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Hacks Allowing Disabled Gamers To Play Guitar Hero 94

angrymilkman writes "Here are two interesting new approaches where researchers modified the popular Guitar Hero game so it can be played by gamers with disabilities. Air Guitar Hero modifies the Guitar Hero controller so someone without limbs can play it by using electrodes attached to the user's residual arm. Blind Hero is a mod for Frets on Fire that uses a haptic glove that can turn visual feedback into haptic feedback, allowing blind gamers to play Guitar Hero songs." There have been a variety of Guitar Hero hacks in the past, including a custom drum pad for playing the guitar part, using the plastic guitar as a real instrument, and rocking out with your bike, but it's nice to see some more serious modifications showing up.
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Hacks Allowing Disabled Gamers To Play Guitar Hero

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  • Brainless (Score:5, Funny)

    by isBandGeek() ( 1369017 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @05:10AM (#25843077)
    What about people like me, with no brains, you insensitive clod!
    • Re:Brainless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dontmakemethink ( 1186169 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:38AM (#25843459)
      What about people like me, that can actually play guitar!! Do you realize how hard it is to ignore the music I know how to play and instead play Simon Says?
      • Re:Brainless (Score:5, Informative)

        by travbrad ( 622986 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:53AM (#25843527)

        +1

        I tried guitar hero and there were notes to play that weren't even in the song, and notes in the song that you weren't required to play. That's was very strange for someone who actually plays guitar. I even chose the 2 songs I knew how to play on a guitar, and failed miserably on both of them in guitar hero.

        Oh, and that new Best Buy commercial I saw tonight was pretty funny too. The chick says something about "I've always wanted to be a musician". I was thinking, "well gee maybe you should ya know..learn to play an instrument, instead of playing videogames".

        • by jimicus ( 737525 )

          Video games can provide the illusion of guitar proficiency much more quickly and easily than learning to play properly.

          I'd love to play an instrument well but I have all the innate musical talent of a tom cat undergoing castration. I'd spend hours working and at the end of it might just about be able to pluck out "twinkle twinkle little star".

        • Yes that is a problem for someone who is used to playing Guitar. Keep in mind however that this becomes MUCH less of a problem on harder difficulty levels
        • If you saw notes that you didn't hear, it was either: - likely the fact that the game designers decided to ignore the fact that you shouldn't be playing EVERY guitar, including bass at times, in the actual song. - The sync was off, which is a horrendous problem between the game and audio where the timing of a note can be as much as half a second or even a second in some displays. On most games you might not notice, to a tuned ear, you hear the lag. There's also a third option, I've noticed a lot of people
          • ALso.... I hate slashdot post editting screens that don't remind me I actually have to insert my own html tags for proper text breaks and I fail for preview.

            "If you saw notes that you didn't hear, it was either:

            - likely the fact that the game designers decided to ignore the fact that you shouldn't be playing EVERY guitar, including bass at times, in the actual song.

            - The sync was off, which is a horrendous problem between the game and audio where the timing of a note can be as much as half a second or even

        • While it seems difficult in reverse, it still might help someone before they are learning a true instrument. I'm sure that Guitar Hero & Rock Band do teach good finger coordination and decent timing skills and music can be simplified to a combo of good rhythm and a melody which usually requires decent finger coordination. Of course good music comes from the soul etc. but it does seem to teach basic techniques in a fun way. I would encourage those interested in playing an instrument to practise with it,

          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            While it seems difficult in reverse, it still might help someone before they are learning a true instrument. I'm sure that Guitar Hero & Rock Band do teach good finger coordination and decent timing skills and music can be simplified to a combo of good rhythm and a melody which usually requires decent finger coordination.

            I know a person who was learning to play an electric guitar (he was a restaurant owner, so I'd come in and hear him practics as I ordered my food). One day, I came in with GH2 and he as

        • Rock Band does a better job of only putting in actual notes that are in the song.

          Although sometimes they will work in complex "chord changes" on expert that effectively make the song more difficult to play than on real guitar.

          Anyway, the point of Rock Band/Guitar Hero isn't to become a musician. The fun is in simulating the life of a Rock Star, with pretend instruments, pretend outfits, etc.

        • Having played both, Rock Band is a lot closer to the real notes and feels a lot more natural than GH.

          That said, it ain't perfect. Most noticeably different is In Bloom.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by PhattyMatty ( 916963 )
        http://www.guitarrising.com/index.html [guitarrising.com] Here's a version that lets you use a real guitar.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by fishbowl ( 7759 )

        >What about people like me, that can actually play guitar!!

        I just accept that I'm much better at guitar than at Guitar Hero, and let it go.

        On the other hand, I'm better at guitar than at air guitar, and that really bothers me.

    • Guitar Hero is already designed with brainless people in mind.
      • Guitar Hero is already designed with brainless people in mind.

        Ummm ... Harmonix was a spinoff from the MIT Media Lab.

        Meaning, a bunch of very smart people got together and came up with some notions for "different" kinds of musical instruments and how to simplify it. I seem to recall lots of stuff they were doing whereby they could have a bunch of school kids play with a symphony with very little training.

        It's a simplified interface, it's not brainless.

        Me, I think making the musicality of it so easy and acc

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @05:46AM (#25843255)

    Last time I checked, the EULA on the loading screen explicitly states that you are only licensed to use the software with an official Guitar Hero controller.

    I really like cool hacks like this, but I wonder how long it will be before someone starts to enforce it..?

    • by joemod ( 1068624 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:22AM (#25843629)
      Maybe the EULA explicitly states that because Activision wants to stop 3rd companies from creating controllers for the game without getting a licence. 3rd companies can create unlicensed controllers but if users are not allowed to use them they are not going to buy them (at least that's the legal way). Anyway Activision may license controllers which are designed for impaired players free of charge or for very low fee.
    • Last time I checked, the EULA on the loading screen explicitly states that you are only licensed to use the software with an official Guitar Hero controller.

      Good luck to them enforcing that. The right that the publisher has that I do not is 'copyright' - the right to copy, plus associated rights regarding public performance and so forth. The idea behind an EULA is that in installing THE SOFTWARE You are creating a copy, and to do that You need a licence from Us. But here, when I use THE SOFTWARE I don't c

      • Last time I checked, the EULA on the loading screen explicitly states that you are only licensed to use the software with an official Guitar Hero controller.

        Good luck to them enforcing that. The right that the publisher has that I do not is 'copyright' - the right to copy, plus associated rights regarding public performance and so forth. The idea behind an EULA is that in installing THE SOFTWARE You are creating a copy, and to do that You need a licence from Us. But here, when I use THE SOFTWARE I don't create a copy at all, I run direct from the disc (YMMV, dependent on your system).

        So I don't need a licence, because I'm doing nothing that would otherwise infringe the copyright holder's rights. I can do as I please with THE SOFTWARE as long as that's true: I can shove it up my arse if I like and they can't stop me. I only need a licence if my use of THE SOFTWARE would otherwise be a breach of copyright.

        You have a rather odd view of copyright and license agreements. The EULA is a contract between you and the software vendor; separate from copyright. While the enforceability of EULA terms is open to debate, vendors can define conditions on the use of their software; you can agree and buy it or not agree and not buy it.

        Now, if Nintendo tried to enforce the EULA to stop disabled gamers from playing GH3, Nintendo would have a PR nightmare to contend with and is better off either ignoring the mod or working w

        • The EULA is a contract between you and the software vendor; separate from copyright. While the enforceability of EULA terms is open to debate, vendors can define conditions on the use of their software; you can agree and buy it or not agree and not buy it.

          I don't buy the game from Activision. I buy it from HMV. I hand over some cash and they hand me a disc in a box. Contract for sale of goods fulfilled to the satisfaction of both parties. Nobody at HMV ever mentioned anything about separate contracts, and

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            I don't see where I have any contract with Activision at all.

            One theory: The contract begins the moment your Wii begins to load and decrypt the disc. Discs for modern game consoles are encrypted, and decryption of a work encrypted by the copyright owner is an exclusive right of the copyright owner in the United States (home of Slashdot) since October 1998, when 17 USC 1201 became law as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Similar statutes implementing the WIPO Copyright Treaty have gone into effect in numerous other developed countries. As I understand it,

          • The EULA is a contract between you and the software vendor; separate from copyright. While the enforceability of EULA terms is open to debate, vendors can define conditions on the use of their software; you can agree and buy it or not agree and not buy it.

            I don't buy the game from Activision. I buy it from HMV. I hand over some cash and they hand me a disc in a box. Contract for sale of goods fulfilled to the satisfaction of both parties. Nobody at HMV ever mentioned anything about separate contracts, and once they have my money I don't think HMV care whether I play the game with an official controller, an unofficial controller, psychic powers, or indeed whether I play the game at all instead of, say, setting fire to it.

            However, HMV sold you the physical disk; which you own, and a license to the software on it; just as if you bought any other copyrighted material.

            Purchasing a copy does not give you the right to use it in ways not covered by the license agreement, assuming a court finds the license enforceable.

            I don't see where I have any contract with Activision at all. Sure, something comes up on screen saying 'don't use this game with other controllers', but fuck 'em; as I see it, short of copyright violation I can do as I please.

            You have agreed to Activision's license by using the software; and are bound by it as a result.

            I do not like shrink wrap licenses that don't allow you to either read the terms before you buy or return the software if

      • The right that the publisher has that I do not is 'copyright' [...] But here, when I use THE SOFTWARE I don't create a copy at all, I run direct from the disc

        Copyright: You don't run from the disc; you run from RAM. Statute (Title 17, United States Code, section 117, and foreign counterparts) grants you the right to make this copy into RAM, but if you download any DLC, you may waive your rights under this statute (per the bnetd case).

        Patent: Konami, the developer of Beatmania, owns patents on music games where each key is associated to a parallel track for note marks. Konami has recently sued the publishers of Guitar Hero and Rock Band to enforce these patent

    • But if you own the console, the game and the controller, you can do whatever you want with them, don't you?
    • by Joebert ( 946227 )
      It's scheduled to happen right before the suit brought on over one of the various persons with disabilities laws.
    • by TimSSG ( 1068536 )
      Is the EULA in braille? If not, I think the blind people have a clear out. Tim S
    • I really like cool hacks like this, but I wonder how long it will be before someone starts to enforce it..?

      Um, probably never?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @05:57AM (#25843315)

    I ponder if the haptic glove would help dyspraxic people like me play Guitar Hero. My hand-eye co-ordination leaves something to be desired; thusly Guitar Hero is impossible for me to play.

    What if there's any other such devices to replace dual-stick console controlers. Things like the 360 or Playstation 2 & 3 controler cause no end of problems to me (movement being one stick, looking being the other, but since they're the same motor action I often mix them up).

    Anyone else out there stuck with the same problems?

    • Probably not. I'd say a lot of people embrace 'mixing them up' to be honest.

      In a lot of console games its move move move, pray and spray, move move, spray some more. Even on games where you want some precision, like COD4, I just can't do that with those analog controllers and whenever I watch people they seem to do the same thing.

      Nothing with moving left while looking right and vice versa. I haven't yet met anyone that doesn't move both at the same time, though the directions don't necessarily match or m

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Nothing with moving left while looking right and vice versa. I haven't yet met anyone that doesn't move both at the same time

        If nobody else knows how to move sideways by tilting the aim stick and move stick in opposite directions, that's your chance to play against them and beat them using your superior tactics. If you prefer co-op, sorry :-(

    • by RulerOf ( 975607 )

      Anyone else out there stuck with the same problems?

      I personally just don't bother trying. I've wanted to buy a console a few times, but every time I play a console-based FPS (which is unfortunately where the hottest console market is), I wish I could find the the button on the controller that will turn the gun around and allow me to shoot myself in the face because the input system is so horrible.

      That's not to say that the mouse and keyboard are God's greatest gift to FPS gamers, but at least they're not tools of Satan like console controllers are (I'm lo

  • It really seems super-impractical, but I'm sure certain people will enjoy it if that's their only option. Check it out [youtube.com]
  • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:37AM (#25843451) Homepage

    I'm still waiting for the Nintendo Power Glove interface to the game

  • ... a video game for blind people?

    Though an audio game might be pretty cool - something like wearing headphones while playing Battlezone with really loud tanks.

    Or maybe an audio only version of Leisure Suit Larry. Giggety.

    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )

      It'd be nice if game makers actually paid attention to realistic sound effects, instead of just using that 800W gaming machine for rendering photorealistic raindrops with accurate physics over a canned loop of rain noises.
      The hardware to do decent 3D sound was there a decade ago, but Creative bought everyone out and left the end user with their shitty reverb effects.

  • "That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean guitar..." as Pinball Wizard plays in Guitar Hero.

  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:33AM (#25843683)
    Why are these people playing Guitar Hero? I thought they were supposed to be good at pinball.
    • Reference to the lyrics of "Pinball Wizard" by The Who, for those of you who don't get the comment above...

  • "The design of the guitar makes it very hard to press the fifth button with the thumb. We cannot attach more than one pager to each finger, leaving us no options than only to use four buttons and having to ignore the dots on the fifth fret, this means you cannot play songs on the hard level." Uh... how hard could it be to interpret your thumb (or any other area of the body) as a 5th fret note? It doesn't mean you have to actually press it with your thumb, just stretch your little finger or slide your palm
    • Confirmed fake clip, indeed. Why would a bike not turn left and right when the handlebars are turned, for one? Also, if the guy on the bike is playing a guitar hero mod, then the section where he's turning his head right to look at his own reflection in a storefront is highly suspicious. It just screams of "hey look, I'm really really riding a bike and not just playing make-believe!"
  • Air Guitar Hero? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by overzero ( 1358049 )

    So people can now pretend to play a fake guitar?

    I know I should be snarky, but this is strangely appealing to me.

  • I have no problem with this article, really, but I had thought that the military prosthesis tech was trickling down to commercial grade devices. Its a little disappointing to think that even though a prosthetic arm with individual fingers is available and in use, if a civilian loses an arm in an accident, they'll never see it, except if they visit someone in a VA hospital... (The article mentions that the target audience is veterans because commercial devices only open/close the hand).

    I have no problem wi
  • s/Disabled/Differently Abled/g

    • by Kozz ( 7764 )
      I've always thought that was a bit awkward, like someone saying, "I'm not handicapped, I'm handi-capable!". Do you make this suggestion because you're able-bodied but think it's the preferred term, or because you consider yourself to be "differently abled" and want others to use that term? This isn't a troll, I'm actually curious.
    • The terminology REALLY depends on who you're talking to. The one that I have recently come to find that many preferred is "person with a disability," which allows someone to not define themselves by their disability and uses it as a descriptor instead. (Props to Joni Erickson Tada and her Joni and Friends organization for the experiences and education.)

      And then you run across the blind population, many of which I've found completely embrace the term "blind" for ANY level of legal blindness and hate any o
  • I know this is a lil off topic, but...

    Does anyone have a suggestion for those who have one of the two? I would play one of the Guitar hero games from time to time in the past, but it recently just got too painful to continue playing the game more than a few minutes (read, maybe 3 minutes of playing) in. Fingers would burn, tops of hands would feel tingly and numb, all sorts of interesting stuff. Figured I would ask, couldn't hurt...
    • Does anyone have a suggestion for those who have one of the two?

      No direct personal experience with either, but you might be SOL.

      When I first started playing after 3-4 songs my hand was sore and I needed a break -- over time it became easier. It's hard on the hands for anyone who doesn't have those issues.

      Seems like it would be an action almost guaranteed to exacerbate those conditions.

      Cheers

  • This is only an interesting question raised during developing Blind Hero here at the University of Nevada, Reno. From the data we collected, we found blind users have better performance using haptic glove playing Guitar Hero. It was fun experience for sighted people playing Guitar Hero by staring at a black computer screen and purely relying on the sense of touch from the vibrating glove. This made us wonder do blind people truely have better sense of touch than us? More details can be found at this year's
    • Seems logical, that people would develop strengths in one or more of the other senses in response to losing one of the others. (subconsciously, I'd guess)

      IANADR (I am not a disability researcher)

      • by eib ( 1347837 )
        yeah, you are right. It does seem logical, since they are using other senses so much more often.
  • Last christmas, my (younger) brother introduced me to guitarhero (3). he had hooked his PC up to our parents TV, while we were home for christmas. We started cooping, me on "keyboard" while he was using the Xbox controller that ships with the PC version.

    A couple of days later, i headed out and picked up my own copy - and we had loads of fun co-op'ing. One of the great aspects of cooperative play in GH3 is the level adjustments; I could have fun at easy, while he was kicking ass on Hard.



    I used to try t
    • Sure, GH isnt playing music; but its interacting with it and i can tell that having progressed to expert, hand-hand and hand-eye coordination does improve, even for a past-30-year-old, like myself. Ive also found that ones ear gets more tuned to aspects of songs now, that you've focused on certain instruments.

      I have to agree with you on this one.

      One of the reasons I think that GH-style games are so popular is that you do get to interact with the music. It's fun, but, it also lets you learn a little more ab

  • So I can play Dragonforce on Expert. Seriously, do I need to be on meth to play this? Someone link up my brain to the game, please! *grin*
  • I have two adopted South Korean cousins, both given up because of hand deformities- they have missing wrist and finger bones so neither have more than 6 fingers total. They're 14 and 11, and easily play and pass on Hard.

    They don't need no hacks, they're just that hardcore.

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