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Viewing Topic: There Came an Echo - Page 1
#0: 03-03-2015 @ 07:43:24 am
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MachVergil Photo.
  • Real Name:Adam
  • Joined:2010-01-22

I'd seen this game before at the PAX Indie booths.  I was super skeptical about it.  In my experience if there is anything more dodgey in terms of accuracy than hand or remote-based motion controls, it's voice controls.  I remember when I tried to program a voice command system on my dad's computer in the late 90s and how atrocious it was.  Even these days things like Google Now and Siri still do not get us any where near close the fantasy presented by the Ship's Computer on any Star Trek show.

So when the idea of a voice-commanded tactics game was proposed at that indie booth I pretty much immediately dismissed it.  They can have Wil Wheaton all they want, having an actor I like on the game doesn't dismiss a flawed concept based on flawed technology.

Watching TB play the game my initial impression may have been a bit harsh.  I'm still not convinced I won't get pissed off at the game quickly due to a lack of pause time or because people won't acknowledge my commands fast enough, but it looks like when it works it's pretty magical.

We set Wednesdays on Fire!
#1: 03-03-2015 @ 08:28:47 am
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  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

So, I've been meaning to post about this for a while; though I suppose instead I've chatted all your heads off about it which is kind of similar. But yes - There Came an Echo. After the first hour of gameplay it's a perfectly serviceable Squad-based real-time tactical game gameplay-wise. It's also 100% voice-controlled, which is unique, and has very solid voice-acting for a title produced by a small-studio.

My Run So Far
Blindplay Part01: Part02:

There's something really *special* about addressing your squads and ordering them to do things verbally and then having them acknowledge your orders right back at you. The story is a very engaging "pop-sci fi" story which appealed straight to my sensibilities. The combination of these two facets made me feel like Ender speaking into the simulator and ordering distant captains who would execute their best understanding of his orders.
As for the quality of the recognition, I stumble with it more than once during my first hour or so of gameplay vids. Further, barking at Grace "Switch to charge blaster. Switch to charge blaster. SWITCH TO CHARGE BLASTER.  RECHARGE. RECHARGE SHIELD.... Fine, fuck you; just die!" was hillarious in its sadness. But then - the game offers enough leeway and cushion on the default difficulty (medium) that you can get away with that as I beat the mission just fine after. In short: they don't expect perfectly tight control since they're putting it on your headset.
Also, there are tricks you can do to make the recognition work better for you. For example, I re-programmed "Gray" as an alternate name for "Grace".. so even when I get the name wrong or lose some inflection the game picks it up better.


One other thing about the voice recognition -- there's kind of a meta-level to it. Obviously the recognition works best when you enunciate, speak clearly, not too loud, nor too quiet into the mike. Well, that's about the OPPOSITE of how I'm speaking when I'm frustrated, or under-combat pressure. And like a real commander, being able to cool my head and think rationally and level-headedly despite the crisis is a valuable in-combat skill. Just this fact does a lot for immersion all by itself, which I think is totally awesome.


In the end, the biggest complaint most people have with the game is that it's too short. 5-6hrs and you'll beat it. FOr my part? I'd rather a nice deliciuos 5-6hr "junk food" pop sci fi story with good immersion that I can beat and move on than yet another game on the list of games I will never win.

And then they give me Sequence for free when I pick it up :P