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4Noah

4Noah for Accessible Gaming.

4Noah accessible gaming utilities are aimed at reducing the number of controls needed to play PC games. Update, the latest version 4Noah 2014 can be found here.

Download: 4Noah old

About 4Noah

4Noah utilities, written by William Pilgrim, are PC software modules that reduce the number of controls needed to play a game. For example, in "LEFT, RIGHT and FIRE!" mode you can play the four button classic shoot-em-up Phoenix using just the SPACE BAR. In "Stick and Two Buttons" mode you can play the likes of Atari 2600 Battle Zone and obscure NES game "Adventures of Lolo" taking control over UP, DOWN, LEFT and RIGHT and a couple of buttons.

Fundamentally, 4Noah gives a gamer using a single accessibility switch more power to play otherwise inaccessible games. Take a look at the video clip below of Bust a Move being played using a single button to take control over a 'virtual joystick' and a 'virtual button' to get a better idea...

LEFT and RIGHT aiming of the cannon is being controlled via a single accessibility switch with a held tap firing out a glass ball. This shows how a game that normally requires three buttons, can be played with just one. Take a look at the 4Noah YouTube Channel for many more examples.

Getting Started with 4Noah

4Noah has two main play modes, being "LEFT, RIGHT and FIRE!" and "Stick and Two Buttons" both entirely controlled via the SPACE BAR or LEFT Mouse Button. These modes, an auto-fire option and general settings can all be accessed via switch or keyboard accessible menus (see the icons below). This screen can also be minimised out of view so games can be played full screen.

Arcade type games tend to work best, providing that they can be played using the keyboard, and ideally with an option to reconfigure those keys. Some well known emulated games games such as Space Invaders and Sonic the Hedgehog can be played with a single button with a few measured adjustments.

The best way to get to grips is via an emulator and game you are already familiar with. Okay, lets get going...

  • Download and unzip the 4Noah utility.
  • If you are using an accessibility switch, ensure it is set to trigger the SPACE BAR or the LEFT MOUSE BUTTON.
  • Find a game you wish to play, then redefine the keys to match those output by 4Noah in either "LEFT, RIGHT and FIRE!" mode or "Stick and Two Buttons" mode - which ever is the most suitable.

 

"LEFT, RIGHT and FIRE!" mode example: The MAME emulated game Phoenix is played using a joystick that can only move LEFT or RIGHT with two additional buttons for FIRE and SHIELDS. To play this game with a single switch you will need to select the "LEFT, RIGHT and FIRE!" mode. You will also need to switch on AUTO-FIRE.

From here the keyboard settings will need to match the keys output by 4Noah (see below). You can do this in MAME by pressing the TAB key to bring up the key configuration screen. Use the cursor keys and RETURN to select a control to adjust, then press your chosen key. Use the ESCAPE key to clear any unwanted highlighted selections. Below shows a set-up that would work well with 4Noah.

One Accessibility Switch set as the SPACE BAR or LEFT MOUSE button controls:

P1 Right: "Numpad 4" (tap the switch - alternates between right and left).
P1 Left: "Numpad 6" (tap the switch - alternates between right and left).
P1 Button 1: FIRE BUTTON "Z" (automatic-fire).
P1 Button 2: SHIELD "Left Ctrl" (hold switch then release).

Coin1: INSERT COIN "Left Ctrl" (hold switch then release).
1 Player Start: START "Numpad 4" (tap the switch until the virtual joystick is in the LEFT position).

The 4Noah Window

Start Icon

Start Icon - 4Noah

Click the chequered flags to start 4Noah in action.

Press the SPACE BAR (keyboard mode) or LEFT CLICK (mouse mode) to start.

Magnify

Magnify Icon - 4Noah

Increase the size of the 4Noah window to increase visibility. Choice of three settings.

Reposition / Minimise Window

Reposition 4Noah Window Icon Minimise 4Noah Window to Tray

Clicking on the larger blue window icon allows you to reposition the 4Noah Window anywhere on screen. Hold down the left mouse button to move the window in the direction of the arrow being high-lighted. Select the red 'go back' arrow to return to the main menu.

Alternatively, clicking on the smaller blue window icon selects the minimised mode (a green tick should appear in the top right window). When 4Noah is started into action, the window will shrink to the tools tray out of view.

Load / Save Profiles

Load / Save Profiles Icon - 4Noah

Save and Load profiles here. Keep names simple so that you can remember them. Presently there is no on-screen list to choose from.

N.B. This area requires the use of the full keyboard.

Change Settings

Change Settings Icon - 4Noah

Clicking on the spanner icon leads you to the following "Change Settings" options...


Changing Settings Icons

Left, Right and Fire!

Left, Right, Fire!

When the gamer taps their switch, they will alternate the state of the 'virtual joystick' between left and right.

When they hold then release their switch, they will activate the 'virtual button'.

The default settings are:

LEFT = Numeric Keypad 4
RIGHT = Numeric Keypad 6
BUTTON = CTRL key

Stick and Two Buttons

Joystick and Two Buttons.

Here the player needs to hold their switch in order to take control over the 'virtual joystick'. They will need to tap their switch to activate up to two 'virtual buttons'.

The default settings are:

LEFT = Numeric Keypad 4
RIGHT = Numeric Keypad 6
UP = Numeric Keypad 8
DOWN = Numeric Keypad 2
1 TAP BUTTON = CTRL key
2 TAP BUTTON = LEFT SHIFT key

It may be useful for some games to set 2 Taps to something like "START" game.

Auto Fire

Autofire.

Click on this ICON to switch Auto-firing on or off. A green tick denotes that this feature will be activated when 4Noah is started.

Autofire default = 'Z' key.

Timing Settings

Timing Settings.

Here you can adjust the speed required to activate the 'virtual buttons' and also the auto firing rate:

'2 TAP Button (SHIFT) = 0.1 seconds
'1 TAP Button (Ctrl) = 0.4 seconds
'Auto Fire ('Z') = 1 per second

I recommend changing Auto Fire to 10 per second.

Change Keys Output

Change Keys Output.

This option allows you to redefine the keys output tied up to the virtual joystick and virtual buttons.

N.B. Do not assign controls to the SPACE BAR (which is already in use by 4Noah) nor the standard cursor keys (these do not work unfortunately).

Back to Main Menu

Back to Main Menu Icon.

Click this icon to return to the main menu to make further adjustments or to start 4Noah.

"F1" Quick Menu

"F1" Quick Menu

By pressing the "F1" key a keyboard menu can be used. This is ideal for assistants who do not need to use the one-switch menu system.

Set each item in turn. You will need to define the Buttons before you can return to the front menu and start 4Noah into action.


Playing a game with a single button that wasn't designed to be puts you at a natural disadvantage. Implementing cheats and methods to slow the game down are perfectly fair ways to make a game more playable and fun. All these things are possible with MAME and other emulators too. Take a look at the Speed Control section here for more ideas.

4Noah is the creation of William Pilgrim from 2007 to date assisted and hosted by OneSwitch.org.uk.