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(Near) Real-Time Voice Comm. in RPG's


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#1 gartland   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 03:08 AM

As the concept of high bandwidth Internet-connections are becoming more and more realistic, imagine the following feature in future MMRPG''s: The player uses a microphone to send real-time voice streams to the game server. Here the server mixes this voice with other real-time voices in the player characters proximity and the mixing is relative to the other players distance to the player in question. Even as we speak MS is getting close to implementing some of this on the Client-side in their new DirectX 8 Release. The burden is on the mixing server, but it should be possible. What about it, sitting in a bar/inn with your char. and listening to all the chattering around you as in a real bar?

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#2 WebSpyder   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 03:34 AM

Immersiveness is an important part in any game. the more the player feels he is actually in the game, the better the experience is and the game is more enjoyable. So yes, this is definetly a step in the right direction. However, I posted a similar thread two days ago and the response I got was how wierd it would be to hear the voice of a 13-year old coming from a marine or gargoyle or somethin Scary.....

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"I do not fear computers, I fear the lack of them"

- Isaac Asimov

Drew Sikora
Napali Networks, Inc.

#3 nicba   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 03:42 AM

One additional thing to consider is that many people (including myself) isn''t native english speaking. In fact my spoken english is rather bad.

The games would be flocked with people speaking all kind of wierd pseudo-english mixed with their primary language. It would be pretty hard to understand. So for games with more complex conversation (that is, more complex than taunts in FPS games) it could risk to spoil the immersiveness rather than improve it.

Regards

nicba


#4 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 03:42 AM

It wouldn''t be too difficult to let the client-computer change the pitch of the voice before sending it, so that the 13 year old kind can sound like a marine, or a guy playing as a woman can sound like a woman.

#5 gartland   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 03:50 AM

The part about language skills is true though. The reason I posted this was to log respons as I''m starting to design a Star Wars-inspired space RPG. In such a setting language would be a real factor of the game, and people could be inspired to improve their language skills to play better. Also, real-time voice should of course not be the only way of communicating. I''m planning traditional text comm. with text-to-voice translation as an option.

#6 theRaskell   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 03:59 AM

13 year old voice coming from a marine. One name comes to mind... Mike Tyson.

#7 pax   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 05:02 AM

Here''s an idea a friend of mine had for voice in an RPG. The trick with voice recognition is grammer parsing. Understanding the sounds made is fairly simple. When I speak, it converts that to a phonetic sound-string. That gets transferred across the network and is then synthesized by the voice I chose for my character. So if I''m 13, nobody will know it. My voice can be of a different age, ethnicity or gender if I wish.

Comments?


Pax

#8 gartland   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 06:07 AM

Man, that is brilliant. Is the technology for Client-side voice parsing up to it, or is this way in to the future? If this could be managed, it seems like a bandwidth-reduction scheme too.

#9 WebSpyder   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 08:27 AM

quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

It wouldn't be too difficult to let the client-computer change the pitch of the voice before sending it, so that the 13 year old kind can sound like a marine, or a guy playing as a woman can sound like a woman.


Yeah, heh. That's exactly what I said



******************************
"I do not fear computers, I fear the lack of them"

- Isaac Asimov

Drew Sikora
Napali Networks, Inc.

Edited by - WebSpyder on August 25, 2000 3:29:15 PM

#10 benc   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 08:42 AM

Ok, well, aside from my concerns of lessening the roleplaying ability, here''s THE reason that you really can''t do this:

Assuming a centralized server or set of servers for your MMORPG, there are two HUGE problems with this:

1) The amount of proccessing power required to mix a different data stream for each client, each mixing up to tens of other streams would be absurd. Think, "wait for quantum computing" kind of absurd. I make music on my computer. Believe me, i get annoyed enough waiting for basic transforms on a G4 with 256 MB of RAM. Then, assuming you compress with a codec such as mp3, well, you can see where this would be heading when you''re handling 3000+ connections.

2) Bandwidth. Handling 3000 upstream and 3000 downstream connections, even with mono sub-telephone quality audio compressed as mp3s, that would be a disgusting amount of bandwidth required. This limit would not be quite so incomprehensable as the CPU power problem, but the players would have to be paying too much money just to support the bandwidth.

I hate to be the wet blanket, but this idea is really close to impossible. There are plenty of other problems i can see, but those are the main ones.


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Benc

#11 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1771

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 10:30 AM

I think voice comm would be more appropriate for a smaller group of people (say Neverwinter Nights). As with table-top RPGs, you''re pretty used to the acting ability and sound of your friends and compatriots, so you''d have less of the strange voiced stranger problem. For this scale, I think it''d kick a$$.

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Just waiting for the mothership...

#12 Solthar   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 12:45 PM

Why do it that way, when there exists an easier way.

Basically, allow the user to set all the charactoristics of the charactors voice (eg, sex, pitch, speed, accent,...) so that they can sound like a 13 year old kid or a old italian gentleman, and then use TEXT TO SPEECH.

yes, you heard right. Have the client''s computer convert whatever the other person said to speech! If you apply a 3d sound algo to it, you can have it sound like they spoke from behind or to your left....


13 year old kid warrior sneaks behind 27 year old mage.
13 year old kid types.
27 year old mage hears, in an evil, omnipitent voice, "behind you"
27 year old mage whips around and recieves a sword in the skull
27 year old mage runs like a 13 year old complaining about pk''s

hehehe

#13 DW-za   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 01:56 PM

Well I''ll have to totally agree to benc, just imagine all the information that will be handled... (I can imagine it and I''m not into PC music stuff).

But I don''t think we can desmiss something like that, at much smaller scale. We''ll have to wait to see what the future comes up with...

Oh, and a word to nicba and other''s that don''t trust their language skills, through my life I''ve past through South Africa, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Holand, Portugal...(well actually I don''t remembe any more) and I can clearly state three things:

1. If you hear and try to speak the language you''ll end up learning to speak it well,

2. No matter what, 110% garanteed, absolutly garanteed, if two people want to comunicate (or accidentely bump into each other and feel like comunicating) then by some means they will find some way to comunicate (eaven buy speach), comprimisng when necessary, inventing a few things, and so on (I remember once a time when I was trying to talk to a guy who hardly knew any english and we started of by identifying to each other by saying the names of soccer players from our countries, we ended up finding a compromise...)

3. After some time this voice stuff will turn into an industry default and it''ll be just another component of normal games (I remeber some such cases), but I''ll garantee anyone that this voice thing (which if I''m has already been pushed by quite some PTBs, and has already got quite some APIs,not actually me programming area of interest...), when expanded a bit, will for some time be the focus of interest of some online games and be center of entertainment (to satisfy the peoples socialogical needs). Who can forget the phenomenom that irc and other chat things are over the net when the nets focus was surely not social interaction...

A thought for things to be...

Being punctual is only making your mistake on time...

Murphy

#14 LeeIsMe   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 02:24 PM

So far everyone seems to hold to the ideal of mixing 3000 voices simultaneously. I don''t know anyone that can listen to that many voices. Realistically you can''t pay attention to more than 10, and the rest is background noise.

#15 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 25 August 2000 - 06:14 PM

Look at how far PC hardware has progressed in the last 10 years. I guarentee you it will be possible sooner than you think.




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