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If full voice-over is not within budget

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The more I play DOS2 the more I like/enjoy the VO honestly. The actors are really good. And that narrator guy that I though it's gonna be cheasy listening him talk at the begining... I like him a lot. The deal is he's not written in a bookish way; he's written in a DMish way. It's really more like you have a narrator reading you a story than having literature words describing stuff.

Edited by Sedrefilos
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The VA strike looks to be resolved now.

 

Any idea how those turned out, out of curiosity? Industry impact, etc.? I wonder if that affected this game when they went to find voice actors.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I haven't looked deep into the VA Strike, but video games are super hard to make and people spend years doing academic training to build the technology that drives them. The games industry is one of the few creative industries where programmers salaries aren't gouged by self-entitled celebrities. If the VAs aren't asking for anything to grand, I don't have a huge problem. More competitive pay is certainly fine, but giving them negotiating power over residuals just seems totally unfair. Especially if they can negotiate after establishing a character. Very few game programmers can hope for the job security that being an iconic voice might bring. If residuals are introduced into the industry, it needs to be for everyone so as to not become the abomination that is the tv and movie industry.

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When I heard of the announcement that they did full VO even though they didn't have the budget, I thought "oh ****, they're raising the bar for Deadfire where it's unrealistic to expect Obsidian to do the same". Especially the tongue-in-cheek line how they just needed some more coffee and good old fashioned PASHUN for the cause. I know it's not like that, they must surely have thrown in money that wasn't planned for, but inevitably there will be people who demand the same from Obsidian and then if full VO doesn't come to pass for Deadfire (while not even knowing the word count of both games), they'd conclude that Larian are the more passionate studio.

 

As for VO features, maybe put in a "little" feature that allows players to record their own readings while playing the game, like a little red record button next to the text box (which can be hidden of course). Then have the game upload the audio file with corresponding paragraph ID to Obsidian's server. Obsidian then can publish full, vetted VO packs to download over the workshop? It'd be a big technical feature, not to mention the job of curating people's audio files (maybe allow for the community to help out? Is there a way to weed out audiofiles based on technical specs algorithmically, ensuring a fidelity baseline?), but I find myself enjoying YT lets players who read every bit of dialog and narration in old CRPGs. It could be a cost-effective way to serve people with VO, though it should be additional and not in place of actual professional VO.

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 inevitably there will be people who demand the same from Obsidia

I wouldn't say "demand" ('cause I never demand from games) but I'd love to see they do the same. I was mentioning how I'd like a fully VO sequel back when I finished Pillars 1. For me VO brings life to a game and, honestly, I haven't played a game released after 2000 with bad voice acting. Not even mediocre.

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Another point about the narrator in DOS2.

As I said, the narrator is written in a DM-ish way. That is important because 1) the voice over fits, because it a voice for an extra, specific character and (most importantly)

2) the narrator doesen't pop up during one's speech.

There is dialogue, the narrator may -after the character has finished their line, this is very important- pop up and describe things and then the dialogue continues. He dosen't interrupt one person's dialogue because he's a narrator and not abstract text. And the game treats him as a narrator.

This is the only game with written descriptions inbetween dialogue that I've played and really liked. Larian nailed one more thing that was tricky and never implemented right in games, for me.

Edited by Sedrefilos

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 inevitably there will be people who demand the same from Obsidia

I wouldn't say "demand" ('cause I never demand from games) but I'd love to see they do the same. I was mentioning how I'd like a fully VO sequel back when I finished Pillars 1. For me VO brings life to a game and, honestly, I haven't played a game released after 2000 with bad voice acting. Not even mediocre.

 

 

I was referring to the unreasonably entitled type of gamer. I like VO for the same reasons you state and full VO for Deadfire would be amazing, though I don't expect it. Maybe I'm just a cynical, jaded guy, but what with the times we currently live in, there's no limit to the idiocy I can imagine gamers steeping to. 

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 inevitably there will be people who demand the same from Obsidia

I wouldn't say "demand" ('cause I never demand from games) but I'd love to see they do the same. I was mentioning how I'd like a fully VO sequel back when I finished Pillars 1. For me VO brings life to a game and, honestly, I haven't played a game released after 2000 with bad voice acting. Not even mediocre.

 

 

I was referring to the unreasonably entitled type of gamer. I like VO for the same reasons you state and full VO for Deadfire would be amazing, though I don't expect it. Maybe I'm just a cynical, jaded guy, but what with the times we currently live in, there's no limit to the idiocy I can imagine gamers steeping to. 

 

As far as I see, here in these forums, at least, there is no demand for full VO; quite the opposite I'd say :p

People are more traditional - most don't want VO at all and others don't want it even if it can be muted, of fear it'll drag effort from the main game to the voicing and it'll limit the dialogue options.

Of course I don't believe that. New Vegas was fully voiced and had a million dialogues, Witcher 3 too and Larian just proved that it is doable if you're willing to do it. And DOS2 is heavy on dialogue and narrative - they didn't cut anything to fit the VO in.

I'm ok with whatever Obsidian decides is best for the game, although, I'd love Deadfire to be fully voiced.

 

But, yes, I can see to which people you are referring to :)

Edited by Sedrefilos

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DOS2 has far less text than PoE (BG/BG2/IWD etc). There are no walls of text anywhere, avarage paragraph length is about 2.5 sentences. Nothing wrong with that, but it's avery different writing style.

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Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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DOS2 has far less text than PoE (BG/BG2/IWD etc). There are no walls of text anywhere, avarage paragraph length is about 2.5 sentences. Nothing wrong with that, but it's avery different writing style.

Actually, DOS2 has 74k lines of dialogues with voice over and over 1m words. That's about Dragon Age Inquisition level of voice acting budget. BG2 had 57k lines of dialogues, but around 1 millions words.

 

For comparison, POE1 had 25k line of dialogues with a bit over 6k of them voice acted. It was announced in the FIGstarter that Deafire would get x2 the voice acting budget of POE1, so their VO budget is for ~12k lines.

Bottom of the line, DOS2 voice acting budget was 12x larger than POE1's budget and 6x larger than POE2 VO budget.

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Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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DOS2 has far less text than PoE (BG/BG2/IWD etc). There are no walls of text anywhere, avarage paragraph length is about 2.5 sentences. Nothing wrong with that, but it's avery different writing style.

 

Actually, DOS2 has 74k lines of dialogues with voice over and over 1m words. That's about Dragon Age Inquisition level of voice acting budget. BG2 had 57k lines of dialogues, but around 1 millions words.

 

For comparison, POE1 had 25k line of dialogues with a bit over 6k of them voice acted. It was announced in the FIGstarter that Deafire would get x2 the voice acting budget of POE1, so their VO budget is for ~12k lines.

 

Bottom of the line, DOS2 voice acting budget was 12x larger than POE1's budget and 6x larger than POE2 VO budget.

An interesting comparison but I wouldnt use the word “budget” as we don’t know how much money is spent on what. We can’t possibly compare voice acting budgets between both games, as they are created on different continents.


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DOS2 has far less text than PoE (BG/BG2/IWD etc). There are no walls of text anywhere, avarage paragraph length is about 2.5 sentences. Nothing wrong with that, but it's avery different writing style.

Actually, DOS2 has 74k lines of dialogues with voice over and over 1m words. That's about Dragon Age Inquisition level of voice acting budget. BG2 had 57k lines of dialogues, but around 1 millions words.

 

For comparison, POE1 had 25k line of dialogues with a bit over 6k of them voice acted. It was announced in the FIGstarter that Deafire would get x2 the voice acting budget of POE1, so their VO budget is for ~12k lines.

 

Bottom of the line, DOS2 voice acting budget was 12x larger than POE1's budget and 6x larger than POE2 VO budget.

 

An interesting comparison but I wouldnt use the word “budget” as we don’t know how much money is spent on what. We can’t possibly compare voice acting budgets between both games, as they are created on different continents.

 

Voice Actor salaries are standardized when it comes to unionized work (both POE1 and DOS2 was unionized work going by the voice cast). EQUITY (UK where DOS2 was recorded) and SAG-AFTRA (USA where POE1 was recorded) have deals with each others so their members can work on cross-border projects which resulted in salary standardization (along other voice actors unions, it's not just a UK/USA thing).

 

That's also why EQUITY supported SAG-AFTRA during the last strike and forbid its members to work for the targeted gaming companies (Larian wasn't on the list).

 

In term of actor cost, the budget is totally comparable.

 

That leave the renting cost of the voice recording studios but I doubt there is much difference between the UK and LA there, otherwise you'll see companions pick one over the other to save cost and they aren't.

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Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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DOS2 has far less text than PoE (BG/BG2/IWD etc). There are no walls of text anywhere, avarage paragraph length is about 2.5 sentences. Nothing wrong with that, but it's avery different writing style.

Actually, DOS2 has 74k lines of dialogues with voice over and over 1m words. That's about Dragon Age Inquisition level of voice acting budget. BG2 had 57k lines of dialogues, but around 1 millions words.

 

For comparison, POE1 had 25k line of dialogues with a bit over 6k of them voice acted. It was announced in the FIGstarter that Deafire would get x2 the voice acting budget of POE1, so their VO budget is for ~12k lines.

 

Bottom of the line, DOS2 voice acting budget was 12x larger than POE1's budget and 6x larger than POE2 VO budget.

 

An interesting comparison but I wouldnt use the word “budget” as we don’t know how much money is spent on what. We can’t possibly compare voice acting budgets between both games, as they are created on different continents.

 

Voice Actor salaries are standardized when it comes to unionized work (both POE1 and DOS2 was unionized work going by the voice cast). EQUITY (UK where DOS2 was recorded) and SAG-AFTRA (USA where POE1 was recorded) have deals with each others so their members can work on cross-border projects which resulted in salary standardization (along other voice actors unions, it's not just a UK/USA thing).

 

That's also why EQUITY supported SAG-AFTRA during the last strike and forbid its members to work for the targeted gaming companies (Larian wasn't on the list).

 

In term of actor cost, the budget is totally comparable.

 

That leave the renting cost of the voice recording studios but I doubt there is much difference between the UK and LA there, otherwise you'll see companions pick one over the other to save cost and they aren't.

 

There's more that would go into that then the studio cost; transportation costs, renting places for the studio people to stay in the other city, etc. etc. The calculations aren't as straight forward as you make it seem, and there's lots of variables that we don't know about that could be preventing that decision from being common.

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DOS2 has far less text than PoE (BG/BG2/IWD etc). There are no walls of text anywhere, avarage paragraph length is about 2.5 sentences. Nothing wrong with that, but it's avery different writing style.

Actually, DOS2 has 74k lines of dialogues with voice over and over 1m words. That's about Dragon Age Inquisition level of voice acting budget. BG2 had 57k lines of dialogues, but around 1 millions words.

 

For comparison, POE1 had 25k line of dialogues with a bit over 6k of them voice acted. It was announced in the FIGstarter that Deafire would get x2 the voice acting budget of POE1, so their VO budget is for ~12k lines.

 

Bottom of the line, DOS2 voice acting budget was 12x larger than POE1's budget and 6x larger than POE2 VO budget.

 

An interesting comparison but I wouldnt use the word “budget” as we don’t know how much money is spent on what. We can’t possibly compare voice acting budgets between both games, as they are created on different continents.

 

Voice Actor salaries are standardized when it comes to unionized work (both POE1 and DOS2 was unionized work going by the voice cast). EQUITY (UK where DOS2 was recorded) and SAG-AFTRA (USA where POE1 was recorded) have deals with each others so their members can work on cross-border projects which resulted in salary standardization (along other voice actors unions, it's not just a UK/USA thing).

 

That's also why EQUITY supported SAG-AFTRA during the last strike and forbid its members to work for the targeted gaming companies (Larian wasn't on the list).

 

In term of actor cost, the budget is totally comparable.

 

That leave the renting cost of the voice recording studios but I doubt there is much difference between the UK and LA there, otherwise you'll see companions pick one over the other to save cost and they aren't.

 

There's more that would go into that then the studio cost; transportation costs, renting places for the studio people to stay in the other city, etc. etc. The calculations aren't as straight forward as you make it seem, and there's lots of variables that we don't know about that could be preventing that decision from being common.

 

 

Game VO budget include:

- cost of casting the actors (aka renting a casting agency)

- cost of voice acting (calculated by number of words * hour)

- cost of renting recording studio (fully staffed)

 

There are production companies to handle that so you don't have to.

 

Sometimes the developer will sent someone to direct the recording, but I know BioWare use video conference for that and when they send people over it is usually for marketing reasons (not in the VO budget).

 

edit: if you want to count in other possible cost, then DOS2 VO budget was probably a lot more than x12 POE1 and x6 POE2 budget.

Edited by morhilane

Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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The VA strike looks to be resolved now.

 

Any idea how those turned out, out of curiosity? Industry impact, etc.? I wonder if that affected this game when they went to find voice actors.

 

Wikipedia has a summary; according to them, negotiating for residuals was unsuccessful.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016%E2%80%9317_video_game_voice_actor_strike#2017_agreement


Therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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DOS2 has far less text than PoE (BG/BG2/IWD etc). There are no walls of text anywhere, avarage paragraph length is about 2.5 sentences. Nothing wrong with that, but it's avery different writing style.

Actually, DOS2 has 74k lines of dialogues with voice over and over 1m words. That's about Dragon Age Inquisition level of voice acting budget. BG2 had 57k lines of dialogues, but around 1 millions words.

 

For comparison, POE1 had 25k line of dialogues with a bit over 6k of them voice acted. It was announced in the FIGstarter that Deafire would get x2 the voice acting budget of POE1, so their VO budget is for ~12k lines.

Bottom of the line, DOS2 voice acting budget was 12x larger than POE1's budget and 6x larger than POE2 VO budget.

 

 

I wasn't talking about the amount of text in total. I was talking about the lengths of individual sections of text. If you look at a section of POE or BG2, and especially T:TON, you will frequently see a "wall of text". If you have a narrator read out a wall of text it rapidly becomes boring and slow. In DOS2 the descriptions are short and snappy, the characters don't go off into longwinded monologues, even when talking about their backstories, and even the journal entries are brief.

 

I wouldn't say one style is better than the other, they are just different, and one is more suited to being spoken aloud than the other.

  • Like 1

Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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I'm more with the shorter way and I think BG2 was going with that too. It had no description text, just dialogue, that's why it wasn't boring. T:TON went overboard with descriptive text it was half the reason I droped it. Pillars was somewhere inbetween but I didn't like how they handled the descriptive text; thankfully they did much of it via scripted interactions in the White March which was a huge step forward imo. I hope this is gonna be the way in Deadfire.

 

I'm the person who believes games should be mostly games and then anything else (books, movies). If I want to read a book, I'm gonna take a book, lay comfortable and read it. I don't want it to mess in my games. Same thing with movies. I really hate frequent and long cinematics in modern games. Each medium can and will borrow things from others, but it should mostly stick to what it's supposed to be.

Edited by Sedrefilos

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I'm the person who believes games should be mostly games and then anything else (books, movies). If I want to read a book, I'm gonna take a book, lay comfortable and read it. I don't want it to mess in my games. Same thing with movies. I really hate frequent and long cinematics in modern games. Each medium can and will borrow things from others, but it should mostly stick to what it's supposed to be.

In most cases I am with you. But as much as I like when movies are movies and express things via images, editing and other movie-like features I also appreciate films which are essentially recorded plays. 12ve Angry Man, Rope, Carnage are all great films, even though they are based on a play and don’t gain that much from being adapted to screen. I always thought of Baldurs Gate or Torment as interactable novels, with writing being a central part of an experience. I found Icewind Dale and NWN much less engaging as it was more combat oriented. From Deadfire I want increased reactivity and flexibility on how I approach given objectives as I see that as main gameplay of this type of RPG. I do get a feeling though that our preferences are simply a bit different;-)


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Come on; you can't say BG was an interactive novel... It felt more like a game. It had more to do with gameplay than reading or at least it was 50-50 and it wasn't writter bookishly. You never laid back and read. T:TON on the other hand had more reading than gaming and it was written bookishly. Most of the time my hands were off the keyboard/mouse and I was laying back reading scattered pages of the book with self-invented words the developers wanted to write but were forced to put some gameplay in it :p And That, it felt as an interactive novel, yeah.

 

I'm not against narrative or narration in games, I just don't want to pull my hands off the gaming gadgets for long time because I'm forced to read numerous pages or watch a short movie.

Edited by Sedrefilos
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Come on; you can't say BG was an interactive novel... It felt more like a game. It had more to do with gameplay than reading or at least it was 50-50 and it wasn't writter bookishly. You never laid back and read. T:TON on the other hand had more reading than gaming and it was written bookishly. Most of the time my hands were off the keyboard/mouse and I was laying back reading scattered pages of the book with self-invented words the developers wanted to write but were forced to put some gameplay in it :p And That, it felt as an interactive novel, yeah.

 

I'm not against narrative or narration in games, I just don't want to pull my hands off the gaming gadgets for long time because I'm forced to read numerous pages or watch a short movie.

I meant Planescape: Torment. Numenera certainly had some issues. Those lengthy barely interactive Merecasers weren’t all that fun.

 

In conversations as long as you can make choices and game respons to them/your character it’s already gameplay for me. I think the point I am trying to make is that while BG2 was easily the most entertaining of all IE games i am not all that fond of its use of dialogue system. I found both Torment and Icewind Dale2 to be superior - Torment for obvious reasons, Icewind Dale2 for an attempt at reactivity.


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In conversations as long as you can make choices and game respons to them/your character it’s already gameplay for me.

Totally agree, that's why I like games that have emphasis in roleplay. But there's a difference in having dialogue and dialogue options and having just plain written descriptive text. I never get bored from dialogues in rpgs when they give you the choice of answer and take regard of your character build. I get bored, though, from bookish written pages upon pages of descriptions :p

Pillars 1 had that problem, but they fixed it in White March with using scripted interactions style interface for most cases that a longer description was needed. DOS:2 makes descriptions more interesting by introducing the narrator, a DM-like character who describes things to you. I'm pretty sure that Deadfire will use the White March style for descriptions if not improve upon it so I'm not that worried. And, I don't know, I... hope(?) that the not so successful T:ToN will make devs think twice before deciding to sacrifice gameplay over book-writing. Man, I was so waiting for that game to come out. Pitty... :(

Edited by Sedrefilos
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The VA strike looks to be resolved now.

 

Any idea how those turned out, out of curiosity? Industry impact, etc.? I wonder if that affected this game when they went to find voice actors.

 

They got some of what they wanted. They will get some extra fees based on recording sessions and some of the information they wanted about what any given job would entail. I'd call it a win for the voice actors and it doesn't look like anything too onerous for management.

http://www.sagaftra.org/sag-aftra-reaches-tentative-agreement-end-video-game-strike-0

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Download F.lux - it's a free app that reduces the amount of blue light from your screen and puts less strain on your eyes, levels are customization. 

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I'm honestly okay with the level of voice acting that pillars 1 had going on, with some exceptions:

I did hate it when some conversations were only some parts of the dialogue were voiced, other parts were not. I don't mind if some (or even most) of the dialogue isn't voiced, or if only the companions main quest dialogue were voiced, but it should be all of it. Nothing broke my immersion more than reading the text, only to have some of the dialogue lines voiced, and then the next text block wouldn't be.

My other gripe would be if the text and dialogue were constructed in such a way that there was descriptive text preceding the voiced dialogue, but the VO triggers immediately when that next text block appears.

Beyond that, I liked the voice acting from pillars 1 just fine. Given that pillars 2 will have a limit on their VO budget, I would honestly prefer it spent on companion reactive speech, or inter-companion banter among each other. Dragon Age 2 is my favorite example of this, I would make party compositions just so I could hear different companions talk to each other. Quest dialogue VO just seems less important in a game like this. 

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