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Educational Game Development Best Practices: Animation and Voiceover

Filament Games | Educational Game Developer

Animation

Our animation process is significantly different between 2D and 3D art, but today we’re going to focus on our 2D workflow.

Animation starts internally with Motion Design. This involves the team sketching a concept of the final piece and creating basic animatics. These are used to identify the level of detail, timing, and the feeling the game should use to communicate the design goals effectively. Once established, the motion design is used for all pieces of animation in the game.

Next we create the finished 2D assets that will be prepared for animation with the client’s approval of the direction being taken.

Finally we create the animations. For characters and anything with complex moving parts we use Anima2D which is Unity’s skeletal animation system. For other types of animations such as UI animations we use Unity’s animation controllers and the Timeline system as appropriate to the task.

Voice Acting

Filament’s voice acting workflow starts with a finished script. This includes all the lines of dialogue for all the actors as well as character descriptions. Prior to project engagement we typically try to nail down the total number of lines and actors we will cast since those are the principal drivers of cost. But having the final script allows us to hire actors who are typically paid by the number of words in their script.

Once we have a finished script, we start the casting phase. This involves getting auditions from actors in our network and winnowing down the list to a few finalists based on the character descriptions and our audio director’s refined taste. The client will then get to choose their preferred voice for each character from the list of finalists.

Once actors are chosen, we book recording sessions with them and provide them feedback on their reads. Depending on the number of lines, we may bring a small chunk of the script recording back to the client for review since one actor can still read lines with different tones, timbre, and speed and that may impact efficacy depending on the target audience. After the test chunk is approved and the actors have fine-tuned voice notes they can then record the rest of the script.

Once the recording is completed, Filament’s audio director – with the help of our QA team – listens to the recordings to identify pronunciation issues or misread lines to get pickups for them before the voiceover is implemented in the game.

The last stage is to implement the audio into the game, and then review and test the implementation. This may involve a small portion of the lines getting rerecorded once more since sometimes it’s difficult to evaluate the fit of certain lines until you can hear them in the context of gameplay.

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