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audio design problem clash bug

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#1 Pylons of Light

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 08:39

I'm still in the early stages of Europolis, but I've been finding a lot of audio clashes. I often miss the first few lines of every conversation, because Zoe is narrating some long description when I wander into a proximity-triggered conversation. Ambient dialogue like adbots and protestors shouting often clashes with dialogue as well. Suggestion: Maybe the designers could make NPCs only start talking if no narration is active, and have adbots and talking statues and such only blab if no narration or conversations are active? That would remove the frequent, annoying audio clashes.

 

Another good idea might be for there to be a way to cut off a piece of narration, particularly if it's one we've heard before. As is, there's no way to tell how many pieces of narration an audio gets, so I invariably end up cycling back to the first one. Spacebar to skip narration maybe?

 

Also, I appreciate the idea of NPCs complaining about you eavesdropping, but it doesn't work... at all. Due to dialogue frequently being drowned out by ambient noises and adbot dialogue and such, I often have to stand near NPCs to hear their dialogue properly. (Plus, some NPCs just talking at low volume to begin with.) But if I do that, the NPCs often whine at me afterwards. It's kind of distracting and detracts from the game world. If the NPC conversations aren't meant to be listened to, then... maybe they shouldn't be in the game to begin with.



#2 Indrid Cold

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 11:38

Suggestion: Maybe the designers could make NPCs only start talking if no narration is active, and have adbots and talking statues and such only blab if no narration or conversations are active? That would remove the frequent, annoying audio clashes.

I think that's a good idea, actually.
 

Also, I appreciate the idea of NPCs complaining about you eavesdropping, but it doesn't work... at all. Due to dialogue frequently being drowned out by ambient noises and adbot dialogue and such, I often have to stand near NPCs to hear their dialogue properly. (Plus, some NPCs just talking at low volume to begin with.) But if I do that, the NPCs often whine at me afterwards. It's kind of distracting and detracts from the game world. If the NPC conversations aren't meant to be listened to, then... maybe they shouldn't be in the game to begin with.

I don't get this complaint, really. That's just a bit of realism: If people are having a private conversation, usually they speak just loud enough for each other to hear. If you're not in their group and want to hear clearly, you'll have to stand close. And that would annoy them.



#3 Pylons of Light

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 12:46

I don't get this complaint, really. That's just a bit of realism: If people are having a private conversation, usually they speak just loud enough for each other to hear. If you're not in their group and want to hear clearly, you'll have to stand close. And that would annoy them.

 

Using ambient dialogue for the purpose of world-building is a well-established video game tradition. There's really no need to make the player feel that they're snooping in the way that the devs have done with this game. It's a strange break from how most games with talking NPCs work. I don't think realism need apply; most people don't spend their lives inner-monologuing about all the various objects they encounter, or agonizing over conversation options, either. Overheard dialogue is a way to flesh the world out, let's not impinge on it. Plus, listening to conversations is one of the few ways for the player to interact with anyone but important storyline NPCs, since we aren't allowed to talk to most NPCs directly (which is different from how things were in, say, Dreamfall).

 

Generally, anything which is needlessly distracting and repetitive should be avoided in game design, whether it's reminding the player that they're snooping after every overheard conversation or reminding the player that their choice will have consequences after every screen where the symbol of the Balance shows up.



#4 debro

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 15:09

I believe the conversations and inner thoughts are as real as they can be... You can't shut someone up because you're thinking, or turn their volumes down or up at will. RTG went as real as they could, and I like it.

 

 

 

Using ambient dialogue for the purpose of world-building is a well-established video game tradition. There's really no need to make the player feel that they're snooping in the way that the devs have done with this game. It's a strange break from how most games with talking NPCs work.

 

That's the issue right there. "well-established video game tradition"... "how most games with talking NPCs work". Dreamfall Chapters is NOT like most games. Why does every game that comes out have to be like the others? Is it written somewhere "how games should be"? I think it's OK to think outside of the box sometimes. You might like it or you might not, but that's a matter of taste.

Let's take for example the game "The Path". That game is something on it's own, veeery weird, almost non existing automatic gameplay. But it has quite a fan base, and some very good reviews (8.0 in gamespot for example). I personally don't like it so much, half through the game i didn't know what i was supposed to do. But that's what developers wanted, and it worked.

RTG wanted to create an atmospheric Europolis that felt as real as it could, but dreamy as well. I believe they succeded. Too bad you don't enjoy it.

 

 

 

I don't think realism need apply; most people don't spend their lives inner-monologuing about all the various objects they encounter, or agonizing over conversation options, either.

Well I certainly do. I find myself very often thinking for minutes just looking at something. And I actually try to think beforehand what i'm going to say to someone I don't know.

 

Anyway, what I wanted to point out is, I respecto your point of view, and I understand what you are complaining about. But I don't share the part of asking RTG to follow the "well-established video game tradition". If developers didn't change tradition, we would all still be playing pacman-like games.


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#5 Pylons of Light

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 21:08

In real life our brains have mechanisms that let us tune out background noise and focus on one source of audio. I think the situations where conversation and narration overlap in this game probably have more to do with technical issues, rather than artistic decisions.

 

As for the overheard conversation complaints, they get old fast. If the NPC conversations are meant only to make the city seem like it has living, breathing, talking inhabitants, who are not meant to actually be listened to, that's a reason I would accept, but I don't think it's a good one.



#6 debro

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 21:49

Of course you have a very valid point of view. I respect that.

 

What isn't clear for me is although i did come accross some sound overlapping through the game, it happened exclusively when i clicked somewhere while listening to something else. I agree on the Adbots, those always get over conversations, but I believe those are intentional.

 

Don't get me wrong, I share what you are saying, I just see it as something that could happen in the real world.


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#7 Pylons of Light

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 22:33

What isn't clear for me is although i did come accross some sound overlapping through the game, it happened exclusively when i clicked somewhere while listening to something else.

 

Same here. Since there's no way to tell how many lines of narration examining a scenery object will cause, and there's no way to skip a piece of examination narration, I often find the first line of narration repeating after finishing examining something. I don't want to sit still and wait for maybe 10 seconds while that line repeats, so I walk on -- that's when the clashes occur usually. It would be nice if the spacebar skipped examination narration.

 

There's quite a bit of repeating ambient dialogue in this game, in addition to the adbots. I think the phrase "Where's the key? Someone get the gods-damn key!" is imprinted on my brain now. It was pretty wacky to hear it repeatedly as I was talking to the Captain.



#8 khh

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 02:01

For most of your complaints: I think it was meant to work that way; that it was by design. I like the effect.

 

Another good idea might be for there to be a way to cut off a piece of narration, particularly if it's one we've heard before. As is, there's no way to tell how many pieces of narration an audio gets, so I invariably end up cycling back to the first one. Spacebar to skip narration maybe?

This, however, I agree with.


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