Voice Acting feedback on a great game

A dark sci-fi visual novel: http://winterwolves.com/bionicheart.htm
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Terhial
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Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by Terhial » Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:27 pm

Anyways I did quite like this game, but one thing stood out every so often during the game and that was the dialog when read aloud. It sounded a little wrong. I wish I could provide more detailed feedback, but it's hard for me to quantify. The phrasing was a little off decently often. I don't think I would have noticed without it being spoken. Also, for reference, I'm American, in case that has any bearing, for good or for ill, on my ear for speech. (Also assuming I'm not an ill informed opinionated idiot, which I assume I'm not, but I am biased.)

I am not an informed person on the side of writing spoken dialog or voice acting, but I do know that a good voice actor does know what's off with dialog they're reading and should be capable of pulling minor corrections on what they're saying.

As for low-budget solutions, the cheapest thing I can think of would be to get one, or several, volunteers to give the script an out loud reading to help spot these kind of issues before having the voice actors record. Kind of like an audio book.

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Re: Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by fleetp » Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:44 am

I thought the voice actors did a great job, and I recognized at least one of the voice actresses as a professional that I've heard in other games. Also, for reference, I'm American.

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Terhial
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Re: Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by Terhial » Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:38 am

Hmm.. Definitely didn't get that across exactly the way I meant. The voice acting was pretty good to awesome. My comments on the voice actors should have been more geared towards the type of feedback they can provide about anything they're reading.

The main gist of my point is based on the transition from written word to spoken dialog, where I believe some of the phrasing/sentence structure in Bionic Heart came across a little unnaturally from time to time, not constantly, but often enough. Points were I might expect a slightly different phrasing, or a word to be dropped, in a grammatically incorrect way, to make the conversation sound more natural. I don't mean to say it's bad or hurt my gameplay experience. It's just that it stood out to me and I wanted to provide some feedback to point it out in the hopes that the feedback is useful in case Winter Wolves / Tycoon Games goes as far as making another Voice Acted Visual Novel.

Hey, look character based video clips on the website. Recaps without replay, awesome. I could probably give some examples from those, if prompted.

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jack1974
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Re: Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by jack1974 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:33 am

Well, Bionic Heart was one of the first VN games I did, so I wrote it myself (I'm Italian BTW) and used a proofreader. Obviously the final result couldn't be as good as if a native English person wrote the dialogues :) That's what I'm doing with all my future titles, so if I understood what you mean, the problem was in the texts, and not much in the voice acting quality. I think the voice actor/actresses involved did a good job for a low budget indie game.
Bionic Heart 2 will have much higher budget and will have a better quality (both in visuals, audio, content).

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MarSel
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Re: Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by MarSel » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:07 pm

Bionic Heart 2!? :)

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jack1974
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Re: Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by jack1974 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:41 pm

Yes but hold your horses, that one won't be done before next summer (or maybe later!!) :lol:

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OromeAldaron
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Re: Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by OromeAldaron » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:57 pm

Hi all, long-time lurker here...

OT:
WHAT... we have to wait for ANOTHER full year or more? OMG, this hurts...

Anyway, I respectfully disagree with the OP. I'd like to give a slightly different perspective - knowing that me being a non-native English speaker, it doesn't necessarily mean a lot.

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 saw the icon of the program on one of Apple's website dedicated to games and, thought I give it a try. I bought it and got immersed into the dark, futuristic world, with romantic entanglements, very nice. The voices added a different dimension of sensual quality to the game... you can do so much more with a matrix than with a vector, to use a mathematical analogy. Recently, I bought Planet Stronghold ('because I couldn't wait any longer for BH2'... lol) and the 2nd thing I noticed was the lack of voices (first thing was the nice visuals). I cannot really explain it, but I did not play Planet Stronghold to the end and I think I would have played a lot more if it would have voices.

So, I am looking forward to BH2, hopefully with voices, whenever it will be released...

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jack1974
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Re: Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by jack1974 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:57 pm

Well, I like to have voices in games. However my games have LOTS of texts, so as you can imagine there are several factors that needs to be considered:
- money: you pay VA based on the amount of lines. Even if for BH I used mainly non-pro voice actors, the costs were still quite high for a indie budget game
- time/reliability: since I cannot afford professionals, and the amount of work is big, is not uncommon that people quit, disappear, etc. After Bionic Heart I wanted ALL my next games to be voiced because I liked it. But already with the next title, Heileen 2, I had lots of problems, so that I was forced to release the game without voices, and then 4 months later with the voices except the main protagonist (Heileen) because two voice actresses in a row quit (the amount of lines was really big).

The only solution would be to have much shorter text/stories, but I don't want to sacrifice the length. However, if things keep going like now, next year I might be able to get voices for all my games again. Or at least for the main scenes, like happens in some japanese games, where the main game is not voiced but during important scenes, there are voices.

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MarSel
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Re: Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by MarSel » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:39 pm

Why not like for some old game, Grandia 1,2 (which I loved every moment of) just have voices for the important, main plot points. I loved the voice acting but like most of your stories I loved the story and when the voices came on I 1. knew I was about to have an exciting plot come up and 2. Got to marvel in the wonderful story fully voices and all.
No skin off my nose either way as I love to read but maybe an idea to work with.

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jack1974
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Re: Voice Acting feedback on a great game

Post by jack1974 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:20 am

Yes for Loren RPG that's what I'll do - voicing only the main/important scenes. I think that probably is the best solution for indie games with lots of texts like visual novel or RPG :)

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