World destruction comes in small shrink-wrapped packages...

2010/10/07

Jon St. John AKA Duke Nukem Text Editor Sounds

dukezh The other day I posted about something to do with a remake of Duke Nukem 3D as a mod using the Unreal Engine 3. I went back to that same thread over at the official Duke Nukem forums on GearBoxSoftware.com. Needless to say the topic was still going strong.

But it was on the last page that I saw something interesting. Somebody posted a link to this website and said that there were some recordings of somebody doing Duke Nukem’s voice.

So I went over to the site, only to see that the place was entirely void of content – except for an mp3 playing in the background. So I took Orbit, which is a program that is quite adept at capturing flash and media playing on a site, and downloaded the file. While I did this, I was listening to the phrases being said as the clip played. I’ve heard people try and do Duke Nukem’s voice before. Some have come close, and others have been pretty piss poor. This was Duke Nukem’s voice. This was the Jon St. John.

Having downloaded the file to my HD, I listened to the entire clip, which ran for about just over 3 and a half minutes. Jon was obviously reading the text that appears on the menu trees on a text editor. Open up any one, like Microsoft Word or something and you’ll see what I mean. It was actually pretty funny. Weird, but quite hilarious.

The guys over at the GBX forums were debating on this bit of off-topic wonder; some betting that it was Duke’s voice, whilst others were doubtful.

Like I said: I’ve played enough friggin’ Duke Nukem 3D and Manhattan Project to KNOW that is Jon. But I wanted to know how this site was found. So I did what anybody would do. I Googled it. The phrase was something like “Jon St. John Text Editor”. One of the first hits that cropped up was Jon’s wiki page. Upon going to it, lo and behold: under “external links”, there was a link pointing to that very same site, saying that it was Jon reading some menu trees for a program.

I was curious as to what the program was and who hired Jon. I gathered from the phrases in the audio recording that it was for a program called Text Edit.

I mean, in the end, Jon is a voice actor among other things (musician, former radio DJ), and has worked on other games - most notably Half-Life: Opposing Force. He is essentially for hire. At one stage I actually remember Jon offering to do voice work for something like $1 per word. He said he would even do Duke’s voice and people could dub it in to Left 4 Dead, replacing Zoey’s voice, or some weird sh1t.

If that was his going rate, then by my calculations, including conjunctions, it would have added up to about $159 just for this job. I should get in to the voice acting business…

However, I was reading, again over at GBX forums, and some poster said this:

“Get a personalized, custom recording of Duke for your voicemail, ringtone, answering machine, whatever! You write the script, and Duke will say anything you want. Your message(s) must be no more than 30 seconds total, and for private use only. Available file formats include: WAV, MP3, and AIFF. The price is just 50 bucks and payable via Pay Pal. So what are you waiting for...Christmas? Come Get Some!”

Some person over at the GBX forums also said that he “so wants Jon to do the voice for his GPS now.”

Sources:

GBX Forums
Jon St. John menu trees recording
Jon's Wikipedia page


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2010/10/04

Conspiracy Theory: Valve Doesn’t do Threequels

How long have we all been waiting for a continuation in the Half-Life story. It’s been more than three years since Half-Life 2: Episode 2 came out. It was first shown at E3 in 2007. And we all played it towards the end of that year, when it came out in November – which is customary with Valve titles.

Episode 1 came out two years after Half-Life 2, in 2006. The entire point of episodic content was to see that new content was released periodically and within a few months of each release. But after seeing how Valve has handled it, I maintain that episodic content is a failed idea – as far as big titles with high production values, such as the Half-Life series, are involved.

Anyway, everyone knows that everyone likes a good conspiracy theory. And there have probably been many suggestions as to why Episode 3 isn’t out yet. The last I read anything of it must have been last year.

Well, something struck me as I lay in bed one night, thinking on the subject, as one does. And I came up with an idea. Something that might well explain why we haven’t got Episode 3, or Half-Life 3.

It has to do with Valve’s games; the number of Valve games. Let me explain:

Half-LifeValve’s first ever game was the epic, revolutionary sci-fi FPS, Half-Life. It came out in late 1998, and nowadays is considered one of the greatest PC games of all time. Half-Life went on to spawn two expansions or addons, developed by Gearbox Software, in Opposing Force, and Blue Shift. Decay doesn’t count as it was for the PS2 version only.                    

Counter-Strike SourceThe next think to come along was Counter-Strike. While not strictly a Valve title to begin with – it used the Half-Life engine, and was eventually adopted by Valve, and released commercially. It became one of the greatest multiplayer-focused games of all time; still played to this day, more than ten years on. Counter-Strike had a sequel of sorts in Condition Zero. Years later Counter-Strike: Source came out, which was CS, but using the Source engine that Half-Life 2 used. It wasn’t a sequel.

DoD Another game that started out as a mod for Half-Life was Day of Defeat. It was the obligatory WWII game that was kind of similar to CS or Team Fortress, but featured class systems that were more akin to those from olden days.

DoD’s developers were eventually picked up by Valve (which is primarily made up of former modders), and Day of Defeat was adopted by the company, and later released as a standalone retail product, requiring Steam to play. Since then it has also had a remake done, using the Source engine rather than the Half-Life or Gold Source engine. This is probably the one game in Valve’s history that has yet to even receive a first sequel, let alone a second sequel (or threequel).

Half-Life 2Speaking of said game: Half-Life 2 was released in 2004, and again went on to further revolutionize the FPS genre, and storytelling in games as a whole. The game had planned addons in the form of the Episodes. Initially it was meant to be one big expansion called Aftermath, but Valve opted for the episodic content approach, and decided to release standalone episodes separately. To date, six years later, two of those episodes have been released.

Team FortressFast-forward a few years and we get to The Orange Box – one of the greatest packages ever bestowed upon gamers. This contained not only Episode 2, Episode 1, and Half-Life 2 – but also introduced Team Fortress 2 and Portal.

Team Fortress 2 obviously had a prequel released years earlier alongside Half-Life, called Team Fortress Classic. The series’ roots lay in a mod, originally for Quake. TF 2 was notoriously delayed for almost a decade, but eventually emerged with a completely different art style to that of its predecessor, which some didn’t like.

portalapevia Portal was completely different from most Valve titles, if not most FPS games ever made. You don’t have guns. You’ve just got a portal gun which aids you in traversing through several puzzles. It was inspired by a game made by some college kids, called Narbacular Drop. Portal has an upcoming sequel, named Portal 2, which should be out next year.

left4dead2 In 2008, Valve produced Left 4 Dead – a multiplayer shooter set in a zombie apocalypse. It turned out to be very popular, and a year later a sequel was released in Left 4 Dead 2. This angered the community seeing as they thought Valve had cheated them out of all the promised extra content for the original. Eventually two DLC packs made it out. Two for Left 4 Dead, and one for Left 4 Dead 2. Another one compatible with both games is due out this month. So that would make it three DLCs for L4D - but DLC isn’t a full game or a sequel anyway, and The Survival Pack which contains The Last Stand isn’t even considered canon.

So you don’t really see a three anywhere there do you? Plenty of other franchises out there have threequels, but Valve doesn’t. This doesn’t necessarily make a franchise any better just because it has more games. It can have the opposite effect (see Tomb Raider).

But like I said, it’s something that I noticed, and it looks like Valve has yet to get over the big 3 hump, even 15 years on. This curse will continue until someday, miraculously, Half-Life 2: Episode 3, or Half-Life 3, is finally released. That or else one of their other franchises produces a sequel.


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