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 Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...

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Aron Times
Fledgling
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PostSubject: Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...   Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:19 am

Hello, not sure if this qualifies as a bug or not, but I've noticed that the voice volume in Vampire: The Final Nights is too quiet but the background music is too loud. Specifically, the music in the main menu and the character screen are too loud and have a tendency to drown out my voice (I'm doing a Let's Play of 1.3.1). The ingame music seems just right, though.

So, tl;dr:

  1. Main Menu and Character Screen music are too loud.
  2. Voice volume is too quiet.
  3. In game music is just right.


Is there a way to increase the voice volume in Bloodlines? I tried searching for a list of Vampire Bloodlines console commands, but only found cheat codes listed. I don't want to try using Source console commands without knowing how they work in the proto-Source engine that Bloodlines uses. Also, is there a way to lower the music in the main menu and the character screen without lowering the in game music?

Thanks in advance for your replies!
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PostSubject: Re: Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...   Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:32 am

It would probably be easier to just lower the sound of the game while your editing your video. Which video editing software are you using? I was using Pinnacle Studios for the past several years but recently switched to Sony Movie Studio Platinum 13 and it's great! You can increase or decrease the sound of the game on a dime and independently adjust the levels of your voice.

If you really want to adjust the sound levels of the main menu and character sheet, you'll want a sound editing software like Audacity and open up the .mp3/.wav files and lower them. If you want to increase the voice volume of certain NPCs you'll need to do the same thing with sound editing software but with each line spoken, or you can raise/lower the volume levels in the map files.
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PostSubject: Re: Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...   Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:00 am

Well, I set Fraps to around 40% of my master volume (Master Volume at 50%, Fraps at 20%). What this does is that I can still hear the in game sounds perfectly, but they don't drown out my voice in the video. The problem with Bloodlines is that the voice volume is unusually soft compared to those in other games. I know that many games allow you to selectively edit volume (voice, game effects, ambient sound, music, etc.) but I don't know what the commands are in Bloodlines.

I simply use Fraps to record and then compress the video using VirtualDub. I use minimal editing on my videos, mostly because I am not that well-versed in video editing. I do have Audacity installed, but found that syncing my voiceover with the recorded video too inconvenient for my purposes. I mean, I'm not a professional Let's Player, and I have a busy life outside of YouTube.

I mean, I will eventually have to learn how to use Audacity for audio and some other software for video editing, but for now, I'm content with Fraps + VirtualDub.

Oh, I just remembered... A while back, I uploaded a video of me playing TF2 for my friends. The audio had a constant buzzing ambient noise that made it seem like I had crappy audio. I fixed it by disabling surround sound in TF2. TF2 had detected my virtual 7.1 headset (Logitech G35), but it didn't record properly on any video capture software I used. When I switched the TF2 settings from 7.1 to Headphones, it resulted in much better sound both in game and on video, and greatly improved performance overall! I'm thinking that the primitive Source Engine in Bloodlines might be detecting my headset as 7.1, resulting in poor audio in game and on video.
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PostSubject: Re: Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...   Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:29 am

If FRAPS will be your only video tool besides the compressor, you'll have to deal with whatever the sound gives you. If you want to manipulate sound to perfect levels for your videos, you will want video editing software like the ones I named above. I won't be able to help you much for what you're looking for until you use the proper software. I mean, you can manipulate the sound volumes of the voices in the game, and the menu too, but that will actually take even more time than using a simple video editor.
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PostSubject: Re: Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...   Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:33 am

tl;dr: Bloodlines doesn't have separate controls for various types of sound. volume controls all sound, while bgmvolume doesn't work at all.

So I did some tests, and it turns out that there is no in game way to change voice volume independent of music volume. This must be a quirk of the Source Engine, including the early version used in Bloodlines, as many other games that I've played had separate controls for different types of sounds (voice, notifications, FMV volume, music, ambient sound, etc.). It turns out that Vampire: Bloodlines only has two console commands for sound: bgmvolume and volume.

bgmvolume doesn't seem to work, as I noticed no change in the music volume at all. It has no effect on main menu or character screen volume, nor the music in clubs like Asylum.

volume controls all sounds, including the main menu and character screen music as well as voice volume, sound effects, etc. The whole shebang.

I think the way it's done in TF2 and newer Source games is that the actual voiceovers are louder than the game effects, so you can hear "The bomb has almost reached the final terminus AHAHAHAHA!!!" through the gunfire and explosions in a typical game.

As for the buzzing sound, I'm going to try recording with my surround sound disabled (there is a switched on the side of my headset that disables virtual 7.1 and sets it to stereo). That might help. I might also try disabling environmental sound in the options. I'll post the results tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...   Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:48 am

The only way to change the volume of game music is by editing game files. For most locations, the background music is defined in the soundscheme. -bloodlines/vampire/sound/schemes. But only the ones that were changed by the mod are unpacked. The others must be extracted from the archives.

If the sound is ambient_generic on the map, you must find the name of the sound entity. Then you can use the console:
music = Find("soundentityname")
music.Volume(#)

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PostSubject: Re: Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...   Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:58 pm

So I checked the games that I had which used the Source Engine, and here's what I've found:

DotA 2 (2013)
Master - All sounds.
Game - Game sounds, like spells being cast, weapon sounds, etc.
Music - Music, of course.
Voice - Incoming voice chat volume.
Unit Voice - The actual voiceovers in the game.

TF2 (2007)
Voice - Incoming voice chat.
Game - Game sounds, including voiceovers, notifications, gunfire, etc.
Music - Background music. Mostly only heard in the main menu and in MvM mode.

Bloodlines (2004)
Game - All volume.

So it looks like the sound settings get more refined with each iteration of the Source Engine. Bloodlines nominally has two settings, but only one works. TF2 has three sound settings, while DotA 2 has five sound settings. Yes, I know that TF2 and DotA 2 allow you to change outgoing voice chat, but those settings actually change your windows microphone gain settings instead of changing something in game, and since you don't hear your own voice chat, I'm not including them here. I don't have Half-Life 2 (yeah, I'm a big fan of Valve except for their main game), so I can't check what sound options it has. I assume that it has the same sound options as Bloodlines, as it uses a slightly newer version of the Source Engine compared to Bloodlines. I also don't have Counterstrike: Global Offensive, which uses the latest version of the Source Engine, and I assume that it has the same volume controls as DotA 2 or better.

Anyway, I'm just posting my findings here in case someone else comes along and asks how to change the voice volume or some other sound volume in Bloodlines. Thanks to everyone for your help. And thank you for the awesome mod!
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PostSubject: Re: Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...   Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:26 pm

As I'm playing testing TFN I'm thinking the main menu and character sheet music volume is a little bit loud so I think I'll turn it down a tad for 1.4. Good call, Aron.
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PostSubject: Re: Voice volume too quiet, background volume too loud...   Today at 10:46 am

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