks better on paper (so investors get the warm fuzzies).

      Most people
    • At least with a single-player game, you can decide if you want to apply the next patch/update/enhancement or not. ... unless you play Half Life 2. Good game, but an apalling resource hog with an unpleasant habit of spending 10 mins updating its self, like it or not.
  • by _RidG_ ( 603552 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @04:49AM (#14283798)
    This brings up a fairly interesting, and much broader question of balancing the needs of few with the desires of many. Without having read the article (I would be loathe to break a Slashdot tradition), I imagine that the change in the control scheme was implemented to, well, make it better, or to accomodate the "New Game Enhancements," whatever that may mean. Let's say that these changes make the game experience better for 99.5% of subscription-paying players, and shut out entirely the remaining 0.5% comprised by the disabled players. Is this a problem?

    It's difficult to argue that mandating accessibility requirements - especially such that would detract from the possible quality of the game for non-disabled gamers - is a great idea, particularly since we are talking about playing a game instead of something like wheelchair-accessible buildings. On the other hand, I can of course sympathize with someone who must be hard-pressed to engage in interactive entertainment due to his disability, and has now lost access to something he had previously enjoyed. What do you guys think?
    • Let's say that these changes make the game experience better for 99.5% of subscription-paying players, and shut out entirely the remaining 0.5% comprised by the disabled players. Is this a problem?

      I think you have your numbers turned around. 99.5% of their customers dislike the changes, while 0.5% like them.

      A good friend of mine, who was suffering of adult onset leukemia, played SWG for quite a while because it was both fun and accessible, if pretty buggy. If she were around still, I shudder when I think wh
      • A good friend of mine, who was suffering of adult onset leukemia, played SWG for quite a while because it was both fun and accessible, if pretty buggy. If she were around still, I shudder when I think what would happen to Sony.

        That's the thing - many people look at games like this as more than a game, and it is more than a game, it can be a kind of lifeline.

        I used to play, and on my server there was a girl who passed from leukemia - to her friends in-game it was more than a game too, as they organized a cha
  • On purpose? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jadin ( 65295 )
    They changed the controls so that it will be more compatible with consoles. Wouldn't a console controller be easier to control with a disability? (well more so than a keyboard and mouse setup)

    You'd think as someone with a disability you'd look for a solution rather than expecting the company to do so for you. You can't expect them to know and account for every possible disability.
    • Wouldn't a console controller be easier to control with a disability?

      Absolutely not. Console controllers are "gamepads", which are a small object you hold in your hands while pressing little buttons in timed combinations to input commands.

      A PC keyboard + mouse has 4-6 times as many buttons as a gamepad, meaning that instead of requiring one thumb to accurately depress an arbitrary subset of 4 keys to do something, the player can simply use one finger to hit the key dedicated to that function.

      Plus, a gamepa
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @05:01AM (#14283831) Homepage Journal
    Also, the NBA, the NFL, most soccer matches, Jenga, Twister, horse-shoe tossing, darts, snooker, being an airline pilot...

    Look, being disabled means there are some thing you are not able to do. That's unfortunate, but the alternative is to limit all human activities to those things that quadraplegics can manage.

    Paging Harrison Begeron...
    • by TiggsPanther ( 611974 ) <tiggs@@@m-void...co...uk> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @08:45AM (#14284386) Journal

      Very true. But in this case it seems that SWG started off as something he was able to do. And I can only guess that disabled gamers put a lot of research into finding games that they can actually play.

      But if a game you're spent you hard-earned cash on suddenly becomes unplayable because of something out of your control (like the devs assuming that every single gamer can either handle the changes or doesn't mind their money suddenly becoming wasted) then it's bloody annoying.

      On the other hand, it's increasingly apparent that games are aimed towards the majority. Games that you get into because of a main factor often have it (or a sequel) changed 'cos it'd gain more sales. As long as the money comes in, who cares if people can actually play or enjoy it.

    • No, the alternative is to do something in cases where something *can* be done to help disabled folks do stuff that everyone else can do.

      We're not talking about redesigning the planet so that people in chairs can get about - we're talking about adding a bit of GUI customization so that people who were able to play the game BEFORE a recent update borked it for them can play the game again. Nobody is suggesting that everyone be hobbled so that we all compete at the same level - just that, when possible, things
    • Games != reality (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tangurena ( 576827 )
      That's unfortunate, but the alternative is to limit all human activities to those things that quadraplegics can manage.
      Bull. We are not talking about football, or flying a plane, we're discussing a computer game.

      For many wheelchair bound folks, games like SWG, EQ and WoW are the only way they can escape from being tied by gravity to a chair. In those worlds, you can run, you can fly, you can move the hunk of flesh you are stuck in.

  • by geddes ( 533463 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @05:04AM (#14283839)
    One of the coolest moments of .hack // sign (for those of you not in the know, hack sign is an anime that takes places in a MMORPG) is when you find out that one of the main characters and leaders in the virtual world is, in real life, handicapped. She has a very interesting monologue explaining how going onto the virtual world was the only way she could feel free.

    I think that one of the great things about technology is that it is the great equalizer. As technology advances, fewer and fewer people will have to live with a "disabled" status since we can build machines to help them.

    If I were disabled, I would spend all day's in the MMORPGs. I can only imagine how liberating it would be to be equal with everybody else, and not have people immediately take pity on you upon sight. This man, who now has lost his access to this world that had once been a major part of his life, has my sympathies, and I urge the galaxies people to find out a way to accommodate him.

    • I can only imagine how liberating it would be to be equal with everybody else, and not have people immediately take pity on you upon sight.

      We can't imagine but I've seen the effects. I'm one of those people who will usually rant to anyone with hearing distance about how Evil and Life Destroying (just one example) Everquest can be.

      OTOH, I've seen the opposite effect with disabled people (my GF does a lot of work in that area).

      Suddenly, they find a world in which they aren't subject to strangers (a
    • Must be why MMORPGs are so popular with people who are...*ahem*, "socially disabled".
  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Caine ( 784 ) * on Sunday December 18, 2005 @05:11AM (#14283858)
    The fact that one guy can no longer play the game using only two digits doesn't really invalidate the update in my opinion and is rather silly. You can't really have a MMORPG catering to a target group of one.
  • Combat is something like; Press 5 buttons (in your own time), wait 28 seconds, press 2 buttons, wait 28 seconds, press 2 buttons. wait for mob to die.
  • Anarchy Online (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jafar00 ( 673457 )
    You can play Anarchy Online one handed no problem. I do it all the time with my baby daughter falling asleep in my lap. Perhaps he should try AO.
  • The comments are interesting, but there is one area that begs comment.

    That area is, when do we become aware that each one of us has some handicap or another? Sure, some are severe, physical, and observable. Others, more insidious, are emotional or intellectual in nature. We can operate on a principle of exclusion, or we can attempt the tough work of inclusive design.

    I don't hold much credence to commerce as the best measure of value; I believe a humanistic stance serves us better. Yet I am loath to claim

  • Always a problem (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bm_luethke ( 253362 )
    Many years ago in my first software engineering course we went over similar type stuff. One of the problems inherrent in our systems is the assumption of two hands - say, for example, ctrl-alt-del to reboot. Nowadays we are much more sensitive to this, but in the early days of DOS and such there was no real alternative, it was pointed out by the teacher (who had worked at a VA hospital for a few years) that many veterans had some issues - they could type well enough one handed but many key combinations were
  • Reading the comments I get the feeling a lot of people have problems distinguishing "ought to" from "must", let me explain:

    "Ought to"
    • based on moral beliefs (which can greatly differ!)
    • coders ought to release their code under a free license
    • websites ought to be valid
    • programs (including games) ought to be and remain accessible

    "Must"

    • based on legal codes or technical/physical restrictions/necessities
    • Pacta sunt servanda (contracts must be respected, which includes "as advertised", if that diesn't incl
  • I suggest that people in the same situation than this persona, ie: disability preventing to provide a fast and/or complex input to the game, check out Eve Online. The game is mainly played from contextual menus. So you just need to be able to move a cursor, and do a right click. That's the minimum required in order to play. The game doesn't require very fast reflexes/movements either.

    Please, do not mod me down, this is not a hidden advertisement. I just wanted to let disabled people know that there are some

  • They've said they're working on making it easier for the disabled... This is a non-issue.
  • You have a disability you by definition *cant* do everything that a non disabled person can.

    Its a shame you have troubles, but its a fact of life that some of us have issues.

    Sure, people can help you out to come closer to 'normal' but EVERY issue can NOT be overcome.
  • There are gertifications for everything else now-a-days, why dont the makers of these special needs interface devices get together with the game companies and form a set of acceptable standards and certification committy tfor individual product varification (a la ESRB ratings) and either a product or title is or isnt "handycap accessable" but the guesswork for the consumer would be gone.
  • by Caspian ( 99221 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @01:54PM (#14285858)
    1. Company does something geeks perceive as evil.
    2. Geeks write a story which boils down to "Hey, this is evil!"
    3. Geeks find a way in which this hurts some disadvantaged group.
    4. Geeks write a story pointing this out.
    5. ???
    6. Profit!

    Not to defend Lucasarts or anything, but...yeesh. Are the disabled nothing more than pawns to be used to attack companies with? I seem to recall similar articles blasting Windows (and other things) for not being disabled-friendly. I don't recall many (if any) articles blasting how eeeeeeeeeevil NetBSD is for not catering to the blind or disabled...
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @02:06PM (#14285932)
    Heck, I'm a head taller than the average, and so about half the seats I park my behind in are uncomfortable because there's nowhere for my knees to fit properly. Using a sink or countertop means leaning over in a back straining manner for the duration. I complain about designers pandering to the lowest common denominator every time I straighten up and find myself wincing. When I build my own house, it's going to use a system of tiered countertops and higher clearances on stairwells, etc.

    Luckily, the world has enough tall people that some manufacturers are willing to make adjustable seats. --If I sit in a car and can't make myself feel comfortable, I'd write off a possible purchase immediately. So the automotive design departments write the extra paychecks to make their damned seats accommodating to people who are not clones. Aw, poor babies. . .

    As for the video game market and disabled people. . .

    People complaining about, "That's just how it is. Get used to it," are not being very clever. . .

    The whole point of Personal Computing as I understood it when the movement launched a couple of decades ago, was that the Personal Computer would be a multi-purpose tool which could be programmed to the precise needs of its user.

    Please consider that.

    And guess what?

    Despite the mountains of general annoyances and oversights and thoughtless designs, the PC is STILL a multi-purpose tool which can be programmed to the precise needs of its user. Thank heavens!

    You can get keyboards and mouse inputs which are highly programmable. In the case of this particular piece of software, however, it sounds to me as though the game itself really needs to be changed. (Actually, it almost sounds as though the new interface was deliberately made to be annoying and very difficult to get around with hardware solutions. So who knows what new madness is going around the Ranch?)

    In any case, I'd pen a letter to the guys at Lucasarts asking them politely to spend a couple of days coding some work-around into their interface. Make their interface as highly programmable as possible. (I'd make this standard practice from the drawing board up in all my PC games, but then nobody is asking my opinion.)

    Heck, with enough emailing around, you could probably find some hacker interested enough to do it for you for free. Or learn how to hack it yourself.

    It's just software after all. It'd be more doable than taking a hatchet to that two inches of thoughtless engineering which cracks my head every time I forget to duck under the doorframe to my back room.

    Just my two cents. --And for a third penny. . . What's up with geeks not leaping to solve this problem? Come on, you guys! You get excited about designing a robot which can carry a ping pong ball upstairs, but you're willing to penalize a fellow for presenting an engineering problem which is both interesting and directly applicable to the real world? What's up with that?


    -FL

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

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