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Quite the challenge in the title, right ?

Well, as long as it is not difficult to implement into the base game, I think we should finally resolve this particular collection of missing assets. In recent years, I've come across several FM makers clamouring for being able to make an FM with a female thief protagonist for a change.

If we find someone willing to do the female player vocal set, I think it should be someone who can affect a voice that sounds neither too youthful or too old. That's, IMHO, key. The player character's male vocal set already sounds like it could belong to any deeper-voiced guy between 20 and 50. I have started this new thread in order to finally organise an effort to create a female vocal set. That's one of the few stumbling blocks left for more original protag creation, IMHO.

Some three, maybe even four years ago, Lavender took a brave stab at this - if memory serves me right, she actually finished her recordings for the entire PC vocal set, they just weren't processed and suitable yet for publication. However, as Lavender has left the forums, we're basically back to square one.

I think we should look into contacting the female voice actors we already have here on the forums and doing an assessment of their voice acting samples. There's got to be at least two ladies with an appropriate voice range for the female vocal set. I think women voice actors in their 30s, with a wide enough voice range, would definitely suffice for what is needed in that vocal set. Bear in mind that the entire vocal set is actually non-verbal, so there is no need to articulate anything. The whole set consists of a voice doing sighs, or noises during physical exertion (e.g. climbing, lifting), and so on and so forth. Though there are dozens of these purely vocal "lines", it's not that long a list, so the vocal set can be completed in a fairly short amount of time. The selected voice actor could do the whole thing in a day or two (or several days), we could then filter through the various takes, select the best ones, have our sound guys help with cleaning up any audio issues, and we could then work on implementing the whole thing as an alternate vocal set. It would be a really nice (if relatively minor) addition for 2.08. Particularly for mission builders.

I'd like to hear everyone else's thoughts on how we should proceed, who can provide oversight for the effort, and so on.

Wikilink to our voice actor article: http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Voice_actors

Wikilink to our article on the script for the player vocal set: http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Vocal_script:_Player

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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I think a good early step would be if someone uploaded a zipped version of the pk4 that contains the player's vocal set. To dropbox or a similar reliable cloud service, it's only about 3,5 MB in size. We could then share the link with interested voice actors (if they don't already have TDM on their computer). They could download the zip version, unzip it and listen to the audio files, to get a bit of an idea what the male equivalent sounds like, in addition to the instructions for the VS, as linked to at the end of my previous post.

I've taken a look at whether BrokenArts or RedLeaf (both over at TTLG.com) would be available to help. I'm a bit apprehensive, though. Both are great, but they've already done plenty of work for us in the past, and I think they'd both deserve a rest from VA contributions to TDM. Either of them could still try if they'd be interested, though. From the latest posting history I've seen, BrokenArts probably has other duties at the moment and probably wouldn't be available anyway. (We could try and contact her, but who knows if she has time.) RedLeaf seems to be more available, her currently last visits to TTLG were just the previous month, so maybe she could find some time in the near future, if she'd be interested.

Concerning the rest of TTLG, I have revisited the Available voice actors thread and looked around for any potentially available VAs. I've already contacted Shadow Creepr, one of the VAs recommended in the opening post of that thread, but not RedLeaf yet, as I'm not sure whether to contact her. I might, though. Just don't want to contact too many people at once.

Of the newer VA talent we know about here on the TDM forums, I'll try to contact Molly, just to ask whether she's still doing VA and would have some interest. If you know about any other female VAs who offered their help here on the forums, but I forgot about them, tell me. I'm all ears.

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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Good news ! Shadow Creepr wrote back, she's interested. We have our first VA candidate for this little project.

Now I'd need someone's help here at the forums, with uploading a 3,5 MB zip onto dropbox, or a similarly safe cloud storage space. I don't have a db account and I don't really want to start one, so if anyone is willing, maybe they could share their storage space for those 3,5 megs for a few weeks ? I'd like to send SC the link to the zip in a few days, just to strike while the iron is hot.

Obviously, we'll try several VA's recordings for the vocal set, just to be on the safe side. The more contributors we get, the better. (I'm aiming for 3-4 at least, hopefully we'll have enough good recordings to choose from.) And as for involving SC and other VAs who might have previously lent their talents to Thief FMs, we might even recruit their talent for future TDM needs. I've seen several people complain in recent years that it's occassionally difficult finding a female VA if someone needs some dialogue by ladies in their FM, so knowing about people willing to help out on a more regular basis could be helpful. I think we should value all the voice acting talent we can get, especially if the quality is clearly good.

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On 11/7/2019 at 11:00 PM, Shadow said:

I know someone who plays all the TDM mods like a rabid religion and would love 💕💖 to be a female VA. What does she need to do, simply?

1. Good quality recording equipment. No background noise, no popping, the mic should only capture her voice.

2. Follow this download link, it has the existing male player voice files from the game. 82 voice files in total, the whole zip is 3,5 MB. Download the zip, listen to the files inside carefully, to get an idea. Also check out the player vocal script link I posted earlier in this thread. Both sources serve as acting direction.

3. Speaking of voice acting itself, subtlety is key here. None of the vocals should sound over-the-top or cheesy, they should sound like natural human reactions (e.g. to the strain of climbing, to getting injured, etc.). As also described in the earlier posts, the voice chosen for these female vocals should sound somewhere between mid-20s to early 50s, in terms of age range. That you could place it anywhere inside that age range and it wouldn't sound out of place.

To sum up the tone of voice we need for the female thief: A mature, for the most part calm and serious female voice (calm, not boring), neither too youthful or too old sounding. "Level-headed, tough but also human, believably vulnerable, woman in her 30s to mid-40s" would be a good descriptor. We want these vocals to be consistent in quality with the male player vocals we already have - so that both versions of the player character would sound like life-hardened, patient professional thieves. Believable human characters that players can feel immersed in while playing particular missions. I think none of us here want the lady thief to sound like a caricature, while the guy thief will sound all calm and suave. We want them to sound like equals, two sides of the same coin.

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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Petike,

Have you checked the forums history? If my recollection is correct, there were at least two offers here during the past two years, but I cannot find them in none of the boards. :(

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15 hours ago, JackFarmer said:

Petike,

Have you checked the forums history? If my recollection is correct, there were at least two offers here during the past two years, but I cannot find them in none of the boards. :(

Molly was one of them and I've already contacted her. Waiting for a reply.

As for Shadow Creepr, she's promised to take a look at the material over the weekend, and maybe start work on it in her free time. She has the existing voice files for comparison, as well as the list on the wiki, so it should be easy enough.

There's no rush, really. I'll be grateful for any VA's participation, as long as the audio quality is good and the performance feels right. I've been slowly contacting several potential VAs just so we can have material to choose from, if someone's performance is good, but maybe not entirely what we're looking for.

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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On 11/7/2019 at 11:00 PM, Shadow said:

I know someone who plays all the TDM mods like a rabid religion and would love 💕💖 to be a female VA. What does she need to do, simply?

We definitely need those assets, could be just new voice set for any AI if not for player character (I think there are two female voice sets at the moment). Remember, as long as the new content appears, we all winning. ;)


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1 hour ago, ERH+ said:

We definitely need those assets, could be just new voice set for any AI if not for player character (I think there are two female voice sets at the moment). Remember, as long as the new content appears, we all winning. ;)

There's a massive difference between the lines needed for the PC (mostly grunts) and the lines needed for an NPC (500+ lines of dialogue).  Frankly, the necessary vocals for a female PC could probably be gathered from the three existing female NPCs.  What is harder to accomplish is replacing the player hands with female versions.

 

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4 hours ago, Springheel said:

There's a massive difference between the lines needed for the PC (mostly grunts) and the lines needed for an NPC (500+ lines of dialogue).  Frankly, the necessary vocals for a female PC could probably be gathered from the three existing female NPCs.  What is harder to accomplish is replacing the player hands with female versions.

Aren't the player character's hands already gloved ? That would take care of any necessity to model more feminine-looking hands.

I don't think the current player's first person (FP) models are that strictly masculine-looking. Under those clothes, you could still conceivably imagine a lady. Now, when it comes to third person perspective (TP), which virtually no one ever uses in-game, that's where some changes could be implemented, for the sake of differentiation. (Though, IMHO, a little too much work for little reward.) For example, you could make a copy of the existing TP player thief model and make the figure somewhat more feminine (including the texturing for the face above the facial disguise). As with the vocal performances, I'd prefer if we also kept subtlety for any of the potential AI model tweaks for the female variant. I doubt we're going for an over-the-top look for the lady thief, when the whole point is she'll be dressed as practically as her male counterpart.

5 hours ago, ERH+ said:

We definitely need those assets, could be just new voice set for any AI if not for player character (I think there are two female voice sets at the moment). Remember, as long as the new content appears, we all winning. ;)

Currently, there are actually four female vocal sets for the NPCs. One for a younger commoner ("Maiden"), one for a middle-aged commoner ("Wench") and two different voices for aristocratic ladies.

There was talk a while back, including by Springheel and co., to introduce a vocal set for a Pagan-associated female NPC. The final version of the vocal script for that set has not been nailed down yet, so we've avoided recruiting any VAs for that NPC. Hopefully we'll finally revisit it in the near future.

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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On 11/7/2019 at 11:22 PM, Petike the Taffer said:

1. Good quality recording equipment. No background noise, no popping, the mic should only capture her voice.

To slightly expand on that point, a good quality microphone is essential, with a wide frequency response and no colouration of the sound. Basically the sort of full-size mic that you might see in a radio studio, not a cheap VoIP mic or a gaming headset.

It will be really noticeable if the vocals are recorded with a low-quality mic, once they get into the game. The audio might sound muffled, or particularly harsh around the sibilants ("S" sounds), and no amount of processing will fix it.

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1 hour ago, OrbWeaver said:

To slightly expand on that point, a good quality microphone is essential, with a wide frequency response and no colouration of the sound. Basically the sort of full-size mic that you might see in a radio studio, not a cheap VoIP mic or a gaming headset.

It will be really noticeable if the vocals are recorded with a low-quality mic, once they get into the game. The audio might sound muffled, or particularly harsh around the sibilants ("S" sounds), and no amount of processing will fix it.

Exactly. Those barebones swan-neck VoIPs aren't really good for anything other than videochatting and similar.

Recently, I've bought myself a Samson Go Mic. While it's not recording studio grade, I've tested it and it's pretty awesome for such a relatively small, portable mic. While my test recordings had a very clear, crisp sound, without background noise, I plan to get a microphone screen for it, just to be on the safe side. Or maybe I'll even do a home-made one, it's not hard (cue nylon hose on a frame jokes).

Funny story: Years ago, I needed to do a lot of voice recording for a radio programme proof-of-concept me and a few friends were developing (a book review show). Unfortunately, at the time, I only had a digital dictaphone and a fairly old swan-neck VoIP, nothing really adequate. You wouldn't believe what I did. I took a small rectangular table, covered it on all sides with thick douvets, blankets and bedsheets, then put a small reading lamp inside (it was weirdly dark in there, LOL), grabbed my scripts and went inside. I shut the backside of the thing, turned on the light and started recording. Yes, really, I made myself an impromptu recording studio. It was hilarious, true, but surprisingly, the results weren't that bad. I fiddled with the dictaphone settings as best as I could, plugged in that crap VoIP mic, and started recording under this sound-tight table. I had very little background noise and no pop, though I still wouldn't call the sound 100 % crisp. (The quality was certainly nowhere near my brand new SGM.) But given the very primitive setup, I did better than I ever expected. I thought the result would be muddled, but it was a nice surprise.

Granted, I don't want to revisit that sort of setup, aside from jokey nostalgia, or if I felt it was absolutely necessary. Based on my recordings with my SGM over the weekend, right in front of my humming computer, and then listening to the recordings, I feel it's going to be all right. No need for overly weird escapades this time, at most I'll only need to add a screen.

Edited by Petike the Taffer

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