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Editorial The cost of dialogue

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: Dragon Commander; Larian Studios

    <p>Larian Studio's Swen Vincke blogs about the <a href="http://www.lar.net/?p=100#more-100" target="_blank">woes of an indie dev</a>.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>Obviously, we also want whatever dialogue animation we put in the game to be as good as possible, so everybody&rsquo;s saying &ndash; have you seen LA Noire ? And I say, yeah I&rsquo;ve seen it.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Then I think of Divinity II -the Ego Draconis part, remembering that the voice recordings, lip-synchronization and associated dialogue animations required an intense piece of work, so I ask Benoit, the producer who was responsible for that , exactly how much voice did we have ?</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>He tells me, over 9.5 hours of voice recordings, per language, but he phrases it as over 34000 seconds, just to make sure I&rsquo;m well aware of what I&rsquo;m asking for. I guess he emphasized the seconds bit because he&rsquo;s seen me talk to a variety of people in the team about how to handle the performance capturing, and nightmares of the past came back to him.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>So I tell him, well take those timings &nbsp;as a reference, I have no clue how much dialogue we&rsquo;re going to have in Dragon Commander, but it&rsquo;s going to be a ton. Find out what the best solutions are for this, and let me know the cost.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>I&rsquo;m sure he&rsquo;s going to come back with a 6 digit number, hopefully one we can manage. I also curse. Curse that this is going to cost me man-years of development that I could otherwise put into extra features, but knowing full well that if I don&rsquo;t, the game won&rsquo;t be taken seriously. At least not by that group of critics that demand that games have the same production values like the ones on display in the best AAA productions.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>I can already see the quotes &ndash; &ldquo;Interesting dialogues, interesting choices, but brought in a manner not on par with AAA production X&rdquo;.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Or maybe I&rsquo;m just imagining things.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>I am after all &nbsp;traumatized by past experiences in which I &nbsp;proudly showed what a team of 6 animators, 45 voice actors and slaving designers/producers managed to do in terms of dialogue work on Divinity II, trying to bring some life to those 9.5 hours of voice acting, only to read afterwards that &ldquo;the animation is stiff, the voice actors passable&rdquo;.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>...</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>So I&rsquo;m sitting on an egg. Should I actually invest all that money into something that might get me another &ldquo;the animation is stiff, the voice actors passable&rdquo;, or should I just do text-boxes, and spend the money on something else ?</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>If it was just me, I wouldn't care about "only textboxes". I'm reading much faster than the voiceacting is carried out and when I'm done reading I just skip the dialogue, so most of the voiced dialogue is wasted on me anyway. But I guess having only textboxes will lead to even worse critics.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
     
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  2. Cosmo Arcane

    Cosmo
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    Problem with the biggest AAA productions, the ones that cater to the lowest common denominator, is not that they exist, but that they change everything around them.
     
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  3. Derper Prophet

    Derper
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    The cost of dialogue indeed
     
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  4. Roguey Codex Staff Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    I wouldn't call the Divinity 2 dialogue animations stiff, I'd call them ridiculous because everyone wriggles around a lot when they talk. Like they were trying too hard to make them look lively to compensate for the fact that all they're doing is standing in place. I don't remember any issues with the voice acting and journalists probably just refuse to praise it unless they see a recognizable name. Passable isn't the worst word they could use, it means there's no outright bad lines which is more than a lot of others can say.
     
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  5. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Same here, and games that you can't skip some dialogs cause the dude is still speaking piss me off....

    They should follow Rare's cheap-ass genius solution and just use random rubish sounds whenever someone is speaking. :lol:
     
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  6. PorkaMorka Arcane

    PorkaMorka
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    It's probably still going to be goofy after they waste all that money, if only due to the ESL aspect.

    Voice acting is really a scourge.

    This is a good article in case somebody ever questions that voice acting takes away from the quality of other aspects of the game though.
     
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  7. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

    GarfunkeL
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    Biowhores truly are the scum of the universe:

    And agreed 100% PorkaMorka.
     
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  8. Humanity has risen! Arcane Patron Repressed Homosexual

    Humanity has risen!
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    Voice acting was good in Divinity 2. The characters however were definitely over-animated, without the smoothness and quality of animation of a studio like Naughty Dog.
     
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  9. Edwin Scholar

    Edwin
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    BG2 had the perfect amount of VA.1 line is enough for normal NPCs and full voice should be reserved for important/special characters only(Firkraag,Irenicus etc.)

    These fully voiced games bore me to death....and needless to say that it has negative impact on the quality of dialouges and the amount of content too
     
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  10. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    Well, if Lar is reading this, It might console him that I considered Div2 VOs very enjoyable and the game itself one of the few where full VA actually brought something to the table instead of taking something away.

    Other than that - see the topic in GG.
     
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  11. Phelot Arcane

    Phelot
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    I'm the same way. When voice actors were a novelty reserved for a few key characters, I still didn't care about them unless they were for a character I loved like The Master or Gizmo.

    To me, voice actors are more of a distraction. They're nearly never as good as Hollywood would do and the same goes for animations. Even the AAA games. They try so hard to be a movie and if we judge them as a movie, they fail miserably. Imagine watching 9.5 hours of actors staring blankly at the screen, delivering their lines and throwing a few facial animations from time to time. Not hanks.

    I miss being able to give characters a voice myself, using my own imagination. Or, at most, give an intro line that is voice acted.

    Yeah, I thought it was well done as well. I guess reviewers were upset with the lack of "gruff" voices.
     
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  12. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    More's the pity.
     
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  13. Morgoth Arcane Patron

    Morgoth
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    And god thanks they do. It's called progress, son.
     
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  14. racofer Thread Incliner

    racofer
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    I don't remember ever asking for spoken dialog on mah rpgs. Their point is moot.
     
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  15. Flatlander Liturgist

    Flatlander
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    Oh sweet fuck. Kill'em all. Kill'em with fire.
     
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  16. Voice acting done well > Written Text > Bad Voice acting > Voice acting with wheel of fortune > Russian Video games in English

    Why?

    Good voice acting adds to the atmosphere: VMTB.
     
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  17. Mozgoëbstvo Learned

    Mozgoëbstvo
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    What they're saying is, the cartloads of voice acting everywhere makes the indies who try to get at least at shoulder level but can't afford it look bad.
     
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  18. hiver Guest

    hiver
    I guess it comes down to what you will choose to care about.
    Those stupid critics and some AAA customers or your actual customers.

    Then you make your decision a big part of the PR campaign and you make sure to let everyone know your stance very clearly.

    There really is no need for full voice overs in RPGs like this. Its a waste of money and resources and big majority of them gets skipped in the end.

    Not even most important NPCs should have full voice overs.
    Some opening lines yes, sure - the rest should be just text.
    A good text, good dialogue, good story, good lines.

    Which you mostly loose if youre voicing it all over.
     
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  19. Mozgoëbstvo Learned

    Mozgoëbstvo
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    And bravo to hiver.
     
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  20. Baron Arcane

    Baron
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    Yeah, those stupid critics and their gateway to mainstream sales and return on investment, or critical acclaim from a single online gaming forum who will pirate it and bag the shit out of it upon release only to hold it up as the pinnacle of gaming in ten years time.

    Personally, I'd aim for recording the memorable lines from major plot characters. Plenty of voiced first line greetings followed by text can also be useful for easing retards into reading.

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Rivmusique Arcane Patron

    Rivmusique
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Seems reasonable, -3 review score from review shits sites though, and with it a loss in dumbfuck (i.e. the majority) sales.
     
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  22. Overweight Manatee Scholar

    Overweight Manatee
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    Its stuff like this that has to be fueling the facebook/phone games. Its the only medium where you can reach a mass audience without spending most of your budget and 2/3rds of your development time on meaningless bullshit.
     
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  23. shihonage Subscribe to my OnlyFans Patron

    shihonage
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    There's a compromise. "Greeting quips" from WoW. Minus the whole "May peace be with you in the name of Tralbudaral". Shorter and to the point. Mostly, just variations on "Hey" said in different voices, when dialogue starts.
     
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  24. thesoup Arcane

    thesoup
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    I'm Ridin' with Biden I'm Ridin' with Biden
    I like the Torment way of VA. Important NPCs and PCs have a couple of spoken lines here and there so whenever I would read, I would read it in their voices. I actually remember every important character as if all of his dialogue was voiced.
     
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  25. hiver Guest

    hiver
    No, thats not true. Thats what happens only when you try to play AAA game and you suck dicks of those "critics" and you fail to reach the same standard.
     
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