Voice Control

Published September 23, 2018

For my assignment this week, I made a voice controlled map!

This week, I tried both two voice-controlled games – Chicken Scream and YASUHATI – on my Android phone. Both games are simple side scrollers with voice-activated character movements. The basic controls for both games are identical:

- both games are volume-controlled, without regard for pitch or semantics (more on this later)
- a low-volume input causes the character to walk forward
- a medium-volume input causes the character to jump
- a high-volume input causes the character to jump higher

I found both games extremely difficult to control. In particular, I found the task of regulating my voice between a low ‘walking’ level, a somewhat higher ‘jump’ level, and an even higher ‘high jump’ level quite difficult. While both games provided a sensitivity control to set a threshold for volume control, I found myself unable to find an appropriate level. I also found it uncomfortable to need to constantly hum or make noise to keep the character moving forward. If the character would have constantly moved forward and only required voice input for jumps, I think this would have been easier.

The pitch of the voice input is irrelevant to control output. One notable exception to this is that if I whistle to control the game (which is, for me, more comfortable than speaking / singing / screaming), I can more easily whistle at specific frequencies. Thus, altering my pitch naturally increases or decreases volume, which makes the game feel pitch-sensitive. I would have preferred to control the game with pitch directly, which is for me a more intuitive control mechanism than volume.