Have a guess, which industries did not shrink during the pandemic worldwide? Game industry is one of them. According to SuperData, the game industry worths $139.9 billion in 2020, with a growth of 12%, compared to 2019. With more and more investors in the game industry, the constant pressure on video games forces the developers to bring games to market quickly. The developers are now utilising AI tools to speed up the development of a game.
In the prototyping phase of game development, developers examine the testing scripts together with the game scene. During the phase, the developers review the lines of dialogue and listen to variations on testing scripts. As the scripts can be reviewed in real-time with the scene, the developers can ensure that the scripts are accurate and appropriate. More importantly, to guarantee the best user experience by bringing players a consistent message throughout the entire game by the dialogue. The dialogue in the game should, therefore, correctly represent the character, scene, scenario story.
Traditionally, the prototyping process is costly, inefficient and time-consuming. The game developers need to hire voice actors to record the dialogue one by one for prototyping. When mistakes or amendments are made, voice actors need to record the dialogue again; the whole process is time-consuming. Regarding the amount of dialogue, which is thousands for a complete video game, a lot of time would be spent recording, revising, and editing the scripts. The process significantly reduces productivity in the development team and affects the development of the game.
A TTS tool can speed up the prototyping process. TTS is used in the prototyping phase before voice actors are hired to read the final dialogue or narration. Synthesised voices allow room for adjustments and refinements. Suppose mistakes or amendments are needed on the scripts. In that case, the developers can change the scripts directly and generate another AI voice right away to continue testing if the modifications suit their needs. Besides, the developers can also test for scripts in different languages with synthesised voices without hiring voice actors beforehand, all at once. All in all, by using the TTS tool in the prototyping phase, the game developers can speed up their production time for quicker development and quicker launch to the market.
The AI synthesis technology in the past year cannot support the need for character voices. Back then, the synthesised voices were too synthetic and could not accurately represent different character types. The synthesised voices are unnatural and weird in a game, affecting the player's experience and immersion. Therefore, in the past, TTS solutions were an unpopular option for game development. The TTS has suffered from the image problem for a long time- people do not trust the quality of AI voices.
Moreover, it isn't easy to generate a new TSS voice back then. The production of TSS voice required months of recordings for collecting the sample of pronunciation. Next, the developers stitch the voices together, which consumes a few more months. Overall, the developers must spend half a year nurturing a TTS voice for use. In the game industry, developers have a high demand for voices with different variations. So, in most cases, the game developers chose not to implement the character voices with TTS technology.
However, since the advancement of AI technology, the quality of voice synthesis has highly improved. Nowadays, natural voices with emotions can be generated by AI voice generators. Unlike traditional TTS voice, AI voice is more natural and human-like because it is generated from AI, which improves consistently with deep learning. AI can learn on its own, which reduces the time and resources in nurturing high-quality TTS voices for use. So far, some developers are using AI voice generators to create voices with different and unique speaking styles that suit their characters. AI voices can even deliver emotions and laughter, which are more "human". AI voices are saving time for developers to spend more time on more valuable events such as gameplay design.
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