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This December 5th, 2012 post in YoyoBolo's "New School Blues" development diary is all about vocal direction in the studio, including multiple takes from actor Dexter Howe that emphasize how simple changes in inflection bring a whole new mood to a line.

Yoyo Bolo, Blogger

February 11, 2013

2 Min Read

YoyoBolo had a pretty good idea of what we wanted the narrator to sound like and how particular lines should be read.  Mike had the chance to go in the studio and chime in with direction when needed.  It wasn’t much more complicated then Dexter doing 4 or 5 takes, then listening along with Mike, Alexis, and Ryan to see if any worked well.  If something was missing one of the four would suggest trying a new approach and that was generally that.

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Mike ruins another professional moment

It helped, obviously, that Dexter had good instincts for the character already.  Truth be told, not much direction was needed and he delivered each line with the right kinds of flavors.  Let’s look at a few examples.

Click here to hear one of Dexter’s line readings.  Since this was a short clip and something the player is liable to hear a lot during gameplay, it was decided we’d have two different takes of it.  Reading it the same way would be redundant, so Dexter mixed it up.  Click here to hear what we mean.  It may not seem like a big deal but these little changes in inflection are tougher to do and more effective in keeping things from feeling stale in game then you think.

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Because the last thing you want in your game is an annoying repetitive vocal sample.

Another good example would be this clip here regarding a certain famous NSB prop.  Dexter and Ryan felt like a straight reading (as above) worked fine, but suggested we try adding some inflection to it to give it more impact, even if it might clash with the subtle and concise narration we were going for.  After a few takes like this we unanimously agreed that it was funnier, added personality, and elicited a much stronger reaction from the player.

Without the input from Dexter, Alexis, and Ryan, quite simply NSB would not have the strength of personality and charm that it does now.  As much as YoyoBolo had ideas for how lines should be read, we welcomed and were grateful for the creative/collaborative process and contributions that transpired in the studio since it made the game better then ever!  Tune in tomorrow for a bit on sound quality.

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