An EA patent enabling player-voiced characters was recently unearthed. An interesting piece of tech, let’s look into its sim racing potential for both F1 and WRC game series.
A few weeks ago, gaming site VeryAli Gaming stumbled upon a new EA patent with great potential. Essentially, it allows players to easily voice characters in games.
Whilst many will agree that hearing one’s own voice is not the most pleasing experience, the find has brought about good discussion on social media. One can certainly see the potential for player-voiced characters in games. Moreover, the sim racing applications of such tech appear to be abundant.
How Does the EA Voice Patent Work?
Much like most patents, this new voice development by EA is very complicated. It involves a series of diagrams, plenty of technical wording and requires knowledge of audio engineering to truly understand.
However, the brief according to the patent abstract reads, “A computer-implemented method of generating speech audio in a video game is provided. The method includes inputting, into a synthesiser module, input data that represents speech content.”
In layman’s terms, the game’s player will input a pre-determined amount of data, by speaking into a microphone. The software will then use this data and run it through a synthesiser module to create a basic acoustic code. This will contain information relating to one’s speech cadence, volume, intonation and accent.
From there, a voice converter should be able to transform that basic code into any phrase or sound. Typically, the voice recording process for games requires endless recordings of different words. But with this process, even players themselves can easily voice characters with a few short sentences.
Whilst this patent allows for player-voiced characters in a variety of games, it also allows developers like EA to spend less time, money and effort on audio recordings. As a result, many online have raised concerns about EA reducing voice actor costs. In fact, the general consensus is that players should not have to voice characters in games. However, there are benefits.
Custom Voices in Sim Racing
Of course, the patent is sure to ruffle some feathers for those that make a living out of voicing games. Time spent in a studio could go down from several weeks to an hour or so. But overlooking the clear dangers of such tech, there is a plethora of fantastic possibilities for the patent.
Custom EA Sports Game Commentary
In recent editions, Formula One games have seen a greater presence of commentators such as David Croft and Anthony Davidson from Sky Sports. Interviews with the pair often highlight the amount of time talent must spend voicing every variation of name available in the likes of F1 23. From nicknames to every first name under the sun, you will surely find the right wording for you.
But with this new EA voice patent, the development team could well cut the talent’s studio time incredibly. Furthermore, despite spending less time recording words, games could feature a larger variety of names. Simply type in the way you would like to be called and the software could easily recreate that with the voice of your favourite commentator.
The applications for this player-voiced character patent do not limit themselves to the F1 games. In fact, the developer recently released EA Sports WRC. Much like the F1 games, the commentary in this new game would benefit from livening up thanks to this latest development.
Live Through Your Character
Elsewhere, F1 23 saw the player’s character finally gain a sense of life. After a race, the driver jumps on the radio button to celebrate with the team. Now, imagine if that celebration was always different, in the player’s own voice. Sure, one could simply shout out in real life. But to hear the F1 broadcast jingle followed by the player’s voice thanking the team, or referencing a moment in the race is a fun prospect.
Custom Race Engineer or Co-Driver?
In both series of games, one frequently hears the voice of a driver’s closest companion. In the rally title, the co-driver’s voice is endless. Meanwhile, Mark Priestley as the F1 23 race engineer often appears. EA could use this tech to give players more character choice for these roles.
Prefer a female Race Engineer? Go ahead. Do you want Mark to tell you how good you’re driving? Input the text!
But in addition, one could see this tech being used by the player to input other famous voices. One thing is certain, die-hard fans will find a way to integrate their favourite race engineers and co-drivers into the games. For instance, who else is thinking of picking up interviews of Nigel Mansell to create a custom F1 23 race engineer with his unique dulcet tones?
How would you use this new EA patent for player-voiced characters in games? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!