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 using Sapi. 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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