“ Talk with friends while gaming. Speak commands, like "build barracks" or "flaps down" instead of hunting for keyboard shortcuts. Game Voice simplifies play and makes your voice your best tool. „
The phrase style over substance was invented for the Microsoft Side Winder Game voice. My first impressions of the main unit which the headphone unit plugs into was that it was too big and was going to be too intrusive on my desk. My fears where quickly realised when i had to place the unit on the floor even during use as it was impractical to have near the mouse or keyboard. Any serious gamer knows that nothing should come between you and your controls! Only plus on my first impression was that it was easy to install. The first impressions of the headphone unit was that it was of really poor quality and would be far too easy to break and it did all be it nearly a year later when taking the unit out my drawer when one of my friends eventually bought one. I then tried the head unit on it was comfy so that was a plus and the microphone on the unit gave a very clear pick up. So far I wasn't impressed with the product to say the very least, I then tried to go about using the unit to communicate with my friends only to find that they had to have the unit to be able to use the software provided. I was angry at this point, wasting £60 on something that I can't use just annoyed me. There is a really horrible lag between you speaking and your teammate hearing it by that time the information could be useless. Conclusion It's too big, poorly built and useless unless the people you play games with have one too. Buy a cheap head unit and download teamspeak!
Microsoft's game voice is the first device of kind (there has been some software only soloutions arround however these tend not to work very well unless one buys a good pair of headphones and microphone). It allows one to control games with ones voice and allows one to talk to other people while playing a game. It comes with a very good set of headphones with a built in microphone which are made by plantronics for microsoft. The Headphones are very adjustable, both the position of the microphone and the size of the headphone, and will fit almost any sized head. The package also comes with a control box which has many bottons which can switch between the headphones and speaker, mute the microphone, tell the computer to listen for voice commands, talk to team, talk to 4 different individuals, talk to all. The voice control for games is a kind of voice recognition. It differs from most voice recognition devices in that you do not have to train your voice you simply type in, in phonetics the sound you want it to react to. What it can react to is either a key or combination of keys or a macro where it will hold down one key for a certain length of time then another and another etc. This works quite well although it does sometimes make mistakes(this can be sorted out be given shorter phrases for it to react to or getting the phonetics better) and there is a slight delay (about 1/10 sec) between hearing and reacting. (Although this can be improved by making its process a high priority.) The in game talk feature in games is good and works well. The inbuilt buttons on the control box which allow between talking with all, team, player 1 (user defined), player 2 (user defined), player 3 (user defined), player 4 (user defined). This feature does exactly what it says on the tin. This is a good product that is resonably price. The headphones are good quality and the system works well. And as long as you download the patch there are not any bugs to speak of.
The sidewinder Game voice is a great little gadget. It allows you to talk to teamates when playing games like counter strike over the internet. As well as ordering your mates around with it, it is great for telling the game what to do, like saying reload for example. The only two set backs are the fact that your mates need one too, and it has a two second lag, making it a bit slow and unresponsive. Despite this, it is a gerat addition to any serious online gamers armoury. It is easy to install, as long as you have a free USB port and mic and speaker ports on your soundcard. The software installs itself with no problems, and only takes about 5 minutes to set the whole lot up. It is exremely simple to use, with buttons allowing you to talk to everyone, just you team, or individual players, as well as commands for the actual game. Its also great for reinacting all you favourite insurance adverts!!
HEADPHONES: The sound quality of this apparatus is outstanding! The headsize adjustment mechanics needed to be 'tightened' up a bit, but overall, the headset is very comfortable! Very high marks for quality sound. GAMEPAD: There was obviously some serious input from the user community when the pad was designed. The pad allows for 'nimble' flexibility of the controls, and the keys, buttons, and wheels are placed in such a way as to eliminate the need for a lot of hand movement.
The Microsoft Game Voice certainly has potential. If you are looking for that extra edge in a game by being able to communicate with some of you friends while online gaming. Voice communication is far quicker then the text solution with the added bonus that you don’t have to remove your hands from the mouse to type. I play allot of Half Life and Counter-Strike, and in Counter Strike especially, being able to communicate with your team using voice can give you that extra little advantage. That is the potential; sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan. The first of the major downsides, Microsoft will have to sort out them selves the fact that many people are having trouble even using the software. Personally I have serious problems using my SoundBlaster Live and Windows Millennium. I keep on receiving the message: "Your Sound Hardware Cannot Play Sounds" Which I think is a little strange because obviously I would of known a little soon if my sound card was not playing any sounds at all. After a couple of days of desperately trying to get it to work I finally resigned to loading Windows 98 on a separate partition and hey presto it works first time. Looking at the game voice support site there are lots of people with the same problem. Microsoft really didn’t do thorough testing before they released this product. There are other problems with the software as well but we cant go into them all, just that it has a habit of freezing every so often before un-locking itself after 2-3 minutes. In the game voice package you receive a headset and microphone and a little hockey puck sized pad with several chat based selections. When you are talking to other people while playing games you can select between channels 1-4 everyone on your team and you can broadcast to everyone. The headset and Microphone are pretty good quality and overall I like the idea, but MS need to get there finger out when it c omes compatibility problems. The other side of game voice is that you can use your voice in order to give commmands during a game instead of using the selected keys. But its not accurate and responds slowly so I really have never used that option.
I have had the sidewinder Gamevoice for about a week now and I think that is the best piece of voice activation software and hardware to come along in some time. I am currently running it with Microsoft's Starlancer and it has improved the game play no end. I nolonger have to move my hands from the main game controls to talk to command and other pilots or to change missile. Together with the Force Feedback pro the game takes on a compley diffrent feel. It is easy to set up and requires no long ' read this paragraph ' to get it to understand your commands. Just enter the command you wish to speek and then assign the appropriate key you would usualy use for the action, that it. The in game conferencing works a treat and there is only a small ammount of bandwidth taken so the game play does not suffer even on my ISDN line.