Voice Acting

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Gear
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Voice Acting

#1 Post by Gear » Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:58 pm

I've played a lot of VN's before, and Voice Acting has always come up in thought in one way or another.

I played a homemade VN once (don't remember the name, and even if I did, I wouldn't say it) that was fully voice acted, but the acting work was...poor. Being as professional as possible in my critique, as it were, the actors simply could not vocally emote. This is aside from the poor recording quality. BUT, every word in the game was acted out. If done well, I could see this as a positive point in a game.

Then you have games like Professor Layton that are partially voice acted. Aside from the cutscenes, there are certain parts that are fully voice-acted, while other parts have the VN trademark "booping" with the words.

Then you have games like Phoenix Wright with minimal voice acting. Objection! Hold it! Take That! Gotcha! Not so fast! Eureka! And that's it. Layton and Wright have skilled voice actors (except for "Eureka" in Investigations, because that just sounded horrible) playing these parts.

Then most homemade VN's I've played have no voice acting at all, simply music and SFX on the audio side.

What's your preference for Voice Acting? And those of you that use voice acting, how do you record it so it sounds high-quality? And how do you pick out voice actors with acting talent?
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Re: Voice Acting

#2 Post by Alera » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:21 pm

I personally like VNs that are just practically voice acted.Only on some more important parts maybe, where it would have more impact.

When the whole game is voiced, even if it's good and HQ- I start to get annoyed from that, in the end feel like shouting to the character "Just shut up already! >.<" XD I guess that's because I like actually reading the lines and I do that on my own pace and often faster than the character is saying them.
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Re: Voice Acting

#3 Post by OTM » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:31 pm

I don't really care if it's voiced or not because I never play a game with the sound/music on. I always play games/VN's with my ipod so in the end it wouldn't matter to me.

But I'm not a big fan of voice acting and that's mostly because I like to hear the voices in my head (that sounds so psychotic) and I prefer to use my imagination when it comes to voices and stuff.

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Re: Voice Acting

#4 Post by sake-bento » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:51 pm

I think it largely depends on the game. I like that Professor Layton only had some parts voiced, because the rest would have been sort of tedious. However, I'm thoroughly annoyed that Lux Pain wasn't fully voiced, because it made the non-voiced portions feel empty and sort of cheap (like they ran out of budget or something). I kind of wish 999 had voices for some of the more important cut scenes, but I probably would have rolled my eyes if they had voiced the whole thing. I'm really glad Koenchu is fully voiced, though, because it feels appropriate. I'm not really sure how to explain why I prefer one or the other in certain situations. Saying it depends on the "feel" isn't very telling or useful. D:

I try to make my games fully voiced for several reasons, the most blatant being that I really like voice acting and doing voice direction. Since I enjoy it, I include it. I also include voices to increase accessibility. A lot of my "readers" have trouble reading due to various medical conditions (dyslexia and blindness being the major ones). There's always a "voices off," option, so I don't ever feel bad for including more voices, because anyone who doesn't want to listen really doesn't have to. I'd much rather give more options and let people remove the ones they don't like, than give fewer options and exclude the people who wanted more.

When it comes to recording, I've sunk a bit of money into building my own home studio, and I actually have a couple different mics that I use. I hear that there are some (relatively) inexpensive USB mics that will produce similar sound quality, though, and I don't recommend building your own studio unless you plan to use it regularly. When it comes to getting voices, I'm afraid I cheat on that one, since I'm fairly well acquainted with a decent number of professional voice actors. >.>;; I know a lot of people hold auditions on amateur sites like the Voice Acting Alliance or the Voice Acting Club. You can find some incredible talent there, but there are also a lot of people who will give you the "low mic quality, I'm just reading aloud" sort of sound as well. It's just a matter of digging through to find the one you want.

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Re: Voice Acting

#5 Post by Gear » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:59 pm

I think what I need is a soundproof room of some kind to do that type of work. Of course, a good mic, too, considering I don't exactly have great hardware to work with in the first place. But that's neat that you made your own studio for it, and I suppose your logic on the voice acting makes sense. But I guess it might bug me on a fundamental level somewhere if I knew people were just turning things off that were difficult to do, like voice acting. Of course, I realize there's nothing I can do about that, but it almost makes it seem like a lot of trouble for nothing. Like cooking a seven-course steak dinner to a vegan...I think...or something like that.
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Re: Voice Acting

#6 Post by jack_norton » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:09 pm

Just recently an user in my forums posted
The voices in BH1 were the tipping point that put my game experience from 'nice, respect, but probably not 'top-score' to AWESOME! (especially if considering that this was an INDIE game that really showed that many hours of work have been invested).
I was really enthusiast too about BH voices, so much that I wanted to have all my future games to be voiced. Then I faced the hard reality of dealing with unreliable VA... :cry:
Also budget-wise, once you have games with 30,000+ words it gets a bit expensive :mrgreen:

That said I like them, even if only for a minor part/specific gameplay of the game. I think the battle voices of Planet Stronghold were really well done and fun to hear, and made the game overall more polished 8)
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Re: Voice Acting

#7 Post by Mink » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:16 pm

@jack_norton: I don't know what it is, but something about Luke's voice in BH really amuses me for some reason.
Though I've always wondered why no one sounds, well, English, that didn't really bother me like it seemed to bother others. :/
@Gear: Well, people's opinion of voices can vary. I've heard voices/voice acting that, while good, I couldn't stand the voice itself. Looking at it that way, it'd be best to have an option to turn it off so you just don't annoy people. (Sadly, you can't do that with a movie or TV show)

@sake-bento: Lux-Pain could have benefited from a lot, such as a less terrible localization (seriously; is the city/school in Japan, an English-speaking country, or what?). I need to learn Japanese if only to see how the game does on it's own, since the concept itself was interesting to me.

In response to the topic, well...in regards to partial voice acting, as in only important scenes voiced, I'm kind of on the fence about that. I like how it can emphasize certain parts, but it tends to make me wonder why the rest of it wasn't voiced. I do like the way Professor Layton did/does it though, so it may depend on the story for me.
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Re: Voice Acting

#8 Post by Alphonse » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:19 pm

(Just a player of games here, sorry...) I personally like it when things are only partially voiced. It's kinda annoying when you're done reading the line and they're still reading it. Or they read it kinda weird compared to how you read it. If it's partially voiced, then you get an idea of what they sound like and can fill in the rest. Less is more! (I really loved how they did the voice acting for TWEWY: voiced cutscenes without subtitles iirc, and a few clips for the actual gameplay like laughs or grunts or "hey".)

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Re: Voice Acting

#9 Post by sake-bento » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:24 pm

Gear wrote:But I guess it might bug me on a fundamental level somewhere if I knew people were just turning things off that were difficult to do, like voice acting. Of course, I realize there's nothing I can do about that, but it almost makes it seem like a lot of trouble for nothing. Like cooking a seven-course steak dinner to a vegan...I think...or something like that.
Oh, it bugs me too. The majority of users on LS don't care about voices or turn them off immediately, regardless of the quality, and I shed copious (imaginary) tears over that. Including voices is tedious, time consuming, and very expensive, but it's worth it for me if it means one more person can now enjoy the game.

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Re: Voice Acting

#10 Post by Desu_Cake » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:25 pm

Personally, I find voice acting quite annoying, (I can read the line myself thank you very much) but I don't mind as much when it's in a different language to what I'm reading. That doesn't really make sense but oh well.

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Re: Voice Acting

#11 Post by Watercolorheart » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:55 pm

I want to see more creators including their own voiceovers and commentary in the work!

The last time I saw that was Amnesia. Also, some creators do Let's Plays of their own games with their friends and that's really cool, I wish more people did that.
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Re: Voice Acting

#12 Post by PyTom » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:59 pm

Desu_Cake wrote:I don't mind as much when it's in a different language to what I'm reading. That doesn't really make sense but oh well.
From what I understand, there are language centers in the brain that kick in when you're doing things like reading and listening to someone speak. The same center doesn't kick in for things like instrumental music and sound effects. When you're both reading and listening to someone speak, the two streams of information conflict, and you run into problems. When the dialogue isn't in a language you know, your brain doesn't treat it as speech, and so you don't have this problem.

So I think that actually makes perfect sense.

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Re: Voice Acting

#13 Post by bunny-gypsy » Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:07 pm

Regarding whether I prefer voice acting or not, it depends. However, for visual novels in particular, I prefer
no voice-acting.

There are times when voice-acting adds to the game(s), and there are times when
voice-acting kinds of ruins the game(s).

However, I don't mind lack of voice-acting because I prefer reading (I'm more of a visual person that learns better seeing things than hearing things). I also read much faster than the typical voices can read the text, lol. (This is a big thing for me). I also may think the voices may not match what I thought the characters' voices would sound like in my head. There are also some voice-acting voices that may also not be great at emoting or are just obnoxious or sound awful, etc.

For some reason, having voice acting for only part of something (like just the first quote of a paragraph) irritates me just a tiny, tiny bit. Either have voice-acting the entire time (except maybe in cutscenes, which is fine with me) or don't use it at all in the entire game.

(I think I've been spoiled by Mass Effect and other AAA-games in that, if a game has voice-acting, it is for the entire game, not just for a sentence... But that's just me, lol.)

Anyway, I don't mind either way, but for visual novels in which it is a medium that is visual and has lots of on-screen text (and I read pretty fast), I prefer no voice-acting for the most part---unless it was done really, really, really well.

Usually I really prefer voice-acting in games that have immersive 3-D game-worlds like Mass Effect or Darksiders. RPG's are also another type of game I wouldn't mind voice-acting.

I may be weird (and my closest family members also do this), but I always put subtitles/closed captions on EVERYTHING that has audio. TV, movies, games, even some youtube videos, etc. For some reason, my hearing is not the best (or my processing with hearing is not good?), and I misunderstand everything, so I prefer hearing things with subtitles....even if it's English, which is my language, lol!
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Re: Voice Acting

#14 Post by RemnantDream » Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:15 pm

If a game has voice acting, I'll play through it with the voices because I like to hear what the creator of the games imagined the characters to sound like. Also, the voice actors put effort into recording the lines and the creator found the voice actors, so I'll listen to the voices out of respect for them. After I've already played through it a time or two though, I'll usually cut the voices off.

One thing about voice acting always annoyed me though. In the games that I've played that've had voice acting, the MC was never voiced. I know it's not usually done like that, but it just irks me to go from people talking to silence.

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Re: Voice Acting

#15 Post by bunny-gypsy » Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:33 pm

RemnantDream wrote: One thing about voice acting always annoyed me though. In the games that I've played that've had voice acting, the MC was never voiced. I know it's not usually done like that, but it just irks me to go from people talking to silence.
Lol, I forgot about that!

It is kind of weird to hear everyone talking, but the MC is the only one who can't
(especially if the MC has actual lines). Now, if the MC is mute like a certain Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe franchise, then
it makes sense for the MC to be mute, heh. :lol:
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