Telltale Autumn Sale

Please increase the sound quality for voices

edited August 2009 in Tales of Monkey Island
As has been noted in several threads of yore, the sound quality used for voices in past Telltale releases has been lower than some people would like. The voices sound overcompressed and clipped, which is especially evident when a character says the letter "s".

(To head this off at the pass - I realise that some people either don't notice or don't care about this problem, in which case forget you ever read this thread and don't try listening for it!)

With Dominic Armato back on board, it'd be an extraordinary shame for the voices to fall victim to the same problem again. So I beseech you Telltale, please increase the amount of data allocated to voices this time around so that Guybrush's esses (and other letters) can ring out across the Caribbean with the clarity they deserve.

Thank you!
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Comments

  • edited June 2009
    I heartily concur. I don't know what you're using for compressing speech, but please please please use Ogg Vorbis at at least quality 4 over whatever you've been using - at least for the DVD edition.

    Pretty please? Pretty please with ol' Murray on top?

    np: Tosca - Oysters In May (No Hassle (Disc 1))
  • edited June 2009
    I heard about AAC+ for voice... but truely... I won't complain, and I'm sure no one would, if you just let download a "deluxe" patch for those who care about sound (and there is many of them, it's far from being the first thread about that). I've already changed the sound files for sam&max to try the french version, and it worked, so I suppose it's possible.
  • edited June 2009
    I second this request. The sound quality on previous TT games has ranged from OK to appalling depending on the character and their lines. At the very least offer a downloadable patch.
  • edited June 2009
    I've had no issues in the past, but I'm always in favour of increasing it for those who have had problems, even if it means a bigger download.
  • edited June 2009
    People request this with every game but they never do...

    Maybe they do increase the audio quality, but they just forget to turn off the air conditioning in the studio :p
  • edited June 2009
    I've had no issues in the past, but I'm always in favour of increasing it for those who have had problems, even if it means a bigger download.

    Good to know I'm not the only one who's never noticed these problems.
  • edited June 2009
    Oh and they have Michael Land on board as well!

    Huurrraaaaaaaaaaa! *<(:O)
  • edited June 2009
    good call.

    it was really cool having this as a surprise, but unfortunately it means telltale really didn't seem to consult with fans at all. now we just have to hope they got it right. i think especially in the case of a game like monkey island, where fans know it just as deeply as the creators at this point, a lot of phenomenal ideas could've been sparked by a little public discussion.
  • edited June 2009
    Also agree with increasing the sound quality, an extra 50mb or so per episode isn't going to hurt anyone. When a game made over 10 years ago has better sound quality than today's versions even though they didn't have MP3s back then to compress it 10x fold you know something is seriously wrong

    96/128kb quality is perfectly acceptable for voices that may involve sudden screaming/high pitch voices
  • edited June 2009
    YES, I cringe every time a character says an "s" in S&M and W&G.
    The best solution I have is to use my old cheap speakers, that way everything sounds like crap and you don't hear the difference :P

    But yeah, please use a better codec/quality setting for the voices this time :-)
  • edited June 2009
    its like with the controls, it just wont happen, this isnt the company that listens to people anymore, because Telltale doesnt need better voice quality, then nobody need it.

    Its so amazing, such a small little detail, not even this cant they do :(

    Because for us who has a good sound system, the voice is still very very bad, i must agree.


    It is scary that old adventure game voices sound better. But thats Telltale for you :/
  • edited June 2009
    jeez buddy calm down and stop trolling every thread.
  • TorTor
    edited June 2009
    This has annoyed me as well. Seriously, people don't have that low bandwidths anymore, a few more megabytes to fix the sound quality won't hurt anyone. With a good audio coder you don't need super high bitrates to get good quality reproduction of human speech. For a very small amount of effort on Telltale's part, the audio quality can be highly improved.
  • edited June 2009
    RMJ1984 wrote: »
    its like with the controls, it just wont happen, this isnt the company that listens to people anymore, because Telltale doesnt need better voice quality, then nobody need it.

    How appropriate, you fight like a cow.

    Really guys, come on now. I try to stay out of these kinds of threads as much as possible, but this is really getting mental. We're on a forum of a company discussing the new Monkey Island. Monkey Island! Do you really believe this is a game made by some evil corporation looking for ways to take your money and ruin your life? The fact that this game even exists is fanservice to the extreme. Let's not forget that Telltale still isn't this mega-corporation with unlimited staff, time and money. They're a small company releasing games that only exist because of their, and our, love for them. The fact that they're not doing everything every fan is shouting for doesn't mean that they're not listening. I really don't understand why this needs to be explained over and over. I really pity those that can't get over these silly little things and just try to enjoy the games. They're a labour of love, and I'm extremely happy to see this day. I feel like I'm 12 again, playing the Curse of Monkey Island-demo for the first time. Brilliant.

    It's the year 2009, and we're playing more adventure games then ever. It's bloody Monkey Island. In 2009.
  • edited June 2009
    Just adding my thumbs up to this thread, more than sam and max, more than strongbad, monkey island deserves top quality speech.
  • edited June 2009
    The speech compression is the one thing that makes previous Telltale releases seem less than 100% polished. I would LOVE to see this rectified in Tales of Monkey Island.

    That being said... this is very exciting news! Nice going, guys!
  • edited June 2009
    backslash wrote: »
    Also agree with increasing the sound quality, an extra 50mb or so per episode isn't going to hurt anyone.

    The games can only be up to 40MB (WiiWare limit). It'd have to be as a patch or something.
  • edited June 2009
    The games can only be up to 40MB (WiiWare limit). It'd have to be as a patch or something.

    The actual files on Wii are different from the files on PC. They could easily have the PC version use higher quality audio than the Wii version.
  • TorTor
    edited June 2009
    LuigiHann wrote: »
    The actual files on Wii are different from the files on PC. They could easily have the PC version use higher quality audio than the Wii version.
    Correct, and the installers for the PC episodes of Strong Bad (Telltale's other game series on WiiWare) are already twice the size of the WiiWare limit.
  • edited June 2009
    I have REALY old and low quality speakers, a 6.1 surround sound speaker set, and a par of $100 dolor earphones: the sound of S&B and W&G is horrible on ALL THE DIFFERENT SPEAKERS! I don’t care if I have to pay an extra $5 bucks to get something I would consider “good quality,” I don’t care if I have to wait half a year for the DVD, all I want is something , ANYTHING that will sound acceptable.

    This is the game I grew up on; Monkey Island is my all time favorite adventure game and I really don’t want you to mess it up with crummy audio. I am not asking for CD quality, but something that is at lest comparable to streaming quality is fine with me. And could you please make it so the sound is not clipped.

    At least tell us why you can’t increases the audio quality?
  • edited June 2009
    Better sound quality would definitely be a plus, especially as there is no size limit for PC at least.
  • edited June 2009
    I have purchased at full price every single Sam n Max and Strongbad game from Telltale and I just wanted to chip in with my two cents:

    SINCE WALLACE AND GROMIT I HAVE STOPPED BUYING TELLTALE GAMES BECAUSE OF THE HORRIBLE AUDIO QUALITY!

    Not only does it sound really bad and often gives me a headache when listening to it with headphones, the audio is so compressed that my laptop (which has some of the most advanced audio hardware out there btw) gives me constant distracting sound compression artifacts.

    Myself and I think 95% of Telltale fans will GLADLY accept (much) larger file sizes! I won't be buying any telltale products until they can have sound quality that is at least (GASP!) half as good as every other game available for the PC (all of which have crystal clear audio btw!). I think the voices are encoded at only about 8-16kilobits/sec. It needs to be about 112kilobits/sec at a bare minimum.
    :( :(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(
  • OMAOMA
    edited June 2009
    I guess the problem is these games have a lot of dialogue, much more that it might seem at first play. And all those hours of dialogue have to be ultra-compressed so they fit in a very small size. Anyway, I agree that with today's bandwidth it's feasible to even double the actual size of each episode, without much problem.

    Telltale, do you have any statistics of people still using dial-up to download episodes? I suppose you'll have data to back your decisions of keeping the size that low.
  • edited June 2009
    OMA wrote: »
    I guess the problem is these games have a lot of dialogue, much more that it might seem at first play. And all those hours of dialogue have to be ultra-compressed so they fit in a very small size.

    Unfortunately that also means: hours of unbearable voices.

    We can only hope that Telltale will adress this issue (or take this as an issue at all) eventually. The sad thing is that all their already released games are a no-go for me, because of this (I already fell for them with the Sam & Max Season One DVD).

    And to be honest, I get somewhat upset when I must read things like this:
    Tjibbbe wrote: »
    Really guys, come on now. I try to stay out of these kinds of threads as much as possible, but this is really getting mental. We're on a forum of a company discussing the new Monkey Island. Monkey Island! [...] Let's not forget that Telltale still isn't this mega-corporation with unlimited staff, time and money. They're a small company releasing games that only exist because of their, and our, love for them.

    I don't expect Telltale to be or become a "mega-corporation". I only expect them to higher the goddamn datarate for voice files. I can't see how this can be such a big financial problem when virtually everybody else on the market does it right.

    And yeah, it's Monkey Island, yay! I'm a big fan of MI myself (with MI2 as my favourite) but I don't get excited just because it has "Monkey Island" written on the cover. It may offically be "Monkey Island" but it can still turn out as shit (which would be a real shame).

    If you take everything as it is without questioning, nothing improves.
  • edited June 2009
    Just posting to add my own voice to those who think the audio quality needs to be kicked up a notch.

    I just downloaded W&G - "Muzzled", and yet again I've been struck with how compressed the voices sound. You can plainly hear the characteristic "bubbling" and "scraping" in the high ranges, and this is especially painful when using headphones.

    TellTale, I love the stuff you guys make, but please please consider just turning down the compression a bit. To be honest, I wouldn't care if the download turned out to be twice the size if I could have better audio. And especially now you're working on the mythical Monkey Island series, it'd be a shame to leave the audio quality as it is now.
  • edited June 2009
    I downloaded the S&M Xbox Live release this morning, to see if the sound files had been altered, but unfortunately they're the same budget quality they were in the PC game. It also reminded me just how much the voices ended up dampening my enthusiasm for the seasons. I gave up halfway through the zombie episode in season 2.

    I haven't heard any samples of the Tales voices, but until I know for sure I'm not pre-ordering. And I never thought new MI would come out without me wanting to buy it. :(

    Really guys, come on now. I try to stay out of these kinds of threads as much as possible, but this is really getting mental. We're on a forum of a company discussing the new Monkey Island. Monkey Island! Do you really believe this is a game made by some evil corporation looking for ways to take your money and ruin your life? The fact that this game even exists is fanservice to the extreme. Let's not forget that Telltale still isn't this mega-corporation with unlimited staff, time and money. They're a small company releasing games that only exist because of their, and our, love for them. The fact that they're not doing everything every fan is shouting for doesn't mean that they're not listening. I really don't understand why this needs to be explained over and over. I really pity those that can't get over these silly little things and just try to enjoy the games. They're a labour of love, and I'm extremely happy to see this day. I feel like I'm 12 again, playing the Curse of Monkey Island-demo for the first time. Brilliant.

    I think this is a very dangerous attitude to adopt. We should just be glad of new MI games, regardless of quality? The reason we want new MI games is because of the quality of the previous ones, if the new ones aren't up to scratch it'll kill any enthusiasm stone dead. If they use the same quality that they did for S&M, that'll mean the voices will sound worse than they did nine years ago, in Escape. Which would just be bizzare.

    All of that might be for nothing, however, as I'm still hoping they're using a decent quality this time! :)
  • edited June 2009
    How much of a file size difference would it make?
  • edited June 2009
    I add my vote for better sound! I started a thread on this way back on Sam and Max season 1. Coincidentally, my wife and I just started to play the "Reality 2.0" episode of season 1 (we never finished Sam and Max) and we both noticed (AGAIN) the "poor" sound. We try to not let it ruin our experience, lol... Of course, I'm running my sound through a real amplifier with real speakers, so its quite noticable. And, FYI, we are playing off the DVD version (on the PC). Of course this is nitpicking -- I mean in reality (1.0, hehe) we DON'T let this ruin the experience on these great games... BUT, it does eat away at me even though i try not to let it. Sometimes, it's so "poor" you almost can't understand the word.

    EDIT: Wow, at the bottom of this thread, I can see my other post from 2007 referenced there... "started by Zardos".
  • edited June 2009
    Having spent some more time listening carefully for these sound atifacts, I think I know what you're talking about. It's not that much of an issue for me, and I have to listen hard to pick up on them, but I'm with the people who want an upgrade.
  • edited June 2009
    Having spent some more time listening carefully for these sound atifacts, I think I know what you're talking about. It's not that much of an issue for me, and I have to listen hard to pick up on them, but I'm with the people who want an upgrade.

    It's surprising to me that so many people claim they don't hear the sound quality issues. I mean, I certainly don't consider myself an audiophile, but the compression artifacts on the voice recordings are very apparent to me. Maybe I just have really good hearing??
  • edited June 2009
    Check out this hearing test:
    http://www.flashpresskits.com/hearingtest/

    The highest frequency I was able to hear was 17,500 Hz. I'd be curious to know how other people "score" on this, and whether or not they have noticed issues with the recorded dialog in previous Telltale games.

    (If I were more ambitious, I'd start a new thread about this.)
  • edited June 2009
    salmonmax wrote: »
    Check out this hearing test:
    http://www.flashpresskits.com/hearingtest/

    The highest frequency I was able to hear was 17,500 Hz. I'd be curious to know how other people "score" on this, and whether or not they have noticed issues with the recorded dialog in previous Telltale games.

    (If I were more ambitious, I'd start a new thread about this.)
    I was able to hear up to 22,050 Hz, and I do indeed hear the compression artifacts in the speech.
  • edited June 2009
    I was able to hear up to 22,050 Hz, and I do indeed hear the compression artifacts in the speech.

    Wow! You can hear the highest frequency? That's impressive. I think all the doggone rock 'n roll music has taken its toll on my hearing.
  • edited June 2009
    My ears crapped out at ~14kHz last I checked.

    @Telltale - how about at least adding a tweakable low-pass filter (or, if you're at it, a 12-band EQ) for the voices ONLY? That'd mostly get rid of the high frequency artifacts for those of us that are irritated by them...

    np: Cage - Follow The Bleeder (I Never Knew You)
  • edited June 2009
    salmonmax wrote: »
    Wow! You can hear the highest frequency? That's impressive. I think all the doggone rock 'n roll music has taken its toll on my hearing.
    I listen to quite a bit of "rock and roll" too. Like loud bass as well. I've always had really good hearing, despite how loud I've been known to listen to music.
  • edited June 2009
    I think this is a very dangerous attitude to adopt. We should just be glad of new MI games, regardless of quality? The reason we want new MI games is because of the quality of the previous ones, if the new ones aren't up to scratch it'll kill any enthusiasm stone dead. If they use the same quality that they did for S&M, that'll mean the voices will sound worse than they did nine years ago, in Escape. Which would just be bizzare.

    Adventures have been dead for years. The fact that we're getting decent adventure games at ALL (let alone Sam & Max and Monkey Island adventures made by the original developers!!!) is entirely a blessing. The only way things will improve is if we continue to support the genre as best we can. Things aren't magically going to become the way you want them to by not supporting them.

    Normally I'd agree with you, but adventures are still on very shaky ground and the scales could tip either way depending on what the consumers choose to do with their money. I choose to support a fragile genre rather than expect it to grow in quality and scope without contributing anything. That guy was right. TTG aren't some huge company that can do whatever we ask. They're still growing and they need our support. That's only a dangerous attitude to adopt when you're blindly following a large corporation willing to take advantage of your money just to get more. They don't need that much money. TTG really does need it. It's not dangerous, it's necessary.
  • edited June 2009
    TTG aren't some huge company that can do whatever we ask...

    We're asking them to click a different button. The one that saves voice samples in a higher quality.

    We've been asking them for three years.
  • edited June 2009
    I was able to hear up to 22,050 Hz, and I do indeed hear the compression artifacts in the speech.
    I can hear up to that, too, and I've never really noticed any problems with the audio.
    Or if I have, I don't remember it, and it certainly didn't bother me enough to stop playing the series...as some of the above people claim. :/

    Still, I'm all for bigger download sizes each month if it'll improve the quality of the games' sound.
  • edited June 2009
    Still, I'm all for bigger download sizes each month if it'll improve the quality of the games' sound.

    You know, ultimately it probably comes down to it being a business decision. I can't imagine that it would be too difficult to increase the sound quality, but if it increases the download size, it increases their bandwidth usage for each download. So while it may only result in, say, a file size that's 20 MB bigger, multiply that by however many thousands of purchases, the increased bandwidth may have a real effect on their bottom line. Considering the fact that those of us with this particular complaint appear to be in the minority, it might just not make financial sense for them to remedy the problem.

    (Of course, this is pure speculation. Maybe they're just evil and don't give a crap about their fans. That seems less likely, however.)

    That being said, while I can appreciate their reasoning, why can't they charge those of us in the minority an extra dollar or so per episode for a special "super premium" version with higher audio quality? People that say "what compression artifacts?" can continue to get the standard version. Those of us that cringe whenever a game character says a word containing an 's' can be rewarded for their complaining by paying an extra dollar.

    Seems fair to me. Of course, all of this may be wasted energy, and we may be all pleasantly surprised by the sound quality when the final product comes out. *fingers crossed*
  • edited June 2009
    Either I have gaps in my hearing range, or it's my speakers/sound card. On that test, I can hear up to 17,500. I can't hear much above that, but when it hits 20,000 I can hear it loud and clear. I can hear everything after that with no problems, including 22,050. But I can't hear 22,000.
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