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Are fully voice acted dialogs such a good idea?

I'm beginning to suspect that the reason Enhanced Edition NPC dialogs are usually short, 'modern' or otherwise unsatisfying is because when they were written, the writers knew that they would be fully voice acted.

For instance, look at this gem from Minsc:

"Don't ask questions better left to aged sages. Boo is so quick and evasive and there is ever so much of Minsc to search, there is no hope of getting us apart!"

Could the original writers be so creative if they were constrained by full voice acting?

Does anyone agree, am I completely off here?

FlashburnSionIV

Comments

  • AlexisisinneedAlexisisinneed Member Posts: 470
    Not really. I find both the new dialogs and old dialogs satisfy me. But I think this is just a matter of personal opinion.

  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,738
    I agree that full voice acting isn't the way to go.

    But the partial voice acting that Overhaul's got going on in a lot of the NPC's dialogs is even worse. Often they will only voice the first sentence in a series of 2 or 3. It doesn't add enough to the flavor of the NPCs compared to full voice acting, or no voice acting at all. It leaves me wanting more or wishing I could just read it all myself.

    I'm hoping that SoD does dialog like BG2, leaving voice acted bits to only important or plot-centric NPCs, instead of the half-measures taken in BG2EE.

    SionIV
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    I actually like the compromise of having partial voice acting. It gives you some depth without completely disregarding the flavor of voice, and I probably prefer it to full voice acting which will inevitably lead to shorter dialog because by the Gods voice time is expensive. Guess you have to balance the budget somehow, the way it's done in the EE I personally find quite acceptable.

    I definitely do see how one could argue differently, though.

    semiticgodBelgarathMTHSionIVBlackraven
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,028
    I am confused.

    That is usually how the voice acting worked in BG2, the NPCs would only do he first line if what they were saying to establish tone and then the rest the player read much like how you described how EE did the voice acting.

    Fully voiced NPCs and PCs, limit the creativity players and writers have in making the game and I was never fond of it unless I was playing a character with a predetermined persona.

    BlucherJuliusBorisovSionIVBlackraven
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,981
    edited July 2015
    Flashburn said:

    I agree that full voice acting isn't the way to go.

    But the partial voice acting that Overhaul's got going on in a lot of the NPC's dialogs is even worse. Often they will only voice the first sentence in a series of 2 or 3. It doesn't add enough to the flavor of the NPCs compared to full voice acting, or no voice acting at all. It leaves me wanting more or wishing I could just read it all myself.

    I'm hoping that SoD does dialog like BG2, leaving voice acted bits to only important or plot-centric NPCs, instead of the half-measures taken in BG2EE.

    Actually BGEE/BG2EE new NPC's voice a lot of their dialogue. If anything they don't have that much non-voiced dialogue compared to original NPCs. Original NPC's work more along the lines of what you are describing.

    JuliusBorisov
  • DragonKingDragonKing Member Posts: 1,656
    I'm going to be that guy who says, yes I would love fully voices dialogue. Just give the people who don't want it, a way to turn it off, or the whole first line thing or whatever.

    semiticgod
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,686
    edited August 2015

    In heavily voice-acted games like Dragon Age: Origins, I often find myself left-clicking through most of the voiced dialogue anyway, especially on replays. I can read it at scanning speed and have the gist of it by the time the voice actor gets through the first line. Heaven help me if it's a whole paragraph they're reading. It takes *forever*, when what I want to do is to just get on with the game.

    So much this, It's like Dragon Age (PC version) is starting to break down on me with lag because I'm clicking past so many dialogues and interactions in a short time.

    NimranBelgarathMTH
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    edited August 2015
    I don't know, a common advice for writers is "Read it out loud!", so I think voicing it should help, right?. If the script is good, voice actors are also good, and paragraphs are cut into pieces (so you don't have to wait and you can skip sentences) I don't see any problem with a fully-voiced game. Imagine Charname screaming: "A-a-a-ah!!! Unholy magics are afoot! This chicken is possessed! This bird is FOUL!!!"

    Now that I read myself (not out loud, though), perhaps you are onto something. If the writers know everything will be voiced, it is unlikely someone will write something like the Melicamp dialogue unless they have complete faith in the voice actor. Could be, although I don't think that was EE situation, but could be. In any case, if some dialogues seem 'modern' is because they actually use modern wording.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited August 2015
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

    NaveenSionIVBlucherJuliusBorisov
  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 3,033
    edited August 2015
    It's my belief that the greater percentage of lines are voiceacted, the less is written for the sake of the voiceactors. I'm happy if it's there, but I'm worried that it hurts the process of writing.

    SionIVBlucher[Deleted User]
  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,848
    edited August 2015
    I like to read lines aloud myself, using whatever kooky voice I can come up with to make the characters sound silly, such as giving Sarevok the voice of Elmo from Sesame Street. Nobody can keep a straight face around me when they hear "I will be the last, and you will go first, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

    [Deleted User]BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisov
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,981
    edited August 2015
    I think when it comes to 3D, big budget games its harder to pull off not having it voice acted. The few cases in Dragon Age Origins for instance where dialogue isn't voiced just come across as being a bit off given how much work has gone elsewhere into a given game. Once you kind of cross into the realm of the video game being as much a cinematic experience as it is a game (with extensive cutscenes, etc) pulling off non-voiced lines is likely very difficult (though Morrowind pulled it off).

    SionIV
  • AstroBryGuyAstroBryGuy Member Posts: 3,414
    Dee said:

    That tears it. From now on, Edwin will be voiced by Cookie Monster.

    C is for conjure, that's good enough for me!

    cmorgan
  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,848
    Dee said:

    That tears it. From now on, Edwin will be voiced by Cookie Monster.

    I can do that voice too. Hire me, Beamdog! :grin:

  • cmorgancmorgan Member Posts: 707
    edited August 2015
    [short form]
    I like the "conservative modder" way of doing stuff - a simple soundset, then a "soundtrack" through .mus (very few) or PlaySound("mysound") (most).



    [long form]
    Only a very few mods add a ton of voiceovers for dialogue. Those that do often have some players immediately ask for replacement .cre voice sets and a way to remove the sounds and soundsets from the game, either because they don't like the voice, or there is a significant difference in volume, etc. And modders have a helluvu time getting VO work done in the first place; even if you know what you are doing and have an H4next or a good mic and sound setup, it means amateur acting and trying to use your own voice. And if you do happen to find a good one in the community, (SisterV, Sir Kaltherine, I am looking at you...) you will find that voice coming out of several mods from different characters. Then there is the time delay- write 40 to 60 lines, send them off, hope to hear back from someone within 2 years...

    So conservative modders do a soundset (or assign a professionally developed one) to give a taste of the character voice, and then add in music or recorded soundtrack snippets to play to set the mood (or in some cases just use the same snippet to indicate that NPC is talking).

    And I want Oscar the Grouch and Elmo as assigned, but Rassaad has to be Grover, Minsc has to be Big Bird, Xan by Mr. Snuffleuppagus...

    and I want Viconia voiced by Katy Perry only she has just inhaled helium from a balloon :)

    AstroBryGuy
  • djcdjc Member Posts: 76
    IMHO fully acted dialogues have no place in roleplaying games. They tend to limit dialogue options and amount of content because of the increased production costs. Mods lacking voice acting start to feel out of place. And having a voiced protagonist in certain types of CRPGS(for example Fallout) severely limits the feeling of roleplaying.

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