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 Post subject: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 3:09 pm 
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How important are voices to you in a videogame?

As many of you know, I'm part of a group working on a bishojo game, and we will not have voices this time (but we will have music & sound effects). I would like to get a feel for how much this matters for this game and if we should be devoting a big chunk of our budget for future games to audio recording. I thought about just posting this in my production journal thread, but decided I wanted a broader opinion.

Please answer with regards to any videogame, but if you want to specify a specific genre (FPS, bishojo novel, etc.), feel free!

Personally, I think it depends on the game. I think the video sequences and sound effects made games like Command & Conquer a lot more fun and stand out from the crowd. But I don't miss audio in Puzzle Quest and sometimes I turn off the audio on my Wii Fit because it is gets annoying... Where do you draw the line?

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 5:41 pm 
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For me the more indepth the game is with the character the more i like to have voices. For example I love it when Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts has voices..it seems to add more to their personality. I always wish Nintendo would give Link a voice. Now when it comes to battles is when you should be able to disable voices. I don't need to hear the character say the name of her attack everytime i use it and I don't need to hear the character give a little phrase or word everytime an enemy is defeated. For example everytime you defeat a General in Dynasty Warriors the character you are playing as will say something. In Star Ocean everytime you win a battle the character that dealt the last blow will say something (also when they level up too). This is when it gets to be far beyond annoying.

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 7:00 pm 
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I would say that voices are definitely preferable to just having music. In an RPG, or any type of game with a story, you get a more immersive feel if the characters have their own voices. This is, of course, only if the voices are done well so they don't end up detracting from the end product. Now, a game without any characters or such doesn't really lose much by not having any voices. If you play, idk, tetris, you don't need some guy being like "Triple Combo!" or something. Now, even without voices these games can be great. Just look at all the SNES and PS1 games that didn't have voices and were still a blast. So not having voices doesn't kill a title like that, but it would kill is a title based around sex. Now I don't know to what extent your game is actually going to have any sex in it, it may just be an image of a naked girl if you solve a puzzle for all I know, but if you're trying to portray sex scenes either from still shots with subtitles of a fully animated sequence (maybe in those later games *crosses fingers*), voices are very important. Sex is much less interesting without any sound :lol: (If you don't have a budget to do voices for the whole thing, you could always just have the sex scenes done. And if money's really tight, you already have two people who could do the voices for free! :wink: )

It is true that the voices can get annoying. Personally I think I left the voices on "in battle" for games like Tales of the Abyss. Even after playing it for 50 hours those still didn't bother me. (Though I think I may have turned it off in another game I played, so maybe it just depends on how much I like the game?) I suppose it just depends on who you are and the game you're playing.

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 9:02 pm 
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If you don't have the budget to get, or cannot find skillful voice actors, its not worth it. If it's not done well it just becomes a distraction. This very reason has turned me off of multiple anime titles.

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 9:56 pm 
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Mmsven wrote:
If you don't have the budget to get, or cannot find skillful voice actors, its not worth it. If it's not done well it just becomes a distraction. This very reason has turned me off of multiple anime titles.

I've rarely had trouble with VAs in anime (or games for that matter, to keep it on topic) as Mmsven's talking about here, but I agree with him. If you don't have the means to get them, I'd rather not be bothered with it. I can also think of 2 or 3 hentai titles that, while I didn't mind adding them to my collection generally, support the idea that badly done voice acting becomes an issue.

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 9th, 2009, 10:44 am 
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But than again...bad voice acting also leave a good memory :lol2:
For sure the game will not be forgotten!

Look at RE :doh:

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 9th, 2009, 3:22 pm 
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Generally speaking, voices are not really necessary as long as there are no animated sequences.
Animated sequences should have a voice-over, though.

Having all the NPC dialogue lines voiced is real nice, but it takes training, talent, and effort to get it done right, and along with that every breath does cost extra money.

If it's a dialogue-driven game (like almost any Hentai title in which you have to get to know and whoo certain characters) voices come in pretty handy. Okay, so I'm a voice fan, but wouldn't you agree that a dub makes a Hentai game double the fun? With too tight a budget it might be best to not lose time even with dirty talk but concentrate on noises, with a few intelligible utterances as add-ons during action scenes, as these can be done by almost anyone I suppose.

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 9th, 2009, 7:18 pm 
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Voices have a "multiplier effect" in games. If the voices are cool, the game can easily be successful although it may lack gameplay features. An example of this would be Duke Nukem 3D, which was not the best shooter of its time, but did have a charming (if small) part of voice acting which still sustains Duke as a charismatic character, keeping gamers waiting for Duke Nukem Forever.
Jet Set Radio did profit a lot from its cool voice acting too.

However, if the voices are crap, the game, no matter how well done it is, will have a powerful blow dealed against itself. A big example of this would be Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, at least in Spain: the saga was one of the old myths of Spanish gaming, but the new versions came with voices (Spanish ones). And the voices sucked, plainly said.

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 11th, 2009, 5:35 pm 
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Voices.... if you can't do them right, don't do them at all. Especially the case if you're doing a dub for games with voices already in, albeit another language. Example: The Dynasty Warriors Franchise. Fun games (if you like hack and slash, brawlers), but the English dubs are horrendous. Even adding seasoned VAs like Steve J Blum or Crispin Freeman can't save the English dub when it's packed with mediocre actors. Hence, if Japanese audio is available, I instantly switch over. Same with anime. The amount of bad dubs vs good dubs is not a favorable for people that dislike subtitles.

As for games with an English cast, you kinda run into the same problem. A single ham actor can ruin an otherwise good line up. So if you can't get quality actors, you should just use text. Except when your game features sex. Then just add sex noises. Those are pretty easy to act out, just look at all the porn available on the net. Very few of those have a theater degree :P

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 11th, 2009, 7:06 pm 
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... just don't try to find and apply fitting noises from an already existing work of porn.
I know you would never do it, but I just wanted to make sure and say it. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 14th, 2009, 2:41 am 
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Thank you all for your feedback!

Fortunately, since we can't even afford bad actors for this game, we'll easily avoid the "if you can't get good ones don't bother" issue. We might be in a bind for the sex sounds. We won't be poaching audio from existing works even if 42317's reminder did make me wonder if the publicity from a lawsuit might bump sales... :twisted: Our producer has been looking into just sex sounds, but has been too busy trying to finish up the artwork to make progress there. On the plus side, with the economy so bad, maybe we can get studio time easier or cheaper? Hmm...

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 14th, 2009, 6:47 am 
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PunkDaddy wrote:
Thank you all for your feedback!

Fortunately, since we can't even afford bad actors for this game, we'll easily avoid the "if you can't get good ones don't bother" issue. We might be in a bind for the sex sounds. We won't be poaching audio from existing works even if 42317's reminder did make me wonder if the publicity from a lawsuit might bump sales... :twisted: Our producer has been looking into just sex sounds, but has been too busy trying to finish up the artwork to make progress there. On the plus side, with the economy so bad, maybe we can get studio time easier or cheaper? Hmm...

How hard would it be to record? I wouldn't mind recording myself while masturbating, but i guess that would make the audio quality cheap...

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 14th, 2009, 8:12 am 
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PunkDaddy wrote:
Thank you all for your feedback! Our producer has been looking into just sex sounds, but has been too busy trying to finish up the artwork to make progress there. On the plus side, with the economy so bad, maybe we can get studio time easier or cheaper? Hmm...

No prob PunkDaddy, hope it help you out (at least on the future ones :D). Adding in sex sounds would certainly be a good move in my book. At least give the people something! :P

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How hard would it be to record? I wouldn't mind recording myself while masturbating, but i guess that would make the audio quality cheap...

:nose: Ya know, when I see you've posted a comment Bloodfairy I never have any idea what you're going to say, but I always know it's going to be amusing. And with that...

A-TEAM ASSEMBLE! Let's get this girl some recording equipment post-haste! (A-Team music plays in the background)

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 14th, 2009, 5:42 pm 
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PunkDaddy wrote:
even if 42317's reminder did make me wonder if the publicity from a lawsuit might bump sales...

There are copyright issues in porn? :blink:
Ya know, when I was 18 and single I rented lots of porn - and not a single one of these movies had copy protection. So I thought the producers just didn't care... there are dozens of new movies every week, so the copyright value of a single work must be close to nothing, and the high rotation frequency does hardly allow the customer to rent such a movie twice anyway because they come in and a few weeks later they're already gone.
At least that's how I perceived it.

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 Post subject: Re: How important are voices?
PostPosted: April 15th, 2009, 12:11 am 
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Eh, it depends on what genre the game is.

Voice actors/actresses are usually needed for most FPS, RTS, and or 3D Platform games, especially any titles that have an intriguing storyline such as Starcraft, the Warcraft series, Halo, Gears of War, Oddworld, Starfox Adventures and Conker's Bad Fur Day :lol: . Their performances don't have to be top-notch, but as long as they can bring life to the characters and speak clearly enough to understand what they're saying, then it's all good.

Voice actors/actresses for RPGs is rather complex. IMHO, it's not usually needed and about half the time the voices tend to be incredibly awful and/or just plain annoying as hell. See Phantasy Star Universe and you'll find out why. :vomit:

Overall, voices for games are like vestigial organs. They don't enhance gameplay too much, but it's usually nice to hear some dialogue as long as they're not painfully annoying that is.

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