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Speech Compression

posted by SteakMonster on - last edited - Viewed by 789 users

Hi everybody.

I'm Stuart, a full time composer / music producer from the UK and I love Sam n Max, I've replayed hit the road 100s of times (and I play it even more now I have a GP2X :-)

Great start to the new series - and its great to see a proper adventure game, however the one niggling annoyance was the amount / type of compression applied to the speech.

The speech is compressed to such a degree that it is very noticeable especially on s's and female voices. I don’t think most people would mind a longer download time in order to get full quality speech. Maybe offer 2 versions?


Stuart
www.goodsounds.co.uk

24 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Welcome to the forum.

    The compression Telltale uses allows us to compress the voices to very small file sizes, which is important with downloadable games. Some people hear the compression more than others, and I think it depends on the sound card to a degree, too. I don't even notice it, myself.

    I don't know what would be involved in creating two versions, but with so much going on, it's probably more trouble than it's worth devoting the resources to right now.

  • You are right, two versions would be too complicated, but I think it’s more the compression method rather than the size, the curdling upper frequencies did actually disturb me at quite a few points in the game and this can, I believe be avoided without substantial file size increase. I also think that the higher quality the speakers you use are the more you will notice heavy compression; you wouldn’t listen to a small downloaded MP3 on a pair of £4000 speakers.

    It was though the only thing I can pick on in what looks to be a great comeback for Sam n Max so thank you for that, all I ask is that you take my comments on board and at least look at ways to improve on the ‘bad mp3’ sound that is occasionally audible in the speech.

    Thanks

  • take my comments on board and at least look at ways to improve on the ‘bad mp3’ sound that is occasionally audible in the speech

    Here! Here! Sybil's and peeper's tinny voices especially.

  • The scratchiness is very easily noticeable on anything above $10 speakers.

    I agree that making two different game setup files might take too much work, but it shouldn't take that many extra resources to release a separate 'audio pack' download for people willing to use the extra bandwidth. All the vox files are in one directory, all you need to do is make a zip file with the higher bitrate audio files that unpacks in the right directory.

    That way you can keep the game in one setup file just as it is now. I think it's safe to assume that people who want higher quality audio don't mind downloading the game including the low bitrate audio and then just replacing it afterwards :)

  • @SteakMonster said: It was though the only thing I can pick on in what looks to be a great comeback for Sam n Max so thank you for that, all I ask is that you take my comments on board and at least look at ways to improve on the ‘bad mp3’ sound that is occasionally audible in the speech.

    We're definitely paying attention to the feedback, don't worry. :)

  • Not only do you bring back a game I've loved a large chunk of my life.... but you listen to me:-)

    Thanks and - - - GREAT GAME.

  • @TextureGlitch said: ...it shouldn't take that many extra resources to release a separate 'audio pack' download for people willing to use the extra bandwidth. All the vox files are in one directory, all you need to do is make a zip file with the higher bitrate audio files that unpacks in the right directory.

    Thats a great idea... wish I'd thought of that :-)

  • 2 versions would be easy.

    The voices are packed in in a VOB or VOX pack (something like that). They're all seperate. It'd be a cinch (relatively) to create a high-bitrate and low-bitrate version.

  • @SteakMonster said: but I think it’s more the compression method rather than the size,

    I might be wrong, but I thing they're using Ogg Vorbis to compress audio in the game. If so, you can't really get much better by changing the codec ass Ogg Vorbis pretty much beats everything else out there in terms of quality. Of course, if you force too much compression on a file, you will always get an audible degradation of the sound quality.

    I personally vote for better sound, even if it increases the filesize. I don't mind downloading a little longer (100MB are nothing these days where links of 1Mbit/s and higher are well available) if in turn the atmosphere of the game isn't disturbed by bad audio.

  • I adore this game, but I just joined the forum specifically to comment on the awful compression of the audio. I'm not using a super fancy stereo ($200 mini system and an onboard sound card) and the lacking high-end of the speech made the dialogue quite difficult to listen to in many cases. I'd really love to hear higher quality audio in such a conversation-heavy game series.

    I understand that download size is key for episodic content, but I've played other such games that are over ten times the size (Half Life 2: Episode One, S.I.N. Episodes). I didn't really mind having to wait a bit longer to play a game with high quality media assets as it was well worth the "effort" during the first and subsequent plays.

    I'd love it if the sound were improved for future downloadable episodes, but worst case scenario, how about high quality 44khz sound for the full season CD/DVD?

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