Author Topic: The state of audio (OpenAL) in FreeSpace 2 Open  (Read 12729 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline galneon

  • 20
Re: The state of audio (OpenAL) in FreeSpace 2 Open
I'm glad to see a thread like this here, and stickied no less.  I searched for a thread like this so I could create one extolling the virtues of OpenAL if one didn't already exist.  It gets a lot of flak, especially from developers trying to justify their use of inferior, but easier to implement, solutions like FMOD and Xaudio2, which are abominable in terms of positioning and realism but highly portable.

OpenAL Soft was updated last year to implement HRTF (head-related transfer function) support.  This results in headphones giving the wearer the impression that sounds are coming from in front of, behind, above, and under the user (and of course to the sides).  It works by simulating two microphones placed in the ears with all the dampening of sounds based on the shape of the ears and head that that would entail.  Basically, it emulates how people actually hear and how they process sounds from all directions with only two eardrums.  You can find HRTF demos on YouTube and they will work with stereo headphones of any quality.  I recommend listening to this one with headphones (and closed eyes):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

I used OpenAL Soft for headphones and for discrete 7.1 surround until I finally purchased Rapture3D.  It features HRTF (and other things) as well as "tinted reconstruction" which attempts to adapt HRTF to stereo, quadraphonic, 5.1, 7.1, etc. speaker setups to simulate some of the improved directional perceptions of HRTF (such as sounds coming from above and below the listener).  It also comes with more HRTF presets than OpenAL Soft, which can be important as certain HRTF datasets will mesh better with certain people for the simple reason that we all have different ear and head shapes.

Some games that have extraordinarily impressive positional audio via OpenAL that almost no one knows about (and none of these require a physical soundcard as I use HDMI or an onboard Realtek chip depending on what PC I'm on):

Thief: Gold
Thief 2
System Shock 2
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Series (Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat are especially impressive)
Unreal Tournament 3
And of course FreeSpace Open

There are more.  These are the ones I've most recently enjoyed on both Windows 7 and 8.1.

Please don't dismiss OpenAL just because Creative bought and then attempted to bury it just like they did Aureal3D.  Unlike A3D, OpenAL is still under development, most notably by the OpenAL Soft developer(s) and the Rapture3D developer.  Most developers spend almost no time working on their engine's audio, but almost any game with OpenAL support has serious potential that can be unleashed using the right methods.  FMOD/wwise/XAudio2 may still be the future because developers find them so easy to work with and port, but it's a bleak one.  Anyone with a good reference point for positional audio who has played any triple AAA titles in the last 5+ years knows this :/

 
Re: The state of audio (OpenAL) in FreeSpace 2 Open
On my system the audio would often clip or get distorted in intense battles and especially during explosions. Using OpenAL Soft instead of the default OpenAL from Creative seems to fix this.

About HRTF, I've tried it with a couple of games now (FS2 included) and for some reason it makes everything sound a bit thin. Sort of like having everything run through a high-pass filter and taking out a good chunk of bass in the process. Other than that it works pretty well.

 

Offline Jackho

  • 25
  • Gnoti seauton ...
    • Downloads an al
Re: The state of audio (OpenAL) in FreeSpace 2 Open
Hi,

Haha! I'm glad I'd be curious enough to find this thread about sound while i'm searching for something else  :lol:
Now I finally got 5.1 sound placement after years of stereo in freespace. Good news!

A+
Jack H. : "Well... There's much more to check than six..."

 

Offline Bryan See

  • Has anyone really been far as decided to use even go want to do look more like?
  • 29
  • Visionary modder and coder
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: The state of audio (OpenAL) in FreeSpace 2 Open
Excuse me, I have something to tell you.

3D sounds usually have only one channel, that is mono. Nowadays, in most modern games, 3D sounds have more than one channel, I presume. So, this warning at sound.cpp, line 354 needs to be changed.
Bryan See - My FreeSpace Wiki User Page (Talk, Contributions)

Campaigns:
FreeSpace: Reunited - Shattered Stars

Ships:
GTS Hygeia, GTT Argo, SC Raguel

 

Offline The E

  • He's Ebeneezer Goode
  • Global Moderator
  • 213
  • Nothing personal, just tech support.
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: The state of audio (OpenAL) in FreeSpace 2 Open
Excuse me, I have something to tell you.

3D sounds usually have only one channel, that is mono. Nowadays, in most modern games, 3D sounds have more than one channel, I presume. So, this warning at sound.cpp, line 354 needs to be changed.

No, it doesn't. Your presumption is wrong and based on an invalid interpretation of what a "3D sound" in FSO is.
**** every cause that ends in murder and children crying. ― Iain Banks
Join the fun at the HLP IRC channel. Get the latest spam and gossip as long as it's fresh!