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WoW: Say 2 Play Voice Recognition Gaming Software Reviewed!

Updated Tue, Jul 14, 2009 by Medawky

This week I was given the opportunity to do a hands-on test of a new gaming application – Say2Play.

Say2Play is, as you would guess by the name, a voice command application that allows you to speak commands rather than type or click them with the mouse.  It is a front end application that has many preloaded templates, including one for each version of WoW. It is available for free download with a seven day trial period. If you elect to buy, it retails for 29.95. For the game performance crowd I am happy to report no noticeable slow down of the WoW client while this app was loaded.
 s2pwebsite.png

The website is easy to navigate and mirrors the look of the app itself. Easy download right on the main page. One thing I really liked about the install and set up portion was the install wizard grabbed every missing piece of software off the web for me, one click installs rule.  Once it was installed it was off to setup the microphone and tune it to the application.

s2paudiowiz.pngThe quality of your microphone will have a huge bearing on your experience with this program. If you have the means, I highly recommend getting the best headset you can afford. With the proliferation of voice chat apps such as Ventrilo that most guilds employ, it is money well spent. We can tell when you have a crappy mic; it sounds like you’re playing in a wind tunnel.  Ok, off the soap box and back to the review. Once your microphone is calibrated, it’s time to launch the app and get a feel for it. 

sp2wowselect.png

Scrolling through the apps you will find a huge number of titles available. The list really is impressive, even to the most jaded of gamers like me (The Fallout3 app is freaking incredible as well!).
After selecting the WotLK app from the list you will enter the main screen.
s2pwow.png

The grey icons along the bottom are your control buttons for navigating the features. I like the integration of the World of Warcraft official website as well as the consumer friendly purchase options along the right side. On the very bottom is the display for which module is loaded, if the mic is active or muted, and the last recognized voice command.  If you are having trouble in game with your commands alt-tabbing to this screen should be your first step in diagnosing the issue.  A simple glance at the last command bar will tell you what the software is hearing.

You can load and go with Say 2 Play and enjoy a ton of conveniences right out of the gate. With commands already present for swapping hotbars, targeting party and raid members, jumping, autorun, casting any hot keyed spell on your hotbars and much much more.
 s2psetup.png

To get the true power of this program however you need to customize it and tie it to your in game macros.  Creating a new voice command has some learning curve but if you have mastered macro making and key binding in the WoW client, then it will be a short one
s2pedit.png

With the sheer number of bindings available in WoW, especially with a hotbar addon like Bartender, you can add a ton of new voice commands. Pairing your key binds with macros can add a ton of functionality.  An example of this was found on the forums as well as in an email I received from Say 2 Play’s community manager

When you are typing in a new key binding and you have more than one keyboard action you use a; to separate the keys. Let’s say you have the spell Frost Armor bound to the 5th slot on your 6th Hotbar.In order to execute that spell you must stop what you're doing and type Shift+6 and 5 to execute it and then Shift+1 to get back to your main Hotbar.

With Say2Play you don't even touch the keyboard, you simply say Frost Armor.

You can use Say2Play to run your prebuilt macros in your game or you can build your multi-command macros with Say2Play by just separating each key with a; in the Say2Play customization screen. (The example above would look like this: Shift+6;5;Shift+1)

To setup this command follow these instructions:

Open the appropriate game template, Click the customization icon and then click the + to add a new command. Type in Frost Armor, then tab over to the key binding side and hold down Shift and hit 6, type a ; then a 5 then another ; and finally hold down Shift and hit 1 then click away from the input windows (You can't Tab or Esc out from here because it will think you wanted to add that key as a command). Click the A to Save As a new template (you can't overwrite the default) give your new template a name and hit enter to save it. In the lower left hand corner it shows the current loaded template; click on the drop down box to the right and select the template you just built so it's now the loaded template
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All in all, I found this program to be rock solid in its execution and the interface is slick and easy to use.  I have tested it in PvE soloing, PvP and PvE raiding and have found uses for it in all facets of the game. While I personally do not use it for anything super critical in a raid situation such as actual spell casting, I have found that it is a great tool for targeting, assisting and speeding up many of the mundane things I do during a raid. In PvP it was pretty remarkable in helping my overall speed in combat by allowing me to keep my hands focused on movement and spell casting while I used the voice application to speed my shape shifting and assist/targeting functions.  Perhaps if I played a DPS role in raiding it would further expand its usefulness. The main drawback for me in Say 2 Play is the speed of voice recognition compared to my perceived hand speed, but this is no way a slight on this app. It has the fastest recognition I have ever used and its failure rate was so miniscule I was completely blown away. 

Say 2 Play is a great tool to help enhance your gaming experience that when used properly can feel like a third hand. Like all new additions to an established routine it does take some getting used to and small increases in its implementation make the transitions much smoother. 

After several  sessions with this software it has become almost second nature to me and I find myself adding more and more commands to help me in all situations.  It really is limited only by your imagination.  Kudos to the guys and gals at Say 2 Play for a great app.

While I don’t feel this software will be received well by all levels of WoW gamers, I think those that are comfortable with advanced key binds and incorporate macros already in their game play will find it a great addition to their arsenals.  Until next week , stay safe and have fun in Azeroth!



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