Monday, February 11, 2008

Hearing What Your Avatar Has to Say

My son and I enjoy playing video games together. Kingdom Hearts II and Avatar: The Burning Sun and the Sonic games are the latest titles that we either cooperate in play or go head to head against each other on.

Have you ever noticed the difference from when the animations have written dialog as opposed to spoken dialog in the game. This happens frequently throughout Kingdom, but only on occasion with Avatar (probably due to memory or disc error from our side). Not that it matters much in the scope of things, but there is a distinct difference in feel to the play when you read as opposed to listen. If the characters have a distinct voice it is especially distracting when they stop talking and you have to read the dialog.

So it is interesting to me that online virtual world play may take on a new feel, as the avatars (not the Avatar mind you) are getting their voice, at least on IMVU Virtual World.

Cepstral LLC and developer Cassiopeian Ltd announced the release of imVoices, a new widget for use on www.imvu.com. When using the chat within the graphical environment the widget converts the instant messages into audio that the characters then speak.

"We're excited to bring the first 'personality' voices to a virtual world," said Liz Strevens, Managing Director of Cassiopeian. "The key is giving the user interesting voices. No one wants their bank's computerized voice."

That is of course unless it is the computers voice from the original Star Trek series as provided by Majel Barrett. There is both some good nostalgic and present day value there.

Anyway, users can pick from a menu of over 30 different voices in a variety of accents, ages, and genders. This allows users to find a voice that matches their avatar's identity.

It’s new, so the feel of speaking to someone on a cell phone with a short latency is present, but as it matures it could be a fascinating element to add to what is already an alter ego for many. There is also a bit of the Stephen Hawking synthesized voice quality as well.

For a demo which can be viewed on YouTube here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is completely off point, but since you brought it up... if J.J. Abrams doesn't use Majel Barret in his new Trek movie, I'm boycotting it (okay, I'll still go see it, but I'll be radiating silent protest!)

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. They should just start sampling her voice now and make certain it is always available. I believe she is the only actor to be credited with appearing (or being heard) in all iterations of the series.