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EverQuest Sequel Gives Voice To NPCs, Original Turns Five 30

Posted by simoniker
from the crack-is-back dept.
Thanks to GameSpot for its feature discussing plans to give full-audio speech to non-player characters in PC MMORPG sequel EverQuest II. The article points out this is "a first for online role-playing games, which have previously only featured silent characters that interact with players by sending them text chat messages", and elsewhere, a Grimwell Online article mentions a new PC Gamer magazine article specifying "an expected 130 hours of speech across 70,000 lines of dialogue", and revealing that "EQ2 is a $25 million dollar project." This new information comes as EverQuest celebrates its fifth anniversary with a multitude of developer interviews on the official site, as well as the re-activation of all old accounts until April 15th.
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EverQuest Sequel Gives Voice To NPCs, Original Turns Five

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  • Annoying (Score:2, Insightful)

    by krymsin01 (700838)
    Is it just me, or does this sound like on of the most annoying ideas put forth in a while? Maybe I'm too slep dep'd, but the idea of hearing some annoying NPC saying "Maybe you can help me!?" over and over again would make me want to shoot my machine after a while...
    • You'll just ignore it after a while. Trust me. I play Diablo II.

      "Stay awhile and listen..."
      • I totally agree - most of it will be repetitive and thus turned off. However, it would be cool if, at some epic moments, the sounds could be on.

        I wouldn't mind if, say, when I finish my "epic" quest which I may have spent 40 hours on, I get the 30 seconds of speach. And obviously, if there is just an on/off button I'm going to have it off.

        So if anyone is listening, you may want to put a slider in:
        All speach
        Some speach
        Only really important speach
        No speach
        Or something like that.
        ___________________________
    • ...They figure out a way to make it worthwhile to talk to NPCs in the first place. Sony's NPCs don't have anything interesting to say in text, and spending resources pumping grade-C voice acting out of my speakers isn't going to change that.

      Everquest's quests are a joke, and their vendors are largely ignored. Adding voice is just throwing more money into development, in an attempt to make its competitors seem less up-to-date.

      It'll be interesting to see if they are spending for the kind of voice talent t
    • No it's far worse if you've played EQ:

      Skeletons will now have voices to say: "Aarrreeeeeewwwwwwwwww!"

      and almost every single other NPC in the game:
      "You have ruined your lands, you will not ruin mine!"

      It's their latest xp nerf, no one will get past character select for fear of the voices. I'd be happy if they could just get some background music that didn't make me want to hurl my speakers out the window.
  • Que ?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Killjoy_NL (719667)
    Will they ship this with the game or will the speech be residing on the EQ servers.
    If the latter is the case, you might need a faster version of broadband, right ??

    • yeah, just like they send you the images for rendering every polygon

      muppet

      • When you get new quests, you get new texts for the NPC's, so it sounds plausible, doesn't it ??

        And if I'm a muppet, I'd be Animal

        WOMAN BLAAAAHGRHGRGHRRG!! ;)
    • I imagine it will be on the media.

      They did a poll for us a while back which asked if we wanted Eq2 on something like 2-3 DVD's or just a bucket of CD's (I don't know 20-30???)

      Even with all the graphics, I had no idea what they could be planning to stick on *that* much media - but with voice acting it makes more sense.

      Only reason to send it over the internet is to protect those sounds from piracy, but I just can't imagine why they'd bother. Who would want a bunch of "I see you have collected the five bon
  • 25 million dollars? Hah! That's nothing...

    Stole this one from a interview with Gabe Newell from Maxitmag.co.uk:

    Q - Just how much does it cost to produce a cutting edge game like Half-Life 2?

    A lot. Last time I checked, we were about $40 million into the project. Yikes, that's a scary number.
  • Posted on April 1st. The sheer amount of data that's going to be traveling over your internet connection to do this kind of in-game speech makes it seem a little bit 'fishy'.
    • The GameSpot article linked in the story was posted yesterday, not april 1st.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Uh...the samples would come on the install disk, and the only thing that would come over the net would be a "NPC #4732 play speech sample #11235" instruction.
    • Come on dude. Think about what the game is doing. Do you really think that the game will stream the audio. A more realistic approach would be to have this in the full install and just load it up on a trigger command from the interaction with the NPC(non player character or MOB from the old mud days). Much like the music you start to hear when you enter a town, or the chirp of a bird, of the grunt of a peon.

      They don't stream the voice overs, I am sure it is just a file like any other music source that it ju
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I'm not certain of this, but it seems to me that if the NPC speech was sitting around in a bunch of files in the local install directory, it would be possible for players to extract the sounds from those files. That is, they could hear about epic quests, or secret lore, or the rediscovery of a lost city before anyone had ever played the game.

        How this would affect the game, I'm not sure. There are spoiler web sites for every game, including EQ1, but usually somebody, somewhere has to have actually experienc
  • NPC speech? big deal. In puzzle pirates my flag uses Teamspeak. All the pcs have voices. It's funny how sometimes the lag of the game is slower than the lag of the teamspeak. People will yell out how much booty we won while on someone elses screen it is still counting up.

    Oh yeah, EQ and all similar MMOs suck. Whoever plays the most is the "winner" not the person with the most skill. Progress quest, etc. etc. Puzzle Pirates is the only mmo worth two craps because it is skill based, you know a GAME and no
    • by DrSkwid (118965)

      j00 suck0x

      the winner is the one that has the most fun, moron

      perhaps EQ was a bit too hard for you, putting shaped blocks into holes sounds much more your thing

  • *bzzzt* wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kaashar (738775) <kaashar@hoCOLAtmail.com minus caffeine> on Thursday April 01, 2004 @09:08AM (#8735539)
    a first for online role-playing games, which have previously only featured silent characters that interact with players by sending them text chat messages" Excellent research there bosco, unfortunately it's wrong. Earth and Beyond had many NPC characters that spoke to players. The only problem was with a MMOG bringing the voice actors back in every few months to re-do changing lines gets expensive.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2004 @10:23AM (#8736123)
    "I am looking for Bonechips to lift an ancient curse"...
    "thank you for the [5] Bonechips"
    "I am looking for Bonechips to lift an ancient curse"...
    "thank you for the [5] Bonechips"
    "I am looking for Bonechips to lift an ancient curse"...
    "thank you for the [5] Bonechips"

    30 seconds of that and my wife would be out the door. 90 seconds and I'd be going nuts. More than that, I'd delete it.
  • by kapella (3578)
    is start hiring ractors to play the NPCs - who wants to listen to the same pre-recorded dialogue bits over and over again, anyway?
  • by Tarindel (107177) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @12:19PM (#8737464)
    The was announced yesterday, and there's a movie at Gamespot [gamespot.com]

    You'll have to be a member (free membership) to get it there, but it's mirrored at other places around the web, including a few fan sites (such as EQii.com [eqii.com]).

    I watched it yesterday -- it's quite excellent.
  • "A Mighty Spell" Clink!
    "A Mighty Spell" Clink!
    "A Mighty Spell" Clink!

    For those of you missing the reference, "Record of Lodoss War" for the Dreamcast had a feature where you could buy runes to add to your weapons. You went to a smith, bought the rune, he would exclaim "A mighty spell!" and add it to your sword. Not too bad at the beginning when you could barely afford it, but near the end, when you had the gold to buy 20-30 in a run... and you could literally add hundreds of them. It made a cool RPG qu

  • If you include a text to voice synthesizer in the client. For example, AT&T has a good demonstration of their technology at http://www.research.att.com/projects/tts/demo.html . Maybe EQ2 will have something similar.
    • The Natural Voices take over 400 megs of hard drive space (it seems to vary with which version you get). And while the actual voice sounds Ok, the intonation is still unrealistic.

      Of course, a Far Cry install is a couple of gigabytes...
  • ...when you consider they have over 400,000 subscriptions each at about US$10/month that is US$48 million per year.

    Of course they have expenses, but MMORPG's can be run at big profit margins (thus the flood of new titles) if the economies of scale work well enough.

    I'm just saying they probably didn't have to run out and get any investment capital for Eq2 as they are taking in so much money.

    Lastly, I'm just giving a very rough estimate of the money. Many people pay per month at US$15/month but if you pay


    • EverQuest's Price Increase FAQ

      What are the new EverQuest subscription rates?

      * $12.95 per Month
      * $21.99 per Month SOE All Access Plan (EQ is included)
      * $35.85 for 3 Months
      * $65.70 for 6 Months
      * $119.95 for 12 Months (a 23% discount off the monthly rate).
      * $199.95 for 24 Months (a 35% discount off the monthly rate).

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