Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

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ISiah
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Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#1 Post by ISiah » Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:48 pm

Hello everyone :D ,

Hope all is well with you.

I would like to ask for your expert opinions in regards to using voices in a VN.

I tried searching around the forum but can't seem to find a discussion about this.

I'm currently thinking between using Voice Snippets (e.g. sound expressions, short sentences) vs full Voice Over

The big questions are:
- Will voice snippets be enough to bring out the personality of a character?
- Will you be turned off if no full VO is available


My thoughts are:
- Having full VO is difficult to get right unless you have a big team to manage production
- People tend to read faster than the spoken voice

I know everyone has their own preferences in regards to voice over in VNs, but I would appreciate your thoughts if having voice snippets could potentially be a good middle ground for both sides of the fence.

Your thoughts are much-appreciated :D

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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#2 Post by Selidor » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:33 am

I don't care whether a game is voiced or not, but if it is, I'm not a fan of voice snippets. I find them a bit awkward and distracting. It wouldn't stop me from playing, but unless I really liked the voice acting, I would probably mute the voices.

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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#3 Post by D.ray » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:13 am

To answer your most pertinent questions

1. I think the personalities of the characters are brought out mainly by the writing and not voice snippets. I think voice snippets can enhance the personalities of the characters but not be a defining factor. At the same time, they can be detrimental, if the voice acting or casting is not right for the character.

2. I wouldn't be turned off if the game has partial VA or not. If a game has partial, full, or non existent VA, it doesn't really matter to me. If it does contain some kind of VA, I see it as a plus, but it wouldn't be what determined whether I wanted to play it or not.

Doing VA for a game can be be more work, but I don't think you need a big team to manage it. Just have the right key players who are capable at their roles. To me, what would be needed in a small team to accomplish good VA work would include; a good writer for the dialogue, good voice actors, a sound guy for quality control and a voice director or someone who would act as one. You don't need to be seasoned pro's here either. For example, for the voice director, just have someone who knows and understands how the characters lines are supposed to be said and expressed, and if the actual voice being auditioned is a good fit for the character. This way you avoid miscasting roles. They should also be good at communicating so they can get what is necessary out of the VA's.

As for the sound guy, they would be the person who can edit out mistakes and level match the volume of everyone's lines and perhaps add some polish and sheen at the end to make the audio quality sound more professional. This might not be a necessity, but assuming your doing this online, and every VA records their own lines in less than ideal environments, you might end up with drastically different takes. Some lines could be quieter or louder than others or some might have annoying echo or background noise. Whatever the case, the sound guy would get rid out of it or drastically minimize it. Anyone with some basic knowledge on mixing or editing music can probably do this for you. It's a service I provide and that I've done for games that use voice acting. *hintidy hint hint* It also takes some of the burden off the VA's if they are not too tech savy with editing or cleaning up audio.

To me, the two roles that I just mentioned aren't taken very seriously by developers who are new to implementing voice acting, and it usually shows, in a bad way. Naturally, the dialogue and the voice acting are still very important too. If the dialogue is too wordy, awkwardly structured or boring, very little would save it. And if the voice acting is bad, or doesn't fit the character, it could ruin the entire voice acting aspect of the game. On another note, it's a good idea to have all the dialogue 100% approved before recording begins. This way you're not going back and forth changing lines, or wasting time recording lines that are not even going to be used. Lastly, it's wise to plan extra time for the whole process since lines will need to be redone for a multitude of reasons. Of course, this is all drastically reduced if you're just using snippets.

If you do use voice snippets, the only thing I would make sure to do is to properly implement them during moments that are important or exciting for the story.This way they serve as embellishments and accents, and aren't perceived as too jarring. And you're right, people do tend to read faster than the spoken voice, but there's nothing you can do about that. As long as a game has good writing, and good voice acting, I think most people will go along for the ride and not just skip the VA, or turn it off entirely.

There's nothing wrong with using partial or full on voice acting, you just have to make sure it would work for the game and that it is something you would be able to pull of.
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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#4 Post by Kokoro Hane » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:14 pm

As someone who likes voices in novels (including my own), has played VNs with full, partial, or no voice acting--
While it can be difficult to get fully voiced dialogue, the result is quite rewarding if you have the perfect cast. However, same can be said with voice snippets. You need to even make sure the minor vocalizations fit the character right, and be sure that it is used at the right moment. Don't just throw it over tons of dialogue where there is no need to. I think a good example of voice-snippets used right would be a visual novel you can find here at Lemmasoft called "Autumn's Journey"--the voice snippets let me know what a character sounded like, so I can picture it over their silent dialogue as I read. I felt all sentences and expressive sounds were placed properly, and feel that it thoroughly enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

Another possible middle ground you could do is to voice act CERTAIN event in the story. Like, perhaps very important events you could have the entire scene fully-voice acted. Do some sort of effect to let players know a "cutscene" is coming up, like cinemascope bars or using text to look like subtitles instead of the textbox. This is something I am experimenting in one of my linear novels, that way there is a lot less to voice.
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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#5 Post by RedOwl » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:00 pm

Personally, I find voice snippets can add a lot. If the voice is well-acted and sounds good, it gives me a great frame of reference for imagining the kind of voice all the rest of the dialogue is spoken in (if that makes sense). As already mentioned in this thread, you do want to make sure that your voice overs are good quality and added at appropriate spots in the story. As for you questions specifically:

- Yes, voice snippets do a lot to bring out the personality of characters - especially if the characters are already well written and the voice acting is good.
- No, I am not turned off by VNs with partial or no voice acting. In fact, in some cases full voice acting can be distracting, and - as you mentioned - I don't like waiting for voices when I've already read the text.
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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#6 Post by ISiah » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:59 am

wow guys thanks for all the constructive feedbacks. some food for thought to be considered here.

I'm keen to explore voice snippets ala Autumn's Journey mentioned above, and even the likes of Danganronpa in their normal scenes.

Maybe start low and see if it works, this way not too much time and resource are invested before turning back if it doesn't work out.

Thanks for all the feedback, if anyone else has more views about this feel free to share! =]

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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#7 Post by Hijiri » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:28 am

To quote an old commercial:
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Use voice snippets for normal scenes and use VO for those scenes that need that "oomph." It cuts costs in regards to having the whole game voiced, and still gets the idea of the character across by having scenes where they talk fully.
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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#8 Post by rak0nt0ur » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:57 pm

I personally prefer voice snippets over full voice acting, since usually it takes a lot longer for the voice to finish speaking than it takes me to read the line. When that happens I usually just skip the voice so it feels a bit like a waste. Some of my friends are very into the full voice acting though, and keep active track of the voice actors and whatnot. I think it ultimately depends on the quality of the voice and how well it matches the characters.

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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#9 Post by Quinn-G » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:11 pm

Last reply is from November, but I'm with Hijiri on this one. In terms of VN making and budget, I think the ideal would be this:

A- Use fully-voiced lines when a new character is introduced to the protagonist to give their reveal that additional "oomph" Hijiri mentioned, and do the same when they're saying something you want to draw the player's attention to (eg. a rousing inspirational speech);

B- Use voice snippets for less important dialogues to convey the character's emotion, but not too often so as not to annoy the player with constant repeating "Eh?"s, "Nani?"s "Haha!"s, etc. (I mostly got that from Ys: Memories of Celceta);

C- If your game has a type of RPG-style combat system (like, say, the Sunrider games), then use combat voices for character's actions.

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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#10 Post by Yunou » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:20 pm

I know this is an older post but, since it's already been revived, I'll throw in my two cents.

I honestly prefer voice snippets over full voice over when it comes to visual novels. I read way faster than characters can be voiced, so I'll typically end up cutting the voice over off as I click through to the next dialogue because they are too slow. Not to mention the quality of voice acting is not always 100% which can significantly detract from quality.

I like little sound effects from characters, though, because it can really add to the character to be able to hear what they would sound like. Additionally, voice snippets typically can mask any lower quality acting.

I prefer something along the lines of, "Hey!" "Mm-hm!" "Ah, no..." "Maybe~" "Woah, cool!". Short little things like that--not full sentences.

I usually turn off voice acting if things are fully voices

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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#11 Post by Mammon » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:50 am

I like a game with voice actors, if done right (enough). It makes me read the story at the pace that the writer intended rather than my lighting-speed reading, a lot of narration or character emotions could be delivered through the voice rather than through text, and it can add personality to the cast. However, if the wrong voice is added to someone, the quality of the voice actors differs greatly, or the story has those moments that amateur voice actors just can't convey properly, it's just... I too would turn off voice acting in that case.

When your story contains scenes that will require very expressive voicing, like death screams or crying, I'd say to just don't do voice acting period. Even a professional cast like Corpse Party will sound awkward and frankly boring when cast in a story like that. If you find a voice actor who can deliver upon the extremities of your character's most difficult scenes, then it might actually be an amazing addition, but find someone like that first. For example the Boogie Man by Uri casted someone for the Boogie man who could deliver upon that kind of insanity, and their choice of the Protagonist's wife elevated her character much higher than her role in the story could possibly do on its own. But that story too had some mediocre or even cringe-worthy voice actors among it.

Voice snippets... If done right I'd say yes. Not to mention that for a small game, voice snippet Creative Commons can be your only choice. But just like Quinn said, don't overuse them. Or in other words; 'Hey, listen!' 'Hey, listen!' 'Hey, listen!' 'Hey, listen!' 'Hey, listen!' 'Hey, listen!' 'Hey, listen!'. I never even played that game and even I know how annoying that snippet was.
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Re: Voice Snippets vs Voice Over

#12 Post by ISiah » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:49 am

hey guys!

Sorry for not replying, somehow I'm not getting the notifications about thread updates :O

Thanks for all the input, it looks like the major preference is towards snippets.

My personal feeling is to lean towards voice snippets to give a relatable voice to the characters, and looks like everyone's input here has reinforced it :)

Thanks everyone!

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