I've been thinking about the usage of voice and voice distortion in computer games for a long time. Having in-game voice support (team speak etc.) is a great way to enable fast communication between players but it breaks some of the illusion of you being your avatar. A mighty dwarven fighter with a squeaky voice is always a turnoff (not that I get turned on by dwarves any way ;) - so why not use voice distortion technology? I know that there are a lot of technical difficulties to consider when designing such a system but I believe that it's viable.
quote: Gamasutra - Features "Internet Game Design" [08.01.97]
"I ought to address the technical viability of speech data over the modem phone lines. With proper compression, speech data is definitely viable at modem bandwidths. You can design with the expectation that each channel of streamed audio will require roughly 300 bytes per second. We'll address the bandwidth allocation issue in more depth in the next article, but I just want to assure you that speech, if properly compressed and scheduled alongside game data, is viable. Here's one other tidbit of information: compression of speech today typically uses about 15% to 25% of a Pentium 100 CPU, and decompression uses 10% to 15%"
Adding voice distortion will probably add a lot of overhead and it would probably bring older systems to their knees. Next gen consoles and newer PCs should handle it well. All the first generation of Xbox 360 titles are single threaded according to The Inquirer, and I don't expect that all of the cores on the PS3 are used by the first generation of games either. On the PC side of things, the quad cores are coming - so I expect more processing power available there as well. I bet you even could offload much of the number crunching to the GPU.