Feature Introducing SpecialEffect - The Gamers' Charity

beckyfr0st

SpecialEffect
Registered Developer
Dec 18, 2019
12
42
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Hi everyone, and thanks for having us for this special spotlight takeover! I'd love to introduce SpecialEffect, a UK-based charity that puts fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games! We use technology that ranges from modified games controllers to eye-control, and we’re finding ways for people of all ages to play to the very best of their abilities.



There's no one-size-fits-all way of doing this, so normally (ie pre-lockdown!) our team of occupational therapists will meet people face-to-face, either by visiting them or welcoming them to our games room in Oxfordshire. Our team will have talked to the person before the visit to build up a picture of their abilities and what they want to play, and during the visit they’ll work with the person to create a personalised gaming setup using carefully-selected technology from the huge selection in our loan library. The loan is then backed up with lifelong follow-up support as the person’s needs and abilities change, and as potentially suitable new technology evolves.

Although these face-to-face visits aren’t possible at the moment, our virtual doors are still open to those who need us. Our team is carrying on its life-transforming work through online assessments, remote support and equipment provision. We’re continuing to welcome new referrals as well as supporting people we’ve previously helped, so please do get in touch via email or through our website if you think we can help.



We’ve been providing lifelong support on an individual basis to hundreds of people across the UK since 2007, and we’re also answering thousands of enquiries from around the world and having an increasing global influence through our collaboration with hardware and software developers. Our own freely-available accessibility utilities like EyeMine are bringing the magic of gaming within reach of thousands more.

We don’t charge for anything we do. We simply aim to do whatever it takes to raise the quality of life of as many disabled gamers all over the world as possible.

We hope you enjoy the spotlight content and the fantastic giveaway, and massive thanks to Stevie for bringing us onboard!

If you're inspired by work and you’d like to support us, you could game for us or, if you’re a games industry company, take part in our One Special Day event, when partners from the world of digital gaming – mobile, PC and console – join together to raise vital income for us and show how games can change lives for the better. This year One Special Day is on Friday 2 October.

Alternatively you could sign up for a range of 'virtual event' options catering to all interests and fitness levels. Or you can simply donate here. Whatever you do to help us, your support is hugely appreciated.

 
Last edited by a moderator:
Nov 24, 2019
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An exceptionally warm welcome to you, SpecialEffect! We're glad to have you with us for the month to highlight your important work in accessibility.

Quick question for you - with your various devices that you have via your equipment provision, do you provide game developers and publishers pooled access to the SDK for these peripherals somewhere? I see you have a fantastic walkthrough for developers here: https://www.specialeffect.org.uk/game-developers that lists all variety of great best practices, but for our indie developer crowd (and those aspiring), ready access to tools to ensure compatibility can mean a big difference.

-JP
 

beckyfr0st

SpecialEffect
Registered Developer
Dec 18, 2019
12
42
50
An exceptionally warm welcome to you, SpecialEffect! We're glad to have you with us for the month to highlight your important work in accessibility.

Quick question for you - with your various devices that you have via your equipment provision, do you provide game developers and publishers pooled access to the SDK for these peripherals somewhere? I see you have a fantastic walkthrough for developers here: https://www.specialeffect.org.uk/game-developers that lists all variety of great best practices, but for our indie developer crowd (and those aspiring), ready access to tools to ensure compatibility can mean a big difference.

-JP
Thanks so much JP!
The peripherals we use are recognised by the different platforms we help people access as 'standard' gamepad or mouse and keyboard inputs. It is the in-game interactions that we work with developers on making more accessible to the needs of those who may be using these alternative peripherals. We are working towards having more developer resources though, so will try to ensure this information is clear. Thanks for the heads up that it this an important topic for indie devs. I will pass it on to the team!
 
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Nov 24, 2019
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It is the in-game interactions that we work with developers on making more accessible to the needs of those who may be using these alternative peripherals.
Understood! I would imagine it's often just a matter of forethought, or a gentle nudge towards inclusion that can make a world of difference. A single-setting in a video or interface options menu can determine whether or not the world of an awesome game is open or closed to a person challenged by accessibility.

Thanks for the heads up that it this an important topic for indie devs.
It absolutely is, and indies often have to deal with limited resources or spec sheets to go off of. Your best practices page for devs is a fantastic resource to this end. Organizations like IGDA and the ESA could help codify and more broadly disseminate - have you guys done any outreach with these?
 

beckyfr0st

SpecialEffect
Registered Developer
Dec 18, 2019
12
42
50
Organizations like IGDA and the ESA could help codify and more broadly disseminate - have you guys done any outreach with these?
Honestly not sure, but i'll definitely be nudging the R&D team this way! ^__^
 

CParsons

Staff member
Dec 9, 2019
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Welcome to the forums SpecialEffect! Absolutely love what you're doing for people and looking forward to learning more. Thank you for hanging out with us here at PC Gamer.
 
Jun 10, 2020
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I looked upon Special effect and I am really surprized to see that they are really doing some great work so that everyone can enjoy playing games despite their limitations. Great word guys hands off
 

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