Saturday, November 9, 2013

Commentary on Commentary

Considering that you individuals had been nice enough to assist us attain 2000 pre-orders of Amnesia: The Dark Descent earlier this year, we have been forced to record some commentary. This was not one thing that we had accomplished prior to, but thought that it would be a truly easy activity. As often, it turned out to be a lot more problems than we had initial assumed.

Adding Commentary to the Game
Our design and style was inspired from the type of commentary that can be noticed in the Half-life two episodes and Riddick: Escape from Butcher bay. Basically, it consists of icons that are scattered all through the levels and when interacted with you hear a developer ranting. I very first just wanted to have some kind of text-billboard that you could click on and that was it. Simple and Successful.

Then Marc, a single the artists here at FG, put a truly good hunting model rather. Now that we had a good model we of course wanted more! So decided on providing it some kind of good gold shader and began to experiment with this. We went by means of a variety of versions, but it did not turn out that well. Unfortunately we could not have the gold shader as it was not visible sufficient in dark areas (anything Amnesia is filled with) and we went with a more flat-shaded-thingie, that created it stand out much more, instead. Now I also felt forced to add some effects to this and put an hour or two into producing a part of the icon spin and radiate some "Waves" (that Marc produced) when activated.

Final icon style when crosshair is more than it.

Now, additional complications happened. When playing commentaries, they could be drowned out by other sounds, so we had to find approaches to lower this "background noise". Some of the functionality for this currently existed, but a couple of new effects had to be added before it worked like it must. In the final version all background sounds/voices are faded out and the commentary is faded in on top of that. It actually turned out quite nicer than I believed it would and makes it further fun to listen to the commentaries!

So that is how anything I believed would take 5 minutes, ended up taking a full day.

Recording Commentary Voices
Just before recording could be commence we had to uncover a some fascinating stuff to talk about and this was not often that effortless. We wanted the commentary rants to be quick, connected to exactly where the icon was and not need pictures or comparable. So there was a bit of discussion on what to talk about. When that was accomplished everybody were to create scripts and to study from these when speaking. We had set a Monday as "recording day" and assigned all day to repair the recordings.

The first recording problem was receiving the microphones ready. I sounded like a the captain of an airplane in mine and had to run down to town to purchase a new one particular. Other folks did not have shops nearby and had put their faith into Jens to do some sound magic. To make positive the voices exactly where free of charge of smacking sounds and similar, we employed the old trick of placing socks on the microphones. A set up that looked fairly stupid and when my girlfriend came residence she believed I had gone crazy, sitting speaking to a sock-puppet (soon after all the crunch-time I put in this was not that implausible and I was currently talking to myself from time to time).
¨Marc's attempt at producing a sound studio

..and here is Luis's (other rooms had been too noisy)

When the voices in the microphones finally sounded good, only the actual talking was left. This was of course not straightforward at all. I feel we all discovered to appreciate the function our voice actors have produced as we tried to talk make excellent commentary voices. There is so a lot to consider about: Speak at the correct range from mic, speak slowly, say the correct words, do not spit into the microphone, do not make silly noises, keep away from external interferences, and so forth. Whenever any of these errors popped up it was retake time. I consider the final voices was recorded one thing like 1:00 in the evening, after having started at 08:00 in the morning. Who stayed up that lengthy will stay an internal secret.

Regardless of this rather strange workday, the voices in fact turned out pretty good. I know I do not sound perfect all the time, and there are some sound bytes, where you clearly hear I had not had water for a even though and my voice sound like some deranged drunkard. I guess that is element of the exciting although and most of the time we need to be quite comprehensible.

Final results
To understand how me, slightly confused, speaking to a sock sound like, and other enjoyable stuff you will have to wait for the release of the game! In the meantime Mikko, our extremely talented musician, made a small video exactly where you get taste of some of the stuff we will speak about:

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