Voices in games w/o (Full) Voice Acting?

TheGentlemanLoser

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Heyall, how do you feel about voice over sound effects in a game that is not fully voiced. These voices would not be for dialogue as such, I'm talking about enemy "barks"* (or even PC "barks") for things like spotting an enemy/the player, attacking, healing, retreating, etcetera. I'm thinking along the lines of the little messages you get when you click on a marine in StarCraft or whatever, but the "grunts" or "hyahhh!" type sounds made by characters in some JRPGs when they do stuff would be the same basic concept.

I decided to do this as a regular discussion instead of a poll because it's the nuance in people's answers I'm going to be paying the most attention to anyway so I'm not bothering with making up canned responses.

How do you guys (& gals) feel about these kinds of sound effects?

* As a side note, I'm not actually a big fan of enemy barks in higher fidelity/3D/AAA games, but mainly because they're really badly programmed (like enemies repeating the same dialogue when they outnumbered you 12-to-1 once you've killed 10 of them, not adapting to the situation at all; Batman: Arkham Asylum is actually the only game I remember playing that got this right as goons get more and more panicked and desperate as you pick them off one by one. Also I hate every variation of the "come out, I'm not going to hurt you" or "hey, stop hiding, fight fair" barks because God, what idiotic, preposterous things to say in combat. But those are a different kind of videogame. Here I'm talking mainly about 2D stuff within the traditional locus of RPG Maker.
 

Milennin

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I think it's cool. I've only played a few RPG Maker games that had voice acting in some way, and I thought it worked pretty well in them. All you need are some people who can do a bit of voice acting and have a decent microphone to record on.
 

GmOcean

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I think it'd be fine. Even if it's just voice lines used in battle or certain phrases, like "Thanks." or "See you later." Even just a little bit added here and there can be fun.
You could have your player talking to an event that spans 2-3 text boxes and then only play certain voice effects like, a sound for clearing their throat when being asked a difficult question or changing their response due to some small embarrassment, or even a lie.

The sound bite doesn't even need to be the full sentence, so long as the point gets across.
Like, "Thanks for your time." can simply play the sound bite, "Thanks." And that would feel nice imo.

Edit: As Shaz said, I agree in the option to turn them off.
 
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RachelTheSeeker

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Games like Zanki Zero have gotten me to like small, related voice clips in RPGs. However, I'm totally a fan of gobbledegook voice SFX for dialogue. Stuff like Banjo-Kazooie, ToonTown and Celeste seem really fun to include for something more light-hearted. If I knew how to, let alone had a way to create or commission them, I'd totally do those for my games.

EDIT: As Shaz said though, I too agree that having the option to turn off the clips seems a sound idea.
 

Woland

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In RM games I prefer no voiceover at all. Might be the way I evolved with games, but I associate VO with much more cinematic experiences. Cutesy pixel characters suddenly having VO kind of breaks it for me.

On top of that, good VO is HARD. And poor VO ruins the game for me. I stopped being a Final Fantasy fan when I heard FFX. Literally couldn't play it because of the VO.

Even in modern games whenever I have the option, I switch to the Japanese voice track. It is just way less jarring when you don't understand the language too well and don't think "get some acting lessons" almost every time you hear a line.

I am not saying there is no good VO actors out there, but a chance of getting them for free or cheap is REALLY slim.
 

Bakuda

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It depends on how it's done. I really like the way that Animal Crossing handles the speaking. It has a way of drawing you in more and connecting with who's speaking even though you're still reading the dialog. Undertale also does a good job with this. Every character has a distinct "voice" that lets you know on a subconscious level who is speaking the words you read. However, if the voice sounds are done poorly or in an annoying way it can have just the opposite effect and distract you from what's being said.
 

TheGentlemanLoser

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I think it's cool. I've only played a few RPG Maker games that had voice acting in some way, and I thought it worked pretty well in them. All you need are some people who can do a bit of voice acting and have a decent microphone to record on.

You don't even need that, as there are multiple voice samples on opengameart.org. Discovering that was part of what prompted the question. (I'm a halfway decent voice actor but that doesn't help w/ my inability to source female voices, although if I were to commit further to including voicework maybe I could find someone on here willing to help.)

Sub-question: when a sentence of voiced dialogue plays, does it make sense to include a caption/subtitles as "normal" dialogue, or does that kind of defeat the purpose?

Errybody thank you for the diverse opinions keep 'em coming!
 

TheoAllen

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The option to turn the voice off is the winner.

When the expression is represented enough by the sprite choreography and face emotion. I don't think I need the voice acting. That way, I could imagine how their accent and voice myself. It is a part of imagination. But when there is not enough choreography, like VN, voice acting helps.

Sub-question: when a sentence of voiced dialogue plays, does it make sense to include a caption/subtitles as "normal" dialogue, or does that kind of defeat the purpose?
As a non-English native, I hate a game that only does voice acting and no subtitles. I can listen to English, but I prefer to double-check if I miss something.
 

Kokoro Hane

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Having a sprinkle of voice acting, like sounds of emotion, battle calls, etc. are nice if you do not have the time to worry about adding full voice over. It is also a great way to assign the voice you want players to hear when they are reading their dialogue. You get an idea of tone, personality, etc. so I think something like that is totally fine. I quite like games that skillfully uses sprinkles of voice over (usually this is known as "partially voiced", if it is only battles, I nickname it "battle voiced"). So I think the idea you have sounds really nice! There is something charming about partial voice-over I like. It's a nice middle ground if you want to read at your own pace, but still adds a little more life than when you have zero voice.
 

KenKrath

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In RM games I prefer no voiceover at all. Might be the way I evolved with games, but I associate VO with much more cinematic experiences. Cutesy pixel characters suddenly having VO kind of breaks it for me.

On top of that, good VO is HARD. And poor VO ruins the game for me. I stopped being a Final Fantasy fan when I heard FFX. Literally couldn't play it because of the VO.

Even in modern games whenever I have the option, I switch to the Japanese voice track. It is just way less jarring when you don't understand the language too well and don't think "get some acting lessons" almost every time you hear a line.

I am not saying there is no good VO actors out there, but a chance of getting them for free or cheap is REALLY slim.
Actually to your last point there are more than you think you just have to know where to look. I'm actually considering making a "How to procure voice actors" video to help folks out who want to use voice acting for their projects.

My project uses tons of voice acting. :p. Although I do get criticized big time for a couple of my voice actors.
 

Woland

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It all depends how high you put the bar. :)
 

kaukusaki

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I have VOX planned for one of my epic releases but it's expensive. right now i have converted tts samples in the test module until i can get proper acting.
for the most part majority of my games have no vox
 

StoopidNook

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I personally prefer voices in games but the option to choose if you want them on or off is good. Voices make me feel like I'm a part of the experience and the world. This feels better than reading without voices. I actually got disappointed when some games were only partially voiced, but appreciated it either way.
 

guking

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I've been playing Breath of Fire IV lately and they use these "barks" when the character casts a spell or something. The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask also use them. It adds a nice feel to the game without needing to have a gigantic voice acting crew.

I watch Criticial Role (a D&D Stream where Voice Actors play D&D) and I remember one of them commenting about roles they got that "paid the bills" like Soldier 3, Woman 2 and etc. Games with full VO are amazing when done right, but it does add whole new layer of work.
 

ATT_Turan

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I'm not a fan of barks. If there aren't longer stretches of dialogue to relate the character to, it's just annoying sound to me. If you have voiced dialogue and just barks in combat, that's fine.
 

KenKrath

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I've been playing Breath of Fire IV lately and they use these "barks" when the character casts a spell or something. The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask also use them. It adds a nice feel to the game without needing to have a gigantic voice acting crew.

I watch Criticial Role (a D&D Stream where Voice Actors play D&D) and I remember one of them commenting about roles they got that "paid the bills" like Soldier 3, Woman 2 and etc. Games with full VO are amazing when done right, but it does add whole new layer of work.
Honestly there are other things in RPG Maker that I find much more difficult than adding voice actors. You really would be surprised how many good (and experienced) voice actors are out there who do this work for cheap.

There is one particular character in my project that many of my female viewers like and I actually had to beg him to take payment. The same voice actor was also on an NBC show and does voice overs for commercials for a major beer brand.

Seriously if I'm able to add VO to my project for cheap then the VAST MAJORITY of RPG Maker users can do it as well. There are way more technical things in RPG Maker than getting decent voice actors in the project.

As I've mentioned there is one cringe worthy voice actor in my project but that casting was more my fault than the voice actors.
 

KenKrath

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I have VOX planned for one of my epic releases but it's expensive. right now i have converted tts samples in the test module until i can get proper acting.
for the most part majority of my games have no vox
What is VOX if you don't mind me asking? I've searched it on the web and can only find a political publication. LOL.
 

guking

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Honestly there are other things in RPG Maker that I find much more difficult than adding voice actors. You really would be surprised how many good (and experienced) voice actors are out there who do this work for cheap.

There is one particular character in my project that many of my female viewers like and I actually had to beg him to take payment. The same voice actor was also on an NBC show and does voice overs for commercials for a major beer brand.

Seriously if I'm able to add VO to my project for cheap then the VAST MAJORITY of RPG Maker users can do it as well. There are way more technical things in RPG Maker than getting decent voice actors in the project.

As I've mentioned there is one cringe worthy voice actor in my project but that casting was more my fault than the voice actors.
well I didn't say it was hard to add to the game using the maker, i just said it would add another layer of work.

If you get the files from them ready to add to your game, that's great, otherwise you will need to check each file, edit and adjust, direct recording sessions, have the proper equipment (I mean, there's a huge difference between recording with proper equips and not) and etc. Good games with voice acting have voice acting directors.

I also didn't mention being cheap or expensive, was just sharing a thing that I heard once and I've found funny.
 

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