This is a review of Shoot – Voice Recognition Freeware by our regular contributor, Paul Webster.
Shoot – Voice Recognition Freeware
I’ve wanted to get some voice recognition software for use with Flight Sim X for a while. Having a co-pilot on hand to flick the switches whilst I concentrate on tricky cross wind approaches, or more likely whilst I tuck in to a sandwich and coffee, has always seemed like a good idea. I’d finally decided to rob the moths of their perch and get the credit card out when I came across Shoot.
Shoot interfaces with Microsoft’s speech recognition engine which is freely downloadable. Also required is Microsoft’s .Net framework, but you’ve probably installed v3 if you’ve read the articles on how this has a positive effect on FSX framerates. Shoot was originally developed using .Net v1 but there is a downloadable configuration file to replace the original which makes it work with .Net v2 & v.3. Once you have the pre-requisites in place, the download file for Shoot extracts into it’s own folder and contains the executable plus some bespoke config files for a few games. You’ll need to create your own shortcut to the application and place it on your Desktop / Start Menu as there is no installation routine to do this for you.
Shoot has a very basic user interface, the first place you’ll want to start is the training section for the voice recognition engine. This involves reading through a series of paragraphs which explain the usage of speech recognition and it’s pitfalls etc. As you proceed, the read words are highlighted to show they have been understood. If the highlighting stops you just need to re-read the first un-highlighted word to continue. Once you’ve trained the speech recognition engine to understand you, you’ll now need to get a game profile created. Being an impulsive know it all I didn’t check the on-site documentation.I went straight for the sample profiles include with the download and copied and amended one to include the commands I wanted. This is fairly simple, if long winded, but hey it’s free and it works. If you want to download my config file for FSX commands feel free, it’s probably a good place to start and you can add any commands I’ve left out. You can configure Shoot to listen for commands either with a toggle switch or push to talk. I just left everything on default (Caps Lock as toggle switch).
Once you’ve got shoot installed, trained and configured it sits happily in the background listening for your commands and sending FSX the relevant keystrokes once it hears them, you get a little bleep to let you know when a command has been recognised and another different bleep to let you know it’s tried and failed to recognise something you’ve said (or in a couple of cases something my cat said as it yowled it’s way down the stairs).
This is a great little application that adds more enjoyment to FSX and if you don’t have any voice recognition software I’d heartily recommend you give it a go. It does take a little configuring but once this is done you can just forget about it. There are some features that would be nice to have such as a configuration utility (there is a beta on the site) and a readback of your command, but that’s what you get when you spend money. In the meantime, I’m more than happy with my find and the moths are more than happy to have their perch back. I’d like to thank Martin Traverso for making his work freely available.
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