Voice Acting in VN games

A place to discuss things that aren't specific to any one creator or game.
Forum rules
Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
Message
Author
Glazed Donuts
Regular
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:47 am
Contact:

Voice Acting in VN games

#1 Post by Glazed Donuts » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:06 am

I've been playing more VN games these days, trying to understand them more production-wise. So what all goes into Voice Acting for VNs? Is it something that one can simply pick up a random mic and just start making voice files or do you really need special equipment and software to do something like that? How does Ren'py implement voice files to correspond to what's being written on the screen?

User avatar
LVUER
King of Lolies
Posts: 4538
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:57 pm
Completed: R.S.P
Location: Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#2 Post by LVUER » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:23 am

I don't have much experience in voice acting or recording business, but here's what I thought you'll need:
1. Recording equipment. Usually the more expensive ones creates higher quality recording.
2. Editing equipment. This one is rather easy since you could just use PC and editing software.
3. Studio. Expensive to rent... Or you could just look for a quite place.
4. Voice Actor. Hire one (for free or not) or do it yourself. Or perhaps you could use voice synthesizer.

To be a voice actor, you need several skill. Amateur could do it, albeit with lower quality result. Voice tend to change when you record it (try recording your own voice and play it, you'll know what I mean). Not only that, a VA have to know how to make his/her voice sound interesting or pleasant to be heard. Not to mention he/she must fully understand (and act) the character through the voice.

Anyway, it's something that you (or Indie developer) could do. Jisei (a recent commercial games by Sake-bento) is voiced.
"Double the princesses, quadruple the fun!" - Haken Browning (SRW-OG Endless Frontier)

DeviantArt Account
MoeToMecha Blog (under construction)
Lolicondria Blog (under construction) <- NSFW

Glazed Donuts
Regular
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:47 am
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#3 Post by Glazed Donuts » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:31 am

Yeah, I played Jisei :) I wasn't really interested in doing Voice Acting, per se. I was only curious how it was done and implemented in VN games. This definitely seems like an involved process!

Topagae
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 520
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:40 pm
Contact:

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit am

#4 Post by Topagae » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:34 am

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."
Last edited by Topagae on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."

IceD
Veteran
Posts: 433
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#5 Post by IceD » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:40 am

In modern times, voice acting isn't an option available to a small group of developers; with steady progress of computing power you don't need tons of expensive equipement to produce voices for your game or animation, though it is unlikely you'll produce something of a good quality without any high-class equipement. You don't need a studio to record voices; studios are more to produce the sound of highest quality and organise and ease the process of voice recording; you can go without it but with that, you'll going to be prepared for the output sound that won't be crisp and as sharp, nor without artifacts and other noises in the background. The good thing is that almost every modern computer bought after 2006 is good enough to handle editing and computing processes decently and fast enough. Of course, most importantly you will need voice actors; they usually take the payment by the quality and ammount of voice acting they have to do. You can also try to ask your relatives and friends - who knows, maybe you will find a voice talent somewhere near you; many people have such talent, they just don't go with it, but with a little work you get good voices.

Propably the biggest problem might be the lack of professional recording studio; as I said, while you can get enough with a decent microphone, good software and a quiet room, the results will never be as good as from a studio. Eitherway, I've already listened to many amateur works which had voice acting recorded like this and you can be sure, it doesn't sound "that" bad.

So, you have two possibilities now:
1. Hire a professional recording studio and voice actors, or just voice actors (many have their own studios), and commision them to do voices for you.
2. Prepare a small, amateur recording studio of your own, find talented friends and start the recording by yourself; it will take a lot of work and nerves of steel, though.

Everything depends on your needs. If you need voice acting this time, for once I would really advice to hire professional voice actors. But if you'll thinking about making more voice acting in the future, or you're really interested in that, start building your own studio. You can get decent results with just a good microphone, decent PC and a quiet, preferably small room, so you won't get echoes or sound distortions (The room should be soundproof; you can't get that without proper investments, but at least might try to imitate a proper enviroment by putting fabrics all around the walls. The cheapest way is to cover the room with foamed polystyrene - you can get almost the same result as in a professional studio with this). The most interesting thing is, that with proper knowledge you can get rid of most of various distortions with a proper software.

So, if you really want to try, I'd say - invest in a good *real* microphone (the best you can get for your money, don't buy any shit integrated with headphones or something similiar, it won't do the job), get a good PC (for sound you'll need a decent power - at least a Dual Core processor, but Core 2 Duo would the best choice; still you can get away with a top notch pentium 4 processor), at least 2 gigs of fast ram and LOTS of disk space (a 500-750 GB hdd being a minimum, it's best to have a 1-2TB hdd), so you'll be able to store a lot of high-quality recording and a good soundcard so you won't get any crackling or artifacts and the recorded sound will be of far more better quality than with integrated audio chipsets. Audacity is the best choice software for a start - it's free and has plenty of good options, including wave and chanell mixing and output in various other formats, such as mp3 or ogg.
Last edited by IceD on Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
sake-bento
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1909
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 5:58 pm
Completed: http://sakevisual.com/games.html
Projects: Every Sunrise, Shinsei
Organization: sakevisual
Tumblr: sakevisual
Deviantart: sakevisual
itch: sakevisual
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#6 Post by sake-bento » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:44 am

In theory, you really could just leap right in and record on any old mic you have lying around, but there are a lot of issues with that - largely that the price of the mic tends to be directly related to the quality of the sound you're going to get out of it. USB mics tend to be the middle ground in terms of price and quality. Anyone looking for a decent USB mic would probably be interested in trying the Snowball. It's gives some nice, clear, recording, and is a reasonable price (for anyone who records on a semi-regular basis). Any more pro than that, and you'll likely be dropping a couple hundred USD.

The other technical issue with recording is the fact that every mic and setup sounds different (if you're pulling people from the internet). Each room that a person records in will yield a different reverb, timbre, and overall sound quality. That's why it's best to use a studio or build your own, but there are makeshift ways to make it sound less like everyone is recording in a different place.

For software, Audacity is a great option. It's free, and it really does what you need it to. On the professional circuit, Adobe Audition is useful, but most pros use ProTools. Either way, it's loads of cash.
Last edited by sake-bento on Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Topagae
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 520
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:40 pm
Contact:

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit am

#7 Post by Topagae » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:48 am

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."
Last edited by Topagae on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."

User avatar
kinougames
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 522
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:37 pm
Projects: Working on ミツマタ [Mitsumata (c)].
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#8 Post by kinougames » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:51 pm

Glazed Donuts wrote:I've been playing more VN games these days, trying to understand them more production-wise. So what all goes into Voice Acting for VNs? Is it something that one can simply pick up a random mic and just start making voice files or do you really need special equipment and software to do something like that? How does Ren'py implement voice files to correspond to what's being written on the screen?
I think a lot of the answers here are misleading, so let me be the first to say:

NO, voice acting is not something you can just pick up a mic and start doing, but not because of equipment. It is because it takes more talent than people imagine it does.

If you cannot afford professionals, and by professionals, I don't mean dub VAs, who are the lowest of any voice acting market as far as payment and talent, I mean true, hardcore, people who have real training from somewhere/someone credible, I would advise against doing it at all. There is nothing that pulls me out of a game faster than poor voice acting.
Check out the new interactive media project, Mitsumata(c). Follow 8 colorful characters in a story full of drama, horror, all sexualities and exciting gameplay~!

Development blog's up! Visit!

User avatar
LordShiranai
Regular
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:49 pm
Completed: Mobile Food Madness, Super Otome Quest
Location: Pacific Northwest
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#9 Post by LordShiranai » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:59 pm

kinougames wrote:
Glazed Donuts wrote:I've been playing more VN games these days, trying to understand them more production-wise. So what all goes into Voice Acting for VNs? Is it something that one can simply pick up a random mic and just start making voice files or do you really need special equipment and software to do something like that? How does Ren'py implement voice files to correspond to what's being written on the screen?
I think a lot of the answers here are misleading, so let me be the first to say:

NO, voice acting is not something you can just pick up a mic and start doing, but not because of equipment. It is because it takes more talent than people imagine it does.

If you cannot afford professionals, and by professionals, I don't mean dub VAs, who are the lowest of any voice acting market as far as payment and talent, I mean true, hardcore, people who have real training from somewhere/someone credible, I would advise against doing it at all. There is nothing that pulls me out of a game faster than poor voice acting.
Ditto. No voices are better than bad voices, in my opinion... at least with a commercial production. (If you're going for the all hobbyist route, that's another story.) I was going to buy Arc Rise Fantasia until I watched a video of the US version and heard the truly terrible voice acting.
Don't Blame Me. I Voted for Vermin Supreme.

Glazed Donuts
Regular
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:47 am
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#10 Post by Glazed Donuts » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:52 pm

Thank you, everyone for your input :) And yes, I agree with Shiranai and Kinou about being turned off by poor voice acting :) It seems that voice acting in itself is a learned skill that few people can really do well.
Is it more common for Japanese VNs to NOT have voice acting in them? Or is the opposite true?

User avatar
Wintermoon
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 701
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 3:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#11 Post by Wintermoon » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:14 pm

In my experience, almost all commercial Japanese visual novels have voice acting. The only exceptions I can think of are either very old or very low-budget.

User avatar
LVUER
King of Lolies
Posts: 4538
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:57 pm
Completed: R.S.P
Location: Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#12 Post by LVUER » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:24 pm

Early version of Fate Stay/Night didn't have voice in it but it's a big game... Still, it's a rare case.
"Double the princesses, quadruple the fun!" - Haken Browning (SRW-OG Endless Frontier)

DeviantArt Account
MoeToMecha Blog (under construction)
Lolicondria Blog (under construction) <- NSFW

User avatar
Wintermoon
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 701
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 3:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#13 Post by Wintermoon » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:51 pm

Fate/Stay Night is the first "real" commercial release of a former 同人 (doujin) circle. It's popular (as is ひぐらしのなく頃に (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni), which also has no voice acting), but it still probably qualifies as "low budget". It's also over five years old by now.

Topagae
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 520
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:40 pm
Contact:

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit am

#14 Post by Topagae » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:53 pm

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."
Last edited by Topagae on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."

Glazed Donuts
Regular
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:47 am
Contact:

Re: Voice Acting in VN games

#15 Post by Glazed Donuts » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:17 am

Wow, so does the voice acting in these games generally apply to everyone? or just certain characters? It sounds like such an expensive endeavor if every single character has voice acting! Especially if it's a long game!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users