|★ APPLICATIONS ★ CREATION MUSICAL ★ SPEECH!|Amstrad Action) ★|
|Superior Software - Speech!||Applications Creation Musical|
Starting with the first of the programs, filename SPEECH, you soon discover six new commands available for you to manipulate. All are issued with the RSX bar prefix: |SAY, |SPEAK, |PITCH, |CENTRE, |LEFT and |RIGHT.
|SAY will cause English words following in quotes to be converted into phonemes or what Superior Software calls 'speech particles'. In other words, it will literally say (or attempt to) whatever is within the quotation-marks.
Adding a question-mark at the end of your sentence, within the quotes, will raise the pitch of the last word. A full-stop has the opposite effect - it lowers the pitch. A comma acts as a pause.
| SPEAK is more flexible than SAY as it allows the pitch of the vowels to be varied. This is implemented by placing a number between 1 and 9 after the vowel. Using this trick in conjunction with commas, full-stops and question-marks gives you excellent control over stress and intonation.
To change the overall pitch of the sound, there is a |PITCH command. The parameter following it ranges from 1 to 20 - 1 chooses the lowest pitch, 20 the highest.
The final three commands are for setting the channel through which the sound is to be played: |CENTRE, |LEFT and |RIGHT.
You may feel that these commands satisfy your desire to hear Arnold speak. However, there are several other interesting aspects to Speech! the other programs on the disk or tape.
All of these programs except NOTES must first have SPEECH loaded into memory, otherwise 'Unknown command will appear regularly on the screen.
DEMO gives the user a general idea of the program's capabilities. It may be wise to switch off at this point; however for those still plugged in. the demonstration shows how each command works and the effects of changing certain parameters
Next on the list is SPELL. This is quite an amusing and at th same time educational game. The program is a simple spelling test. The computer speaks the word to be spelt and prints a example sentence on the screen (with a blank, of course) to pu the word into context. There is an option to change level o difficulty, A to C.
EDIT is available for adding to the data dictionary. The dictionary allows English text to be translated into a phonetic form before it can be pronounced. The routine called Translator scans through its input-buffer and produces a list of phoneme codes in the output-buffer.
Among the other programs is SAYFILE, which allows text files to be spoken. If you save a letter written with Tasword, an assembly listing from Maxam or even a Basic program with the 'A' option (saved in Ascii form rather than tokenized), SAYFILE will churn out whatever garbage it manages to find!
The last of the six programs spews out a 27k text file to either the screen or printer. It's a detailed description : Speech!, how it works, how to incorporate the programs into your own masterpiece. It takes the user through basic programming right up to machine-code level - in fact there is nothing 'hidden', all is readily got at'! (I do not recommend the word-processor the author used for typing NOTES - it seems to have done away with the last character from every line.)
Well, with all the speech synthesizers currently available, am in two minds as to recommending this piece of software. A £15 on disk and £10 on cassette, it's not exactly cheap: paying double that amount will get you a fairly decent hardware speech synthesizer, which will not only give 'superior' speech but also stereo sound output. On the plus side, Superior Software's Speech! gives you a wide range of control over the sounds actually output and gives you the opportunity to incorporate Speech! into your own programs.
AMSTRAD ACTION #15