Salk

[KotOR] Cheap shots with VOs

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I love(d) Knights of the Old Republic for more than one reason but now that I have been trying for years to make the game even better through fixes and tweaks I cannot help thinking of a few things that Bioware did sloppily. There are several but here in Korriban I noticed how they cut a few corners with some human looking Sith Academy residents whose VO is alien.

That's a tolerable thing (especially if there is an interesting story behind it, which is not the case for our game) if it's done once or possibly twice but Bioware did abuse of this in Korriban.

I count 3 4 creatures that should speak Galactic Basic but have alien VO and each time all I could think of was that they didn't have the means/time to record the lines properly rather than being a specific choice. The affected creatures are: the Mandalorian Prisoner, Adrenas, Hijata and Tariga. Three  Four in a single area module. Way too much, in my opinion.

I have half a mind to get someone to record the lines for at least one of the three four and remove the nonsensical excuse for missing a proper VO.

Thoughts?

Cheers!

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Instances of bad voice-acting is custom in Kotor! No-one can be more hilariously awful than choice gems like:

(holding nose, as nasally high-pitched as possible) "HaY yOu CaN't CoMe In HeRe! ThIs iS tHe HiDdEn BeK BaSe!"

(frothing and smacking with as much saliva as possible) "ThEy AlReAdY lEfT iN tHe S u B m E r S i B l E!"

I say go for it! Bad or good delivery, it will be a lark.

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I take any change I do to the game quite seriously so I wouldn't every go for a low quality outcome.

This is not a high priority but is something I am definitely considering.

 

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13 hours ago, Salk said:

The affected creatures are: the Mandalorian Prisoner, Adrenas, Hijata and Tariga. Three  Four in a single area module. Way too much, in my opinion.

I thought Adrenas' excuse was an interesting one. I never considered the possibility that a human/near-human species would have grown up in a region speaking something other than Galactic Basic. I wish this was expanded on since he says he can speak Galactic Basic, just with a thick accent. It's understandable that he doesn't since he'd be made fun of, which would be a sign of weakness among the Sith.

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Which would have played a hell of a lot better if they had a different fake language rather than the overused Twi'lek Huttese again. TOR might have something that could be used as a substitute perhaps.

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6 minutes ago, AmanoJyaku said:

I thought Adrenas' excuse was an interesting one. I never considered the possibility that a human/near-human species would have grown up in a region speaking something other than Galactic Basic. I wish this was expanded on since he says he can speak Galactic Basic, just with a thick accent. It's understandable that he doesn't since he'd be made fun of, which would be a sign of weakness among the Sith.

I agree with you full-heartedly.

Adrenas is the only one I find quite believable and it would have been a nice touch of Bioware if the generic Sith student lines included one with some sort of nasty remark about him.

Locally I changed Tariga to a female Twi'lek (and of course removed the "You're human, but you speak like a Twi'lek..." line from its .dlg file) and did the same with Hijata which I turned into a Twi'lek after realizing I couldn't really give him an Ithorian appearance and at the same time make him wear a robe (it would have been better but oh well...).

The only one I would be glad to change is the Mandalorian Prisoner's VO and I think my efforts will focus on him. I'm sure I can find someone who can pull it off nicely although it's no easy task.

Cheers!

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I decided to go with the service of a professional actor to record the lines of the Mandalorian Prisoner.

He will be the only one that is going to have a new voice.

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I got the VO from the actor and I must say it's quite good although I believe I have done a decent job myself so I'm not at the moment sure which one I should go for.

Perhaps you can help me make a decision.

I will upload one line delivered by myself and one by the actor so you all get to chime in and tell me about your preference.

UPDATE: Here it is.

I do have a cold and don't have a good mic or anything remotely professional so the audio quality's difference is noticeable. But it's just an initial test.

I think the actor did a very good job. My only concern was that I didn't hear much pain in his voice as you'd expect from a tortured prisoner.

 

nm35aavict23000_[Actor].wav

 

nm35aavict23000_[Salk].wav

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I can tell you my impressions, at least. The audio quality is naturally superior in the voice actor's. I can't help but feel he's making his best Cryaotic impression, which I don't think fits here. Now, there's basically no male character in Kotor with any sort of inviting voice except for Carth, I guess, so it's not like it brings nothing to the table. However, he doesn't sound exhausted or tortured in any believable way. He sounds like a charismatic person trying to convey assertiveness, which is not what's happening here. That said, the dialogue line doesn't allow for any truly believable delivery, I don't think. No one talks like that in that state outside of fantasy worlds. And it's not like Kotor is always perfect voice acting wise. Your recording, on the other hand, suffers from the lower audio quality, and it would be painfully noticeable in-game, especially in words like "Sith." It would simply stand out because of the microphone used. I also hear an accent, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, but again, stands out.

Hope you find the input helpful. I would use the actor's recording simply because of the audio quality and decent delivery. I don't think it fits the character, although a change of appearance might help on that front.

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6 hours ago, Salk said:

I got the VO from the actor and I must say it's quite good although I believe I have done a decent job myself so I'm not at the moment sure which one I should go for.

Perhaps you can help me make a decision.

I don't have KoToR installed at the moment, so can't tell how these VO will work ingame with ambient music. It isn't simple choice as both lines have their own flavor. I would choose Actor's VO purely because of 'cleaner' audio quality.

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Thanks for the comments, guys.

I have actually re-recorded my line because I realized it was really awful. And yes, I do have an accent but I don't think it's too big a problem in this case. The cold I have and the non professional equipment is though.

Let me know if you think the second version is any improvement.

If not, I will stop trying and go for the actor's voice which is good enough despite the flaws @La Ingobernable detected (and I agree).

Cheers!

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Oooh. I like it a lot better now. We have some palpable fatigue and hardship. I also approve of the mixture of anger and agony. Considering that the original voice is downright Huttese, it's not too far a gap to imagine Mandalorians having different accents, so I say use your version instead. I can still hear the sibilance on the mic though, so I would advice muting those bits using a sound editing program. It's mostly noticeable in "Sith" in this sample.

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15 hours ago, Salk said:

Perhaps you can help me make a decision. I will upload one line delivered by myself and one by the actor so you all get to chime in and tell me about your preference... Let me know if you think the second version is any improvement.

Try this one, Salk -- nm35aavict23000_[Salk]_LowCut.mp3

See if there's any improvement with that. What I did was to cut the lower frequencies because I heard a bit too much around that area. Well -- that's just me with my ears, lol.

As for the actor's; the quality of audio sounds professionally done -- well, as expected I guess. Can't really tell with the acting part, but I think it's pretty fittingly-good. But that cut at the end was a let down. Adding few silenced bytes could do, though not sure.

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The sound is clearer after @ebmar edit. In your cut, @Salk, the sibilance on the mic can be heard in the first half of the line, for example, in "whatever", "Sith". I agree that the tone of the voice changes slightly after editing, but I think this is a reasonable price for a cleaner sound. Maybe some tweaking in sound editing software will achieve an intermediate option, but it is alright as it is now for me.

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Thanks for the feedback, guys.

Even if I must honestly say that I wish that I the actor's recording had some of that " expressiveness" I think I could inject my own recording, it does still seem to me that his is the best alternative overall and that I should go for it. 

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Thing is, you can't change the actor's performance, whereas the quality of your recording can be improved. And your performance here is better than his. You can always try voicing your concerns to him and sending him your recording for reference to give it a second try. He may throw you a freebie. You never know.

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On 9/28/2020 at 11:04 AM, Salk said:

...there is a metallic ring to the voice (?) and a cranked up volume...

Yeah, I can't really do anything with that. If you want you can try adjust lowering the high as your liking. And as for the volume, yeah - it gets normalized hence the cranked-up volume. Again, you can lower it down as you'd prefer.

And again, when speaking about [professional] audio quality it all comes down to the resources. We can only do so much with the acting/voicing, but it's really those wares that does all the magic, hahah.

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I wound up trying out for Hijata. This is really more of a test of my recording space as I'm getting over a cold but why not share the results? But if Salk wants the files, I sent them to him to do what he wishes.  The outtake line at the end has an uninvited guest.

 

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Not bad, @Salk. Better than I expected, honestly :P I don't think your accent is a problem at all, as there are plenty of characters with different accents throughout the game. Mic quality is really the only obstacle. But @Sith Holocron is also a serious contender, and I think the hired VA did a great job too.

Here's my edit, with carefully edited bass/treble, fade in/out and silence: 

 

nm35aavict23000_Salk_km_edit_v2.wav

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I must say you did an impressive job editing that file, KnifeMaster.

Thank you.

I still feel like it's best to go for the VA though. 

SithHolocron 's take is fine by me but I think his voice is still being affected by his cold a little.

Nice presentation though. 👌

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Thanks for the kind words. Just a quick note that I won't be attempting to do the Mandalorian role so there's no competition between me and anyone else. However, if anyone else would like to try the Hijata role, please do!  I sincerely hope that someone better comes along to bring Hijata to life.  (And not just because it saves me the work! LOL)

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