Voice acting and dialogue

This forum is the ideal place for all discussion relating to X4. You will also find additional information from developers here.

Moderator: Moderators for English X Forum

Honved
Posts: 1203
Joined: Sun, 20. Jun 10, 14:53

Post by Honved » Wed, 6. Jun 18, 17:14

CBJ wrote:It's not a question of lack of thought. As I've mentioned before, the problem with "background chatter" in a game that people play for 100s of hours is repetitiveness.
Exactly. Writing dialog isn't difficult. Writing enough dialog not to seem mind-numbingly repetitive after 100+ hours of playing time is a lot more work, and enough for the 1000+ hour players is asking a lot. Adding triggers to tell the AI when to use what dialog takes even more time. Blocking dialog when it's clearly out of place takes additional time and an understanding of the player's progress and accomplishments to that point. The task quickly balloons from "trivial" into some ginormous amount of effort to make it even remotely believable.


Silence is often the best option.

User avatar
Ketraar
Moderator (DevNet)
Moderator (DevNet)
Posts: 8709
Joined: Fri, 21. May 04, 17:15

Post by Ketraar » Wed, 6. Jun 18, 17:40

I love how this was "solved" in KSP where you can enable a mod that just uses sampled voice from NASA missions. In that case its very fitting and tbh I cant go into KSP without it. So maybe something similar to Chatterer would be enough, it would be for me.
Also pre-emptively mentioning that it can be turned on and off on the fly, making the "make it optional" crowd happy. :-P

MFG

Ketraar

User avatar
sd_jasper
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon, 25. Jan 16, 01:44

Post by sd_jasper » Wed, 6. Jun 18, 17:46

Honved wrote:
CBJ wrote:It's not a question of lack of thought. As I've mentioned before, the problem with "background chatter" in a game that people play for 100s of hours is repetitiveness.
Exactly. Writing dialog isn't difficult. Writing enough dialog not to seem mind-numbingly repetitive after 100+ hours of playing time is a lot more work, and enough for the 1000+ hour players is asking a lot. Adding triggers to tell the AI when to use what dialog takes even more time. Blocking dialog when it's clearly out of place takes additional time and an understanding of the player's progress and accomplishments to that point. The task quickly balloons from "trivial" into some ginormous amount of effort to make it even remotely believable.


Silence is often the best option.
Also, voice actors can be expensive. Not just in voice actors' pay, but in the whole process to create voiced lines. Good voice acting needs good writing, good editing, a good voice actor, a good director to give info and make sure the actor gives the appropriate reading, and a dozen other things. Then once it is recorded, it can't easily be changed w/o the need to bring back the actor, redo the voice (really need the director here to make sure they use the same tone and inflection to match other lines). And of course if you want to support multiple languages ... that takes more than just translation. You have to be on alert for turns of phrase that don't translate (this is why most companies call the it "localization" not "translation").

And all this takes so much time! This can greatly extend out development time and push budgets way up!

Personally, I really hope that speech synthesis continues to improve and become more natural sounding (sorry voice actors).

... I might be a bit opinionated on this, having worked on two MMOs that were "fully voiced" and having to deal with "post recording changes"....

radcapricorn
Posts: 447
Joined: Mon, 14. Jul 08, 13:07

Post by radcapricorn » Wed, 6. Jun 18, 21:28

If you do it, do it right, or not at all. Unfortunately, nowadays people ignore this fundamental rule, and we get Oblivions, Skyrims, and X Rebirths. BtF to X3 universes all seem more alive and convincing precisely because they don't have these cardboard cutout grim mysterious strangers pre-programmed with silly monologues. You don't see all those people in previous games, you just know they're there. In XR, you do see them, and they're... dead husks.

Honved
Posts: 1203
Joined: Sun, 20. Jun 10, 14:53

Post by Honved » Thu, 7. Jun 18, 17:04

sd_jasper wrote:Also, voice actors can be expensive. Not just in voice actors' pay, but in the whole process to create voiced lines. Good voice acting needs good writing, good editing, a good voice actor, a good director to give info and make sure the actor gives the appropriate reading, and a dozen other things.
That's why the voice actors need some kind of direction and a pre-written script with a few alternate phrases from the start, as well as a director who understands the story segment and what's required, rather than ending up with a line that only semi-fits for one reason or another, and got used only because it would cost too much to redo it. A few extra minutes up front while everyone and everything is there could save a major headache and expense down the road.

As I've said, the biggest issues in most voiced games seem to be where the voice actor apparently had no idea of what attitude or emphasis was required, how to pronounce a word, or some other writing/coaching issue, not that the acting itself was terrible. A really good voice actor can sometimes work around the issues or make it sound convincing even if they're guessing at the character's personality, but it doesn't take a top notch voice actor to speak a line for a character and situation that's clearly spelled out for them. Either you pay more for extra time and skills for writing and coaching, or else pay a voice actor who can make the best of a bad or unclear script. The latter approach won't help the lines that the better actor didn't voice.

Veeshan
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun, 10. Feb 13, 06:01

Post by Veeshan » Thu, 14. Jun 18, 00:34

Put me in the "campy is okay if not overdone" camp. I was more annoyed by the aggressively rude lines than the silly ones.

However, one thing that does bug a bit is the mispronunciation or improper cadence and tone, unrealistic nuance, etc. If you're having trouble finding native English speakers, I'm happy to do any lines for free, don't mind signing various agreements etc :)

DaMuncha
Posts: 921
Joined: Mon, 1. Nov 10, 11:00

Post by DaMuncha » Thu, 14. Jun 18, 00:43

Show me your queers please!

Post Reply

Return to “X4: Foundations”