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Games

The Problems With Video Game Voice Acting 251

The Guardian's Games blog explores the tendency of modern video games to suffer from poor voice acting, a flaw made all the more glaring by increasingly precise and impressive graphics. Quoting: "Due to the interactive nature of games, actors can't be given a standard film script from which they're able to gauge the throughline of their character and a feel for the dramatic development of the narrative. Instead, lines of dialogue need to be isolated into chunks so they can be accessed and triggered within the game in line with the actions of each individual player. Consequently, the performer will usually be presented with a spreadsheet jammed with hundreds of single lines of dialogue, with little sense of context or interaction. ... But according to David Sobolov, one of the most experienced videogame voice actors in the world (just check out his website), the significant time pressures mean that close, in-depth direction is not always possible. 'Often, there's a need to record a great number of lines, so to keep the session moving, once we've established the tone of the character we're performing, the director will silently direct us using the spreadsheet on the screen by simply moving the cursor down the page to indicate if he/she liked what we did. Or they'll make up a code, like typing an 'x' to ask us to give them another take.' It sounds, in effect, like a sort of acting battery farm, a grinding, dehumanizing production line of disembodied phrases, delivered for hours on end. Hardly conducive to Oscar-winning performances."
Space

Computer Forensics to Help Solve Pioneer Mystery 113

Matthew Sparkes writes "Launched 35 years ago on Friday, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to reach the outer Solar System and return pictures of Jupiter, closely followed by Pioneer 11. However, the twin Pioneer spacecraft drifted off course (see number 8) by hundreds of thousands of kilometres during their three-decade mission, and NASA eventually lost contact with them. An international team of scientists, including many amatuer hobbyists, are re-analysing the tracking and telemetry data in the hope of discovering the reason."
Space

Cassini Returns Amazing New Imagery from Saturn 118

SeaDour writes "The Cassini spacecraft has recently entered a highly-inclined orbit around Saturn, revealing some never-before-seen images of the planet's ring system as seen from above and below the planet. 'Sailing high above Saturn and seeing the rings spread out beneath us like a giant, copper medallion is like exploring an alien world we've never seen before. It just doesn't look like the same place. It's so utterly breath-taking, it almost gives you vertigo.' The spacecraft will eventually return to its standard orbit parallel to the ring plane in late June."

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