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SND - IDEAS - Crt Voiceovers Don't just dismiss


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#1 MagicAndy

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 07:05 PM

I thought it might be interesting to raise the debate of CRT voiceovers, that is the reading to the player of CRT's.

Possible Arguments against it:

1. Inconsistancy, we cant have a million different voices : True, but we could split the topics into catagories (e.g. weapons/UFO's) and have one voice (acting as reaseach head) for each catagory. Catagories could be split still further, with different scientists from each department logging different reports. (Ending each voice over with - "Reaseach Report on *Technology X* filed by *Dr. Gonzo*, anomolous materials division. Quotes (fluff text) could also be delegated, since we would need different voices for that.

2. Long term irritation : So have a "turn off dictation" button.

3. Increased workload : Acknowledged, but possible worth the effort IMHO because...


Reasons why this might work:

1. The CRT's are LONG, a LOT longer than the originals. As much as we like to think that players are going to be interested in what we write, most will probably skip over them. This would mean a lot of work and debate going to waste. By actually reading them, players wouldn't have to engage the same level of effort, and might listen.

2. The CRT author could approve the reading, which means that the CRT is read in the way that the authors intended it - especially the fluff text. Since everyone has they're own writing style, some CRT's would make more sense - especially those with longer sentence structures.

3. It would be cool. It was one of the best features in Alpha Centuri, and actually made people pay attention to the interesting writeups.


So there are my thoughts, if you read them all, well done, if not, please download this mp3, to have them read to you :D

Let the Flaming begin... :D

#2 fidel_

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 07:58 PM

Interesting idea, I think it would work pretty well. I must admit that Alpha Centauri popped into my mind too when I saw this topic, I agree that those voice-overs were one of the best features in that game. And there are enough people here to get at least one fluff text for everyone to read. ^_^ But those doing major part of the voice-overs (head scientist for example) should be pretty talented voice actors. With bad voice acting this feature would turn into nightmare.

Edited by fidel_, 12 February 2004 - 07:59 PM.

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#3 RustedSoul

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 08:00 PM

Well, the only major factor i can see against this, is the mb's required to cover everything. I can see half a gig in sound just racking up for narration.
But i guess this could be dramatically reduced if only the basic description was covered.

#4 kelfka

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 09:15 PM

That's a very good idea!!!

What we could do is, play them automatically when the research is found.
And if the player wants to listen to it again there would be an option in the x-net data-base.

Well, the only major factor i can see against this, is the mb's required to cover everything. I can see half a gig in sound just racking up for narration.
But i guess this could be dramatically reduced if only the basic description was covered.


Yes, or just the most important facts. Like, Laser principles, Plasma principles, ufo origins...ect.

But those doing major part of the voice-overs (head scientist for example) should be pretty talented voice actors.


Not necessarily, just articulate.

#5 MagicAndy

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 11:08 PM

My main aim is this is to get the CRT's the exposure that thety deserve, most players when faced with a screenful of text will probably just move on.

However its true that the amount of recording required to cover everything would be too much.

The average oral reading rate is about 180 words a minute.
The average CTR size (including fluff) seems to be 700 words
So thats 3 - 4 minutes an item with 85 items
= 5 to 5 1/2 hours of speech, :wacko:

I don't know much about compression but i'm guessing = a lot of MB

Therefore Kelfka and Rustedsoul have a very good point in saying that only the basics and important items need be covered.

I would definately like to have the fluff text (like the quote at the bottom of the tech in Alpha Centuri) voiced. And perhaps the really important research.

How good are voice gythesisers these days? Having the CTR's read in a computerised, analytical voice might sound good and could be done in game.

#6 Micah

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 02:02 AM

I enjoyed the voiceovers in Alpha Centauri a lot, and I believe it is doable with Xenocide. We might just have to leave it as an optional download, though.

Though it may come out to 5.5 hours of speech, if we record it at a low bitrate, it could be rather small. 32bps would only be about 80mb, though I'm not sure how well that would sound :P

We might even have the original author on his/her respective entry make the voiceover... certainly an interesting possibility.

None of the voice synthesizers we've found would suit our needs.

#7 Historian

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 03:48 AM

Another choice would also be to speak only the statistics, in a computer like voice and give some minimum description.
For example

[Technical sounding names] Interceptor
Speed : [blah]
Weapon Slots : [blah]
Maneuverability : [blah]
Armor : [blah]

Some very quick description.


I don't really thing a complete voice-over of all the CTDs would be nice. It would sound like droning, like someone reading an encyclopedia. But that's just me.

#8 Whitewashed

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 04:16 AM

We could have something like EVA in C&C B)

#9 mikker

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 06:56 AM

i like the idea, but i think it would be best for only major stuff (laser tech, plasma tech, firestorm, lightning, avanger, martial salution, etc.)

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#10 Robo Dojo 58

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 08:27 AM

What if the speech only covered the summary text? It tells the player everything they need to know, it's alot shorter than the rest of the CTD, and much more feasible IMO.
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#11 hippyjon

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 08:45 AM

32bps would only be about 80mb, though I'm not sure how well that would sound :P

suprisingly; speech doesnt loose that much from being compressed compared to music as it generaly covers a much smaller spectrum of sounds.

i'd say a quick overveiw being spoken would suit us best on all counts.

i think it would be fine having all of them being read by one person, but being split into divisions would sound better (you'd kind of get to know them, "oh here comes the wepons expert..")

Edited by hippyjon, 13 February 2004 - 08:47 AM.

...or something

#12 Breunor

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 10:25 AM

You could easily use 32kb or even 16kb bitrate without quality loss, the music I loaded in the X-Net viewer page is resampled to 64kb and it still sounds good for music. The downside to recording the exact entries besides the overall file size is that the text might change (players can easily mod the text files), but the sounds remain.

#13 Micah

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 12:10 PM

I guess we could make it a flag the modder can change when they chagne the text - whether or not to play the voiceover. It would be a nice 'ear candy' that wouldn't be too hard to make near the end of development. And idea to keep in mind, I think.

#14 MagicAndy

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 07:23 PM

i think it would be fine having all of them being read by one person, but being split into divisions would sound better (you'd kind of get to know them, "oh here comes the wepons expert..")


Exactly! You put it better than me ^_^

Yes, certainly something to consider, perhaps not even for V1.

Options are (played while the report is displayed like Alpha Centuri):

1. Do the summary
2. Do the fluff text
2. Do the summary and the fluff text
3. Do the whole thing

I think the whole thing would be preferable, since alot of the point of doing it would be to get hte player to actually appreciate the CRTs.

Anyway, we don't need to think about this till the end, when the CRTs are finalised for V1. Or even until after release, since, like micah said, we can leave it for a patch + sound files optional download.

#15 hippyjon

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 12:26 AM

i think a short summery would encorage people to read more. "hey, that sounds interesting..."

I know with warcraft (2?) i would always begin listening to the guy reading the mission, then turn him off, cus i didnt have all day to listen to him...
...or something

#16 Historian

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 05:53 AM

Me too.
I read faster than thee speech and I finish the text before it is finished.
If I have time I may sit and hear it all, but usually I just skip it.

#17 Cpl. Facehugger

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 07:21 AM

I think this could be a good idea, but remember that some of the CTD members (such as me) do not have a quality mic, so Some CTs can't necessarily be read by their authors. I love the idea though!
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#18 hippyjon

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 11:33 AM

well... it'd be kind of cool for us to have the authors reading their own text, but whether or not you have a good reading voice is more of a concern
...or something

#19 RustedSoul

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 04:49 PM

programs like voice mask pro might be able to help there, could make sombody sound more like a techie or a gunny.

Edited by RustedSoul, 14 February 2004 - 04:51 PM.


#20 MagicAndy

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 01:13 AM

Unfortunatly we would have to distribute the CRT's amoung a few good readers with good sound capture harware/software. But we could always get the CRT people to approve the reading, so it's how they would have wanted.

Getting someone else to read it word for word is also probably a good checking system.

So currently the opinion is show the whole report and play the reading of the overview, followed by the reading of the fluff text over the top?

I just love that "here comes the weapons expert" angle ^_^

#21 dipstick

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 04:00 AM

I could have a go - I have a webcam that has the best sound quality I have ever seen. The mic is very sensitive to anything!
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#22 MagicAndy

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 07:45 PM

the best sound quality I have ever seen



^_^

#23 j'ordos

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 08:19 PM

:LOL:

Unfortunately, my mic is not the best quality, nor do I have good voice capture software (hmmm... windows media recorder, that's about it :D )
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#24 Cpl. Facehugger

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 08:32 PM

My mic is a cup with a string attached to it. Someone else would have to do my voiceover. You don't want to hear my voice anyway.
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#25 MagicAndy

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 05:18 AM

I have pretty crap voice capture software/hardware, but since I will probably be doing a lot of HL2 modding in the future this is a perfect opportunity to upgrade.

Still everyone who wants to be considered should submit a CRT of theri choice and we can pick the best 5 or six to be the resident "experts".

As we've mentioned there's no need to do this now of course, leave it till we've got the game done.

#26 kelfka

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 08:10 AM

well... it'd be kind of cool for us to have the authors reading their own text, but whether or not you have a good reading voice is more of a concern


Yes your right about that.

But there nothing more beautiful than a woman's voice. ^_^

Edited by kelfka, 16 February 2004 - 08:10 AM.


#27 kelfka

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 09:55 AM

Will there also be voice over for other languages.
Like French, Dutch, Espanol...?


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#28 MagicAndy

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 08:21 PM

eventually i suppose yes, but not for a very long time

we probably wouldn't distribute them all with the game, rather, a languages add on, where you could download the sound files of your preferred tounge.

Will be quite hard to get together since english is the common language of the project, so don't hold your breath.

#29 kelfka

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 11:16 AM

eventually i suppose yes, but not for a very long time

we probably wouldn't distribute them all with the game, rather, a languages add on, where you could download the sound files of your preferred tounge.

Will be quite hard to get together since english is the common language of the project, so don't hold your breath.


I wont.

I dont know if it's going to be worth the effort if we dont have the soud files add-on
when the game is going to come out or soon afther.
Most people would have finished the game by then.

#30 Whitewashed

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 11:23 AM

Most people would have finished the game by then.

Well I think we hope this game will like the original X-com games be a game you play over and over and won't forget right after you've played through it once...

#31 kelfka

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 04:58 PM

I just mean that it would be much better if the first time you read a reserch there's a voice over.

I was not talking in any way about the quality of the game.