Voicing: A Proposal

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#1 by beliar
2021-09-11 at 15:15
< report >Good day, ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between. As you might have noticed our dear comrade Eacil decided to tackle the task of trying to overhaul haw the animations are marked in the VN releases. While it's a laudable endeavour, I personally feel that our voicing options are even more borked and deserve a special attention.

There have been a few disagreements in the latter days what constitutes a "Fully Voiced" VN. That is frankly because our options are pretty limiting. There are basically three types of Vns that are currently frequently marked as "Fully voiced": Entirely fully voiced VNs, Fully voiced with the exception of the protagonist, and all those nukiges that only voice women and leave the male mobs unvoiced. I think that everyone who marks the third option as "Fully voiced" deserves a special place in a hentai hell, being ravaged by tentacles, but I digress...

At first I though of introducing more options in the dropdown menu as a solution, but that's just building on a card-house without a strong base. It all will topple down eventually. In fact, Eacil's efforts regarding the animations have given me ideas.

At first, instead of a simple drop-down menu for voicing we would need the specific "Voicing" section in the edit form. As for how we can solve the emerging problems, we can do it by attaching the voicing options to the actors involved and... checkboxes.

✓ Not voiced
✓ Voiced

This section is required to immediately sift totally not voiced Vns from those that have at least some voice acting. Checking "Not voiced" won't even reveal the other options. Checking "Voiced" will open the next sections.

Protagonist(s)

✓ No protagonist (I believe this option is required, as these days I encounter more and more Vns that GOT style rotate between the points of view of a dozen different characters, and there is none we could call a protagonist. If we didn't have an option to specifically state that, someone might think that the protagonist voicing was simply forgotten, and they might intent to mark some of the other options)
✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ Completely voiced
✓ Only female protagonist fully voiced (not sure if this option is needed, but I cannot discount the idea of there being a Vn with both male and female protagonists, and only the female being voiced. I would like opinions on this option)
Edit: There does seem to exist such Vns, so this option is probably needed. We just need to make it explicit that it only applies if there are multiple protagonists, where only the female character is voiced.

Main female characters (I'm not using the word "Heroines", as the word is contentious in meaning, and not all Vns have dedicated paths associated with female characters (and linear Vns don't even have paths). So, "Main female characters" would be those you would name main characters in the character tab)

✓ No main female characters (might happen in a BL game or a linear game with a mostly male cast)
✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ Voiced only during the H-scenes (as pointed by Rampaa, selecting this might need to display two other options: "Fully" and "Partially", with "Fully" being the default selection.)
✓ Fully voiced

Main male characters (I'm not using the word "Heroes", as the word is contentious in meaning, and not all Vns have dedicated paths associated with male characters (and linear Vns don't even have paths). So, "Main male characters" would be those you would name main characters in the character tab)

✓ No main male characters (might happen in a lot of games, in fact that's probably the norm)
✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ Voiced only during the H-scenes (Not sure if such games exist. Opinions? If they do exist, the split by "Fully" and "Partially" like with the female characters is probably needed.)
✓ Fully voiced

Other side characters (I believe this section should concern itself with all male and female characters that would be put as side characters or making an appearance in the character section, or wouldn't even deserve a mention there. This section should also explicitly mention that characters lacking a sprite or drawn as shadows/outlines shouldn't be considered other characters.

✓ No other characters
✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ Only the female side characters voiced (do we need a "Fully" / "Partially" option here too?)
✓ All side characters voiced

Minor unlisted characters (I think we should separate minor characters that wopuldn't deserve to be in the character tab, even if the game had all the characters added, into their own section. These would be: spriteless minor characters, minor characters drawn as shades/outlines, unimportant mooks like Guard A or Enemy B.

We should also explain that if a character lacks a sprite but is important enough to be considered main/side character, they shouldn't be considered part of this section and should be thought of as belonging to the main/side section. As they are relatively rare, mayhap this section could be off by default, so we wouldn't have to bother clicking "No minor unlisted characters" each time, and we could turn it on if needed?)

✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ All unlisted characters voiced
*Not sure we even need to care about "Male" / "Female" unlisted character split. Seems unneeded.

Narration (this option is supposed to eventually replace the Voiced Narration tag. If we are overhauling the voicing section, we might as well go fully in)

✓ No narration
✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ Fully voiced

So, thoughts? Feel free to tell me how my proposal sucks and that I deserve to be banished to tentacle hell for all eternity. :-DLast modified on 2021-09-11 at 17:57
#2 by historyeraser
2021-09-11 at 16:35
< report >
these days I encounter more and more Vns that GOT style rotate between the points of view of a dozen different characters, and there is none we could call a protagonist
What you are describing has happened in at least one VN before this time period your describing, heck, even an OELVN from the 80s did this: ZorkQuest: Assault on Egreth Castle.
#3 by Mrkew
2021-09-11 at 17:15
< report >
not sure if this option is needed, but I cannot discount the idea of there being a Vn with both male and female protagonists, and only the female being voiced. I would like opinions on this option

Agree with its inclusion, necessary for any VN with multiple protagonists.

Only spriteless characters unvoiced (some Vns have characters without sprites (or shown only as outlines/shadows), that are not voiced. This should be a special checkbox that can be ticked in addition with the other checkboxes in this section. For example we could mark that "All side characters are voiced", but that "Spriteless nobodies" are unvoiced)

I would be careful in regards to spriteless characters in this age of low budget games. I've read a game recently where two side chars were given sprites and voices to gauge the audience's interest in them and see whether they should get separate games. Yet they were not given much screentime in comparison to a myriad of spriteless voiceless side characters who were clearly not planned to be ever conquerable.
#4 by rampaa
2021-09-11 at 17:15
< report >
✓ Only female protagonist fully voiced (not sure if this option is needed, but I cannot discount the idea of there being a Vn with both male and female protagonists, and only the female being voiced. I would like opinions on this option)
Seems reasonable. See: link

✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ Voiced only during the H-scenes
✓ Fully voiced
Can't there be games where only the h-scenes are voiced, but even they are not fully voiced (e.g. a few words/lines and/or moans will be voiced but the entire scene itself won't be)? I'm not sure if I've encountered a VN like that before but I think I've seen HRPGs like that.

Other characters

✓ Unvoiced
✓ Only the female side characters voiced
✓ All side characters voiced
What about games where there are no support characters? See: No Support Character

✓ Only spriteless characters unvoiced (some Vns have characters without sprites (or shown only as outlines/shadows), that are not voiced. This should be a special checkbox that can be ticked in addition with the other checkboxes in this section. For example we could mark that "All side characters are voiced", but that "Spriteless nobodies" are unvoiced)
I think either spriteless nobodies should get their own section or "Other characters" should state that spriteless nobodies don't count as "Other characters". Otherwise marking both "All side characters voiced" and "Only spriteless characters unvoiced" might be a little bit confusing since it looks contradictory.

Narration

✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ Fully voiced
What about games where there's little to no narration? See: Dialogue Based
#5 by beliar
2021-09-11 at 17:31
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Can't there be games where only the h-scenes are voiced, but even they are not fully voiced (e.g. a few words/lines and/or moans will be voiced but the entire scene itself won't be)? I'm not sure if I've encountered a VN like that before but I think I've seen HRPGs like that.
It's likely there are such games. Hmm, we could solve this that if you select the "Voiced only during the H-scenes" option, two new options for "Fully" and "Partially" appear, with "Fully" being the default option.

What about games where there are no support characters?
Oh, yes. Totally forgot the "No other characters" option.

"Other characters" should state that spriteless nobodies don't count as "Other characters"
I'm leaning towards this solution.

What about games where there's little to no narration?
Yes, just another thing I forgot to include. I'll edit the first post to update the proposal.

I would be careful in regards to spriteless characters in this age of low budget games. I've read a game recently where two side chars were given sprites and voices to gauge the audience's interest in them and see whether they should get separate games. Yet they were not given much screentime in comparison to a myriad of spriteless voiceless side characters who were clearly not planned to be ever conquerable.
Good to know, though that only means we have to be careful in how we define the other characters and their spritless cousins.
#6 by Mrkew
2021-09-11 at 17:43
< report >
Good to know, though that only means we have to be careful in how we define the other characters and their spritless cousins.
Not precisely what I had in mind. Maybe I explained it wrong. I meant that just because a character doesn't have a sprite, it doesn't mean that they are not important. Hell, there are NTR games where the main characters (the netori dudes) didn't have a sprite. Unless you think that someone's appearance in 10+ H-scenes, 1/4 of all in the game, doesn't qualify them to be an important character, simply because they lack a sprite.
Perhaps the differentiation shouldn't be between sprite/spriteless, but whether they are important enough to be listed in the VN's character list. "All unlisted side characters unvoiced".Last modified on 2021-09-11 at 17:46
#7 by beliar
2021-09-11 at 17:50
< report >
Not precisely what I had in mind. Maybe I explained it wrong. I meant that just because a character doesn't have a sprite, it doesn't mean that they are not important. Hell, there are NTR games where the main characters (the netori dudes) didn't have a sprite. Unless you think that someone's appearance in 10+ H-scenes, 1/4 of all in the game, doesn't qualify them to be an important character, simply because they lack a sprite.
Yes, I understand what you are saying, and I have updated the OP with some tweaks. One of them is the following:
"We should also explicitly say that if a character lacks a sprite but is important enough to be considered main/side character, they shouldn't be considered part of this section and should be thought of as belonging to the main/side section.".

Perhaps the differentiation shouldn't be between sprite/spriteless, but whether they are important enough to be listed in the VN's character list. "All unlisted side characters unvoiced".
Hmmm, worth considering. Actually I'm really liking this, but need to formulate the proposal.
Edit: Okay, made the changes to the OP.Last modified on 2021-09-11 at 17:55
#8 by rampaa
2021-09-11 at 17:56
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we could solve this that if you select the "Voiced only during the H-scenes" option, two new options for "Fully" and "Partially" appear, with "Fully" being the default option
Yes, that would solve that particular problem. But can't there be games where non-h-scenes are partially voiced while h-scenes are fully voiced? Or games where non-h-scenes are fully voiced but h-scenes are not (See: r62346. It's a patch but I think the point stands)? What I am trying to get at is that maybe it would be wiser to have separate options for h-scenes.
#9 by beliar
2021-09-11 at 18:07
< report >
What I am trying to get at is that maybe it would be wiser to have separate options for h-scenes.
There are more trees deeper into the forest.

Anyway, it's not hard to go around that. Let's say:
✓ No main female characters
✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ Fully voiced
These all should be a selection, meaning you can only select one of them.

✓ Voiced during the H-scenes (this is the second selection, and should only appear if the game is rated 18+. Clicking it would open the next selection:
✓ Unvoiced
✓ Partially voiced
✓ Fully voiced

The "Voiced during the H-scenes" option obviously won't be needed for either the "Minor unlisted characters" or the "Narration" sections.

Thoughts?
#10 by rampaa
2021-09-11 at 18:11
< report >
and should only appear if the game is rated 18+
*Cries in r34979*Last modified on 2021-09-11 at 18:11
#11 by beliar
2021-09-11 at 18:14
< report >
*Cries in r34979*
I don't think we must force the appearance of the H-scene voicing section for every release just because of a single outlier. The opposite situation where the Vn is rated 18+ but has no sex scenes is much more frequent.
#12 by rampaa
2021-09-11 at 18:31
< report >I think we should change that outlier's age rating to 18+ or we should have a separate flag for pornographic content for releases. but I digress.

Does Voiced Thoughts count as narration? If it does "Narration" section may need the "Voiced during the H-scenes" option as well because in some VNs you can read the h-scene from heroines' point of view (Other Perspectives) and I think they tend to have voiced thoughts.
#13 by beliar
2021-09-11 at 18:36
< report >
Does Voiced Thoughts count as narration?
Inner thoughts are usually not considered to be narration.
#14 by fallenguru
2021-09-11 at 21:40
< report >The current system is crude, but everyone's aware.
The proposed system is fine-grained enough that weird edge cases are bound to pop up all over.

The fact that there is only one possible value for the voiced status field leads to lots of necessary combinations, if it should be accurate. (Tags at least have the advantage that they are freely combinable.)

If higher granularity is desired for the voiced status field itself, extending the character and/or seiyū data and deriving it from that might be an option. If seiyū are specified per release, the question who's voiced in each release is easily answered.
#15 by beliar
2021-09-11 at 23:59
< report >Yeah, after some thinking I realized we are getting too deep into the dark forest by trying to separate the H-scene voicing, so I'm scrapping my #9 proposal and staying with what's in the OP. We don't have to aim for a flawless 100% accuracy, as it's impossible to reach such an ideal. There might be outliers like Rampaa mentioned in #8, but they can be dealt with using the original proposal.
#16 by Mrkew
2021-09-12 at 00:05
< report >My question is how would this thing look UI-wise on the main VN page? It's extremely simple right now to tell at first glance with red, yellow, and green indicators. Would it still be like this with green requiring all checkboxes to be on fully voiced, red all checkboxes to be unvoiced, and everything in the middle would be yellow?
#17 by beliar
2021-09-12 at 00:09
< report >Currently it's just a proposal. If the proposal is accepted as reasonable, we'll see what Yorhel says regarding its implementation and UI. Frankly, I have no idea regarding the UI yet.
#18 by rampaa
2021-09-12 at 02:16
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I'm scrapping my #9 proposal and staying with what's in the OP
I think your proposal at #9 is less confusing than what's in the OP because it doesn't try to mash unrelated concepts together, not to mention it's much more accurate. Please reconsider.

but they can be dealt with using the original proposal
How?
#19 by poudink
2021-09-12 at 18:26
< report >This proposal seems reasonable, though may be a headache to implement UI-wise. I guess on that front the easiest would be to keep it the way it is currently on lists (red means no voices, greens means fully or almost fully voiced and yellow is anything in between) and only display the new settings on the release page.

I certainly won't object to more accuracy/precision and unlike with the animations proposal the settings to use for releases that are already on the DB can in many cases be automatically guessed with the already existing characters/VA data, so it wouldn't necessarily be a case where editors would have to go back and edit all previous releases for the new setting. It's true that edge cases are still bound to pop up, but we have the notes field for a reason and they can be noted there. This should in any case avoid confusion like the one I recently had with Rewrite releases and as you have already noted the countless Nukige releases that are incorrectly tagged as fully voiced.

As for the #9 proposal, I don't know. As you said, perfect accuracy is impossible short of letting users create their own custom fields. There's a point where the tradeoff between the increased accuracy and lowered simplicity (both for users and editors) won't be worth it, though I haven't quite decided whether that proposal reaches that point or not.
#20 by Ileca
2021-09-18 at 00:16
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There does seem to exist such Vns, so this option is probably needed. We just need to make it explicit that it only applies if there are multiple protagonists, where only the female character is voiced.
It's not probably needed. It is needed. A lot of simili-NTR games wrongly mark their female characters as heroines when they are protagonists given that they own the POV as much or even more than the so called cuck MC. Examples: Share Girl House and Kedamono (Kazoku) tachi no Sumu Ie de.

I think that everyone who marks the third option as "Fully voiced" deserves a special place in a hentai hell, being ravaged by tentacles, but I digress...
Being in hell, all my holes being currently stretched by thick tentacles, thanks to Beliar, I do think people flagging as Partially voiced nukige with unvoiced male characters deserve to be bukkake 24/7 with pig's semen.
You have four possibilities shoehorned in those two options:
-100% voiced
-not all characters voiced
-100% characters voiced but all their lines are not
-not all characters voiced and all those characters' lines are not
See, you have two dimensions: who is voiced and if all their lines are voiced too.
With only two options, you can't at the same time mark 100% voiced VN and characters with missing lines.
The problem is that having a protagonist (or the mobs) voiced is just a bonus. It's rare and it's sweet but it doesn't improve the enjoyment by a large margin. Some don't even like voiced protag or even care. On the other hand, having 2/3 of the lines of a characters voiced, an extra heroine not being voiced at all or characters having just a limited set of token voices just to say it has some voices is a major flaw and can even make you think your copy is buggy. This, is critical information.
So, by being too anal about what Fully voiced means, you didn't take into account the reality of the field.
Instead, by flagging a lot of nukige as Partially voiced, you made the Partially voiced flag absolutely useless in recognizing real Partially voiced VN aka stuff like the Liar-soft. But no, for some reason, being anal is more important even though the norm for nukige is "only female characters are voiced".
The irony is that Fully voiced doesn't help you find 100% voiced VN because the definition says protag is to be ignored and mobs too. Meaning that by being anal, the only thing you do is help people finding nukige with grunting men...
I say 24/7 pig bukkake is well deserved.

Anyway, we are changing the system but I don't see this problem solved with your proposal as there is no distinction between
-all characters voiced/not all characters voiced
-all lines voiced/not all lines voiced or token voices

I still didn't put much thought into a model because I was focusing my attention on my animation proposal but you decided for some reason to make my life difficult by opening this thread at the same time instead of waiting for the first proposal to be completed (also, those tentacles, damn, they are wild @_@) but I could see a model with three dimensions:
-who is voiced
-what is voiced ("longitudinal and cross sections")
-story/h-scene

Honestly, marking "other side characters" and "minor unlisted characters" separately sounds silly and unnecessary granular.

If higher granularity is desired for the voiced status field itself, extending the character and/or seiyū data and deriving it from that might be an option. If seiyū are specified per release, the question who's voiced in each release is easily answered.
I thought of computing voicing from character's data given that's more trustworthy than that flag but it would require a ton of work just to accurately mark a release. Voiced characters are created but unvoiced ones are not most of the time. A lot of oldge are impossible to complete without playing them. It would be the perfect system but it's concretely impracticable.
#21 by beliar
2021-09-18 at 14:50
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also, those tentacles, damn, they are wild @_@
See, I knew you will like them, E!

See, you have two dimensions: who is voiced and if all their lines are voiced too.
And that is all we need if we are going with the voicing options in the release menu, instead as part of the character menu. I feel you are being too anal. There is a line where the ratio of complexity vs ease of use becomes too great for the users to bother using it at all.

We will never be able to implement this into the character menu, because there will always be Vns that will lack characters or accurate data about them. We have to do with the release information, and the only thing that matters is which character group is voiced and how much they are voiced.

If I understood you correctly, you seek to go even smaller, by defining each character, rather than a character group, but that is simply beyond our scope.

The problem is that having a protagonist (or the mobs) voiced is just a bonus. It's rare and it's sweet but it doesn't improve the enjoyment by a large margin.
I disagree. No VN that doesn't have side characters voiced should be ever called "full voiced". I even hate when we use the flag for Vns with an unvoiced protagonist, but I suffered that in silence.

I say 24/7 pig bukkake is well deserved.
You know, after 24 hours I came to appreciate the pig bukkake. It's warm, and supposedly good for the skin.... :-D

Anyway, we are changing the system but I don't see this problem solved with your proposal as there is no distinction between
-all characters voiced/not all characters voiced
-all lines voiced/not all lines voiced or token voices
Not sure what you are arguing against. Each character group will be imposed a flag: fully, voiced, partially voiced, unvoiced... There will always be outlier cases that might not fit the model, but by being too anal you are risking of making the system too unwieldy.

Honestly, marking "other side characters" and "minor unlisted characters" separately sounds silly and unnecessary granular.
I don't think so, but I could be convinced otherwise. On the other hand, separating "story/h-scene" is something that seems extremely silly to me. Rampaa tried to convince me it would be useful, but I see it just bloating the shit out of system and making it user unfriendly.
#22 by Ileca
2021-09-18 at 22:28
< report >WHO IS VOICED

[x]No one (disable everything else)
[x]Male protagonist(s)
[x]Female protagonist(s)
[x]Main male character(s)
[x]Main female character(s)
[x]Side male character(s)
[x]Side female character(s)

WHAT IS VOICED

[x]Every character (disable the other choices)
[x]Not every character
[x]Not every line
[x]Token expressions (moans, expressions a la Danganronpa)

VOICED NARRATION

*Full narration/Partial narration < this is a select, [x] meaning it's a box

STORY/H-SCENE

[x]Story
[x]H-scene
(see at the very end)

Edit: yes, "makes an appearance" and unlisted are ignored. I understood your point for separating them from side characters after I wrote my post.

I consider that if you want the full detail about who is voiced, you have to go to the character tab. You will have to do that if you see the Not every character box checked (which is a rare occurrence). Meaning that you don't have to be as granular as you are.

The Full narration/Partial narration could be replaced with a single Partial narration box if no one can give me an example of a game with full narration.

I don't dislike your proposal, though.
I would modify it to have:
Male protagonist(s)
Female protagonist(s)
Main male character(s)
Main female character(s)
Side male character(s)
Side female character(s)
Narration

I don't really care about story/h-scene. I had to check if Only ero scenes voiced was a thing but we have 155 releases tagged with that. 119 VN. It's not a lot honestly. Some of them I have doubts. Like, are they marked like that because they only have h-scenes? I have a hard time believing that all those Bishop games are partially voiced, but they are from the beginning of 00' so maybe. Same for Gekidan Kinmirai's games which are pretty recent.
In the absolute, this section could be removed and handled with the Not every line box. <sounds good to me because those games are nukige and no one would believe for some reason that only the story scenes are voiced (in the single use case I can think of, of someone wanting to know if a game has ero voices to not be busted by the neighbor/family because he has no headset)...Last modified on 2021-09-18 at 23:24
#23 by gvbn
2021-09-18 at 22:45
< report >So what happens if you have, say, a voiced protagonist who is neither male nor female?
#24 by Ileca
2021-09-18 at 22:48
< report >GVBGNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
#25 by Mutsuki
2021-09-18 at 23:00
< report >voicing is easy just use "

get it it's a japanese jokeLast modified on 2021-09-18 at 23:00