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Microsoft SAPI Text To Speech Voices

WARNING: Spoonbill Software's Blind Gamers games will work with Microsoft SAPI voices, Sam, Mike and Mary (Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP) and with Anna (Vista and Windows 7). They will also work with SAPI voices provided with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 and will also work with some, but not all, other non-Microsoft voices. The voice will only work if it is Microsoft SAPI compliant. Other SAPI voices are available for purchase on the Internet, and generally these are of much higher quality than the free SAPI voices which come with Windows or which are available on the Internet. A particularly clear SAPI voice is required for the word games where the individual letters of the alphabet are spoken. With the lower quality SAPI voices it is often very difficult if not impossible to distinguish between B and P, D and T etc.

The Blind Gamers games do not have built-in voice, but use whatever voice you have selected as the default SAPI voice in the Windows Control Panel. If it's Microsoft Sam, then you probably think Spoonbill Software's games aren't that good, and it might have put you off playing them. Here's what to do to select an alternate, clearer voice, provided you have Windows XP or an earlier version of Windows.

Go into the Windows Control Panel and double-click on the Speech icon. This will bring up the Speech Properties dialog. Click on the Text-To-Speech tab and on this tab there is a drop-down list of available voices. If Sam is the only one you have, you'll need to install the Mike and Mary voices. You can download the appropriate Windows Installer from the Blind Gamers Links page. If you already have the three voices installed, just drop down the list and select Mike or Mary as your default voice. I find that Mary is the clearest of the three. Once selected as the default, whenever you run a Blind Gamers game, it will use this default voice.

Unfortunately, if you have Vista or Windows 7 then you will only have Microsoft Anna. The Sam, Mike and Mary voices will not work under these two versions of Windows. If you have 32-bit Vista or Windows 7, you can visit the Blind Gamers links page and download English Emily as an alternative, clearer SAPI voice.