We published Kotaku’s video of a voice actor recording animal sounds the other day, now there is a short Q&A with Composer Thomas Day that explains the process a bit further on how they merged real animal sounds with human voice actors to create a unique animal sound for The Sims 3 Pets. Read below! Special thanks to InfiniteSims for this article.
When a Sim dog barks, what is he or she trying to tell you? A lot if it’s a Sim animal from the new The Sims 3 Pets. Melding together voice actors with real animal sounds, The Sims Studio set out to craft a new experience for The Sims 3 player. It would be an experience that would give their gameplay an emotional context from the bark of a dog, the meow of cat to the whinny of the horse and so much more. Find out more about The Sims 3 Pets and the sounds that bring the animals to life.
Q&A from Thomas Day, Audio Artist:
1. Why did the team decide not to use all real animal sounds?
It would be very difficult for real animals to bring the necessary emotional content that a human actor can. A great example of this is asking yourself: how do you get a horse, dog or even a cat into a recording booth and then direct it to be happy, sad, mad, or affectionate? Human actors can bring the emotional range that would be difficult to get out of a live animal or cut from a sound effects library. That’s why we choose to put the two together.
2. Why did they splice in real animals sounds with actors?
Actual animals were composited with the actor’s voice to add depth and realism the pet experience. For example a 1,000lb horse is capable of making sounds that are impossible for a 180lb human to make. It’s a matter of physicality — a horse’s long neck and chest girth produces tones that are unique to its body make up. By taking these unique horse tones and mixing them with the emotional content of human actors give us a multifaceted voice composite that has the best of both worlds — emotional content from the human actor and unique realism of the actual animal. Additionally, the actor’s voice goes through an effects processing pass before the final composite is made. This treatment allows the human and animal voice to mesh more naturally.
3. Is this the first time in the franchise’s story that this form of animal simlish/animal sounds was used?
No, the first time this type of sound was experimented with was in SimAnimals Africa. It was used on the elephant, lion and rhinoceros.
4. What was used for the animal’s voice in The Sims Unleashed and The Sims 2 Pets?
We used just human actors in The Sims 2 Pets and The Sims Unleashed. For The Sims 3 Pets we want to present our players with a richer more realistic sonic experience. The voice compositing is only one aspect of that enrichment. Everything from pet locomotion to animal ambience has been enhanced.