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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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On 11/10/2019 at 10:16 PM, 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 duvets, 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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Minor update: Contacted Shadow Creepr. She's working on it in her free time, she'll be sending the files over to my e-mail in batches.

Hopefully her recordings will go well.

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@Springheel, @Goldwell, @New Horizon and other core team members (not sure who's in charge of evaluating and approving new vocal sets).

Shadow Creepr has sent me some sample recordings. They're available in the attachments below (the first two in this post, both .wav, the .ogg ones in the following post). The samples I've been sent have been female mantling voice files.

She has also asked whether we need the voice files purely in .ogg or in .wav, or both. I wasn't able to answer for sure, so I'd like to ask you as well, as an intermediary in this whole effort. The three recordings are available below in both .wav and .ogg formats, as a showcase.

To quote her e-mail, in full:

Quote
Here are some of the voices files. The one thing I forgot to ask is which format you wanted so I am sending both the ogg and wav recordings. Let me know your preference, please. I am using the same file names but with an added F (for female) and on the ogg files I added ogg to the name so I could keep them separate in my folder but depending on your preference I can remove it. The wav files are as is with only the added F. If these are not to your liking in quality or sound then let me know so I can alter them.

 

mantle_pullF01.wav mantle_pullF02.wav

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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The .ogg recordings.

From what I dug up in the male player vocals folder, all files were in .ogg. I suppose this means she can continue her recordings in .ogg ?

P.S. Unfortunately, I can't upload the third .wav, I've hit the attachment size limit. I'm betting you guys want the more space-saving .ogg versions anyway, so that one .wav file just sounds like what it does in the .ogg below.

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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There appears to be a clearly audible hum in all three recordings...?

 

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2 minutes ago, Springheel said:

There appears to be a clearly audible hum in all three recordings...?

Yeah. I've checked them again, and there is a bit of a hum I didn't notice at first hearing. Damn. I'll try to ask her whether she can do something with noise removal. Do you think a screen would be enough, provided she has a good enough (i.e. professional recording) mic ?

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@Springheel, @Goldwell, @New Horizon

Prompt feedback from Shadow Creepr, concerning the hum issue.

The new .ogg recording below should be without the hum. I've put my headphones volume to max, pressed my headphones to my ears tightly, listened to yesterday's recordings and this new one repeatedly for several minutes. It does seem she got rid of the background hum, but I'd prefer if others besides me checked on this as well.

 

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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It's a lot better, but you can still hear it.  Close your eyes and see if you can tell when the file stops playing.

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I'm confident I could remove the hum.  Just need a sample of the room audio to capture the hum, then use that sample to only filter the hum out.  I did that with all my recordings back in the day.

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3 hours ago, Springheel said:

It's a lot better, but you can still hear it.  Close your eyes and see if you can tell when the file stops playing.

I was worried this would still be present.

2 hours ago, New Horizon said:

I'm confident I could remove the hum.  Just need a sample of the room audio to capture the hum, then use that sample to only filter the hum out.  I did that with all my recordings back in the day.

Well, that certainly gives some level of hope. Should I tell her to record a sample of the room audio from the room she uses for recording ? (There's enough time, she'll be away between the 21st and 25th, so no rush.)

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I cleaned it up a little bit by trimming out some of the audible mouth clicks and applying a removal filter on the background noise. What do you guys think?

 

 

cleaned_mantle_push01F.wav

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On 11/18/2019 at 10:45 PM, Petike the Taffer said:

From what I dug up in the male player vocals folder, all files were in .ogg. I suppose this means she can continue her recordings in .ogg ?

No, she should record in wav. Final version (corrected, postprocessed, etc.) can be exported to ogg.

10 hours ago, Petike the Taffer said:

Well, that certainly gives some level of hope. Should I tell her to record a sample of the room audio from the room she uses for recording ? (There's enough time, she'll be away between the 21st and 25th, so no rush.)

She can just record each file with leading 1-2 second "silence" (room tone), that will be enough to sample even in free software like Audacity.

IMO the bigger problem is that all these files don't sound like mantling, at least in comparison to the male version. It's sounds like she's sick and she's clearing her throat.

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5 hours ago, peter_spy said:

No, she should record in wav. Final version (corrected, postprocessed, etc.) can be exported to ogg.

She can just record each file with leading 1-2 second "silence" (room tone), that will be enough to sample even in free software like Audacity.

IMO the bigger problem is that all these files don't sound like mantling, at least in comparison to the male version. It's sounds like she's sick and she's clearing her throat.

Fair enough, though are you sure about the .wav ? I'll tell her about the necessary changes. I just want to be sure that there's consensus on the team, rather than every other person telling me something completely different and creating a misunderstanding. The last thing I want it one of the veteran devs coming her and telling me either me or you got the technical aspects wrong.

I like the idea about starting out with a two second silence and equalising the rest of the recording in post, if needed. I think you made a good call.

I'll try to provide more vocal direction, if possible. Since these have been all recorded as tests, I wasn't too keen on stressing "you've got to do it exactly this way or that way", as discussing the recording quality with you guys was my main priority.

Namesake, if you and others have some feedback on the content of the vocals, feel free to provide it. SC's been very willing to help out with this and I'm sure if we give her a clearer idea on recordings that we don't think quite fit, we'll eventually get the results we need. This whole thing is a process, after all.

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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