I’ll start off this post by saying that the whole reason for this post (and the game behind it) is 100% due to the most excellent third season of Star Trek Picard that we’ve just had. It captured the continuation of the Next Generation era extremely well and gave me an itch that I need to scratch - be it with a board game or a video game.
The board game Star Trek Frontiers looks great, but it’s very hard to get hold of and is selling for well over the RRP. It’s something I might have to look at later on. We’ll see.
Okay. Let’s set the scene…..
Way back in the early 2000s, 2001 to be precise, Microsoft ventured into the game controller space.
There was a whole range of Accessories sold under the Sidewinder brand. There was a gamepad that plugged into the midi port on your sound card (remember those?), they had a force feedback joystick that seemed well out of the budget of someone earning around £12,000 a year (was probably more than it felt like) and they also had the Microsoft Sidewinder Game Voice.
As well as allowing you to have isolated voice channels for different team mates, this also allowed voice control in certain games.
It was a super exciting time to be a gamer, and it was one of the first peripherals I had that was USB. Back when it was ‘plug and pray’.
In 2002, Star Trek Bridge Commander was released. This supported the Sidewinder Game Voice from release and allowed you to say things like ‘red alert’ to make the shields go up and ‘fire phasers’ to have it fire your phasers at your target.
It was the closest you could come to being an actual Starship captain on a Galaxy Class vessel.
I remember seeing in 2021 that GoG had released Bridge Commander with a bunch of other gems like Elite Force 2. I didn’t buy it at the time, but decided that I wanted to grab it this weekend and start having a play around with it. It’s only £6.29 at the time of writing.
Star Trek Bridge Commander on GoG.com
It’s a fairly simple install and download, like much of the GoG fare. In order to make the experience that bit more immersive, you can install some mods and add voice commands by following the steps below:
Once you’ve installed the game from GoG, you can grab the free ‘Star Trek Bridge Commander Remastered’ mod that updates the graphics, sounds and cutscenes to make it feel like a more modern game worthy of your screen resolution in 2023.
Star Trek Bridge Commander Remastered Mod on Nexus Mods
Once you’ve followed those instructions there you’ll also need to patch the stbc.exe file so that it can use 4GB of virtual memory instead of only 2GB on 64bit platforms. 4GB Patch is available here. The intructions for all of this are in a readme file in the remastered mod.
Next up, we need to grab Voice Attack. You can either get that from their official site here and its also available on Steam. There’s a free demo that allows for 20 commands to see if it’ll do what you want it to do. This obviously isn’t limited to just STBC - you could use this for allsorts of things.
I’ve set up and exported a profile that you can import into Voice Attack - this has 70 commands in it so far and will probably be updated in the coming days as I play through the game properly. It definitely replicates the old feelings of playing it when it came out with voice command enabled.
Hopefully you’ll have a good time playing on this just like I am doing.
May the force be with you…..wait…no….that’s the wrong franchise. Live long and prosper!