Say It, Play It. The Method 101

Having introduced, the concept of gaming by voice control in the article: Say It, Play It! Voice Control, the following is a more detailed look at how this is done.

To fully test the principles in this tutorial, it would be desirable for you to have:

1. The Voice Commander application. It’s available to download here. Voice Commander costs $15 for the full version. The free demo version is limited in how long it will run before quitting and how many voice commands you can use per preset.

2. The HALO Demo. which is available for download here.

The guidelines that I will give in this example should apply to using voice control in any game. The crucial requirement of any game is that it is configurable. And of course, the following is my own personal approach. Do experiment!

1. Find out what are the particular game controls. With most games, this information will be found in the game manual (note: quite often not all controls are shown, it is often neccessary to go into the game itself to see the full list). Below, is an example of this from the HALO game manual:

2. I make a list of the game actions and their corresponding keystrokes.

3. Next, I enter the information from the list into Voice Commander (Tip: copy and paste, especially if you have a long list).

4. With almost every game, it is now necessary to customize the all-important movement controls. The default keyboard controls for forward, backward, left and right are W, S, A, D (or sometimes the arrow keys). It is at this point that the speed and fluid movement of the *Headmaster Plus proves itself to be perfect. Simply go into the game settings and re-map the move forward key (normally W) to the mouse button.

Once this is done your character will move by blowing into the puffswitch, and will go in any direction that you turn your head.

5. The other major customization that will be needed are actions normally performed by clicking the mouse button(s). The most common of these is "fire weapon". This must be changed to a key which then joins the list of Voice Commands.

There are many adjustments and tweaks that can be made in Voice Commander, such as changing the word that you speak. Every person speaks differently and it will be through trial and error that you find which words work best for you. Also important is the use of the repeat function.

This can be extremely useful for determining how long an action lasts. For example, whether to have one shot for perhaps a sniper rifle.

Or a more sustained burst for a machine gun.

To conclude, although the general configurations of most games are actually quite similar. There are always differences between individual games and especially between the different genres. In future tutorials, I will look more closely at the features of Voice Commander which I have not touched on. I will also cover some other software which I have found works well in conjunction with the Voice Commander program.

Finally, I would like to be able to respond to more specific questions that readers may have with regards to particular games they are playing using this technology.

For more information on HALO check out Apple’s excellent HALO page here.

David O’Connor


*The Headmaster Plus has been discontinued so might be difficult to find. The Headmouse Extreme, however, is one of a few capable replacements if you’re looking for a hands-free mouse.