SebWretched

Text or speech? What grasps you more?

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So I'm making some progress with my horror game. But I had a thought the other night while writing text for some characters, and I would like to know people's opinions on this as it may help my game development :)

 

Does any think you can have a player feel more of a connection to a character in the game through text, by being able to give the character their own unique sounding voice when reading the lines in a players head or out loud?

Or do you think that having a voice actor play the part gives that person a better connection to the character?

 

In a lot of older horror games (Silent Hill, Resident evil, Alone In The Dark, etc.) There wasn't very much voice acting (If any in some cases) But were still considered to be quite scary by just reading the text of certain events.

 

So which appeals to you more? Is it the silence of the game, but the voices in your head (Hehe) Or is it the acting of the characters that appeal to you most?

 

 

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Voice acting is kind of all or nothing in my head. Good voice acting can really enhance a game, but mediocre or bad voice acting just sticks out like a sore thumb.

It will also inflate the size of your game by having to include a bunch of audio files.

 

In my opinion, good sound effects are more important.

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23 minutes ago, freakytapir said:

Voice acting is kind of all or nothing in my head. Good voice acting can really enhance a game, but mediocre or bad voice acting just sticks out like a sore thumb.

It will also inflate the size of your game by having to include a bunch of audio files.

 

In my opinion, good sound effects are more important.

 

I've played some games before with terrible voice acting, which ruined the experience for me.

But a lot of them were fan-made games of a certain genre. So I give props to them for putting out there hard work at the same time :)

 

What would we define as scary in an rpg horror game, that doesn't resort to over-clipped audio files and imagery slapped into our faces (AKA jumpscares)?

I'm wondering if this can be done with text.

 

I've already started writing ambient and atmospheric styled music to go with my game. But I feel there is always something more that can be added to make the player feel that they're actually a little frightened by there surroundings in-game.

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What Mr. Tapir said. If you can find good people and pull it off well, voice acting is better. It is better at expressing emotions and speech patterns/accents are very much a part of making a character unique. Speech patterns are something text can never replicate.

 

Again, that is if you can find quality actors and have well written dialogue. That's easier said than done. Text is by far the safer option.

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11 hours ago, lonequeso said:

What Mr. Tapir said. If you can find good people and pull it off well, voice acting is better. It is better at expressing emotions and speech patterns/accents are very much a part of making a character unique. Speech patterns are something text can never replicate.

 

Again, that is if you can find quality actors and have well written dialogue. That's easier said than done. Text is by far the safer option.

I have a few friends who are quite good voice actors. We made a parody of the pokemon tv series (Much like the team four star take on dragonball z) for one of their projects at university. Which got great reviews from the other students and even the teachers/lecturers. But I don't think I'll be pulling any of them into this project, as it is my first big one I've worked on solo :P

 

Text is a lot safer to work with. I'll be working with a lot of sound effects in my game, though. (Adding heavy breathing, heart pounding, low hz drone sounds, etc.)

At this point I'm pretty much looking for ideas on how I can create a good "scary" atmosphere to an otherwise silent game :)

 

Any thoughts/ideas would be appreciated. I love to hear different opinions on such subjects. :D

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Good background music is important as well I believe. The whole genre of horror is kind of unique in that it uses dicordant sounds and music. Playing sounds against eachother instead of together, with harsh transitions between low and high pitched sounds. 

 

I'm not a composer, so that those are very broad strokes, but the internet is a treasure trove on information.

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Ambient sounds and music are super important. The best are when the music is creepy, but not foreboding and then changes like something's about to happen. Then nothing does.

Sounds like footsteps following the player, and stopping when they stop, creaks and bangs, laughter, moans, cries. There's a ton of stuff you can do with sound effects. Even something as simple as a really creaky door or floorboards randomly creaking go a long way in setting the ambiance. 

 

Good music selection and lots of sound effects can take the place of spoken dialogue. The silence can work to your advantage if it's done properly.

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It sort of depends on the game. Speech is good if it works for your game. What I would find difficult is getting different voices. For my game I would need a minimum 16 voices just for the playable characters, then 100+ for any relevant characters in game. Short of paying thousands of dollars for voice actors, I'll stick with the text.

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Speaking from the biological side of horror, the mind processes sound faster than images and horror relies on you not really having time to approach things rationally. Also voiceovers would take control of the story's pace away from the player, making them weaker subconsciously and again, pressuring them to focus on things moment by moment rather than dwell casually on things. All this ignores the practical side of voiceacting that others have stated since I'm going to assume that if you're asking this in the first place its because you already have means to the end (although I don't understand why you wont ask your friends; are you suggesting you will do all the voiceacting yourself because its a solo project?)

 

That being said. Old men like me appreciate subtitles to our voiceovers and would be half-reading anyway :3

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50 minutes ago, Tarq said:

Speaking from the biological side of horror, the mind processes sound faster than images and horror relies on you not really having time to approach things rationally. Also voiceovers would take control of the story's pace away from the player, making them weaker subconsciously and again, pressuring them to focus on things moment by moment rather than dwell casually on things. All this ignores the practical side of voiceacting that others have stated since I'm going to assume that if you're asking this in the first place its because you already have means to the end (although I don't understand why you wont ask your friends; are you suggesting you will do all the voiceacting yourself because its a solo project?)

 

That being said. Old men like me appreciate subtitles to our voiceovers and would be half-reading anyway :3

 

I just wanted a better understanding of what other people view as a good experience in a horror game. I'm hoping this won't be my only game project as I'd love to learn more about the developing process. So what I learn from putting together this game, I can hopefully improve on in a future project (with voice acting). Which I'd like to get a team to help me develop :)

 

The reason I won't get my friends in for voice acting is because of my inexperience with putting games together. It'd be like having good actors in a terrible movie lol

But once I'm confident with a project, I can call on them for help :)

 

I know my questions have been all over the place. But they make sense to me, haha. I guess it's the long days at work, and little to no sleep playing a part in it. I probably should of named the topic something along the lines of "What makes a great horror game?" Then ask all my questions... :P

 

I always play my games with subtitles. So we're in the same boat there :D

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If you ask me, voice acting is not worth the effort. Would good voice acting be more impactful? Maybe. If it was really really good. But you need people with vocal talent that far exceeds the norm, and you would need the time, money, and equipment to record it all and insert it into the game. Could it be done? Maybe. Worth it? Probably not.

 

All that aside, can voices be better? Especially for horror games? Well... I think many games with textboxes like RPG Maker have this sort of stilted, stop and go quality to the dialogue that isn't really as much of a problem with text where you can read at your own pace, but becomes really noticeable when spoken. There is also a tendency for games to mix the sound as if the voice is clear, front and center. Both these things I think make text a better choice for a lot of games. For voice to really be impactful in horror, I think it needs to be less constrained by how the text is written. Voice acting is better suited to a more free format. That's why audio logs for example have become a big thing, it allows a better format for voice acting. Though, most audio logs have bad voice acting too so eh.

 

 

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In most games I find that voice acting doesn't grasp me more than actually reading the text. I will be fair and say that there are some great games that have some amazing voice acting, but a lot of games that have voice acting that's there for the sake of being there does turn me off a bit... I wish more games would have an option to turn off voice acting because either the character's voices doesn't match the character, or the voice actors try too hard and turns out to be more annoying than anything else. At least it'll give me something to riff on, but I digress.

 

However, when there is voice acting, I like to have my subs on so I can see what the character is saying because of background noise in the game. There are times where I miss something important that an NPC was saying because there was so much background noise in the game, so those would be the types of games that I would prefer only text over voice acting. Overall, I'm sort of 50/50... There are games I like that I would prefer voice acting while others work best with only text. Not only that, I like speak out the voices of what I think they might sound in my head. It's more fun that way, I feel! Plus, I got in with this expectation of what the character would sound like before I hear them and either end up pleasantly surprised or disappointed...

 

So, yeah, that's just my two cents.

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