New Project to Bring Speech to Gaming

Acapela Group has teamed with several other European firms to work on a project that could ultimately make it possible for game players speaking different languages to interface using the same voice.

D-Box, as the project is being called, seeks to develop and test an architecture for conversational agents whose purpose would be to support multilingual collaboration between users on a common problem in an interactive application. The interactive agent would enable typewritten and/or spoken collaboration in the users' native languages; all user interactions would be transmitted through the D-Box multilingual agent, which would manage and support the dialogues based on its understanding of the users' shared goals and then process, extract, and transfer knowledge among users. The agent would have no translation capabilities, but would instead have access to rich linguistic resources in multiple languages and domain-and application-specific knowledge bases.

From a research point of view, the project requires building a multilingual conversational agent that would seamlessly interact with multiple users speaking different languages and driven by a common goal defined by the game. This involves the development and integration of multilingual speech recognition systems, multilingual speech synthesis, multilingual dialogue modelling, and cross-domain adaptation resources.

The system consists of several modules, all connected and communicating with one another. They include the following:

  • dialogue engine (DE);
  • automatic speech recognition (ASR);
  • text-to-speech synthesizer (TTS);
  • communication module (COM-Modul);
  • audio manager;
  • game-client; and
  • game-server.

The project is funded by EUREKA, a European research and development funding and coordination organization. In addition to Acapela, which is based in Belgium, other project participants include Mi'pu'mi Games, Idiap Research Institute, Koemei, Sikom Software, and Universität des Saarlandes.

The D-Box project will use three languages: English, German, and French.

"Gaming has not yet entered the speech dimension, and the D-Box project is a great opportunity to introduce real conversational capabilities to new games in the very near future. We are looking forward to seeing and hearing developers design their games with conversation at the heart of their game architecture. We are very enthusiastic about being part of this project, about contributing our expertise, and about working with such prestigious partners," said Lars-Erik Larsson, CEO of Acapela Group, in a statement.

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