GWJ Conference Call Episode 549

Comments

... still no Nier: Automata ?

FalconX wrote:

... still no Nier: Automata ?

Hopefully some of them will get around to it eventually, but it's tough to play all of the big new games when most of them are flippin' 50+ hour open world games. Let the boys play with their Ballz for a bit.

FalconX wrote:

... still no Nier: Automata ?

00:01:12 Stellaris: Utopia
00:04:29 Ballz (mobile)
00:09:40 Flinthook
00:14:07 Persona 5
00:16:13 PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
00:21:24 Your Emails

"I actually killed some people, which felt great."
This quote of the week brought to you by Shawn Andrich.

Regarding the email about using our own voice in a game? Nuh uh, not me, not ever. I hate the sound of my voice (like most people, it sounds weird because science! a recording sounds different then when we hear it coming it out of our throat).

I think using your own voice for a narrative focused game has all sorts of problems. Voice acting is actually significantly harder than people think - and not just in the actual skill involved but also in the resources needed to get a quality recording. Even if you take out the fact that you don't have the full picture of the context of the lines (which is a huge deal on its own) and the fact that most people aren't trained in any type of acting (let alone VO acting - which is its own unique skill significantly different from both theatrical and film acting) you are still going to run into myriad of other issues. Even a trained VO actor with top of the line equipment will end up with a wonky performance. Just having your own lines with no reference means that you don't know the way that any potential scene partners read their lines, so that's going to create potentially jarring scenes right there (not to mention the reverse of it, where the professional actors have no idea what choices the players are making with their delivery and are thus limited to being super general in their own choices.) And then there's technical stuff. There is no way to properly mix your voice in with the finished product and create balanced sound levels. The polish on any NPC's voice is going to jar with the lack of post done to your own.

If that idea were to work, it would need to be for an XCOM type of game where each soldier only has a handful of lines and they aren't really important for narrative and can get away with sounding like the equipment is a bit shoddy. I could see a bunch of people recording their four or five lines and then being able to match the soldier you made that vaguely resembles them to their voice and that working out in a way that's fun, but I just don't see it as a viable idea in a game that lives and dies on its characters / narrative.

But let's be real for a second - if a game did allow people to record their own voice into the protagonist then the game would really just be a platform for entirely disregarding the script and creating humorous videos to post online. Whatever other impulse existed in the game, whatever other story that game wanted to tell - it would be gone. If you lean into that then maybe you've got something!

Re: games that carry forward data. The first thing that lept to mind for me was Arc the Lad. But I started with the first one, so that worked out fine for me. But other than that I can't think of any (non-Bioware) games that had this feature. I always thought it was neat though.

Re: My voice in games. Isn't this basically just an un-voiced protagonist? Like... the line appears on the screen, and then I read it... and that's the idea? I mean, I do generally prefer it. I feel like you could just mute the protagonist and do a lot less work for the same end goal.

TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

But let's be real for a second - if a game did allow people to record their own voice into the protagonist then the game would really just be a platform for entirely disregarding the script and creating humorous videos to post online. Whatever other impulse existed in the game, whatever other story that game wanted to tell. It would be gone. If you lean into that then maybe you've got something!

Oh! Yeah, I'm super down for player voices Mad-Libs games. That would be novel enough to try to ruin some stuff in the most hilarious fashion possible. I'm down.

I don't know if I should thank you for mentioning Ballz. I saw a few of you discussing it on twitter and then apparently blacked out and lost time. After missing two buses in my office while in the middle of a run to 209, I may have to delete it from my phone today. So... thanks?

The most pointless carrying forward that I can remember is Wizardry VII into Wizardry VIII. I feel compelled to mention that I will SPOIL Wizardry VII, but not compelled to hide it behind a spoiler wall because that feels a little absurd in the year 2017.

At the end of Wizardry VII you get a choice to surrender a McGuffin to the main villain in exchange for a key NPC or keeping the McGuffin for yourself. Each triggers a different end game sequence and allows you to save your game to be ported into Wizardry 8. Surrendering the item leads to the players and the NPC chasing after a newly empowered Big Bad. Keeping the item involves the villain seemingly capturing the party and sending them to a "cold, dark place."

Loading up Wiz 8 you can import your save. If you surrendered the item the game starts and you retain some key items and start higher level. If you kept the item you just get a text box saying more or less "yeah, it is still cold and dark. We didn't really have time to work an alternative start out, so let's just call your party dead and have you start a new game. Cool?"

I just wanted to say that while the movie is super cheesy, I'm a big fan of the book The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. I read it aloud to my daughter and to me it was far more profound than my experience (which I bounced off of) as a child and light years beyond my the childish romp the movie ever was. The movie only covers, at best, half the book and the ending from the movie is total Hollywood insertion. It gets DARK.

Of course, this was all lost on my daughter since she was 1, so I don't have any disillusions that I have influenced her development.

But even as an adult, and especially as a parent, to me it is worth a read and a second chance.

I think we may get to a point where a computer can realistically mimic a person's voice using only samples and pitch changes. Then, you would only have to let the game record you saying something that captures all 44 sounds in the English language, and the game would handle the the rest. I could see a market for that - especially in games that people make their own character (sports games, MMO's, etc).

dewalist wrote:

I think we may get to a point where a computer can realistically mimic a person's voice using only samples and pitch changes. Then, you would only have to let the game record you saying something that captures all 44 sounds in the English language, and the game would handle the the rest. I could see a market for that - especially in games that people make their own character (sports games, MMO's, etc).

Isn't this essentially how the Siris and Alexas of the world are created?

I'm not sure I want my own voice on a protagonist in a game.

I tried to do a serviceable job of making Pepperbaq Ryder look like me in Mass Effect Andromeda, and it's a little unnerving to watch him get killed by the Kett.

dewalist wrote:

I think we may get to a point where a computer can realistically mimic a person's voice using only samples and pitch changes. Then, you would only have to let the game record you saying something that captures all 44 sounds in the English language, and the game would handle the the rest. I could see a market for that - especially in games that people make their own character (sports games, MMO's, etc).

That might be a two-edged sword.

Can I point out that acting is an art--and that although a computer could mimic a voice, could it also create an inflection that realistically portrays the character in the scene?

I think someone brought up friend of the show Graham Rowet (sp). If I can't do as good a job acting a scene as him (and I know I can't), then it will be a long time before I trust a computer to do it.