When I first started working on Zilch for the Jaguar, I had 3 primary goals:
1. Create an affordable 6MB game using the maximum allotted ROM size the Jaguar could use, although Atari never officially made/released any 6MB games.
This forced me to create a custom 6MB PCB. Thankfully they work great!
2. Implement at least 40 voice over lines using a real female voice actor dedicated to the in-game character. Some run of the mill responses but packed with a playful personality and emotion, with lines like:
•Shall we play a game? (Engaging Intro)
•I was born to win! (Confident Win)
•Let the good times roll. (Cheesy game start)
•Haaa! (Sass win player loses round)
...and 100 other lines, some which include sighing, laughing, and frustration.
3. Create matching character animation graphics using recent facial capture technologies, to be rendered across an array of high-end NVIDIA GPUs (18,944 CUDA Cores for the tech junkies)
That's a lot of work and horse power for just a single (seemingly simple on the surface) game but is far more complex to achieve the desired results of an animated, photo-realistic interactive title.
Much to my surprise, far more voice lines managed to fit than I had originally expected. After some optimizing, there's now 122 to be exact and at the low cost of just 1.8MB of space at 16Khz, which proves to be perfect for voice audio playback. While experimenting with using 11Khz (it would have allowed for even more) the flip side was that there needed to be balance and the higher quality of audio is preferable. Seeing as how I have already tripled the expected amount of voice lines originally intended, increased audio resolution only made sense. The audio quality difference from 11Khz to 16Khz is quite drastic with a small price to pay on the ROM usage front.
As it stands, there are more voice lines than will be used in the game but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It gives room for variety.. or room to breathe with options, while possibly adding replay value. A few will certainly get nixed in the end but I'll use as many as I can to ensure the game doesn't grow immediately stale after just a few rounds of playing.
There has been a lot of progress in other areas of the game that I'll soon touch on but this one has been kind of surprising in terms of usable audio assets.
DO THE MATH!