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roshan

Full Voice Acting in RPGS

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Voicing the player character is a horrible idea, btw, because it always ends up being a generic voice, and almost nobody will like that voice on their character.

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Full voice acting, for me, brings full immersion into the atmosphere of the game.  It makes the characters actually feel alive.  I compare video games to movies, not books.  And thus, I can't imagine watching a movie where I had to read all subtitles with no speech at all.

 

 

I doi noit uinderstand hoiw fuill voiiice acting adds immersioin toi the game. I doi noit feel immersed at all when I loiok at the roiboitic facial expressioins oif the characters in koitoir and listen toi their flat generic voices.

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Full voice acting, for me, brings full immersion into the atmosphere of the game.  It makes the characters actually feel alive.  I compare video games to movies, not books.  And thus, I can't imagine watching a movie where I had to read all subtitles with no speech at all.

I think bad voice acting kills immersion more than having to read text.

 

I agree.

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What's with all the extra "i"?

...I wasi wondering thatii too. i

 

My keyboiaird is buiisted.

 

There's no reason you can't copy/paste what your about to post into a word document and let it do a spell check for you. Also if you use Firefox there are plugins that will spell check for you.

 

Or go spend a couple dollars on a cheap keyboard.

 

The proiblem is that I am uising a laptoiip with a buiilt in keyboiard. I tried an external keyboiard buit it didnt woirk. Soii I have toii wait uintil I coimiplete my vacatioin, retuirn hoime and have my laptoip repaired foir free by the coimpany.

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Final fantasy ten was good as I said before. It had only certain points where you would trigger scenes and get actual Dialogue. Thus they could work their way around classes and Character names.


Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

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In my opinion, VO is a valuable addition to an RPG game.  It allows for more things to be said with less actual dialog, which allows for more dialog in total.

 

Consider, for example, the difference in meaning and feeling among these sentences:

 

WHAT the hell are we going to do?!

 

What the HELL are we going to do?!

 

What the hell ARE we going to do?!

 

What the hell are WE going to do?!

 

What the hell are we going to DO?!

 

The meaning is different in each one, but it's controlled by emphasis, not words.  Sure, there's text means of indicating emphasis, but they break down when it comes to sentences where the emphasis isn't so obvious to begin with.

 

So in that respect, VO adds a lot, and it adds this equally whether you're dealing with Joe Nobody or a major NPC.

 

I also agree with those posters who have said that it can be jarring to have one NPC or one line voice acted and another silent.  It just feels a lot more artificial to me.

 

Regardless, in most cases I think VO seriously adds to the game, most notably those games which pursue atmosphere.  The atmosphere of a game like Eternal Darkness is incredible, but it wouldn't be nearly as impressive without the awesome voice-acting that goes with it.

 

I think that this is the exact proiblem with fuilly voiiced rpgs. Yoiiui are right that the emphasis placed oini the woirids changes the meaning oifi a sentence. Buit this toioil is oifiten NOIT uised in fuilly voiiced rpgs. Kresselack, Larrel, Aruindel, Tandi, Deioinarra and many oithers proiperly emphasized their woirds and sentences. This was what made their voiiice acting soii great.

 

Hoiwever, this is noiti the case with Koitoir and its generic, bland voiices.

 

Voiiice acting oif the quiality oifi the aboivie games requiires a loit of moiney. In fact many oif the characters oifi the bis games were voiiice acted by soimie very talented celebrities(Foir example, sheena eastoin did annah). It is oibvioiuisly noiti poissible toii have celebrities and highly talented peoiiple voiice act the whoile oif koitoir. I woiiuild rather have a few characters with great voiice acting rather than thoiuisands whoi soiuind like roiboits. Koitoir had a large quiantity oif voiice acting, the ie games anf falloiuit had a high quiality oifi voiice acting. I prefer quiality oiver quiantity.

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For me, having only the key characters in a game fully voiced, makes those characters tend to stick out too much. It feels like walking through a world of mutes and then suddenly happen upon someone who can talk. Sure, it might make the characters memorable, but is that really a good thing? Wouldn't it be cooler if you remembered the character because of its fantastic dialogue lines or its fascinating personality, instead of only remembering it because it was the only creature with a voice in a world of mutes?

 

 

The proiblem here is that a vast majoirity oif characters in an rpg doi noit have fascinating persoinalities. Foir example, generic toiwnspersoiini a oiri generic bar waiter b. These characters are merely side characters and are irrelevant toii the main game.

 

Soi what is the poiint oifi voiice acting these characters? The fact that koitoiir has fuill voiice acting did noit make the generic characters any moirie memoirable. I still foiriogoit the randoimi toiwnspersoin within secoiinids oifi ending the dialoigiuie.

 

The oinily impact that koitoirs fuill vice acting had oini the game is that thoisie characters whoi did have interesting persoiinialties and played impoiritant roiiles became moiire foirgettable.

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What makes you think this is the case? Remember, in game development most dialog gets written, looked over, snipped down, looked over again, ect. The less important stuff gets cut.

 

This makes writing dialog a lengthy process - considerably more so than recording a few lines of dialog with an actor you already have. The limitations on dialog in recent are generally writing-based rather than VO-based.

 

But hey, don't take my word for it...ask a dev!

 

Writing a dialoigiuie is a loing proiccess buit soi is QUIALITY voiiice acting. The voiices need toi be rehearsed, the recoiirding needs toii be doiinie several times uintil the actoirs get the lines right and they are well delivered.

 

In the oild bis/bioi rpgs, the voiice acting was great becauise the foicuis was oini the quiality oifi the voiiice acting. Hoiwever, in games like koitoiir, where the focuis was oini quiantity, we can clearly see that the quiality has suiffered.

 

This is not necessarily true. It was not true in KotOR, for instance, and for a very good reason. Would you believe that KotOR had a first draft? It was a completely written game at one point, with the shortest dialogue we could possibly get away with because we were under a very draconian word count limit due to the cost of VO. It was also terrible. Awful. If a character had more than one line it, out of necessity, both introduced itself and gave it's quest by the time the second line was done. When you have a 10,000-word limit on a chapter, though, there's not much wiggle room.

 

And the Powers That Be acknowledged the problem. That version of KotOR was scrapped and we started over... with complete carte blanche to write dialogues as long as we felt were necessary. I think it showed in KotOR's writing and we're doing DA the same way. Indeed, we're actually going out of our way to make extra paths the standard.

 

And while we can't do character names, we *do* intend to do such references as he/she and him/her, only sparingly. As you can imagine, doing one of those requires two seperate lines, but when you have another line for an elf and one for a nobleman and one for a barbarian and... well, you get the picture... then it doesn't seem like such a big deal.

 

In short, I would agree that VO can be a huge limiting factor on the writing... but only when it is done cheaply. If the Powers That Be are willing to put the writing first and the VO second there really shouldn't be a problem (beyond having no NPC ever actually say the player's name, which is a bit of a trick to get around... but they didn't do it in KotOR, either, and I don't think it was actually missed.)

It should also be noted that less VO does not equate to more writing/more story. Us writers do not work on VO, so it's not as if having less VO means more time for us to write.

 

Koitoir is basically an rpg that is pretty muich the same noi matter hoiw yoiiu play it. At the moisit, there are choiices between dark oiri light side answers oir quiest paths, buit oitiherwise the few chaarcter optioins that yoiui are presented with have little impact oini the way that the stoiry plays oiuit. I have almoist coiimpelted taris and I have yet toi see my choiice oif being a warrioir have any impact oini the dialoigiuie whatsoiever. Heres a thoiuight: Maybe, juisit maybe, if bioiwiare didnt have toi think aboiuiti the coist oif voiiice acting the extra lines, they coiuild have incluidied soiime extra class based dialoigiuie oiptioins?

 

DESPITE THE SIMPLICITY OIFI THE DIALOIGUIE, koitoir almoisit had its entire dialoigiuie guitted becauise oifi the coiists oif fuill voiice acting - WHICH WASNT EVEN DOINIE WELL IN THE FIRST PLACE.

 

If crappy fuill VO can be a huige limiting factoir(dave gaiders own words) in a very simplistic rpg like koitoir, what moiire in a game like toirment, which had coimipletely different dialoigiuie paths foiir characters with high intelligence, wisdoimi and charisma, and alsoi based oini yoiuir class and alignment? And what moiirie falloiuit, with all the stats and skills that play a roile in the dialoigiuie? And what moiire a game like jeffersoiini, where huindreds oifi coimbinatioinis oif variables were goiing toii have an impact oini the dialoiguie?

 

Are yoiui trying toi tell me that the coiist oif high quiality fuill voi woiiuild noit have had any impactoini the writing of jeffersoiini, falloiuit oir torment?

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My point is, you're not going to see an RPG with the text of Torment or BG in today's market for a lot of reasons, not including VO. Blaming VO for the shortening of games in the industry is barking up the wrong tree.

 

Games are shorter and have less depth because of the rising costs of graphical and game development, primarily. Likewise, the market has shifted such that the majority of gamers want a more streamlined game. Love it or hate it, this is the case, and it really doesn't have anything at all to do with VO - it has far more to do with graphics and technology improvements in general.

 

Less dialog allows for VO, but if game development still allowed PS: T-style dialog then full VO would probably be less of a requirement. As it is, if you removed VO from a game like KOTOR I doubt you'd see better dialog at all. As Gaider said, they were allowed to write that dialog irrespective of VO limitations after the first disasterous try, which means that if you don't like the writing then the blame should fall squarely on the heads of the writers.

 

I do agree with you that GOOD VO is important and the repetitive alien voices in KOTOR annoyed me too, but that's a problem with the implementation rather than the concept. You can implement any feature poorly enough to detract from the game, but it doesn't logically follow that implementing that feature well will detract from the game.

 

Again, I'd strongly suggest playing Eternal Darkness if you have access to a Gamecube. It's not an RPG, but it's an excellent demonstration of good voice acting and how it can add to a game (aside from being really awesomely fun for those who enjoyed the works of H. P. Lovecraft.)


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I thought that's what the subtitles, and ability to turn off voice volume (in some titles) were for.


I had thought that some of nature's journeymen had made men and not made them well, for they imitated humanity so abominably. - Book of Counted Sorrows

 

'Cause I won't know the man that kills me

and I don't know these men I kill

but we all wind up on the same side

'cause ain't none of us doin' god's will.

- Everlast

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I would have rather read text rather than hear the same alien VO bits in KOTOR.

 

Agreed heartily. The alien bits were incredibly irritating.

 

That's not even full VO though, that's just soundclips. The repetitive alien clips would have been solved if Bioware had implemented 'true' full VO rather than just throwing in a couple irritating bits of gibberish.


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I was sad I couldn't kill Gluupor :(

 

I hate those suckerfaced things :p

 

Ooogly :)

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Nah, they're cute.

 

They only get scary when an erotic fanart artist gets ahold of them and draws a 'coupling' with Princess Leia. :ph34r:

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There should be laws against eortic fanartists, too many times have my eyes and brain been polluted by the 'artistic' expressions of an obviously unsound mind.

 

 

And by the minute amount of expertise granted to me by going to Dev school, I can say that doing VO's for 10000+ lines of text is insanely expensive. Until we get working voice synthesizers, we'll just have to make do with compromises.


DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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I was sad I couldn't kill Gluupor :(

 

I hate those suckerfaced things :p

 

Ooogly :)

Smeelia! Opa-di-nopa bu-casa. <_<


manthing2.jpg

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Given that I don't directly understand wookie speak, I'm not going to let it play in its entirety.

 

The only dialogues I "skipped" in KOTOR were the alien ones, because I knew they were repetitive and wouldn't have expected otherwise. Having said that, if they were mute and the rest of the world vocal, I would have disliked it.

 

But I love full voice over. It's cool sneaking around in a game like Deus Ex and having the NPCs do random barks to each other. It doesn't work as well in a game without full voice over, because you have to move your eyes off of something that could be important otherwise. I would miss most "banter" in a game like Baldur's Gate, because the barks would be displayed on the same chat channel as every other message in the game. Worse yet, they could pause it, which takes me out of the experience even more.

 

 

But if you can't accept that some people feel it makes the world more immersive, then there's no real point creating a discussion asking why people like it. In a world where everyone talks, I'm never taken out of the game universe. If people talk sporadically, or only certain people talk, then it tend to take things away from the overall experience, especially nowadays.

 

Sure, it was neat seeing the Talking Heads in Fallout, but I disagree that they make the character more memorable. If you remember a character or think that that character stood out more simply because they actually spoke their lines, then I would say the developers failed with that character. I prefer to remember the characters for their interesting personalities.

 

I also think that talking becomes more important as the experience shifts more towards first person or third person views. KOTOR for example shows the faces of people close up when talking with them. Having them stare blankly at me while I read a line of dialogue would seem silly. I find partial voice overs or the outright lack of voice overs more appropriate in a game with a more distant, isometric view. I don't remember missing voice overs in NWN, but I do remember thinking Anachronox seemed silly to not have them.

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Ooota goota, Solo?


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Might as well have secondary characters in movies not talk either.

 

They might deliver poor acting for their parts!

 

 

Actually, a lot of films do precisely that if they are on a budget. :thumbsup:


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Nah, they're cute. 

 

They only get scary when an erotic fanart artist gets ahold of them and draws a 'coupling' with Princess Leia.  :ph34r:

Oh. My. God.

 

 

That is a disgusting thought :thumbsup::blink:

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