Crowdfunding isn't just about resuscitating genres, pandering to nostalgia, and making roguelikes. The charity SpecialEffect have just launched their first crowdfunding project, Playing With Your Eyes. They're looking to raise £5950 to purchase specialist eye-controlled equipment, which would help bring gaming to people with severe disabilities. Look at this way: Star Citizen probably has enough money.
Here's another casualty in the internet's extended and ferocious war on prices. Bundle Stars, one of the many hundred financial death squads that roam the digital battlefield, have rounded up the Men of Wars and are holding them to ransom. Of course, because they're a bundle seller, that ransom is exceedingly reasonable, and gets you every game in the RTS series and their collective DLCs.
Special Effect is a charity dedicated to helping people with disabilities enjoy games. As part of this year's fundraising drive, they've collaborated with a group of Team Fortress 2 item makers to create The SpecialEffect Charity Set 2013 - a three item collection of TF2 hats and miscellaneous items. The charity is now looking to the community for help getting the items approved and onto the MannCo store.
“Think about how important gaming is to you or me” said Dr Mick Donnean, founder of SpecialEffect. “Then think about how important gaming would be for someone who is disabled and is unable to play with their friends.”
Dr Donnegan, formerly a teacher specialising in assistive technology, created the charity SpecialEffect back in 2007 to help both children and adults with disabilities. SpecialEffect provides expert advice to help their clients get into gaming. They help people like five year old Tiago, who has with cerebral palsy, and Lloyd, a young war hero who lost both legs and some of the fingers on his right hand while serving in Afghanistan. Thanks to SpecialEffect's help and advice, Tiago now uses eye gaze tracking to play games like Peggle and Lloyd plays Battlefield online with the aid of a customised one-handed controller.
I took a trip to the charity's home in rural Oxfordshire to meet Dr. Donnean and take a closer look at the work that SpecialEffect does.
SpecialEffect are a charity dedicated to helping anyone with a disability to enjoy games. They've recently launched the GameBase - a site dedicated to sharing accessibility-related tips and info.
They're also in charge of a Loan Library which loans out control devices to anyone with a disability and the StarGaze Plus scheme, which provides the equipment and training required to control computers by using your eyes alone; a bit like the technology Valve showed off at GDC.
It's cutting-edge tech being used for an admirable cause. Now SpecialEffect are trying to improve accessibility in games from source with their handy developer's guide. It's still in beta, but there's already value to be gleaned from the Game Accessibility Rating System. A bit like Minecraft.
We hear an awful lot of crappy things from politicians about computer games, but this is great. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, today launched the UK’s first Accessible Video Games Centre. Created by charity SpecialEffect, the centre provides special equipment that aids those with disabilities or illnesses to more easily play games.
SpecialEffect have been running a loan library since 2008, sending equipment to the recently disabled to show how they can continue to play games even after a life-altering event. The new centre is designed to provide a location where disabled gamers can visit, try out the equipment and get advice from specialists. Quotes from David Cameron below.