Skyrim VR mod uses voicetech to power dialog with characters in the game

Image: Skyrim
Ingrid Fadelli

The tool gives a voice to the main character in Skyrim which is, in fact, that of the gamer themself

A new, interesting voice recognition integration for blockbusting action title Skyrim allows players to select the main character’s lines of dialog by speaking them out loud.

Last year, American video game publisher Bethesda announced that its action game Skyrim was coming to PlayStation VR and getting support for VR on PC- using Rift, HTC Vive, or Windows VR headsets.

Now, almost a year later, voice recognition integrations for the VR version of the game are enabling new ways for players to communicate with non-player characters (NPCs).

Now, a voice tech mod for Skyrim VR has been released online, which allows players to speak commands within the game out loud, other than using manual controls.

After downloading a program and following a brief set of instructions, players can now perform actions within the game just by speaking commands such as “Show me my map” or “Firebolt, left hand”.

In interactions similar to those that users have with voice assistants Alexa and Google Assistant, the new mod also allows Skyrim players to open menus and browse through them without the need for manual equipment.

The use of voice commands, which is currently compatible with Skyrim VR 1.364.0 and Skyrim SE, was designed to enhance players’ game experience, reducing the time needed to do things in the game.

Perhaps even more interestingly, another mod called Dragonborn Speaks Naturally, developed by software company Cuebit, gives a voice to the so far silent main character in Skyrim, allowing players to talk with non-player characters (NPCs), simply by speaking out loud.

Voice recognition for in-game dialog

The Dragonborn Speaks Naturally mod works by running a background speech recognition service integrated with Skyrim’s code, which can identify lines of dialog, allowing users to select these by speaking them out loud.

While the new feature works with most existing microphones, the mod’s creator, Cuebit, does not recommend using HTC Vive’s built-in mic and adds that the program performs better with no background noises.

The mod works both on Skyrim VR and Skyrim Special edition, but its direct links with the game’s code make it prone to issues at times when Bethesda updates the game.

Addressing these potential issues, the developer who designed the mod at Cuebit, promised: “I will try to keep this mod up to date with the latest version of SkyrimVR and SkyrimSE as quickly as possible.”

Reviews and comments on Nexus Mods reveal that many who downloaded it are very impressed, while others complain about the mod causing the game to crash.

To activate the Dragonborn Speaks Naturally features, users just need to download the mod and follow a brief set of instructions, outlined by the publication RoadtoVR here.

The rise of voice tech in the gaming world

Just last year, Clique published an article about the huge possibilities for the use of voice technology within the gaming industry, particularly after the advent of VR.

Now, some of these are materializing before our eyes, Skyrim VR’s recent Way of the Voice and Dragonborn Speaks Naturally mods being two of the latest examples.

As VR and AR tools become the preferred choice of many videogame lovers worldwide, more tech companies will unavoidably try to come up with solutions that make gaming experiences even more immersive.

Voicetech and machine learning algorithms, two of the most promising advances in technology, will most probably be applied within a growing number of titles over the years to come.

Just as voice recognition allows us to speak to home devices and smart assistants, the latest voicetech mods for Skyrim VR prove that it could also allow players to use their voice to perform actions or talk to other characters in videogames.

It should be exciting to see what game developers will come up with in future, but also to observe in what ways voice technology will be used to make their titles more engaging and interactive than ever.

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