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Mortal Kombat X

Discussing Mortal Kombat X and all things Kontemporary to it.
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soulwakerPosted: 11/27/2007 11:17 PMStatus ::


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MK voice technology, (Has it improved since 1991?) and other weak links.


I remember being impressed as hell, first hearing Scorpion say, 'get over hear!', on my Sega Genesis. I kept thinking, the games in ten years time will be so amazing, regarding speech.

I thought they would have the characters talking to each other, with a basic system of pre-recorded verbs, nouns and adjectives, using simple AI, to have the characters remembering who they're angry at, and who they've helped, to give the player the feeling that the characters are really, real.

I was really dissappointed with MK: DA in 2002's voice offerings, i.e.
Jax's 'Aw yeah!'. I would estimate that while 2006's MKA's graphics technology has improved a hundred times over the first MK, regarding real-time calculations.. when it comes to voice technology, there has been zero improvement. Just a handful of static pre-recorded samples.

I know it's much harder to render sound, because you have to take into account that sound moves much slower than light, and at different speeds through different objects. Sounds travels as slow as 30 meters per second through rubber, and up to 14,000 meters per second through diamond.

But they don't have to render voices, (though that would be highly customizable), they can just record individual words, with different inflections for common words, and then program different sentences that matches the action, dynamically.
One voice actor's sample set can pass for three different characters if you play a 3 semitones lowered version, normal version, and 3 semitone higher version, thus saving memory space.

If an orangutang can learn the sign-language for 500 different words, why can't the MK Team, squeeze in that many words into next-gen systems RAM.

No matter what graphics MK8 has, they won't impress me in the least unless they improve their voice technology, and make the gameplay use dynamic body physics, in stead of prerecorded motion capture alone.

I watched the first MK movie again this week, and I enjoyed it more than any MK game in ages (though MKDA - MKA's FMV is fully engaging),
because they used a small amount of characters, and gave them their full attention. I'd rather have fewer, more nuanced, more dynamic characters, with more flexible gameplay, more actual physics, tangible AI, and interactive voices.

Also interactive music(like an interactive action movie), with many short musical cues that adapt to the fight. It's pointless to have 10+ static songs, rather have 3-5 superb themes, with 40+ short cues based on those basic themes, that can be programmed to interact, like a female music cue that plays when a female character has the upper-hand, or a 'dueling-banjos' type of thing( except with a pleasanter sounding instrument) that starts to play, when the characters quickly exchange blows, or a short 'horror' cue, when a supernatural special move is used on a weakened character.

Gameplay wise, I'd like to see variable height jumping based on length of time that button is pressed down (also affected by characters current stamina), and variable speed punching/kicking = faster punching of buttons makes the character punch harder and get more hits in.

And very important.. never fully disable the joystick/input, meaning, if you hit, and they block, you should be able to press back repeatedly quickly to avoid a weak-spot, or be able to do 'offensive-blocks' those type of 'arm-dueling' blocks. Even if you're down on the ground, you should be able to control your character's squirming, fading into full control back.
It gives players the chance to more accurately measure up against each other.

With dynamic physics gameplay, you should be able to have a situation where, if you do a rising kick up-close, it hits the opponents shins, but the same kick a bit back, hits the groin, and further back it hits the chest, but the time the opponent has to avoid, also depends on distance away.
You should also be able to do a 'moving-block', movement+block = twist away/swing down/swing back, etc.*

With the Camera, I'd like to see more utilization of close-ups after a hard blow (don't let the CPU be so quick to 'snap' the camera back into it's default position), give the camera a AI 'director' that 'thinks' about maximizing visibility as well as artistic shots/movements/angles.
Allow the players to fight front/back a little, not just left/right of the screen.
*Also have a special button for going into slow-motion, with a limit per round of slo-mos, to show off those martial arts movie touches.

We already know they will have realistic lighting and fluid/particle effects, just because they're using the same engine Gears of War uses.

All I have to say about character design, etc. make the clothers simple and realistic, when I go see a cool blockbuster movie, I don't see people with a metal badge on their elbow pad, etc. Rule of thumb, don't give a character more than two or three abnormal features. If he has metal hands and black eyes, give him jeans and a shirt. If she's wearing a kangaroo in a backpack, make her look like the girl next door.

And don't let the fatality make the entire screen fade to black, let it fade to grey like the first MKs and keep some visibility. I don't want to feel like I'm watching a snuff-film, so keep them witty, not sadistic. There should be some plausible deniability.

Regarding the over-all story, if they keep it simple, like a tournament + minor twist*, all characters should be able to fit into it believably.

*(My suggestion, the surviving characters end up in their own realms, during the most violent time of that realm's history, Earth during WWII, etc.
You have separate bosses for each realm. Hitler for Earthrealm. Em,
might be too creepy, but gives the story new impetus.)

Please bitch about these issues regularly, in an organized and consistent way, so we might get a dynamic MK8.
I figure in about 4 months, MK8 will go into lockdown mode, if it's not there already. I've written a few simple games myself, and I know that once your code reaches a certain length, you're really not in the mood to add much more features and risk losing control over the bugs.

So we must bitch for the greater good. It might just be a game, but many people will buy it.. I think they deserve a version that is actually better in every category, than the 16 year old original MK.

I would be more than happy with as little as 12 playable characters*, as long as all the requests for the dynamics described above are met.

*It's better to have few characters, fully differentiated, truly dynamically interacting, than many characters with even slight repetitions.
(the Original Star Wars, most famous fan movie ever, has only these archetypes, the hero, the girl, the scoundrel, the sage, the eager weakling, the commentator, the heavy, the evil wizard, and the henchmen, so it's surprising that MKA's stories were stretched as far as they were.)

Please Midway, don't just sell what is basically MK DA with darker textures.
Let's vote about these individual issues, and whatever the majority on this site decides, let's get it to Ed Boon stat.

Peace.

Love is the Energy that powers the conscience of the Soul. Take a leap of Faith, fight evil and still be safe. (♥The Way Home♥) Http://TheWayHomeOrFaceTheFire.info/
Http://JahTruth.net/
The_TruthPosted: 11/28/2007 01:11 AMStatus ::


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Visits::15768
Nationality::United States
RE: MK voice technology, (Has it improved since 1991?) and other weak links.

I'd be happy to just have every character having a unique voice. I'm sick of MK games having multiple characters share the same voice actor.

 photo beastmode copy_zpsp7yqozmh.jpg
ThePredator151Posted: 11/28/2007 01:45 AMStatus ::


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Visits::1551
Nationality::United States
RE: MK voice technology, (Has it improved since 1991?) and other weak links.

Excellent thread, more fans should hear opinions from people like you. Much appreciated, really.

Now, concerning the monster post. lol:

soulwaker Wrote:
I thought they would have the characters talking to each other, with a basic system of pre-recorded verbs, nouns and adjectives, using simple AI, to have the characters remembering who they're angry at, and who they've helped, to give the player the feeling that the characters are really, real.


What's a game(or anything really) that this has actually worked in though? Any audio work that I've ever tuned into where a method like this was applied, has always sounded way too generic, robotic, and emotionless. Even with all the inflection and vocal swaps.

I mean, I think it's a great concept, I just can't remember the last piece of media it worked well in....

Too, I think it might be too much work just to have convincing conversations, and fighting noises in the game. You'd spend crazy hours in the lab trying to make a "little man sound big", or trying to "turn some words a man said, into a females voice". Id think it be easier, and less time consuming to just pay a guy//gal with the right voice. They got the money to save the time now, I don't think it's an area they need to over concentrate really.

soulwaker Wrote:
But they don't have to render voices, (though that would be highly customizable), they can just record individual words, with different inflections for common words, and then program different sentences that matches the action, dynamically.

One voice actor's sample set can pass for three different characters if you play a 3 semitones lowered version, normal version, and 3 semitone higher version, thus saving memory space.



If an orangutang can learn the sign-language for 500 different words, why can't the MK Team, squeeze in that many words into next-gen systems RAM.



No matter what graphics MK8 has, they won't impress me in the least unless they improve their voice technology, and make the gameplay use dynamic body physics, in stead of prerecorded motion capture alone.


Again, I'm thinking it's too much work for the voice techs, and it's too emotionless in the end. Especially when you could just have people act the scenes out. A different angle to play on the audio, is just get better voice--"actors", or have the voice over artist that are there, "act" better WHILE recording.

See, the main problem I have with the voice overs to date, is the fact that even though these people are there, saying what they're supposed to, it always sounds too scripted, too generic, and far too emotionless most of the time.

What I think would help dramatically is having all the voice actors that are involved in a conversation, in the booth together. Even to go so far as to say, having all of them interacting with each other. Like: if there's a fight about to start, and tension is supposed to be building. The voice actors there, should point at each other, shove each other around a little bit, or maybe even shadow box the scene out. It feels fun(like playing cops and robbers, or hell, Mortal Kombat as a kid), and you capture that energy, and grasp a realistic situation through sound more effectively because it's true.
*extras on the disc too*

It breathes so much life into what's happening in the scene and enhances what the people are saying. Those moments where a "realistic situation" should be captured, are effectively done so, more genuinely. Maybe somebody grunts really weird and it makes it to the game or, a battle cry is spawned from real-time acting-recording.

One other thing I'd add to this section is, I think the voice actors should be allowed to improvise during recording. They should be able to go off of the beaten path of the script. These types of things accounted for, before any animation is done. Cartoons are done in the same fashion, and it allows a margin for human error(which I think is good btw), as well as space to capture a characters personality and, allow that "real conversation" to happen.

Once the vocals are recorded, allow the voice actor to remember what he//she said, exactly how he//she said it, as it was recorded. Have them practice projecting the demeanor and personality they meant to give that conversation and character. Then, have them come back and do the mo-cap on the face and body language for that scene. Just like Actors or Music artist do for their videos or movies.

[[[And for the love of god stop cutting out all the "breathe spots" in the audio. People breathe. Sometimes, it's a part of what identifies a person(wheezy, raspy, throaty, ect). Leave the personality IN THE GAME.]]]

soulwaker Wrote:


Also interactive music(like an interactive action movie), with many short musical cues that adapt to the fight. It's pointless to have 10+ static songs, rather have 3-5 superb themes, with 40+ short cues based on those basic themes, that can be programmed to interact, like a female music cue that plays when a female character has the upper-hand, or a 'dueling-banjos' type of thing( except with a pleasanter sounding instrument) that starts to play, when the characters quickly exchange blows, or a short 'horror' cue, when a supernatural special move is used on a weakened character.


All the way with you here. It's about time already. "Triggers" for a players actions should be all over these games now I think. Especially fighting games. That would offer so much more immersion.... and be so much more engaging.

soulwaker Wrote:


Gameplay wise, I'd like to see variable height jumping based on length of time that button is pressed down (also affected by characters current stamina), and variable speed punching/kicking = faster punching of buttons makes the character punch harder and get more hits in.



And very important.. never fully disable the joystick/input, meaning, if you hit, and they block, you should be able to press back repeatedly quickly to avoid a weak-spot, or be able to do 'offensive-blocks' those type of 'arm-dueling' blocks. Even if you're down on the ground, you should be able to control your character's squirming, fading into full control back.

It gives players the chance to more accurately measure up against each other.



With dynamic physics gameplay, you should be able to have a situation where, if you do a rising kick up-close, it hits the opponents shins, but the same kick a bit back, hits the groin, and further back it hits the chest, but the time the opponent has to avoid, also depends on distance away.

You should also be able to do a 'moving-block', movement+block = twist away/swing down/swing back, etc.*


Agreed here also.

soulwaker Wrote:


With the Camera, I'd like to see more utilization of close-ups after a hard blow (don't let the CPU be so quick to 'snap' the camera back into it's default position), give the camera a AI 'director' that 'thinks' about maximizing visibility as well as artistic shots/movements/angles.

Allow the players to fight front/back a little, not just left/right of the screen.

*Also have a special button for going into slow-motion, with a limit per round of slo-mos, to show off those martial arts movie touches.


Again, agreed except, I'm not sure I want to fight front//back. Sounds like a little bit of fps in there. Which, I'm not exactly sure I'd like in MK. BUT, I really don't like it when the the camera fudges in a corner or something, and you can't see shit but you're still able to move around.. I don't have a suggestion for this however.

soulwaker Wrote:


And don't let the fatality make the entire screen fade to black, let it fade to grey like the first MKs and keep some visibility. I don't want to feel like I'm watching a snuff-film, so keep them witty, not sadistic. There should be some plausible deniability.


Yea, that's about right. I think the scenery should "die"(so to speak). Kinda like what happens in that Silent Hill movie when the scenery changes over.
Any plants, animals, or "beautiful imagery" should either die off, whither to death, or stain like ten thousand years just past rapidly. There should remain some obvious visibility, but it should ring "Death is happening now". Also, not to have it just turn that way, have "death" crawl or creep over, or fall upon the scenery somehow.

Use a smoke effect, or blood effect, hells demons effect with some dramatic sounds. Or maybe even a sharp cutting effect once a fatality button sequence is performed correctly.The only two things left with "living color" should be the fighters. One freshly victimized, one the standing victor.


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soulwakerPosted: 12/02/2007 08:04 PMStatus ::


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Nationality::South Africa
RE: MK voice technology, (Has it improved since 1991?) and other weak links.

ThePredator151 Wrote:
Excellent thread, more fans should hear opinions from people like you. Much appreciated, really.

>


Thanks, glad to hear someone appreciates my thoughts on how to improve MK. Likewise to you.

I guess you're right about mixing 'word' samples together not being practical. I will say this though, the Xbox 360 and PS3 have a minimum of 256 MB RAM, and I think the MK team should spare at least 10MB of voice samples for each fighter. If they compress this like MP3, that should be at least 10-20 minutes of recorded audio for each fighter.
They could potentially have hundreds of pre-recorded sentences for each fighter, and I hope they go for this, and make the 'trash-talking' of the fighters fit together, as if the fighters have mini-conversations.

Also agreed with what you said about the fatality screen going to something that's drained of colour. Maybe they should keep the background visible, but with an 'out of focus' effect. That makes it look more cinematic. The first MK's fatality screen reminded me of the beginning of a movie, in a cinema, when the lights fade out.

With gameplay, I'll say it again, the player should never be in a situation where the gamepad takes no input, like they've always done after a block, or hitting the floor. There should be more nuanced gameplay possibilities, otherwise it's like 'speed chess'. It's should be more like a combination of buttonbashing speed * reflexes * planning ahead * creativity * willingness to bash randomly when it seems all's over = best player.
I don't mind if they leave cheap tricks in, I loved MK2's cheap trick combos, but there should be enough cheap tricks, to counter cheap tricks, that should even it out.

Love is the Energy that powers the conscience of the Soul. Take a leap of Faith, fight evil and still be safe. (♥The Way Home♥) Http://TheWayHomeOrFaceTheFire.info/
Http://JahTruth.net/
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