Video Games That Make *YOU* The Voice Actor (Part 3)

Following up with the third entry in my series of reports on video game experiences that make the gamers’ actual voice an integral part of gameplay…

MacLife.com has a review of “The Movies Superstar Edition,” which includes an interesting in-game feature that allows players to record and edit their own voice-overs for the movies they create as part of the game:

If you don’t mind a game that uses chest size as an indicator of success and happiness (we certainly don’t), The Movies packs a ridiculous amount of depth and replayability that’ll reel in gamers, creative types, and machinima fans.

The Movies simulates the creation of a movie studio, from the dawn of the industry in 1920 to the present. The object is to build your studio’s reputation and win awards, and there’s about a squillion ways to do so. You’ll place buildings and sets around your studio lot, then add transportation, amenities, and decorations. You’ll hire actors, directors, crew, extras, writers, builders, and janitors. You’ll assign writers to produce scripts, then cast and shoot them. Then you’ll release them, earn money and experience, and head back to the writers’ room.

The main story mode has you competing against rival studios for awards and prestige, and there’s ton more going on in this game, like a sandbox mode with no awards where you can set your own starting parameters and focus on the areas you like. The optional Advanced Movie Making features let creative people really get hands-on, choosing a sequence of scenes, the actors, costumes, sets, props, camera angles, and lighting. Then they can edit their film in the post-production office and even record voice-over dialogue that in-game actors will lip-sync. Audio clips and samples from iTunes, GarageBand, and iMovie are available, a Mac-only feature. Export options include iPod/iPhone size, and direct export to YouTube. Oh, and the StarMaker application lets you play God’s plastic surgeon by completely designing a new actor from the ground up, including physical aspects and personality.

I also dug up an older news item from April 2009 that I never got around to posting here — via TGDaily.com:

Two upcoming online games, “Jumpgate Evolution” and “Mission Against Terror,” will integrate Dolby’s Axon 3D voice platform, the company announced today.

Axon promises a realistic voice experience that matches the online game environment as well as a clear signal that is free of unwanted noise, echo, and clipping. The first games to adopt the technology is the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Jumpgate Evolution as well as the first person shooter Mission Against Terror.

Dolby said that Axon’s client bandwidth allows an average of 10 people to be within the hearing range of a user. The server-side integration supports up to 7000 simultaneous users per server (Dual 3 GHz Xeon-based).

And if that’s too technogeeky for you to decipher, here’s a simpler explanation from the Dolby Axon official site:

By mapping players’ voices to the actual game environment, Dolby Axon adds a new level of realism and immediacy to your game experience. Now you can follow your teammates and enemies as they move in relation to you, and tell where they are within the game simply by listening to their voices or the sound of their footsteps. This provides a great strategic advantage over your fellow gamers and makes for a more immersive, thrilling experience overall. Once you’ve tried Dolby Axon, there’s no going back.

Dolby Axon Benefits:

– Enables true-to-life voice communication in 3D surround sound
– Maps voices to the game environment for added realism
– Allows players to alter voices to match their in-game personas
– Provides a clear voice experience, free of unwanted noise and clipping

I’m still not quite sure what all that tech talk means, but if it lets me be a voice actor in my own gaming experience, bring it on!

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