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The beginning of a new Era or the final defiliment - The project to give voice all Morrowind's dialogues with AI has begun

Jarmaro

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Consider the dialogue with the imperial clerk at 9:30 - while the voice isn't flawless, it strinkingly on point with the delivery of lines.
Also, an another mod author made the mod for Dagoth Ur's Lines, which have already been incomportated into this mod.


The author intends to do all of the Main Quest and Expansions, then Tamriel Rebuilt. From what I read of his comments, he even wants to do the generic lines, but he saves that for last as they would be much harder to do - you'd have to do a unique background dialogue for every race and gender.



The mod in question can be downloaded here, although for now it's only for MWSE. I'm sure soon enough someone will make a port for OpenMW.
https://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/52279?tab=description
 

Lokiamis

Learned
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It's really good. Much better than some mods I've played with volunteer voice actors recording on junk microphones. I kind of suspect he'll burn himself out though.
 

Jarmaro

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It's really good. Much better than some mods I've played with volunteer voice actors recording on junk microphones. I kind of suspect he'll burn himself out though.
The quality truly is suprisingly good. This is what the quality was just 6 months ago, what it will be within a year? Every voice with the full spectum of emotions, with mood to choose?:



Now consider that with the voice acting bottle-neck being softly bypassed we can experience ever greater renaissance of moding concerning new quests and stories (Skyrim is already experiencing renaissance of moding, actually, so it's more of a Golden Age). As for the guy burning out...If I read his posts correctly, his asking people to do a collaborative effort with him. He doesn't even need to do a large chunk of the game, just the main quest dialogues should be doable with medium effort.

We can unironically expect the main quest version be finished within...a month? A few at most? It's not a short time, but considering the enormity of the change it's disgustingly fast.
 

Tyranicon

A Memory of Eternity
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Codexers have said it before, but AI tech will enable indies and modders to finally close the gap between them and bigger studios.

Of course, AAA will probably use AI to make more addictive lootboxes or some shit. We'll have to see.
 

Lemming42

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It's absolutely superb. Even more excitingly, someone with a ton of time to spare could give every NPC in the game a unique voice*. There's already those Less Generic NPC mods that try to give everyone a unique character, it'd pair great with them.

I'd be interested to see it used for new content - it strikes me that it'd be quite easy to use this in a Fallout companion mod, for example. Talking head characters who would make logical party members, like Tandi, could easily be given new voiced dialogue.

*you could make it so that the new voices all still have the distinctive accents of each race by using the existing voices as a base to make slight variations of each time - I think Elevenlabs already offers something vaguely like this
 

Salvo

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I've been team AI since day one and frankly I find the development done in this field absolutely stunning
Can't wait for the first game that mainly uses AI assets, from art to voices etc
 

Kalon

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It's funny how all things people allegedly hate in Oblivion/Skyrim, modders put to Morrowind.

Also the dunmer voice just doesn't work. It lacks that raspy, 25-cigarettes-a-day dunmer voices have.
 
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Tacgnol

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It's funny how all things people allegedly hate in Oblivion/Skyrim, modders put to Morrowind.

Voice acting isn't inherently bad.

The issue is that inclusion of fully voiced dialogue usually significantly reduces the amount of dialogue in a game for economic reasons.

This actually works around that particular problem.
 

xuerebx

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This would be great if I had the patience to listen to the dialogue (I just quickly read through it).
 
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The issue is that inclusion of fully voiced dialogue usually significantly reduces the amount of dialogue in a game for economic reasons.
The problem is, I can count on one hand the number of RPGs with any amount of dialogue worth reading. Given the choice between less but with voiceover, or walls of banal text at every turn (games like Inquisitor, NWN etc.) I'll take the former all day, everyday, and twice on Sundays.

For my buck, all the best fully-voiceed storyfag games already have enough dialogue avenues/options to satiate me. At no point in say: KotOR II or the Witcher 1 was I ever thinking man, I wish there was more* dialogue. There were times where I thought man, I wish I could have said x instead of some other pointless line of questioning, but that's down to writing staff competence/ creativity problems, not budget. The way I see it is if there's a set budget for paying the voice actors then no matter what's being said, it behooves the writing team to make whatever it is worth saying. Adding more in doesn't necessarily do anything to fix this. Other ways of trimming the fat is to go back to basics and get rid of what I like to call the "MapQuest NPC", where every NPC in town has to know exactly where to find every single thing in town, know every important character in town etc. (regardless of whether it has anything to do with them), just so the moronic modern gamer doesn't get lost, which requires mountains of redundant voice acting.

Ideally, if a game truly has heaps of stellar writing worthy of the emotion conveyed through a human voice they'd hire out professionals for the party members, key side characters to do with the quests, villains etc. and leave the rest as text in an engine that makes it easy for modders and amateurs to come along and fill in the blanks if the desire is there.
 

Tacgnol

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The problem is, I can count on one hand the number of RPGs with any amount of dialogue worth reading. Given the choice between less but with voiceover, or walls of banal text at every turn (games like Inquisitor, NWN etc.) I'll take the former all day, everyday, and twice on Sundays.

Absolutely, I doubt anyone is advocating for the Numanuma approach of having dialogue for the sake of it. That said it's still potentially very limiting depending on what the devs want to do.

Approaches like this potentially allow both freedom to write and less concern over expensive VAs.
 

Serus

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Codexers have said it before, but AI tech will enable indies and modders to finally close the gap between them and bigger studios.

Of course, AAA will probably use AI to make more addictive lootboxes or some shit. We'll have to see.
The question is however: is it a good thing? From the perspective of a player who don't care about such things but want better gameplay? AI or not, adding voices it will still consume some resources of indie developers which may detract from the more important aspects. Also it will encourage them to actually add more superfluous dialogues and text. Not to mention that most might eventually jump on the bandwagon of storyfag games - because, you know, "voiced everything is so cheap now!". Scary thought.
This is my biggest complaint about all this great improvements in "AI". They are all serving the form over substance. What about finally having some competent AI playing the game for a a change?
The only part that half interests me are the AI capable of being a game master and coming with stuff on the fly like a human one would do. Maybe it will some day lead, as a result, to truly dynamic and responsive worlds in fantasy and content created by AI that even JarlFrank will have to admit could be as good what most human creators are doing. This here, might detract not help that goal or do nothing at all in best case scenario.
 

unseeingeye

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The question is however: is it a good thing?
In my opinion, there cannot be a thing that is good in an absolute sense, everything has both good and bad qualities that influence civilization in positive and negative ways and it is a matter of determining whether the balance is even or if it is heavily one or the other. And although I am fascinated and awed by the accomplishments made and continuing to be made that enable AI to exist, I suspect it will ultimately have an overwhelmingly negative effect on nearly everything, from the realm of the interpersonal and social to that of the psychological, physiological, spiritual, artistic, &c.

It is a tool and has the explicit function of lessening the burden of labor in any environment virtual or actual where it can be applied, but inherently poses a potential for lessening the necessary efforts involved in creativity, and as has already begun to happen I anticipate it will only further diminish the effective power of video games to engage the imagination, instead becoming a 'service' which lulls players into a hypnotized stupor of obsessive virtual achievement collecting or replacing interpersonal interaction with an online virtual simulation of such.

But regardless this is secondary phenomenon for me, because I don't believe that there will ever again be a new age in video gaming, or more precisely a new golden age or anything even approaching it. Golden ages do not recur in the lifetime of a civilization, and art history is filled with examples of how although patterns predictably recur at regular cycles true renaissances do not happen to within the civilization from which the stylistic origins emerged, they happen amidst new cultural environments typically in an early phase of its development.

As far as I can guess, and using history as a guide, video games as an art form already peaked in the mid-eighties to the late-nineties and it is only going to be further downhill as time marches forth, and likely the degradation will even accelerate. Like Miyazaki said, art must have an intention, and AI can only be guided by parameters predetermined; even where it innovates, the 'intention' to do so is not autonomous. Without intention, no matter how technically astonishing an AI generated particular thing may be, it will never contain the emotional intentions of a human being, forged in suffering the agonies of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. It can be a wonderful tool for assisting in the development of mundane tasks, but I do not imagine it will be the hallmark of a new golden age.
 

Tyranicon

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The question is however: is it a good thing?
In my opinion, there cannot be a thing that is good in an absolute sense....

It is a tool
I agree. AI is just another tool in the dev's toolbox. I don't believe it'll allow devs to "build a game at the press of a button" or be "completely unusable."

As the technology advances, it's importance as a tool will grow. As for whether it's a good thing or not... I'm equally optimistic and pessimistic, both for gamedev and wider implications.

AI is a black box. We have no way of predicting its consequences... and perhaps unfortunately, no way of stopping it either.
 

Lemming42

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It's off quite a long way into the future, but I think we actually will one day have the ability to make entire games by just vaguely specifying what we want to a piece of software, which then makes the entire game from scratch. The tech is in its infancy but the pieces are already falling into place - there's already some stuff that can design 3D models, ChatGPT can write some types of code, we now have reasonable-quality voice acting, etc.

If AI does continue to develop down the road it's on, it's going to change everything in the world of entertainment. Not just videogames - we might be able to make our own movies and TV in the future too, and share them to each other online. It could be fairly amusing, like fanfiction writ large - hundreds of thousands of new Star Trek episodes featuring the original cast and totally indistinguishable from the genuine article, except they're literally all about Kirk and Spock fucking.
 

Harthwain

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The question is however: is it a good thing?
It's a good thing for modders and similar communities. It's also good thing for developers who have less text but still want it voiced, because having voiced text is sort of a standard in the industry by now.
 

Jaedar

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It's funny how all things people allegedly hate in Oblivion/Skyrim, modders put to Morrowind.

Voice acting isn't inherently bad.

The issue is that inclusion of fully voiced dialogue usually significantly reduces the amount of dialogue in a game for economic reasons.

This actually works around that particular problem.
It's not just that it costs money, it's also that it means that all the writing has to be final X months before release so there's time to do all the voice recording, effectively cutting down the development time for a lot of the game (quests also depend on writing for example).

I'm still not sure voice acting everything will add much to the game, especially when it's AI generated (the AI can't add subtle inflections or emotions unless they're obvious from the text, or any other things voice acting + direction might otherwise add). But when it is *effectively* free.... it's hard to argue against.
 

Jarmaro

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What worries me is the case of Voice Actors. It is known they are downright hysterical about their work, even using their voices in 1:1 remakes or remasters can make them explode. Now imagine them hearing people take their voices and endlessly replicate it for whatever they want. You can expect a massive shitshow in gaming media where they demand it to be banned. But how can you ban a voice? People can somewhat understand banning AI Art because you can see what inspired a given piece if the style is distinct enough. But words? Reading books or any texts is niche enough for people to not get how someone can steal a writing style or a character voice.

Voices are inbetween those two cases, for how can you steal a voice? Native Americans once believed a photograph stole your soul. Funnily enough, the voice actors will claim the AI Voice steals their dignity and work. Can AI voice acting be banned? Will the actors be paid only for voice samples of different emotions and moods? How would you punish someone for taking a random person's voice and turning it into an actor for their work? Can you even proof the voice isn't wholy artificial? Can the possible banning be enforced outside of USA?
 

Lemming42

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I had little sympathy for the likes of Greg Rutkowski when he complained about his art being used to train SD, because the way SD "learns" from its training data means that even including "art by Greg Rutkowski" in your prompt will give, at best, a vague approximation that makes passing references to some of Rutkowski's actual pictures. It's not tangibly different from me just looking at one of his pictures and trying to replicate his general style by hand, which is very obviously not illegal nor could reasonably be called plagiarism.

I actually have more sympathy for voice actors with this new tech since it replicates real voices so precisely. I was playing around with Oblivion voices on Elevenlabs and, putting myself in the place of those voice actors, I might be pissed off if people started using "my" voice for commercial projects. To take one example, Linda Kenyon, who voices all the female Dunmer in Morrowind and all female Mer in Oblivion, has a very unique smooth, charismatic, distinctive voice. Elevenlabs replicated her voice precisely, indistinguishable from reality. If you can get Linda Kenyon's voice for free, right down to the intonations, and get it to read out anything you need... then why would you hire the real Linda Kenyon? It's definitely a tangible threat to voice actors in a way that SD isn't to artists.

It's probably possible to introduce certain laws about using AI mimicry of real people's voices for commercial projects. The challenge will be determining whether or not you've deliberately used something that's close enough to a real person's voice to violate the law, but as far as I know we already have this in the case of using people's physical likenesses for various things (I don't think you could legally get away with putting a photograph of, I dunno, Patrick Stewart or Whitney Houston on your shop sign or whatever, even if you did a photoshop disaster botch-job to try and make them surreally different from the originals).
 

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