Voice Acting / by Xiaosong Shang

Hello everyone! Sam Martino here.

I want to talk about voice acting, and how you can do it as well. We had a very limited budget, but if you watch our Static trailer (found on our Youtube page) you’ll see how well we were able to get it to come out.

Jimmy Hemmig was in charge of our voice acting, he did a fantastic job, especially considering we were all just trying to see what would work as I had never tried to put voices into a game before. Our fantastic voice actor, Valerie Weitz, did such an amazing job that it really brought Static to the next level.

We didn’t have a full sound proof room to do this, only a microphone and Jimmy’s music equipment he had from his house. We found that mixing was able to hide the majority of anything being picked up (fun fact, yes the microphone will pick up the entire H-VAC system of your building!) I will note that this takes a very long time, and be kind to your voice actors as this takes a lot out of people to do. Valerie thankful had experience from her time doing theatre, but we after our experience with her we were able to work with everyone else who had little to no experience at all. Jimmy was able to mess with all of their voices to get the exact effect we needed, which from my understanding it is very similar to music production. We had always been under the assumption that voice acting would cost us a fortune and that their was no way we could get the quality we were looking for, but were thankfully proven wrong.

As far as actually implementing the voices in game, it was far simpler than I had expected. When adding voices, we tied them to events. If there was a chance someone would say something for example, you would just attach it to a random number generator that would create that ‘chance’ for the voice to play. For narration, such as what Valerie did, we had it tied to when a player would enter and area or activate an object. Adding voice overs is no different from adding any kind of event in Unreal Engine. I have to say that after having voice overs for our games, I would not go back to a silent game. It has added so much for us and more importantly added an extra level of realism for all of our characters. The inflection and tones are something you would struggle to convey over text alone.

I do want to take this chance to thank all of the people involved with our audio, from Mikey Beatz and Jimmy Hemmig for handling audio, and Valerie Weitz for being such an amazing voice actor! We really couldn’t do this without you, seriously, sound production is completely out of my element.

Next time, I want to take a more serious note and talk about dealing with failures and stress, something that is unfortunately inevitable in the industry, but there is always a way to pull through!

As always, please reach out to me at smartino@dogwoodgaming.com with any comments or questions. I always love hearing from you guys!