Chapter 12: The Final Touches
Adding in the Voices
This was a really big turning point in the game- I had recorded the computer saying all of the lines (each character had a different computer voice) so we could work with the timelines, but the dialog was a big robotic (obviously). Once we changed out the voices for real human ones, the game felt really real! It wasn't just our weird idea anymore! Many people were involved, and our characters were alive now!!
I was a little stressed hiring the voice actors- I didn't want to miss any lines and have to re-record, as the voice actors were (rightly) expensive. We had budgeted a fairly small amount, and once I picked out voice actors I was pleased to find out we were well within budget- until I discovered broadcasting rights. The quotes I was looking at didn't include the rights to use the audio in a commercial game, so I had to contact each voice artist, ask their fees for our usage, and redo the budget.
It was nowhere within our original plan and I was a little unsure of what to do- I started cutting down the script to try and have fewer words, but I was convinced to leave the script as-is and just go with the higher fees. We were able to hire some really amazing voice actors though, and got our complete script. I am really just thrilled at how everyone in the game sounds. THEY'RE ALIVE!!!
The computer did have some funny inflections when it was reading though and since I tested so much of the game, I found myself thinking of the lines back in the original computer dialect. I miss the stepsisters' garbled lines, but it's best that you can understand everyone and they all sound human.
One thing that I figured would happen did turn out to be true- we needed a few random lines after the game was mostly done. Thankfully most of them were from the narrator, and she had a great setup so subsequent recordings fit right in without any difference in quality.
Haha there was just so much testing in this game. Scott had to test to get the minigames working, and then I had to test to make sure everything was running and to try and find any bugs and to make sure it worked on the Vive as well as Scott's Oculus. So there was a lot of back and forth- sometimes I could report bugs just through messages, sometimes I had to take screen capture videos and a few times I had to do a complex screen cap video that showed the controllers as well (to debug Vive/Rift controller issues).
There were also so many small minor things- we'd been working on this game for 10 months at this point, and we had so many little small things we noticed. Each little thing added a good amount of time though- we had to implement it, test it, pass it back and forth, make sure it didn't break anything else, and then move on. Eventually we had to draw a line in the sand- if it broke the game or was an annoying bug we'd take care of the issue, but if it was a super edge case scenario or small visual tweak we'd leave it. Honestly I would have loved to be able to keep working on the game- decorating the castle, making more elaborate animations to match the new awesome voices, so many things. But part of being a dev is shipping a game, and we were both getting a little tired of the project as well. Most of our other projects were a few weeks or a couple months, and we had other games in mind that we were eager to start. So, we had to ship it sometime. The game has to be called done at some point, and we finally called it done on Oct 11, 2018!
Wow, what a relief!! We knew we still weren't out of the woods, but it was definitely a huge huge milestone.
On a more practical note, normally doing testing on a mobile device is no big deal- you sit back, tap on an iPhone, maybe flip it around a bit. Testing in VR is physically taxing- you're on your feet with a helmet on your face (for longer than you'd play VR for fun) until you find the bug you're looking for. Some of the bugs required me to play the same section over and over trying to get different results- at one point after about two hours of bug testing, I had to stop. Normally VR doesn't bother me physically, but I was definitely maxed out and had to spend the rest of the night IRL. (Right back into VR the next day, though! It was a super annoying bug!)
Hi! It's me, Laura!