I was recently playing Mechwarrior 4 because I missed out on it a long time ago and it’s free. While I was blasting mechs into exploding scrapheaps, my character was saying stuff like, “Target Neutralized.” Not only that, but my lancemates were getting the crap kicked out of them and saying things like, “aah,” and “this is not my lucky day.” I had to order these guys around, and I didn’t really have the patience to micromanage them by pushing multiple buttons. I’m pretty lazy, I know. When I did give them orders though, they responded with an alright I heard you, and I’m doing it. I think the different voices in this game helped connect me to the characters, but my own voiced-over character kind of irked me. I don’t really think the hardened mercenary voice suits me. That, and I have this huge desire to not have to push buttons telling my mates to attack my target, or shutdown, or whatever the situation calls for. Wouldn’t it be cool to just tell them what to do instead of pushing all of these buttons? What if they responded back to you? Wouldn’t this bring you even closer to these fictional characters?
No, I haven’t really heard of any cool new games utilizing voice/speech recognition. I just want to talk about it and let our minds float around the possibilities. I just really enjoy thinking about it.
Imagine being able to control a game with your standard input device, mouse and keyboard, game controller, and your voice. How would this change RTS game play? Instead of pressing a bunch of buttons telling your units to form up, move out somewhere, and be in a certain stance/position, you could actually just say it. I know playing RTSs on consoles can be a huge pain. Wouldn’t it save a huge amount of time to be able to vocalize those commands? Maybe even turn on a certain type of radar by saying, “activate infrared radar.” That’s one less button taking up space.
Not exactly related, but I still want it.
What about those military games that are always coming out? The ones that seem like they are trying to train you for real combat. Let’s throw away those health point bars and just roll on video and audio. Just say something like, “What’s your status, AlphaSnake?” Then he’ll respond with “I’m ok, Sir. The bullets just knocked me off my feet. My body armor is still holding up just fine.” If he is really hurt, he’ll just moan or start freaking out about his arm being missing, and you can also visually see that he isn’t doing so well. Any military phrase and command can be used to help the realism of the story and teach you at the same time.
I love being a mage in almost any game. I remember reading Dragonlance books and just loving everything having to do with Raistlin. If I remember correctly, before casting a spell, he’d have to say some incantation for anything to happen. I like the idea that learning some foreign language gave you superpowers. Let’s pretend we are in a RPG, and we are a mage. You find an ancient spell scroll in an abandoned tower, and you aren’t really sure what’s going to happen when you say the written words. You read the words aloud, and boom, something awesome and magical happens. Now almost anytime you say those words, it will happen again. As a mage you collect these words and you can learn a variety of spells to use whenever you say the magic words.
I have to admit, I am a fan of anime. The characters, stories, and fighting are entertaining and fun. In most anime, the characters make some weird noise or say a phrase before performing their best moves. It might be kind of dumb, but I like it when they say the moves. For some reason it just sounds cool and I think it’d be fun to say them too. Implement that in a fighting game where you have to say the name of their better moves as well as press buttons and I believe you might have a recipe for creating really nerdy people. It seems like it’d be fun to me anyways.
I don’t know how the designers of such games would deal with foreign languages and different dialects. Let make a proposal for the future, though. If we are going to have a universal language, please let it be English, and if it’s going to be English, let it be proper English; Shakespearean English. I’m just kidding. I don’t really care what language. I will do whatever I have to to be able to play video games. What would be cool is if the AI around you responds to things that you say even when it doesn’t recognize what you are saying. They could say something like, “I can’t hear you. Speak up.” or “Speak English, jackass.” or “This dude is crazy. He does nothing but mumble profanities.”
Photo by ell brown.
Anyways voice/speech recognition would at the very least help us speak our respective languages properly. It could also be a fun way to learn other languages, without realizing you’re learning anything. I personally can’t wait for that future.
I guess I could talk about motion capture technology as well, but it’s kind of been around for a while. I also don’t like video games that make me tired and sore, like when some of those old controllers would do a number on my thumbs. I like being able to play games for long periods of time and motion capture works against that.
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