Frontier founder becomes non-executive director at Phonetic Arts

Braben joins â??dynamic speechâ?? tech provider

Game design veteran David Braben has been appointed to the board of Phonetic Arts, the UK-based in-game dialogue middleware group.

Phonetic Arts is aiming to “revolutionise” the game development sector with tech that can generate natural speech dynamically.

If dynamic speech materialises into a viable option for game developers, such a feat could shift the very dynamics of game production. Design elements such as voice acting and AI would likely have to adapt if dynamic speech ever emerged in games.

Despite such lofty ambitions, Phonetic Arts says the tech is a reality and being developed on today.

The group says it has created unique technology comprised of a speech synthesis engine and voice development environment, which “allows games to speak with any voice and say any sentence.”

“The speech produced is completely natural and will for the first time enable games developers to generate voice content which matches the high quality of other parts of the games,” said the group.

Braben will take on the role as non-executive director at Phonetic Arts, and remains the chairman at longstanding developer Frontier.

The Elite designer said he was “excited” by the potential in Phonetic’s tech.

“In-game dialogue has come a long way but there’s still so much it can accomplish. I believe that the team at Phonetic Arts has a compelling product that will add new depth to games."

Paul Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Phonetic Arts, said the group was “delighted” to have Braben on its board.

“His expertise, hands-on approach and knowledge of the industry will be of enormous benefit”, he added. “The fact that he has never before taken a non-exec role of itself speaks volumes.”

Braben did not claim that Phonetic Arts’ emerging tech would be used in the studio’s “political thriller”, The Outsider, a game which has secured a publisher but has seen little light of day since it was first announced back in 2005.

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