TIPS & HOW-TO

 

Gleaned from the help document and the forums: some of our favorite how-to's, all bunched together... This list will continue to grow, so, check back often.

Just click on each header to see the related details.

Commands are recognized, but nothing is happening in my game


  • Occasionally, you may have to adjust your commands in VoiceAttack to work with certain games. Here are some things you will want to try :
  • The most common issue is that VoiceAttack is sending key presses too quickly to your game. If a game is polling for input at a specific time, and, VoiceAttack's key press does not coincide with that polling, the game will simply not catch it. To fix this, you need to increase the amount of time a key is held down before releasing. A good place to start is 0.10 seconds. Try increasing and decreasing this number to see what works best.
  • Another issue may be the scan codes that your game is reading for input. VoiceAttack has two input modes for key presses : Standard and DirectX. Try alternating between these two modes to see what your game recognizes.
  • A less common issue, however, equally frustrating, is that some games will require VoiceAttack to be run in Administrator mode to allow interaction. To run VoiceAttack in Administrator mode, do the following :
    • Locate the file called, 'VoiceAttack.exe' (usually in C:\Program Files (x86)\VoiceAttack folder).
    • Right-click on the file and select, 'Properties'.
    • Go to the, 'Compatibility' tab and then check the, 'Run as Administrator' box.
    • Click, 'OK' and then run VoiceAttack.
  • One last thing to check is to make sure VoiceAttack is sending input to the right place. Verify that your commands are being sent to the proper process, or, to the Active Window.

Copy a command from one profile to another


  • Select a command out of the source profile.
  • Right click on the command and select the 'Copy to' item (note : this option will only be available if there are actually other profiles to copy the command to. This might be a good time to indicate that this is not available in the non-registered version, since there is only one profile).
  • Next, select the destination profile from the list.
  • Your command is now copied to the destination profile!

Create a printable command list


  • Select a profile from your profile list.
  • Click on the 'Export' button.
  • Select the commands that you want to see on your list.
  • Click the 'Export' button in the bottom-right corner.
  • Before you hit 'Save', drop down the 'Save as type' list and select, 'Quick Reference List as HTML'.
  • Click the, 'Save' button.
  • Your profile is now saved in html format, and is viewable in most browsers.
Note: By default, some browsers will not print the background colors. This can be changed in the printer settings (see your browser's documentation for more details).

Export a profile


  • Select a profile from your profile list.
  • Click on the 'Export' button.
  • Select the commands that you want to include in your exported profile.
  • Click the 'Export' button in the bottom-right corner of the 'Export' screen.
  • Click the, 'Save' button.
  • Your profile is now saved to the location specified.

Import a profile


  • Select the 'Import Profile' item in the profile list.
  • Browse to a previously-exported profile (VoiceAttack profile files have the extention of .vap).
  • Select the profile and click, 'Open'.
  • Your profile is now imported.
Note: If the profile you just imported has the same name as a profile already in your list, the newly imported profile name will have a '-1' at the end of it.

Import commands from a profile


  • Select a profile to receive the imported commands.
  • Click the 'Edit' button to the right.
  • Click on the, 'Import Commands' button at the bottom-left of the 'Edit a Profile' screen.
  • Browse to a previously-exported profile (VoiceAttack profile files have the extention of .vap).
  • Select the profile and click, 'Open'.
  • Choose the commands to import from the 'Import' screen (note that commands that have names that conflict are shown in red).
  • Click on the, 'Import' button in the bottom-right corner.
  • Your commands are now imported in the selected profile!
Note: You can save profiles with specific commands to create simple 'global' command lists that you can import later.

Edit a command action list like a boss!


In the current versions of VoiceAttack, command actions can be moved via keyboard shortcuts:
  • Holding down the control button and the up/down arrow keys will move commands up and down the list.
  • Holding down the control key and pressing, 'c' will copy the action.
  • Holding down control and pressing, 'v' will paste the action (the action can be pasted in any command in any profile!).
Note : All of this functionality is also available in right-click menus.

Train your speech engine


Before you can use VoiceAttack effectively, it will be necessary to train your speech engine. I know this sounds a bit tedious, but, it really helps your computer understand *YOU* a lot better.

The good news is, once you are done training, you can save your training file so you don't have to go through all this trouble again if you change computers or reinstall Windows (SEE 'Back up your speech engine training file').
The nice folks over at Microsoft have included an extraordinary speech recognition engine with their latest versions of Windows. Out of the box, it does a pretty good job, but, with a little bit of training, this speech engine becomes very accurate.


To train your speech engine :
  • Click 'Start' and then 'Control Panel'. If you can not see the, 'Speech Recognition' item, click on the 'View' list and select either, 'large icons' or 'small icons'.
  • Click on, 'Speech Recognition'.
  • Click on, 'Train your computer to better understand you'.
  • Follow the steps provided.
Note: Users of VoiceAttack have indicated that running through the training process two times produces the best results.

Add a phrase to your speech engine


With some games, English phrases just won't cut it if you are looking for fuller immersion. You can add extra words to your speech engine's vocabulary by following the next few steps :
  • Click 'Start' and then 'Control Panel'. If you can not see the, 'Speech Recognition' item, click on the 'View' list and select either, 'large icons' or 'small icons'.
  • Click on, 'Speech Recognition'.
  • Click on, 'Start Speech Recognition'. This launches the Windows Speech Recognition application.
  • Right-click on the microphone icon and then select, 'Open the Speech Dictionary'.
  • Click on 'Add a new word'.
  • Enter the new word or phrase to recognize and then click, 'Next'.
  • As the instructions indicate, if your phrase is not obvious, you will want to record a pronunciation. This will train your speech engine to recognize this new phrase much better.
  • Click, 'Finish'.
  • If you chose to record a pronunciation, click, 'Record' when you are ready.
  • Your new phrase is ready to be recognized!

Use mouse buttons to start/stop listening


Sometimes you really don't want VoiceAttack to recognize what you are saying. Especially if you are in a noisy area or are using voice communication software. You can make VoiceAttack start or stop listening with your mouse buttons (the five standard mouse buttons : right, left, middle, forward & back). For this example, we are going to make VoiceAttack start listening only when we hold down the middle mouse button :
  • From the VoiceAttack main screen, click on the 'options' button.
  • Drop down the 'Mouse Click Global Hotkey' list.
  • Select the, 'Middle Down Listen' option.
  • Click, 'OK' & you are set!

You probably noticed the other two options for the middle mouse button : 'Middle Click Toggle' and 'Middle Down Stop Listening'. 'Middle Click Toggle' will allow you to toggle between listening and not listening by clicking the middle mouse button. 'Middle Down Stop Listening' will keep VoiceAttack from listening while the middle mouse button is held down.

Note: Some third-party software (like Logitech's Setpoint) will prevent the mouse from working properly. Please check the documentation for your mouse for more info.

Run simultaneous commands


Often it is necessary to have two or more commands running at the same time. By default, VoiceAttack only allows one command to execute before another is allowed. If a command has a long action list, for example, you may be forced to wait a while until the command is finished. This may be bad if you are being attacked while your macro is executing (especially if you have long pauses in your macros :) For situations like this, VoiceAttack has an option in the Command add/edit screen titled, 'Allow other commands to be executed while this one is running' (horrible title, I know!). Checking this option will keep the command from 'blocking' other recognized commands. Remember: you are sending commands to your application like a keyboard. Commands that are running at the same time CAN interfere with each other, so, plan accordingly.

Change profiles with a voice command


Alt-tab out of your game to switch profiles??? Bleh. You can switch profiles in VoiceAttack by issuing a command. Follow these steps:
  • From the VoiceAttack main screen, click the 'Edit' button.
  • Click the, 'New' button on the, 'Edit a Profile' screen.
  • Type in the word or phrase that you want to say to switch profiles.
  • Click the, 'Other' button.
  • Select the, 'Switch to another profile' option.
  • Choose the profile that you want to enable.
  • Click the, 'Ok' button.
  • Your command has been added.

Handle tricky game input (Send key presses to DirectX games, delays, modifiers, etc.)


Some games handle keyboard input differently than others. Some games require slight delays between key presses while others recognize an entirely different set of keyboard codes (or both!).

VoiceAttack is flexible enough to cover these areas by allowing you to choose the input method of your key presses as well as providing a way to fine-tune your keystrokes.

Let's say you've created a command in VoiceAttack to interact with your favorite game. You notice that VoiceAttack is recognizing your command, but, nothing is happening in the game. Chances are, you are playing a game that only recognized DirectX keyboard codes. The next step is to change the input mode of your command. To do this, go back and edit the command you just created.

You will now need to edit the key press actions in this command:
  • Select the keypress action and click, 'Edit'. Notice at the bottom of the 'Edit a Keypress' screen, you can change the change the key input method.
  • If 'Standard' is selected, change to, 'Windows Game (DirectX)'. If, 'Windows Game (DirectX)' is selected, choose, 'Standard'. Click, 'OK' and then click, 'OK' on the 'Edit Command' screen.
  • Then click, 'Done' on the 'Edit a Profile' screen.

Test out your command.
Works now?
Awesome!
Wait... it's only working a little. That leads to our next issue:

The game is only recognizing SOME of the keypresses. ESPECIALLY when using a modifier key (like Control/Alt/Shift).

This looks like a job for delays! VoiceAttack (out of the box) does not wait between key presses. It just fires off key presses as fast as it can go.

Some games are built with the intent that only a human is typing at the keyboard. Therefore, you must make VoiceAttack work more like a human by adding pauses between your key presses.

Your pauses might be between entire key presses (example: press and release key A, PAUSE, press and release key B), or, your pauses might need to be between modes of a key press (example: press down on key A, PAUSE, release key A).

Sometimes these pauses only need to be very slight (like hundredths or thousandths of a second). Again, VoiceAttack is flexible enough to work in these situations.

In the following example, we will be holding down the Control key while pressing the X key and then releasing both (with delays).

What will end up in the command action list looks like this :
                      Press down CTRL key
                      Pause 0.1 seconds
                      Press down X key
                      Pause 0.1 seconds
                      Release X key
                      Pause 0.1 seconds
                      Release CTRL key
                    

Note: I know this looks like a lot of work, but, in practice, this is a very fast sequence:
  • Create a new command in the 'Edit a Profile' screen.
  • Click, 'Key Press' to add a new key press.
  • Press the 'Control' key to light up the 'CTRL' modifier (you an also click on, 'CTRL').
  • Select the 'Press Keys' option. This is so that the control key is pressed down only (and not released).
  • Click, 'OK'.
  • In the, 'Add a Command' window, you will see, 'Press down CTRL key'.
  • Click on the, 'Pause' button.
  • Enter a value of, '00.100' here and click the 'OK' button.
  • In the, 'Add a Command' window, you will see, 'Press down CTRL key' and then 'Pause 0.1 seconds'.
  • Click, 'Key Press' again to add another new key press.
  • This time, press the, 'X' key.
  • Choose the 'Press Keys' option again and then click, 'OK'. 'Press down X key' is now added to the 'Add a Command' action list.
  • Click on the, 'Pause' button.
  • Notice that the value, '00.100' is the default value. Just click, 'OK' and your pause is added to the list.
  • Click, 'Key Press' again to add another new key press.
  • This time we are going to release the, 'X' key. Press the, 'X' key to light it up.
  • Select the, 'Release Keys' option and click, 'OK'.
  • Add one more pause with the default value.
  • Click, 'Key Press' one more time.
  • Press the, 'Control' key and select the 'Release keys' option.

You have now created a command action sequence with delays and modifiers just like the one shown above.

Increase the recognition delay


If you have command phrases that contain mostly the same words, and VoiceAttack is recognizing only the first parts of each, you may need to increase your recognition delay. The recognition delay is the delay between VoiceAttack recognizing a phrase, noticing a silence and then executing a command.

So, if you have a command like, 'Do Something to X' and a command like, 'Do Something to X and then something else' and only the first one is being recognized, follow these steps :
  • Click on, 'Options' from the main screen.
  • Increase the value in, 'Recognition Delay'.
  • Click, 'OK'.
  • Repeat if necessary.

Nest commands


Sometimes rewriting commands to use as part of another sequence is a hassle. VoiceAttack will allow you to create a command and call it from within another command action sequence. To include another command to execute :
  • Click the 'Other' button on the Add or Edit Command screen.
  • Chose the option, 'Execute another command'.
  • Drop down the list and select the command that you would like to execute & click, 'OK'.

It's just that easy!

If you want to add more commands, just repeat the process. VoiceAttack will make sure that you don't get stuck in a command loop :)

Receive audible feedback


VoiceAttack provides two ways to get audible feedback: Via playing a .wav file or through Text to Speech.

If you want to spice up your gameplay or just have confirmation of a started or completed command, just click on the 'Other' button on the Add or Edit Command screen. Choose either the, 'Play a sound file' option or the 'Say the following using Text to Speech' option. Click the, 'OK' button and you now have audible feedback in your sequence :)

Launch and kill other programs


I wanted to be able to launch my games after I loaded up VoiceAttack. I also wanted a way to unceremoniously close those games. You can do the same!

To launch a program:
  • Go to the Add or Edit Command screen.
  • Click on the, 'Other' button to bring up the, 'Other Stuff' screen.
  • Select the, 'Run an application' option.
  • Browse to your game or application's .exe file.
  • If the application requires any parameters to be entered, you can put them in the 'With these parameters' box.

At this point, you can click the 'Test Run' button to make sure everything is right.

Tip: This is also handy for launching web pages. Just put in the browser's .exe and the web page address in the parameters box!

Stopping a program from running is a little more advanced. To stop a program from running:
  • Go to the Add or Edit Command screen.
  • Click on the, 'Other' button to bring up the, 'Other Stuff' screen.
  • Select the, 'Stop a process by name' option.
  • In the dropdown list, you can pick the process if it is already running, or, you can simply type in the process name.
  • Warning: All processes with the indicated name will be stopped.
  • Click, 'OK' and you are ready to go.

Keep certain unrecognized words from showing up in your log


Every now and then, VoiceAttack tries to interpret bodily sounds as words. They will show up in the log as unrecgonized (like, 'if if if'). I found this kind of annoying, so, I added the, 'Ignore command' option. It's a rather quirky action, and, it is only intended to be contained in a command by itself. So quirky and ill thought-out that I was going to remove it. I use it a lot, however, and have found that others do, too :)

Here's how you use it (let's say VoiceAttack throws up an unrecognized phrase, 'if' all the time):
  • Edit your profile and click, 'New' to bring up the Add Command screen.
  • Type in the word, 'if' in the, 'When I say' box.
  • Click on the, 'Other' button to bring up the, 'Other Stuff' screen.
  • Select the, 'Ignore Command' option. Click, 'OK'.
  • Click, 'OK' again and then the, 'Done' key.

Now, any time VoiceAttack hears, 'if', it will not bug you by adding an entry to the log... as if that really bugs anybody... well... yeah, I'm weird :)

Quickly add unrecognized words and edit recognized words straight from the log


This is more of a tip than a how-to.

The log on the main screen has additional secret functionality. You can double-click on an unrecognized phrase to add it as a command, or, you can double-click on a recognized phrase and go straight to editing it.

Back up your speech engine training file


Remember all that time you spent training your speech engine?

Remember all the extra, non-English words you spent time adding and all the harassment you received from your family?

Wouldn't it be horrible if your machine went belly-up, or, you had to switch machines and lost all that work?

Well, here is a tip : BACK UP YOUR SPEECH TRAINING DATA FILE.
It's actually very quick and easy, however, you will need another piece of software to do the job.

Here is a link to the site :
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16296

Just follow the instructions and then put the data file in a safe place.

(I tried this because I switched machines and it worked like a dream!)

Note: This works for Windows 7 and up. Not sure about XP, since I have not tried it. If you have any info on this, please let me know!