Dear developers: Learn how to do subtitles, because you obviously have no clue!

hesido

Member
I've never had trouble understanding lines in any game of the last 10-15 years, and I've played a lot of them, sometimes not on the best audio setups, too. Occasionally I turn the music down a bit in the options if I think it's fighting with the dialogue, but that's very rare. I have never felt the need to have subtitles on in a game with English dialogue, ever. It would simply never occur to me to turn the subs on.

I'm not a natice speaker and I sometimes miss what's heard..

Btw, I turn on English subtitles when possible because usually the translations are not good and I constantly check the translation comparing to what I hear so different language subtitles can be a distraction!
 

Hesemonni

Banned
I love games where subtitling just doesn't work. The audiomixing is all over the place and you can hear npcs talking in the midst of the battle, but subtitles just aren't rolling. Played through MCC just recently and you kinda just stop caring about it after a while. The plot that is.
 

MattKeil

BIGTIME TV MOGUL #2
I'm not a natice speaker and I sometimes miss what's heard..

Btw, I turn on English subtitles when possible because usually the translations are not good and I constantly check the translation comparing to what I hear so different language subtitles can be a distraction!

Well, like I said, even though I don't use them, I agree with the points in the OP and much of the rest of the thread. There's a right way to do subs and a wrong way. I honestly never knew it was so uneven from game to game, because I never use them. That Gamasutra article is a good idea, and hopefully it can help establish an industry standard.
 
Haven't really found small text to be a problem to be honest. Overly large ones though, I find annoying.

Would be nice to have some options so people can set it to something they prefer.
 

Chao

Member

Looks better than yellow. Doesn't give off that $1 chinese bootleg VHS vibe.
Yeah that's just not true. Watching any bright scene with white subtitles, even with black outline, will make everyone squint. I don't understand who had the great idea of using them as an standard, they're so bad
 
Yeah that's just not true. Watching any bright scene with white subtitles, even with black outline, will make everyone squint. I don't understand who had the great idea of using them as an standard, they're so bad

It depends on how much of a black outline there is... should be 100% back, and thick, not thin and half transparent.

It's personal preference though. Some people much prefer an outline, some much prefer letterboxing (the black rectangle). It's not really difficult to offer a choice between the two.
 

-Amon-

Member
This is an offshoot from this recent thread about foreign languages video games, but I figured it's about time I made one complaining about this.

I'm so tired of seeing small-sized subtitles, sometimes tiny-ass subtitles. Almost no developers AT ALL do properly-sized subtitles, even the allegedly cinematic games fail at this. The only exception is Kojima Productions and the Metal Gear games.

Dear developers, pop in a blu-ray, turn on subtitles, and learn how it's suppposed to be done.

THIS dear god THIS.

I would like to add to your list The Witcher 3 on consoles. Only thing i can imagine is that for console / pc games developers set a unique size for subtitles. On pc they are readable, considering the viewing distances, on console not. Same happens for the fonts used for the interfaces.

However, it's unbearable, whatever the causes.
 

Yagharek

Member
I remember Dead Rising on 360 had this problem to, and some ubisoft games I think, maybe rainbow six Vegas.

I hope developers can do better at subtitles. It's not just for people with poor hearing. It's for people who can't play games with the TV volume up very loud at all without waking others in the house.
 
Just make the letters bigger and easier to read, I don't have the worst eyesight but I still don't even bother to read tiny text anymore and I have no idea how that became a trend. I like my font big to substitute for my crappy hearing.
 
So I just started Alien: Isolation and was greeted by these subtitles:



Part of me wants to believe it's a joke.

Well, they have a thick stroke on the text, that's a great start, better than lots of people do. If they stuck to 38 chars per line and 2-3 lines max, it would make a huge difference.
 
I don't see there being any widespread changes without lawsuits. :\

3 years ago you could have said the same thing about colorblindness support, which was pretty much unheard of then... now it's approaching standard practice.

Game designers really are a good bunch. There's a bit of an issue with some iron fisted art directors who don't understand that damage they're doing, but that aside, people do genuinely want to give their players a good experience, certainly moreso than in some other industries.

For many, it will simply be a lack of awareness of what the requirements actually are for good subtitles, not helped by the fact that the environment that they are designed in is drastically different to the environment in which they are used.

Hopefully the article can help a little with that awareness.
 

Dice

Member
Same thing in like 99.97% of WRPGs. Judging by the games, your typical WRPG fan either has their face 5 inches from the monitor or are cyborgs.
 
Yeah that's just not true. Watching any bright scene with white subtitles, even with black outline, will make everyone squint. I don't understand who had the great idea of using them as an standard, they're so bad

That's not true at all either. White text with a black outline is completely readable on a white background.

Yellow subtitles look ugly and dark. But then again, I grew up on white/black subtitles so everything else just looks distracting.
 

jett

D-Member
3 years ago you could have said the same thing about colorblindness support, which was pretty much unheard of then... now it's approaching standard practice.

Game designers really are a good bunch. There's a bit of an issue with some iron fisted art directors who don't understand that damage they're doing, but that aside, people do genuinely want to give their players a good experience, certainly moreso than in some other industries.

For many, it will simply be a lack of awareness of what the requirements actually are for good subtitles, not helped by the fact that the environment that they are designed in is drastically different to the environment in which they are used.

Hopefully the article can help a little with that awareness.

It isn't just lack of awareness. It's money. Timestamping subtitles more often and more carefully requires much more time to do it (and money.) It's easier, quicker and cheaper to just drop a character's entire dialogue in a single block of text. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some sort of automated method for doing this, where some software recognizes when a character starts and stops speaking, with complete disregard to readability or actual usefulness.
 
The best thing is when the subtitles appear after the dialog and then get cut off by the next person talking a second later and you don't get the chance to read them.
 
Progress! For what might even be the first time ever, a game has now offered both a choice of three different text sizes ACD the ability to turn letterboxing (the semi transparent box behind the text) on or off.

Presumably the article linked to earlier had something to do with it, and that article (http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/IanH...subtitles_well__basics_and_good_practices.php) heavily references this thread. So hopefully everything that everyone has said throughout this neogaf thread is starting to be heard by developers, and starting to make a difference.

The game is a Life is Strange, in the 1.07 patch that is now up on PS4 and coming soon to other platforms:



 
I'm sure it's been said, but not only the subtitle font, but actually EVERY SINGLE FONT IN THE ENTIRETY OF XENOBLADE X is a criminal offense to anyone sitting more than 30 cm away from his/her 50" TV.
That said I'm sitting ~3.5 m away from my 38" TV. I hope you can guess what that means.


Developers should actually adjust the font size to games as if they were played at 480p resolutions.


EDIT: Also I thought this would be about shit subtitles that spoil you in advance about what's happening in 30 seconds. Bonus points if the subtitles include closed captions so you know EXACTLY what's about to happen just because some idiot at Ubisoft isn't able to do subtitles correctly in Watch_Dogs.
 

ROMhack

Member
Sorry for bumping an old thread but I recently started a Twitter project poking fun at games that don't implement subtitles very well. Feel free to follow it :)

P.S. I think this thread was actually my first introduction to Neogaf. I remember Googling whether anybody else found it annoying and well, viola, here I now am.
 
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