Saturday, 26 July 2014

Replacing button boxes with VoiceAttack voice recognition software

Button boxes.

If you've ever seen a racing sim video on Youtube where the driver is using any form of complex setup they're most likely using a button box.

What is a button box? Well, simply put it's a box with buttons on it, connected to the computer with a seperate USB cable. What does it do? The buttons trigger certain actions, such as displaying a relative positions display, or a tyre information box. They can also be used too simply display information to other drivers.

To explain how useful they can be, I use a G27, which has six buttons on the wheel. I have used them for centering TrackIR, displaying the relative positions box, the fuel and tyre boxes, and for the toggle and next inputs so I can check off fuel and tyres for the pit box.

That works fine for the Skip Barber. But what happens when there are more options to check off? And in-car adjustments to make during a session?

Then you need more buttons - perhaps a new wheel or a button box.

But there is an alternative. Instead of pushing a button you might simply say what you wanted with VoiceAttack. For a small charge you replace an expensive button box, and the hassle of having to press buttons, and remember what button does what, with a small piece of software that works surprisingly well, while having excellent features and flexibility.

You can download VoiceAttack here and evaluate it for 21 days for free.

At the time of writing this is a safe download. No malware or other installs hiding in there.

The software can be used not only with iRacing but with other games, and Windows itself.

When used with iRacing it can be used to clean up the car before races. Instead of sitting on the grid and fumbling through a clean up process you can simply invoke a macro with a voice command. For example instead of checking off fuel and new tyres on the grid in the Skip Barber I can now say "clear car" and everything is unchecked. True, you can map a macro to a single button, but that's still a button taken up, and you have to remember what button is mapped to what command.

I highly recommend giving the free download a try.

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