The hardest part is finding ways to keep your switches and joysticks in place which’ll take ingenuity and a lot of Velcro. Personally, I had a wooden tray and foot plates made that could be covered in Velcro, without destroying the existing one’s on my wheel-chair (fig 1 & 2).  I found permanently affixing the switches and joysticks to a surface won’t allow for repositioning. What works best is Velcro because depending on how I’m sitting or feeling on a particular day  I may need to make slight adjustments to the switches and joysticks positions. Also, I attached a positional 3rd-arm near my face so as to be able to use switches with my chin, mouth, and lips (fig. 3). If you plan on using a joystick with your mouth or chin, you will need this 3rd-arm. Unfortunately, my left hand can’t lay flat on the tray so I created a balsa wood board which switches are velcroed to, that can be positioned any way my hand falls (fig. 4). What’s important to remember in creating your layout is to think out-of-box and not get frustrated because it’ll take a lot of trial-and-error to get it right.


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     A Switch-Based Game Control Interface should have 17 switch inputs, 2 joystick inputs (plus 8 switch inputs that correspond to the 4 directions of each joystick; up, down, left, and right) that will control all the functions on a standard video game controller. That means you’ll need between 17 to 25 switches depending on how many joysticks you can use. Fortunately, most game’s have functions that can be skipped, depending on the game, without effecting game playability like menu, start, sprint, jump, crouch, melee, and some d-pad directions.

Understanding Switch-Based Interfaces

An Effective Switch-Based Interface Layout

     First, inherently the more switches that you can use the more accessible any game will be. While on the contrary the less switches you can use will increase the need for secondary-assistance, decreasing game play independence. That means maximizing switch and joystick placement is vital. You'll need patience to find places in which you can effectively reach switches. Your fingers and toes are obvious places, but your lips, mouth, chin, and head are also great options, just be imaginative.

     "For example, I can activate 15 accessibility switches; three with the right hand, five with the left, two with each foot, & three with my mouth.  While only able to use a single joystick with my right-hand thumb due to limited range of motion in my left arm."

     It’s not unusual for the Differently-Abled to only be able to use a single joystick. This is because joysticks require decent range of motion and strength making the mouth or chin the only option, for most, which will limit you to a single joystick. The problem with this is that the standard controller utilizes two joysticks; one for character movement and the other for camera movement. That means a single joystick user can either control movement or the camera. Fortunately, there are two different work arounds which I use depending on the gameplay style.

(See “Single Joystick Users” )

FIG. 3

FIG. 4


     Before we can setup a game switch interface for a single joystick user we must first discuss the two main types of games which are a First-Person Shooter (FPS) and a Third-Person Shooter (TPS).  In a first-person shooter, the player views the events from character's point of view, while third-person shooters use a camera which follows the character and can often be controlled by the player. These type of games usually require two unique configurations for a Single Joystick User (shown below).

First-Person Shooter (FPS)

Third-Person Shooter (TPS)

plug Joystick into Camara* (A)

plug Switch into Move Forward (B)

plug Joystick into Movement (C)

* Camara, in a FPS, controls where the character looks and direction you'll move

First-Person Shooter (FPS)

-plug Joystick Adapter* into L-Joy (D)

-plug Switch into the Top Input (move forward) of the Joystick Adapter (E)

-plug Joystick into R-Joy (F)

Third-Person Shooter (TPS)

-plug Joystick into L-Joy ** (G)

* this requires a Joystick-to-Switches Adapter

** plug Joystick Adapter into R-Joy & a Switch into Bottom Input for games like Assassin's Creed which requires looking down for roof kills



These figures only show the Joystick Inputs on the Versatility Gaming Controller V3

Single Joystick User

Versatility Gaming Controller V3

Versatility Gaming Controller V4






Switch-Based Interface

Configurating a Switch-Based Game Control Interface

FIG. 1

FIG. 2

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