4 votes

GDC: Video Game Subtitles Are Changing, Don't Be Left Behind

2 comments

  1. Moonchild
    Link
    IMO, though it has good information, this video is way too long. Here's a summary I also posted on reddit: Key takeaways: Make sure subtitles are large enough. Should be at least 46px @ 1080p Make...

    IMO, though it has good information, this video is way too long. Here's a summary I also posted on reddit:

    Key takeaways:

    • Make sure subtitles are large enough. Should be at least 46px @ 1080p
    • Make sure contrast is high enough. Solid colour is likely to clash with background at some point; outline/shadow causes problems for people with dyslexia; make letterboxing an option (that is, a transparent square behind the whole text block). Make it so the user can choose how transparent the letterbox is.
    • Each subtitle should be a maximum of 2 lines--or, in exceptional cases 3. Lines shouldn't be longer than 38 characters.
    • If, for whatever reason, you're unable to adhere to one of these guidelines (for instance, if the art director insists on a certain font), then make it a user-configurable option. Don't overload users with options; start with two or three presets, and have an 'advanced settings' menu for those who want further customization.

    Other guidelines/bestpractices for subtitles:

    • Ensure they're accurate (voice actors may not have stuck to the script; base subs off spoken lines, not script)
    • Ensure they're comprehensive: everything should be subtitled. (Frequently, the intro cutscene has missing subtitles, just because you can't go to settings to turn them on until after the cutscene is over.)
    • Location: put subtitles on the bottom in the centre of the screen.
    • If you need to have multiple subtitles on the screen at once, put the new subtitles underneath the old subtitles.
    • Indicate the speaker in the subtitle. (Generally, put the name of the speaker at the top; you can also use colour to differentiate, but have an option to put the name instead, because some people are colourblind.)
    • Indicate direction: if the speaker is offscreen, use an arrow to show where they are (above, below; left, right; behind).
    • Leave the subs on screen for long enough for people to read them. Aim for approximately 1 second for a one-line subtitle, 2-2.5 sec for a full (2-line) subtitle. If you can't hit that guideline, edit the subtitles so they're shorter, but do that only as a last resort.
    • Use a clear font; readability is more important than artistic coherence. Make sure: no serif, no ALLCAPS.
    • Include captions for important sounds, not just spoken lines.
    • On the settings page where you change the subtitle look, have a live example of what a subtitle with those options looks like.
    • 60% of (assassin's creed origins) players turn on subtitles; maybe worth having them on by default.

    For VR:

    • Where to put subs? You can't really put them at the bottom of the screen; they have to be in space somewhere. Where?
    • If they're not really close to your face, they might be occluded by something, but if they are really close to your face, then you have to switch between focusing on a near object and a far one, and then you get sick.
    • If you attach the subtitles to the audio source, then you stop seeing the subtitles if you look somewhere else, even though you can still hear the audio.
    • We don't have a good solution yet.
    • Recommend a modal approach as a good-enough compromise: subtitles are attached to the audio source, but if you look away from it then they snap into your field of view

    Check out this list of best practices and the BBC guidelines for more information. Also this set of guidelines for UI design in VR.

    4 votes
  2. Pun
    Link
    I know there's been a lot of discussion on this topic lately. Both on and off Tildes. (Tired yet?) In fact, there was another related article posted here just a few days ago. I still thought I...

    I know there's been a lot of discussion on this topic lately. Both on and off Tildes. (Tired yet?) In fact, there was another related article posted here just a few days ago. I still thought I should post this video because of how comprehensive it felt. I hadn't even thought of the problems that come with subtitling a VR game (granted, I don't play them myself).

    I edited the title of the video a bit to make it clearer.

    3 votes