Hi Charles and all,
Well, the primary reason I got rid of Acapela Heather and replaced her
with Scansoft Karen is because Heather made a lot of verbal mistakes.
There were several words like enter, control, wall, Centaur, etc that
Heather couldn't say correctly no matter what i did. I had to constantly
tinker with the spellings to get several words to sound more or less
correct. With karen I just typed the words in Text Aloud and Karen said
them correctly without alternative spellings and all that stuff. Plus I
have always loved Karen's Australian accent which is why I happen to
like that voice so well. I'm perfectly happy with the voice, but I have
gotten a number of requests begging me to take the voice out of the
game. Honestly I have no idea what to do here.
First, let's deal with your suggestion of putting Sapi support in the
game. There are two problems associated with this option. Neither I
happen to like.
If you remember back when I was developing Montezuma's Revenge I had
Sapi 5 support in that game. I had a few users that filed bug reports,
and after some investigation it turned out they had broken Sapi installs
on their system. As they had purchased that game they naturally wanted
me to help them fix Sapi, which I did, but I really didn't want to
troubleshoot everyones Sapi problems for them. They really should have
called Microsoft, since it is their product that was broken, but I also
know that can cost quite a lot of money since Microsoft tech support
isn't free. So I felt somewhat obligated to help them resolve their Sapi
problems so they could enjoy my game. Even though the actual number of
cases was perhaps 20 or so, much less than the 200 or so who purchased
the game, it still was something of an unexpected and unwanted problem.
One that would likely come up again sooner or later if I go back to
Second, I know there are several people out there who aren't native
English speaking people. As a result I've used wav files for the primary
fact they could always modify the voice files so they could create a
language pack for their own language. If I use Sapi we lose that
ability. I don't know how many people who have actually created their
own language packs, but currently that ability exists.
Third, not everyone has a high quality Sapi compatible voice. It is true
several do thanks to the AT&T voices, the Scansoft voices, etc but there
are still plenty of people who don't. A few people wanted me to include
a better voice with the game since they didn't like Microsoft Sam which
I can't blame them there. I hate Microsoft Sam with a passion myself.
Finally, there is the issue of cross-platform support to think about.
I've been thinking of ways to create a somewhat cross-platform version
of the Genesis Engine, and using wav files for speech is certainly a
very portable way of doing so. If I decided to use native speech APIs
like Sapi, Speech-Dispatcher, etc I then have to write a lot more
abstract interfaces to be able to support these various APIs. It isn't
hard, but something to think about.
Anyway, I am not objecting to adding Sapi support to the game, but I do
feel in a way using pre-recorded speech files has several advantages.
I'd be interested to hear others thoughts and comments on this. Since I
have decided to convert MOTA to C++ anyway it might be helpful to know
if several others are truly in favor of having Sapi back as well.
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