225 - Cut doll voices

Developer diaries about creating Neverending Nightmares.
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matt
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225 - Cut doll voices

Post by matt »

We implemented creepy voices for the dolls in Neverending Nightmares but ultimately decided against including them in the game. In this video, we show what it was like as well as a behind the scenes look at when we recorded them.

If you watch one developer diary this year, this is the one you should watch! :-)

-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

Grabthehoopka
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Re: 225 - Cut doll voices

Post by Grabthehoopka »

Yeah, I definitely think you made the right decision on this one. First and foremost, because there isn't really anything else in the game that talks other than in cutscenes, so it's a little weird to hear dialogue during gameplay. But also, I think it kind of takes away from what makes the dolls so creepy - an incredibly complex and hard to quantify nature of something that I like to call the "shark" factor in monsters. The "shark" factor is something that I invented that counts how many traits a monster or slasher movie villain shares with sharks, the most terrifying creatures in existence.

So, let's see:
Dead, black eyes - check
Blank, emotionless expression - check
Behaviors exclusively limited to moving forward and killing things - check
Completely silent - nope

So you see, the shark quotient would not have been as high as you ended up making it. I suppose you could use crocodiles, but whatever, sharks are scarier.

Any other behind-the-scenes stuff you want to show us is also eagerly welcomed, as well!

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JPrice
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Re: 225 - Cut doll voices

Post by JPrice »

I think you made the right choice in cutting those voices from the final product. Not to discredit the performance or anything, in fact I think she did a great job, but it detracts more than it adds for me anyway. It just works better as a silent monster seeing as there's no "dramatics" behind it if you will, it just happens suddenly and you have to deal with it quickly.

Also the idea of the dolls being hollow, empty monsters is more threatening to me personally. I will admit though hearing those voices without their mouths moving was a good choice, adds a lot more menace and a possession element to the dolls :)
"Always look on the bright side of life"
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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: 225 - Cut doll voices

Post by RightClickSaveAs »

Oh man, I'm torn. On one hand those voices are really well done and creepy. On the other hand, silent dolls seems more nightmarish really.

Anyway, it was interesting to watch for sure!

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matt
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Re: 225 - Cut doll voices

Post by matt »

Mouth moving was never being considered due to the technical challenges of animating that with different doll faces. haha

Yeah, I feel pretty good about my decision, but it is interesting because at least one person in the youtube comments felt like I should have kept it in.

I like the shark factor system! I'll have to remember that. However, I feel like creating sharks for enemies would win out against any monster design you could come up with - even megalodon.
Image

Megalodon would fail the "Is currently alive roaming the oceans" test. :-P
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

Grabthehoopka
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Re: 225 - Cut doll voices

Post by Grabthehoopka »

matt wrote:I feel like creating sharks for enemies would win out against any monster design you could come up with - even megalodon.
Image

Oh god, don't even get me started.

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matt
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Re: 225 - Cut doll voices

Post by matt »

Have you seen the movie Open Water? It's pretty intense! :)
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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loverofbooks
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Re: 225 - Cut doll voices

Post by loverofbooks »

I'm glad you cut the voices for the dolls, don't get me wrong they were great but I was already crying so much from the doll level! My boyfriend just happened to be over when i played it and he was trying to figure out why i was crying so much at it and all i could say was "I hate Joe. But i love him for this, but i hate Joe." So yeah if they TALKED i would have died like more than just the once where i couldn't take them moving anymore when i came in and it was full of dolls so i just took my hands off the keyboard and buried my face! I hate you Joe soooo much, cause i didn't realize that you could oh i don't know BE KILLED BY A DOLL! Thanks Joe, now I've got to worry about all the dolls out there getting up and walking towards me!
One of these days your going to have to choose between what is easy and what is right. ~Unknown

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evilkinggumby
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Re: 225 - Cut doll voices

Post by evilkinggumby »

Always kool to see aspects left on the cutting room floor. I rather like the IDEA of the dolls as another enemy, and I like that they speak and make noises, but I think the fly in the ointment is that it seems like the idea never got fully fleshed out and come to proper fruition. I t felt lke you guys really didn't know what you wanted in terms of tone, effect and emotion when recording this, so whatever she gave you is what you got, and you picked out what you liked from her tests and asked for more of this, more of that. What would have been better is a more focused 'i know what I want and I'm going to direct her to get exactly what it should be' and so really hone in on the exacty effect you guys needed.

Instead you got her being much more over-the-top with her performance and so slightly cartoony. when played with the tone of the rest of the game, which was more somber, disturbing and at times melancholy, it really didn't work. I personally would have expected the dolls to sound more emotionless, subtle, and miserable. Rough breathing, crying, whining, moaning, sad pitiful noises that jump to more aggressive sounds when they are on the prowl and close to the kill. Something akin to the soft sad children's singing you sometimes hear, or a really sad soft lullabye.

Instead what she did was bordering on Tiny Tina level acting. Not to say she is bad, she seems to have great skill, but even great actors can be dreadful if the director doesn't do a very good job. And in this case she went too BIG when she should have kept it more reserved.

Bottom line: this could have worked with a better game plan going in, everyone on board with how it should have worked, a few dozen lines or lyrics for her to toy around with (instead of "oh just do whatever") and all the coaching needed during the recording session to guide her towards your vision.
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matt
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Re: 225 - Cut doll voices

Post by matt »

loverofbooks wrote:"I hate Joe. But i love him for this, but i hate Joe."
Technically, Adam (Joe's brother) designed and drew all the dolls, so direct your hate at him. :)
evilkinggumby wrote: I t felt lke you guys really didn't know what you wanted in terms of tone, effect and emotion when recording this, so whatever she gave you is what you got, and you picked out what you liked from her tests and asked for more of this, more of that. What would have been better is a more focused 'i know what I want and I'm going to direct her to get exactly what it should be' and so really hone in on the exacty effect you guys needed.
I'm not sure that's a fair criticism. I'm not sure if you've ever tried directing voice acting, but it is much tougher than it sounds. I think you need to give room to the actors to add their "voice" to the character - and own it. It is REALLY tough to say "this is exactly how I want it" and sometimes, when you have something particular in mind, it is impossible to get that from the performance.

In this particular instance, Eduardo wanted to try voices for the dolls and directed Elizabeth. He was really happy with how it turned out, and I think it was pretty cool. In the end though, it was not what I wanted.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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