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Bhazor

Dialog, best seen and not heard?

  

330 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you be willing to sacrifice voice work for greater breadth of content?

    • Yes
      201
    • No
      15
    • Characters should have voices but not speak every line
      171


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One development that surprised me with the Wasteland kickstarter was that fans requested that spoken dialog be cut down in favour of more content. Avellone himself said

Utilize similar writing style … and density (the Wasteland 2 backers

have repeatedly asked for more text in Wasteland rather than spending

resources on something else like [voiceovers], thankfully enough).

 

http://kotaku.com/59...would-look-like

 

Was curious how we felt about the same approach being taken in Project Eternity.

 

I liked the BG system where a characters first lines are voiced so you get a feel for them and then any wham lines or major speeches are voiced for maximum impact. I'd certainly miss it if there wasn't a little voice work as I do think it makes characters more relatable when you can attach accent or mannerism to their written dialog. I always read Anna's dialog in a thick scot brogue for example.

Edited by Bhazor

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I don't know why it would be surprising. It seems to be widely known that voicework has caused a massive decrease in dialogue choices. And more dialogue or more choice in general is one of the most common requests in RPGs today.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."

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If we can get 10k words of polished dialogue text for the same effort that goes to making voice-overs for 1k words, there's just no competition. I'm not sure if the ratio is 10:1, but I'd guess that the real difference is even greater.

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I quite liked the way the BG VO system worked, specifically BG2.

 

After I'd heard a characters voice a few times, I could pretty much imagine what they sounded like for the remainder of the dialogue. I'd love to see that used again.

 

Also, not having full voice overs means that you can actually name your character properly and everyone in the game doesn't have to refer to them as something like "Grey Warden", or "Dragonborn" etc...

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I don't know why it would be surprising

 

I've always known voice work was hugely expensive, restrictive for the creators and often skipped by the players.

 

I'm just surprised anyone else noticed.

Edited by Bhazor

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There are good voice actors who don't charge much.

 

Witcher 2 in my opinion did good with VO, but that's a whole different style of a RPG. You're basically playing a game where the main character isn't you, but already an established person with history and such..so it was fitting to have VO there.

 

Main character shouldn't have voice AT ALL. It takes too much away from imagination and building your own character. Companions should probably have some lines, and other important NPCs as well. But only a couple as to capture their essence. Irenicus in BG2 is the prime example of this.

 

Less is more!

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I think most people are agreed, VO for every line of text would be much too expensive and restrictive. However some lines for major characters would be awesome, if only to get a feel for how the writers envisioned them and for general atmosphere..I'm specifically thinking about the Ravel dialogue in PS:T here, LOTS of text with just a few lines of VO, but those few lines added LOTS of flavour.

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There are good voice actors who don't charge much.

 

I think that in most ot the cases, editing, studio time, voice directing, etc. things make most of the cost of voice acting. And only time when wages of the voice actors are higher than other cost what goes into voicing characters is when publisher/studio uses multiple high profile actors to add public intrest toward game.

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Voice work is a very expensive art tool, never understood the point in blowing all money on it even if other parts of the game still were underdeveloped. Maybe if Dragon Age 2 did't have voice acting, it would't suck as much as it did. And I don't buy that "immersion" stuff either, if you can immerse yourself in a book, than so could you in a game with book-like narrative and tools.

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There are good voice actors who don't charge much.

There's a guild. You need to pay union scale if you don't want future projects to be a huge hassle.


God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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I like a bit of voice work, but really only for initial character introductions, and real "world shaping" events. I prefer to read the rest. If I had to listen to the entire dialog, with some of the voices used in games, I'd smash my computer, kick my cat across the room, walk into the street, sit down, and light myself on fire.

 

Moderation is key.

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I'll be very curious to see how this poll looks in a few hundred votes. I'd rather have no voices and more content. However, with Obsidian developing this game entirely on their own, I would trust them to make the call if they wanted to have voice acting to the degree of a game like PS:T.

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I'd probably be fine with no voice work at all, but still... here's a suggestion for to what extent a companion character could be voiced:

 

- Introduction : The first lines of dialogue the character speaks when you meet him/her.

- Greetings : A single short line uttered by a recruited companion when you walk up and talk to him/her, or end a conversation.

- Battle cries : Lines uttered in combat, obviously.

- Commentary/Banter : (Optional) Standalone lines uttered by the character upon entering specific areas, and exchanges between companions.

 

Everything else could be entirely text. What voiced lines are there are enough to let you imagine the voice when you're reading the lines, and it'd of course be much easier to have a variety of options for conversations.

Edited by JediMB
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Something stirs within...

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Written dialogue is a must.

  • More content / detail
  • More left to the player's imagination
  • Easier for devs / mods to edit
  • Cheaper
  • More immersive than voice acting, because you don't have to deal with bad voice actors, voice actors re-used for multiple NPCs, or NPCs spouting out the same short sentences over and over again

At the very most, voice actors should be used for very basic greetings... to give the world a bit of life and ambience. Nothing more.

 

The people asking for fully voiced dialogue really don't understand how detrimental it is to RPGs.

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Yes. Someday we may develop a technology to synthesize realistic voices but till then, voice acting is expensive and games like RPG where you are trying to create a living world with deep stories, its not practical to voice all written dialog. So for the time being, we have to settle for just the texts.

 

Note that I'm not saying we should have majority text only for the sake of it. I'm just saying we have to make do with what technology allows us at the moment.

 

Voice certainly increases immersion, and should be implemented where and when its practical.

Edited by Hornet85

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Personally I think games like Dragon Age Origins suffered heavily from everything being voiced. The reality is that while you might think it adds immersion it doesn't really because you have to wait for your choices to appear and then read them when in a real conversation that would occur while the person was still talking and your response would be instant.

 

DAO was a good game but it could have been great if it had more areas to actually explore that didn't have anything to do with the main plot. I can imagine that even considering adding more content brings groans of pain when VO work is mentioned. Also additional mods and official addons are usually few and content light due to the weight of VO work required.

 

BG/PST system is the best, it is part of the reason why we love them so much even if we don't realise how much it contributes.

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I actually found the system of VO used in the IE games to be a bit annoying at times. When a character has a line of dialogue that's three sentences long, and only the first sentence is voiced, the abruptness of the sudden switch to silence part way through the line always felt really jarring. Same, to a lesser degree, with dialogues in which the entirety of the first line is voiced but then the rest of the dialogue is text only. If they insist on putting in voice-overs, I would prefer to have select dialogues (e.g. the first dialogue with a character to set the tone and only key plot scenes thereafter) entirely voiced and the rest entirely voiceless.

 

While great voice acting made some of the scenes in the IE games extra cool, like the scene when the mages come to arrest Irenicus and Imoen for using magic or when you first meet Deionarra in Torment, I really don't think it's necessary to have VO at all. Even as a kid, I found text only stories like Final Fantasy Tactics to be very engrossing. I could vividly imagine how all the characters would deliver their lines and what sorts of voices and accents they would have. I would have no problem characterizing the characters in P:E with outthe assistance of recorded dialogue.

 

That said, since the devs have said that it will be limited VO, I hope that they at least distribute the VO better so that it's sudden absence will be less intrusive than it was in the Infinity Engine games.

Edited by eimatshya

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Acually, I've recenlty played PS:T with mods which exctract the voiceover not included in the original game (where you only hear the first line and a lil' bit more). And I didn't like it. The acting is fine, but I've come across a typical "movie shot after a book" problem: I like my imagination (based on descriptions, personalities and phrasing) better. So I'd actually prefer no voiceover at all or veeeeeery little of it.


you can watch my triumphant procession to Rome

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Generally speaking I read faster than most VO actors speak, so it tends to slow the game down to have to listen to dialogues.

 

I really have no problem with no VO at all in the game; if it is going to be there I'd prefer it to be in specific cases (narration, starting dialogues of named characters, interparty shouts).

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