Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A unique use for voice recognition in games

Adding voice recognition to games has always been a volatile decision. The technology is limited, and people with accents, lisps or any sort of speech impediment are often misunderstood by the software. It's rarely a good idea to make it a mandatory part of a game, but recent efforts such as Tom Clancy's EndWar are beginning to prove that voice recognition has evolved to the point where it has become a viable form of input. We've essentially gained an entirely new way of interacting with games. Looking at the rapidly evolving technology, I've thought of an interesting way to integrate it into existing games without it being obtrusive or mandatory.

The idea first occurred to me while playing Fallout 3. I was exploring the wastes and stumbled across the ruins of an old church. As I approached the building, someone standing on the roof began to fire at me. I didn't know who he was. I didn't know what he wanted. I didn't even want to kill him. I just wanted to explore the church and be on my way. Sadly, that wasn't an option. I had to kill him, no matter how much I didn't want to. As I sniped him out from a safe distance, I thought to myself, If only there was a way to tell him I meant no harm... And then it hit me: Vocal input. Heck, I was even wearing a headset for the headphones anyways! If that were in place, I'd have been able to yell "Whoa, wait! I don't want to hurt you! I mean no harm!" at the guy, and potentially convince him to cease firing at me. If not, well, I'd have to kill him anyways. The fact that there would be the possibility of convincing him otherwise (Perhaps influenced by the in-game Charisma stat) would be an amazing addition. The thought of being able to avoid conflict and instead work out an alliance of some sort is just amazing to me. The in-game characters can do it, so why not me?

Of course, the level of sophistication required for what I described above is probably still many years away. At first we'd probably only have a few pre-determined phrases for it, and when my idea becomes that watered down, well, you may as just make a textual dialog choice instead. No, it will be many years for something like what I've outlined above to become reality. Not until the day that artificial intelligence can actually be considered, well, intelligent, will this be possible. I can dream, though, can't I?

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2 comments:

Filbert said...

this looks fun! i hope i get my own game, bucko!

Rawful said...

That would be AWESOME!

Maybe we could tell Resetti that the power cable snagged on our dog and got unplugged, and that he can suck it.


Or we could make alliances. Either way. :]