Hi Munawar,
Those are some very good points. About the only way to avoid such an instance where a person would have to purchase an extra sound card or a controller is make the two player mode turn based like in the classic Atari games. Take a game like Packman. Player 1 would start out zoom around the maze, and if his/her Packman got eaten by a ghost the game then would speak a message like player 2. Then, player 2 would play until his/her Packman got eaten. Then, it is once again player 1's turn to play. This is really the only logical way to do it for an audio only game I think.

Munawar Bijani wrote:
I think the real challenge here is not getting two input devices to control two separate entities at the same time--this is very easily done if the game is coded properly and made to accomodate very generic input from the start--rather, preventing one player from being confused by another's audio output would be difficult. For instance, if SAPI outputs some messages, unless each player uses a different voice, it would be difficult to tell whose status the engine is outputting. Even if the game uses two different voices for both players, and say if player 1 issues a status command and player 2 does the same, player 1's status would be cut off (since in real time games it would give player 1 and unfair advantage if player 2 has to wait for player 1's status to finish.)

In contrast, in visual games, sound is not that big of a deal, and splitting the screen into player 1 and player 2 areas is not difficult to do--this is how the Nintendo 64 did it with 007: Golden Eye when you initiated multiplayer mode; which made it easy to hook up four controllers at the same time and play without any problems. The audio equivalent of this, I would think, is to have the user install two sound cards, and both players wear headsets plugged into either card. Player 1's sound output would come out of card 1, and likewise for player 2. However, the question then arises as to whether the user is willing to spend the money to buy two cards (or one card, since the computer most likely already has one sound card) which will cost about $100, on top of the extra keyboard or joystick for a second input device, on top of the price of the game, which would probably be $30.00 minimum. As a developer, all this has to be factored in and you get to your final answer of "is it worth it to implement this technology?" Based on how the market currently is, probably not.
Munawar A. Bijani
Are you certain you will awaken from bed tomorrow?

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