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Author Topic: Every NPC in EQ2 will have voice overs  (Read 15212 times)
Riley
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on: April 01, 2004, 11:06:52 AM

SOE seems to be pulling out all the stops for the new game.  They've used over 200 actors to do the voiceovers for all the NPCs in the game - they claim you will recognize many of the actors and I am sure we will hear the bigger ones announced as the game gets closer to release.

There is an article on Gamespy about it, and a new video that they have made available.

Some of the impressive bits:
Quote


130 hours of voice recordings,

Every NPC that talks will have voiceover. Every quest-based NPC will have its own unique voiceover.

We are currently planning for approximately 1,700 characters to have voice in the game at launch.

there are many instances in the game where the NPCs dialog reaction will depend on the player character's race, class and sex. The logic tree for voiceover is the same as the actual quest design.

The current plan is to have the audio on the client side so we can keep the network path focused more on the other game data. This will allow EverQuest II to perform better based on the player's machine and hardware configuration rather than network data rates, which are less consistent.

Riley
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Reply #1 on: April 01, 2004, 11:10:17 AM

And not to see too fanboish, check out this screen shot of some piercings.  I get the feeling that EQ2 is going to put the SWG character customization to shame :)

Lots of nice features coming in this one, lets hope they get the gameplay down!
Alkiera
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Reply #2 on: April 01, 2004, 11:42:32 AM

Quote
130 hours of voice recordings

Quote
The current plan is to have the audio on the client side so we can keep the network path focused more on the other game data. This will allow EverQuest II to perform better based on the player's machine and hardware configuration rather than network data rates, which are less consistent.


In other words, installing EQII will be reminiscent of installing MS Office back when it came on 25 3.25" floppies...  Tho likely also prescient of the gameplay...  camping the 'insert_disc_dialog23' spawn.  Eventually you'll get the 'Ding!' of 'Installation Complete'.

I've played EQ for almost 5 years now.  This holds no appeal whatsoever.

--
Alkiera

"[I could] become the world's preeminent MMO class action attorney.  I could be the lawyer EVEN AMBULANCE CHASERS LAUGH AT. " --Triforcer

Welcome to the internet. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used as evidence against you in a character assassination on Slashdot.
Kenrick
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Reply #3 on: April 01, 2004, 11:45:54 AM

I don't really have a problem with big/lengthy installs.  It's only a one-time chore, and if it's going to add depth to the gameplay then to me it's worth it.  Of course, there are plenty of people who'd argue that talking NPCs don't add jackshit to gameplay.  But I think it'll be a welcome change.
ajax34i
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Reply #4 on: April 01, 2004, 11:56:15 AM

I was wondering what their strategy for dealing with WoW, CoH, and that Vanguard game was.
Alkiera
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The best part of SWG was the easy account cancellation process.


Reply #5 on: April 01, 2004, 12:01:01 PM

Well, one issue that comes to mind is patching quests...  Adding new quests is certainly a lot more annoying, and downloading all the data for a new quest means that a) no free quests, or rare ones;  b) with all the quest data on the client end, it'll be hacked eventually, and we'll end up with the quest equivlent of Lucy.

I see this as just more of 'teh shiney', tho this is auditory shiny rather than visual, and therefore somewhat novel.  As an MMOG vet, 'teh shiney' doesn't impress me much.  I've heard nothing about EQ2's story or gameplay that interests me...

--
Alkiera

"[I could] become the world's preeminent MMO class action attorney.  I could be the lawyer EVEN AMBULANCE CHASERS LAUGH AT. " --Triforcer

Welcome to the internet. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used as evidence against you in a character assassination on Slashdot.
Soukyan
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Reply #6 on: April 01, 2004, 12:14:03 PM

I can't wait to see the player hacked porn star voice overs. Now that'd be worth getting the game for. Mangle away, oh dedicated EQ Hackers! ;)

"Life is no cabaret... we're inviting you anyway." ~Amanda Palmer
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Alluvian
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Reply #7 on: April 01, 2004, 12:49:18 PM

Quote
Well, one issue that comes to mind is patching quests...


What issue?  A voice MP3 is fucking TINY.  Ebert and roeper have less than 300k files for their reviews that are over 3 minutes in length.  Poor quality, but even doubling that is nothing bandwidth wise.

The only thing where it would annoy me is if there is a repetitive quest that you do repeatedly and maybe you have to listen to the voice without being able to skip it.  All that is unknown though.
El Gallo
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Reply #8 on: April 01, 2004, 01:00:27 PM

I can still hear Cain saying "hello my friend, stay a while and listen" and Adria's "I sense a soul in search of answers" even though I haven't played the game in years because they were so thoroughly burned into my memory through repetition.

This post makes me want to squeeze into my badass red jeans.
Kenrick
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Reply #9 on: April 01, 2004, 01:20:43 PM

Quote from: El Gallo
I can still hear...


Self: "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town."
Rodent
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Reply #10 on: April 01, 2004, 01:23:04 PM

Quote from: Kenrick
Quote from: El Gallo
I can still hear...


Self: "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town." "Not in town."


Self: "Yes, that is a cow"

Wiiiiii!
hirebrand
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Reply #11 on: April 01, 2004, 02:08:23 PM

Note that this is not new, Earth and Beyond had voice-overs, right? However E&B did not provide voice-overs for any quests after lauch, so it is definitely something to watch out for.
Riley
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Reply #12 on: April 01, 2004, 02:10:30 PM

Rumors have it that the game will be shipping on 2 DVDs and will require about 20 gig of disk space.

And when you take a look at the graphics, I think its pretty clear that this game is going to require a pretty high end computer to run.

As far as computer performance is concerned at least, this is definitely going to be a 'next' generation game (can never remember what generation we are currently on).  This will probably hurt their initial sales, but I think they are really looking at this from a long term approach and can afford to do that with their previous successes.
El Gallo
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Reply #13 on: April 01, 2004, 02:29:01 PM

I am starting to have a little more faith on the "you need a supercomputer to run it" front.  The recent graphics engine upgrade in EQ1 (while introducing a host of bugs and annoynces) resulted in a truly staggering performance improvement for me.  The Bazaar, with ~500 players in it, went from a slide show even at very close clip plane to almost seamlessly smooth at max clip plane and all settings maxed.

If they can retrofit EQ1 this well, I assume (straight outta my ass) that they could make an even more efficient engine for a game designed from the ground up.  If that's true, I could see a game with EQ2's level of graphics running well on my computers (which are decent but hardly bleeding edge).

This post makes me want to squeeze into my badass red jeans.
Alluvian
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Reply #14 on: April 01, 2004, 02:42:26 PM

Quote
If they can retrofit EQ1 this well, I assume (straight outta my ass) that they could make an even more efficient engine for a game designed from the ground up. If that's true, I could see a game with EQ2's level of graphics running well on my computers (which are decent but hardly bleeding edge).


The problem is that 'they' could be entirely different people.  They could also be the same though.  The EQ2 engine would have been written in bulk years ago, and they say the new EQ engine took 'over a year' of development.  Not sure if the same people are working on the engines.

I also assume SOE has some secret projects underway in the background.  Probably not heavily manned though.

I only played the beta of E&B, but I only remember voice for the tutorial and onboard computer.  I have a fuzzy memory of that though.  Utterly hated the game too much to play it very long.

I hope the 20 gig remarks are not true.  Then again I already need a new hd and they are pretty cheap.  I horde too many southpark episodes and such. I also seem allergic to uninstalling games.
kaid
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Reply #15 on: April 01, 2004, 03:05:14 PM

Oh I expect eq2 to be a huge hard drive hog. It looks like it will be 7 to 8 cd or 1-2 dvd depending which way they want to go.  Then again if you take all the current disks for eqlive it probably is up to 10 cds or so size wise.

I downloaded their movie and it does look interesting. It is combining the moods and social animations of swg with voice. That could be really nice in game. I was surpised how much I like the emotes in swg especially since many of them fire off in normal conversation. Like when I am telling somebody no my character automatically shakes their head. It dosnt sound like much but it really does make the characters seem more alive.

WoW also makes use of some more voice stuff not to the extant of eq2 but there are apparently various voice emotes and some ambient use of voice.


Kaid
evan
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Reply #16 on: April 01, 2004, 09:22:34 PM

While voiceovers are no substitute for gameplay, they do make for a more immersive experience. So I welcome this development, and honestly I could care less about the size of the install (within reason).

Even more important than voiceovers though is action on the part of NPCs. The Gothic series got this right. NPCs actually move instead of standing in one place staring off into space. A smith could be found hammering at his anvil, sleeping, or getting drunk in the bar, depending on the time of day.

I believe anyone who has played Gothic 1 or 2 would find it hard to stomach static NPCs.
HRose
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Reply #17 on: April 01, 2004, 10:05:12 PM

Posted on Corp forums long ago by me:

Sony is considering re-labeling EQ to be EQ-Classic, and offering a "ForeverQuest" bundle pack with both EQ+Expansions and EQ2 in one big collectors edition for $69-99.00pricepoint, including leatherbound packaging and binder manuals and map kits from all of the products. Their thought is newcomers to the genre, after seeing EQ2, will want to see and play the classic to link the story. Thus increasing the subscriber base to both products.

EQ2's engine shares more in common with Star Wars Galaxies than SoE will admit, and will tell you.

EQ2 will ship on 8-12 CD's, and require massive harddrive space, much of it graphic, music and sound files.

SoE marketing estimates roughly 25% of EQ2 players will have TWO accounts, which was one of the primary motivations of having tradeskill only characters, completely seperate from adventuring/combat characters. A pure marketing move handed down from the top floors of SoE.

SoE wants to price EQ2 in the $19.99 per month range, but their own internal polls show that currently $15.95 is the maximum tolerable threshold for many gamers(which is SWG's price, the highest in the industry). SOE is debating how to increase the threshold level through incentives or perks.

SoE marketting has predicted if they do things right, 65-75% of EQ1 players will play BOTH EQ1 and EQ2, and continue to pay for both.

SoE marketting will begin to push EQ1 players to upgrade their computer systems, in anticipation of them also playing EQ2.

SoE is considering a TotalQuest (SuperQuest, QuestPass and other names being discussed) package, giving new EQ2 players access to EQ-Classic, for one price of around $24.99 - as a major incentive to get their EQ1 players to play both. (Price being debated)

EQ2 beta test has been delayed, the product is behind schedule. SoE is under tremendous pressure to release a product that has almost as much content as the current EQ, at the time of release. Which is unprecented for a mmorpg.

SoE is currently secretly using a select few superGuilds to test how fast they can flesh out the high end epic content in EQ2. These tests to date have been inhouse only using pre-built characters of appropriate levels.

-HRose / Abalieno
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ajax34i
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Reply #18 on: April 01, 2004, 10:33:48 PM

I don't know.  Just announcing voice-overs doesn't guarantee they'll be good.

That's one of the things I noticed about EQ2 ads; they're all technology showcases.  "We have high-poly models.  Realistic blah.  Voice-overs for everything."  I suppose it's because they can't advertise content, since it's pretty much the same as EQ1, but high-tech does not a game make, IMO.

Even Doom 3, while advertising tech, have still managed to actually say that they're going for a scary game, and are at least applying all that tech in part to achieve the scary effect.
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Reply #19 on: April 01, 2004, 10:48:39 PM

I don't see how your post has anything to do with the thread, Hrose, other than you mention bunch of cds which has been known for a LONG time.
HaemishM
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Reply #20 on: April 02, 2004, 11:20:36 AM

I think attempting to add voiceover work is a good idea, something nice to add to immersion. The devil is in the details, or at the very least, the implementation.

Client side storage seems a good idea, until you get to the idea of having to redo voiceovers for quest corrections. It would seem to add a whole new level of QA to the process, and we all know this falls under Customer Service, which falls between making sure the Coke machine is full and cleaning the bathrooms on the SOE budget. I'd be of the opinion that streaming would be better for an MMOG, except for the bandwidth that will cost.

Romp
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Reply #21 on: April 02, 2004, 08:56:27 PM

hmm
anyone know if they plan to keep on releasing expansions for EQ after EQ2 is released?
Alluvian
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Reply #22 on: April 02, 2004, 09:00:50 PM

Of course they will keep expanding EQ.  They just fully redid the engine for just that purpose.  So they can move forward on expansions and add in more and better expansion content.

The new engine is pretty slick in EQ actually.  It runs WAY better than the old one, has nice distant fog effect instead of popup, the lighting effects are a huge improvement, and the day/night cycle, sky, and weather have been redone.  Good stuff, but mostly improvement in performance like they wanted.  To really USE the new engine they need new art of course which will trickle in like the new spell effects trickled in when they changed that engine.  LOVE the new spell effects (new being maybe 3 months ago or so?  I forget)
Krakrok
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Reply #23 on: April 02, 2004, 09:05:06 PM

Should have just gone with text-to-speech tech and been done with it. Would have saved 8 CDs worth of data. At 1 meg a minute on MP3 128kbps that is 7.8 gigs for 130 hours (YMMV).

What with the singing software and all I think text to speech is ready for primetime.

Alluvian
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Reply #24 on: April 02, 2004, 09:13:14 PM

I need to hear a lot more than tiny snippets like that before I think text to speach is anywhere near ready for primetime.  And singing is actually abit easier to do than straight speach in something like that.  A lot more range and flexibility in modulating the tone, and they have a series of fixed pitches to hit that is easier than a believable non-monosyllabic speach.  I suppose if they had these things set to some ambient type music so that the pitch would fluctuate a little but not sound like actual singing it might work...

Hrm...

The sound files I saw there were either backup singing or in the case of the leon demo pretty drowned out/mixed with music.  Hard to focus just on the voice, and in many parts it was pretty unintelligable.
Romp
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Reply #25 on: April 02, 2004, 10:18:27 PM

as a non-American the thing that shits me about voice overs in games are the damn American accents.  Just seems so out of place in a fantasy setting to me.
Riley
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Reply #26 on: April 03, 2004, 05:01:36 PM

Quote from: Romp
as a non-American the thing that shits me about voice overs in games are the damn American accents.  Just seems so out of place in a fantasy setting to me.


This is a good point, by doing this SOE seems to be completely focused on NA.  It would take a huge effort to convert all that voice over stuff to a different language.  Unless of course they were going to release it in different countries without any voice.
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Reply #27 on: April 04, 2004, 11:45:02 AM

This is one of those things that is essentially fluff, its not really good or bad. Its great though for marketing. Especially for demoing at E3 or similar event.
Venkman
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Reply #28 on: April 04, 2004, 02:20:54 PM

Dunno why the other thread was locked.

But in any case, as long as this is toggleable, we don't need to worry about Gnoll Fang turnin #4,265
Toast
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Reply #29 on: April 04, 2004, 11:21:15 PM

After thinking on this one for a while, I am actually pretty interested.

It could really help the NPCs feel more alive. As a jaded mmorpg player, it's all too easy to see npcs as nothing more than lifeless vending machines. Viva le illusion, perhaps?

A good idea is a good idea forever.
Alluvian
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Reply #30 on: April 05, 2004, 09:21:24 AM

It might bring back a LITTLE of that ooh and ahh factor that was so nice in the first few mmog games we played.  Definately something new at least.  Personally new is good.  We should all agree on that on some level.

Even if it fails, hey... Haven't we all been asking for some NEW screwups for a long time?  :P

We have some interesting times ahead.  CoH, then probably WoW followed by EQ2.  Three games that will be fun to watch, even if they suck to play.  And I have a feeling we might actually get three decent games for different playstyles.
Venkman
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Reply #31 on: April 05, 2004, 09:49:26 AM

Ya, new good. Same, bad :)

This voiceover thing is a late-edition to the game, resulting in much rewriting of scripts according to the http://www.grimwell.com/index.php?action=fullnews&id=94">PC Gamer and http://games.slashdot.org/games/04/04/01/043247.shtml?tid=127&tid=186&tid=206&tid=209">other sources. Once again, this shows SOE's ability to adapt to their increased awareness of competition, and I'm sure they have their sights set on WoW for obvious reasons :) I won't pipe in the contrived "SOE is scared of Blizzard" crap, but the games are parallel on many levels, including theme, brand strength and aggressive development.
Alluvian
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Reply #32 on: April 05, 2004, 09:57:28 AM

It will be interesting to see who firebombs the other's offices first.  They would enlist a rabid fanboi to do it of course and said fanboi would deny being told to do it.

The fanboi wars will be ugly, but with every casualty we will have one less fanboi.  Can't wait till it starts...

*whispers*
*EQ2 sucks, no, WoW sucks...*
Venkman
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Reply #33 on: April 05, 2004, 10:03:21 AM

Yea, it's about time we get back to the old UO v EQ days.
HaemishM
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Reply #34 on: April 05, 2004, 10:26:57 AM

Quote from: Darniaq
I won't pipe in the contrived "SOE is scared of Blizzard" crap, but the games are parallel on many levels, including theme, brand strength and aggressive development.


If they aren't scared of Blizzard, they damn well should be. If anything can extract players from EQ, it'll be a game that follows the EQ formula with quest-based, quick advancement and plenty of immersiveness.

Of course, after a month with the current WoW fanbase, they may run screaming back to EQ. But of everything I've seen, WoW has a better chance for success than EQ2.

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