Vocola: Part 1 – The Basics

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is impressive software. It’s recognition accuracy is excellent. However, to unlock its full potential with macros and complex commands, you would have to purchase the Professional version for around $500, putting it well outside of the reach of many gamers. Thankfully, third-party software called Vocola can be used to replace — and in some cases, improve upon — the functionality missing from the Home and Premium versions of DNS.

Written by Rick Mohr, Vocola is available in two different versions: Vocola 2 works with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, while Vocola 3 was developed for Windows Speech Recognition. The syntax is slightly different between the two, but there is a primer of the differences available. (In most cases, you can use the same commands in either, but I will endeavor to point out the exceptions.)

Download and installation instructions: Vocola 2 | Vocola 3.

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Getting Started with Voice Recognition

A vital component of playing hands-free is some form of voice recognition software. To fulfill this need, there are two major players in the market: Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Windows Speech Recognition. While the former promises greater accuracy, the latter is included free as part of the Accessibility Features of any recent Windows operating system. (Note that there is a version of Dragon for Mac, but I have no experience with it and can thus not give my recommendation.)

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

There are actually three different versions of Dragon 13 available: Home, Premium, and Professional. For a comparison of the three different versions, you can see this PDF from Nuance. At nearly $500, Dragon Professional has the most advanced features, including the ability to write complex macros and commands. However, thanks to the free third-party software, Vocola — which I will show you how to use in a future post — you can get away with a copy of Premium, possibly Home (which I have not tried — YMMV).

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