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Reading on Screen


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#1 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 21 October 2000 - 06:54 PM

People really hate to read on screen. It''s just a fact! Some of my friends have refused to watch some of the world''s greatest films, simply because they were subtitled... So what does this mean for writers? I''ll tell you what I think. The second memory and production costs are low enough for everything to be voice-acted, that''s what we''ll have. Hence, game writers will need to take their techniques more from film writing than prose... We need to start thinking in terms of props and dialog flow. The other thing i predict this will create withing the production of games is Directors will become FAR more important. We have a lot of clueless voice talent in the industry, and some pretty clueless dierctors too. So crack open Syd field''s Screenplay and take notes, right?

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#2 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 11:10 AM

Personally, I don't mind subtitles most of the time.
This probably is true though. In a large-scale RPG it probably wouldn't happen 'til they start putting games on DVD. The sound files would start taking a lot of CD space if everything was spoken in a heavily story-based game.

It is inevitable however. One more thing to make it harder for the amateurs to compete, eh?


""You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!" --Wavinator

"All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be." -Pink Floyd

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on October 22, 2000 6:12:03 PM


#3 MSW   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 12:30 PM

I think there are a lot of people are just lazy and/or lack imagination... Personally I loath the day that all games will require voice actors... The whole idea of "feeling involued" in a game = how "realistic" it is comes directly from the mouths of idiots [prolly marketing people]...

I personally loved Final Fantasy III [USA release of FF6, I think, or maybe it was FF5?]...there was no FMV... no voice actors reading from a script...hell it was EVEN in 2D with simple little 2 and 3 frame animations...but, my god, that game felt so real, so alive...all because it connected with my imagination...allowing my mind to provide the voice actors, camera angles, perfect acting, and the ultimate special effects...

I just wish the industry would wake up to that...but judgeing from the recent PC Gamer "gameing gods" feature... I guess not... So we will be stuck for now with silly game stories that would barely work for a B-movie, created by designers who believe they are the next Spielburg... well at least thats how things look for mainstream games... and if the "indie" side ever gets out of it''s current "me too!" funk things will certainly brighten up a bit...





#4 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 12:34 PM

Don''t get me wrong, I love subtitles, they cover bad acting! But unfortunately this is just a fact. People HATE to read on screen. As cool in some ways as I thought MYST was sometimes, the reading killed it for me... A voiceover might have saved that game.

#5 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 22 October 2000 - 12:35 PM

I loathe it too, but we all know it will probably happen as soon as hardware allows it. I think Thief made fantastic use of voices. It provided atmosphere and was actually useful by letting you hear whether the guards knew where you are and so on. They didn''t use voices just so that people don''t have to read. It had some in-game purpose.


""You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!" --Wavinator

"All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be." -Pink Floyd

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


#6 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1210

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 01:34 AM

Damn, I prefer text-adventure to most of the crap they put out. Reading gives you a better feeling of the entire scene being that you create it in your imagination. Diddums if people don''t like subtitles - they are the lazy few. The majority (if not all) of the people I know would prefer text, provided that it was elegantly written

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          


#7 SiCrane   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9491

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 01:43 AM

One forgotten point is that most people can read faster than people talk. During dialog-tree type conversations, subtitles and the ability to skip through dialog with a key press become important. Especially if it''s the kind of dialog tree where you can get repeat speech items.

However I don''t think production costs will ever be small enough for say, Torment''s full dialog to be voice acted. Maybe synthesized (::shudder: but not acted, because eventually you have to pay someone at least minimum wage to say every line at least once. And that would be a freaking long time for a game with Torment''s dialog.

#8 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 03:06 AM

Repeat speech is generally a bad thing, I would imagine. Doesn''t someone repeating themselves verbatum kinda breach the whole immersion thing?

#9 Ingenu   Members   -  Reputation: 826

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 03:42 AM

If people hate so much reading on screen, tell me why the internet is so popular ?
And why they are so many people discussing in here ?

We don''t hate it, we just want to have nice, big, subtitles.
The only complaint I ever have is that sometimes it''s written too small or colors are badly chosen.

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

#10 DJNattyP   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 05:11 AM

Text in games isn''t that bad... and bad voice acting can *kill* a game... if any of you remember Return to Zork <*SHUDDER*> you will probably go into spasms if you hear the phrase, "Want some Rye? Course ya do!" again...

-Nate

#11 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4670

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 08:07 AM

quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

Repeat speech is generally a bad thing, I would imagine. Doesn''t someone repeating themselves verbatum kinda breach the whole immersion thing?


IMO it does so in both reading and voice formats. A really horriffic thing is when you have to read pages written in a handwriting font. I get eyestrain often enough as it is, thank you...


#12 w_enslin   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 08:18 AM

You could use the text to speech OCX from Microsoft and have it read out the text.

#13 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1210

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 11:38 AM

*shudder*. I think I will stick with text thankyou. If anybody is saying anything for my character, it is me... in MY voice.

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          


#14 gwarrior   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 11:59 AM

quote:
Original post by w_enslin

You could use the text to speech OCX from Microsoft and have it read out the text.


Or, Mac users could use the same speech technology they''ve all had packaged with their computers for the past five years.

#15 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 12:33 PM

I''m from sweden and we''re so used to subtitles that it doesn''t bother me the least (I''m talking about films here). In fact I read the subtitles automatically, even if it''s a film with swedish speech and, say english subtitles or if the subtitles are in french (I understand about ten words in french)...
I just can''t help it and since it takes about half a second to read those two lines it doesn''t bother me.

I think it''s mostly a question about what you''re used to.

And people in general are pretty much used to games being "written" instead of "spoken" so I don''t believe it''s that big a problem.
As someone said above, bad voice-acting can totally ruin a game (Yes, yes, I know: bad writing can too)

One important thing is to present the text in a format/font/colour that is comfortable to read.

//Jesse

#16 Ironblayde   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 23 October 2000 - 12:42 PM

I don''t mind subtitled movies at all, and actually, I prefer reading text to listening to speech in games. There are a few reasons for this, most of which have already been mentioned. It''s faster, which is nice especially if you accidentally talk to a particularly long-winded NPC whose story you''ve already heard. It would take up immense amounts of storage space for some games, so it''s going to be a ways off.

And let''s face it, most of the game industry''s attempts at good voice acting just plain suck. One counterexample that I can think of is Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. The voice acting in that game was fantastic, especially for Kain himself. I loved the cut scenes in LoK.

You say that people hate to read text on screen, and give the example of subtitled movies as an example. I don''t think that''s a good example to use, because they''re two completely different mediums. People don''t like subtitles in movies because they''re used to movies having speech, just as people don''t mind subtitles in games because they''re used to that. The other thing is that a movie goes at its own pace, so you have to constantly be watching for the text, which can take away from the experience. A game generally moves at a rate that the user can control; or if it doesn''t, it is paced with the subtitles taken into account, unlike in movies.

Now I am not saying that people don''t want speech in games simply because they''re not used to it. It''s like having a car: When you don''t have one, it''s not a big deal. But when you do have one and it breaks down, it''s a pain in the ass because you''re used to having it available. People don''t mind text now because it''s what we''re used to, but this could very well change once DVD games become the norm and developers have a lot more disk space to utilize, and speech becomes more common.

One last thing: leaving the character''s voice out leaves a little bit more room for imagination. There will always be people out there who think the voice doesn''t fit the character that well, especially if the actor doing the part isn''t that great. It''s like reading a wonderful fantasy novel, and then in a later book in the series, seeing cover art of a character that looks NOTHING like what you envision them to be. (I hate that. )

-Ironblayde
 Aeon Software

The following sentence is true.
The preceding sentence is false.


#17 dwarfsoft   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1210

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 11:29 AM

I think that is what it comes down to. Imagination. The more that the player is required to visualise in their head, the more likely they are going to be happy with. This does not mean that you can leave it all up to the player, but you should guide them in their decisions. They should be hinted ideas about things that form opinions and pictured in their head. This goes for voices as well. The voices you may be able to get away with are for others (such as NPC''s from the now voided term ''RPGs'') but definitely not the character that the player controls. It becomes far too shocking to hear the wrong voice on what is supposed to be you.

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          





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