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Voice commands are they coming?

Posted by ghstwolf Friday January 16 2009 at 4:03AM
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Let's face it talking to a computer is an old dream.  The thing is, the technology is here today, we can dictate and the computer can write our musings (it would be so much better if I were using 1 of those programs right now).  Ok so it does take some time to set up, and I'm sure there's some overhead.

But let's not fixate on a full recognition package, we don't need all that for an MMO.  Instead, we need a fairly short list of commands, as few as 20 and certainly under 200.  How do I come up with such a range?  Simple 20 words should be plenty for controlling a pet, 200 words would leave room for 180 spells (or any verbal abilities) + the 20 I'm using for the pet.  If you had the time/resources you could make the list more dynamic, players could each have an individual list (saved client side) that draws from a larger pool.  At this point you can shrink the client's active list way down again because it is unlikely any class would use more than 75 words.

Under this, the 20 pet commands would be simple recognition, that is the computer would know the word and execute "attack" "flank".  Spell casting (and any vocal skills) would go 1 step further, it would use the % match to determine the effect.  The game would have the "ideal" file it matches against, and the closer you get the better.  Low matches are very likely to be resisted and high matches are more likely to crit, in addition other penalties/rewards could be used (mana usage or longer cooldowns come to mind).

Now as selling points, it's unique and fairly intuitive. The user is only required to buy a mic, something far cheaper than any other "non standard" input device (and something most people have anyways).  It's something of a guess, but with a short list to match against I can't imagine it would be all that CPU hungry.  It should add to the immersion.  There is also a lot of code already written to do this with, which should cut development time and costs.

The biggest question is would people find it fun and play it?

tbiaslorin writes:

There are some players using voice recognition that fires off macroes in at least a couple games, although both the VR and the macro programs are outside the actual game.  It's a pain to set up, but once done works pretty well.  I can't remember what game it was for, but I actually read a thorough walkthrough of how to do it step by step; it might have been for CoD4.

Having bad tendonitis, I've considered setting up VR to do some repetitive keystrokes in several games; it's on the long list of 'things to do' that never get done.;)  I'd much prefer to have it built into games from the ground up.  Consider something like AoC; for those of us non-coordinated types it would make it easier to say 'combo 4' than to try to remember some random combination of keystrokes. (though the purists will say 'Dmn noob, it t8kes 733t skillz 2 uz comboes!')

At some point, it will become a regular part of gaming and computing, and I'm surprised it hasn't already.  Consider some of the VR going into cars these days; even though it is at a very simple level, Microsoft's Synch (I think its called) has been doing it for at least a year.  'Find gas' 'Play Rush' etc.

I think as the mouse felt more natural than cryptic keyboard commands, VR is more natural than a mouse, and will replace or supplement it at some point.

Fri Jan 16 2009 9:13AM Report
Koddo writes:

They had voice commands In the old SOCOM:US Navy Seals game for the PS2. You could use it to tell your team to do certain things (like follow, stay put, move to checkpoint x, flashbang etc..). Could even tell them to commit suicide and they'd roll grenades at your feet. It was great to tell someone to say that (since it was a "hidden" command, most people didn't know about it) and listen to them after they did it.

Fri Jan 16 2009 2:25PM Report
Aerensiniac writes:

Imo its too blunt. Voice commands can be used to execute complex actions but in an "everyday situation" they are rather annoying. Think what would happen if you could play a game only with voice commands and people outside your room would hear only: walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk jump walk walk walk

Fri Jan 16 2009 3:14PM Report
Quizzical writes:

What is the advantage to using voice commands?  Can you really say a particular word faster than you can type a key?  Voice communication is for things that are more complicated than machines would understand. 

Fri Jan 16 2009 3:23PM Report
NotArkard writes:

I can recite all 50 states in a quarter of a second, so at least to me, this would be useful. I could fire a minigun at regular speed by repeatedly saying "fire" for every bullet.

Fri Jan 16 2009 3:28PM Report
ghstwolf writes:

Aerensiniac- I didn't present it as replacement for all controls, just a supplement for things like casting spells.  Using WoW as an example there would be no pet bar, but the VR would give you the same functionality.

Quizzical- How about it could be fun?  Can I say hondu-ken faster than I can hit a button, no.  Can I say it as fast or faster than the 2 second cast for many spells, yes.  The command would send the spell immediately with a recovery period after.  Really I don't see how any of this is beyond today's computers.  I'm certainly not talking about interactive NPCs that understand what you are saying to them (I see that as considerably further off).

Fri Jan 16 2009 4:09PM Report
tbiaslorin writes:

You may not be able to say something faster than you can type a key, but what about something that requires multiple keystrokes, such as socials or slash commands? In most MMO's I don't use socials because I can't fire them off fast enough to fit the situation I am in, and being able to just speak what I wanted to do would be great.

Also, I found it annoying in WAR that many commands broke /follow. VR would be a great way to do things while your main concentration is on something else. Imagine you are in the middle of a battle, you could do something simple like: 'Email Bob: Meet me at the bridge' and have it fire off without you even needing to break off from your fight.

Think about games where every action matters, such as a fast-paced FPS, being able to say 'Map' to bring up the map while I finish someone off would be very helpful. Also, many of these games have dozens of commands, of which I only usually use a handful because they are the only ones I can remember the keystroke for.

Commands that don't get much use from me would be perfect for VR. Oftentimes, when I mean to crouch or kneel, I find myself tossing a grenade or strafing instead. Instead of having to try to remember if I was looking for control-k or shift-tab, I could just say what I wanted.

Or how about 4x games with layered menus? Instead of 4 clicks to find something, I could just say 'Go tech: laser turret' or somesuch while I continue to manage my empire.

There are probably even many uses not even imagined yet, but only because we don't use it regularly yet.

I remember years ago when the mouse was first becoming popular, and many Wordperfect elitists going 'Mouse? What for. I can do everything faster on the keyboard.' While maybe true for some, I would say most of us now agree that a mouse/keyboard configuration is better. Adding VR would almost be like having a third hand to play games (or use other programs) with, and I look forward to any advancements in this area!

Fri Jan 16 2009 4:39PM Report
Aerensiniac writes:

ghstwolf i see your point, however there yet has to be a game wich turns the theory into practice. Currently VC is too much of a bother to fiddle with just to replace a pet bar in wow. I dont think any developers would fiddle with something like this if it wasnt a core element of the game they are developing and with that we are back to the start discussing what type of game would have VC as core element in it. Furthermore voice commads would be mostly used to perform complex/simultaneous moves wich suggests action games and with that we ran straight in the problem of voice chats cause in an mmo/multi player action game you might want to have team speak or whatever runing but that is made impossible due to the voice commands. So yes, kinda too much of a bother to implement this into anything when it will be used only to replace a pet bar. I see the fantasy in it, commanding your pet around in wow while runing around yourself, but in terms of coding nobody would give a damn about it. Also we hit a wall right at the word fantasy wich is a taboo in todays MOAR GRAPHIC PLZ world. Hell i remember snes games that had worser graphic than doom 1 and still would have killed lord of the rings, harry potter and narnia by just sitting next to them in terms of story and lore and they were just games, not fantasy books.

@Notarkard - I hope i neva gonna have to talk to you lol

Fri Jan 16 2009 6:15PM Report
ghstwolf writes:

Aerensinic- I do go further than just the pet bar, incorporating the most of the magic system as well.  I only used the example to show it wouldn't be walk walk...  Voice chat is an interesting problem, but push to talk is a common configuration so IMO it's not a major problem.  True enough on the fantasy thing, but with just a little creativity it can be adapted to other settings although I doubt it would be as easy to implement and have it feel right.

Fri Jan 16 2009 6:35PM Report
Thradar writes:

 I can see it now, LOL!

Fri Jan 16 2009 7:46PM Report
Kordesh writes:

 I'm not even fond of voice chat in MMOs. Having to blab about to my pet to order it around rather than clicking a whole whopping once isn't exactly my idea of "better'. Some things while novel, are not always "best".

Fri Jan 16 2009 10:23PM Report
Vza004 writes:

it is quite hard to speak to your computer already since i think it mesures you voice frequency and mostly gets your voice command the wrond command. like windows vista's voice reconigtion but i'm sure it'll be fun in mmos. instead by clicking the shortcuts just shout out the spell or the skill you want to execute. when you think about it, its very convinient.

Sat Jan 17 2009 3:53PM Report writes:
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