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Thread: Binaural sound technique - extreme sound possibility

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypevosa View Post
    Then the octopus critically failed...
    Sorry, but while I was scrolling, my eyes just zoomed in on that little snippet. Boy, it would make my day if I happened to just hear that fleeting moment of a conversation in a crowd or on the train. Oh, how my mind would wonder...
    Sketchblog - http://munin-sketchblog.blogspot.com

  2. #52
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    It becomes a proper game when you stop having nothing less than a 15 in your Attributes.

  3. #53
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    DM basically has the same duties as a developer when you think about it. Your goal is to make the experience good for your players, yet still challenging... something that they're somewhat familiar with yet still new enough to not be completely monotonous. Hopefully EM will be able to strike that correct cord.
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  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by bambini View Post
    Well, not really. You can hear if someone is shooting at you from the right or left, but that's about it. The point of this is that you can accurately judge distances and angles, particularly height. If someone is standing on a ledge directly above you, in most games it would sound identical to if they were standing directly in front of you.

    Wearing headphones creates a weird phenomenon in which sounds seems to emanate at some point on a horizontal line that runs from the left of you, through your skull and out to the right of you. How faint it is allows you do judge some semblance of distance.

    This is fine if a guard is walking past you from your left to your right, but what if they are coming down some stairs 30 degrees off to your left? Can you really judge using conventional recording techniques if a guard is on the ground floor or on the landing above? If you lean in to a door, wouldn't it be great to not only hear that there is someone moving in the room, but also to pinpont their position in the room by the sound of their footsteps?
    well put but personally i dont think that you will be able to hear much difference but i may be wrong, i would love for this to be in thief 4 but wont be disappointed if it isn't. also is there any games anyone can think of that does use this technique?

  5. #55
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    I don't think it's been implemented in any games so far.
    I think the problem is that the Youtube clip was recorded with static microphones in a sound studio. I'd imagine it would be incredibly complex programming-wise to implement this. The program would have to calculate the position of the source of the sound relative to the player (which becomes even more complex when the player and the sound source are both moving) and do all kinds of complicated jiggery-pokery to get it sounding like this. It would also involve a processor the size of a house to run the game and the sound. I think that it was said at the start of this thread that it probably isn't feasible to put this into T4, but maybe by T5 we'd be there.


    And no, it probably wouldn't make a world of difference. It would sound cool, but wouldn't translate to your 7.1 surround sound system and you'd probably get so used to it that after 10 minutes of play you wouldn't even notice it.

    Still, a man can dream
    Procrastination is the Thief 4 forum

  6. #56
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    As Bambini says, it is quite difficult to implement it fully into a game, however it is not impossible. I believe a 4gb quad core pc could have handled it if the game was extremely scarce in sound-creating objects, and low on graphical department. Similar things are being made with light-sources for shadow and lightning level calculations, but of course sound waves are much harder to calculate because they move in waves, not rays. (well, actually light travels in both of these, but programmers seem to use the ray travel and reflection only.)

    But I believe it would make a huge impact. Because the effective use of sound in Thief 1 was a breakthrough. For the first time in gaming history, sounds were crucially important and enjoyable.

    Maybe one day some developer will tell they may try it or not. One thing that encourages me is that the Japanese guys are behind the stages, and man... they can do everything...

  7. #57
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    Ahemů That was implemented in Thief Gold and Thief MA (and in Half-Life and Counter-Strike too). Just install Win98 and old Vortex2 soundcard and you're there. There's sometimes even weird effect when you're blocking your left "ear" by leaning into the wall and hear all sounds in the right one only. Too bad that A3D technology was bought by Creative labs and wiped for that time. Now it is implemented in EAX 5 and higher. I see no difficulties in using this technology in modern engines. Except of great dissatisfaction of 5.1 and 7.1 acoustics manufacturers
    Last edited by DJ Riff; 12-04-2009 at 12:22 AM.

  8. #58
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    This is correct. Creative also bought Sensaura, the company that created the MacroFX feature that is used for close up sounds in EAX 5.

    EAX 5 is all you really need for THIEF 4 to achieve satisfying 3D positional sound...that, and proper design.

  9. #59
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    The programmer has the exceedingly-rare game industry task of making the sound matter more than the visuals as far as game-mechanics are concerned, in full 3D or effectively as close to it as possible.

  10. #60
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    A quick demo from Dromed with Vortex2 soundcard:
    ftp://djriff.homeftp.net/media/video...sound_demo.avi

  11. #61
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    Yeah, I had one of those cards when TDP first came out. I switched to a Creative card after they assimilated Aureal. Thief 4 with EAX 5 will sound better than this with MacroFX and other refinements.

  12. #62
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    Interesting thread here. I may be coming into it rather late, but I think I have some insight about this. DJ Riff is essentially correct. This technology has been around for the past decade really, and it's been implemented rather nicely in hardware by Aureal and its successors. It's really not that difficult to achieve. For each sound source times two (one for each ear), you really only need 3 types of processing: gain (volume), low-pass filtering, and delay. Using even the original A3D chipset, it was pretty much good enough to sell just about any 3D positioned point source sound effect. Of course, it's less than perfect, but it's really just fine for 3D games, where the limiting factors likely lie more in the fidelity of the sound effect used and the quality of the consumer reproduction system itself (headphones). I remember playing TDP over 10 years ago, and I was an audio geek at that time, same as now, so I actually had an A3D sound card, and I also played on headphones much of the time, so I got the full impact of what the tech had to offer, and it left a huge impression on me.

    The problem is that a few things happened and a few unfortunate realities have caused this technique to fall by the wayside a bit:

    Arguably one might speculate that Aureal Semiconductor folding was the biggest catalyst for this, as the tech was absorbed by Creative, but never really implemented as well until years later (probably around EAX4). EAX for the past decade has also been a very nice bit of tech to have around for the PC market, but it's essentially unused now, and pretty much has been unused for the last 3 years or so. The reason for this is that it isn't cross-platform. Consoles don't have the hardware built in for it, and the 360 and PS3 completely rely on the host CPU for any and all 3D audio processing. Sony and Microsoft have empowered the software developers themselves to come up with their own software based solution to 3D audio positioning. This is both a good and a bad thing. It's a good thing because this enables the developer to do just about anything you can imagine, and you're not constrained by the hardware implementation anymore as you can now define custom FX processing paths that simply aren't possible in EAX and the like. It can be a bad thing for many reasons, firstly you can't take anything for granted anymore because the hardware isn't going to do any work for you. But, lets say as a developer, you're intrepid enough to implement head related transfer function (HRTF) audio into your game. You're now limited by CPU cycles, memory overhead, project time constraints, and your own knowledge, not to mention the elephant in the room here, which is for all intents and purposes, practicality. Our PS3's and 360's output 5.1 anyway, so really, is there much point? If you're listening in a multi-speaker environment, you get 360 degree positioning for free without needing HRTF at all. You'd only need to consider using it in any form for sounds emanating from above and below the listener, but for that you're really only talking about using a filter which is easy enough. Also, nowadays, if you're listening in a 2-speaker environment, chances are, you're using your TV's built-in speakers, in which case any effort you make in that area will never be heard properly, so who cares about those players anyway? We're really only talking about a niche group who plays the game with headphones. Personally, I'd rather not wear them if I can help it as they naturally irritate me after a while due to the fact that I'm wearing crap on my head and ears, and it even starts to hurt my skin or cause headaches sometimes. Now I won't even go into what would happen if as a user, you forget you have the game in headphone mode, but now you're playing with your 5.1 system and the game doesn't know that. Lets just say, a lesser quality experience without consciously realizing it. The fact of the matter is that a single game frame can accommodate only a finite number of CPU cycles, and oftentimes developers in their specialty have to make sacrifices for the sake of frame rate by trimming what would appear to be excess fluff by the remainder of the development team.

    Ultimately, I'd like to do this, and I'd like to hear it done, but nowadays you really need headphones or a really proper 2 speaker system for it to matter so much since you can utilize 5.1 instead. It's really the quality of the soundscape itself that brings the game to life, and that's accomplished through solid sound design and clever creative implementation. I think A3D was such a cool piece of tech back in the day, because it made up for limitations in a game's sound density and fidelity, and even the Thief series was no exception to that rule as it was limited by the hardware of the day. That said, it did brilliantly make use of that hardware.

  13. #63
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    I remember playing T2 with a quad sound system and an Audigy2 card. It was quite spectacular standing near a waterfall and hearing it move around you as you turned so the 3D sound in that respect has already been done.

    This binaural sound system only really works with two speakers. Although it is innovative for most people who use headphones, it is actually a step backward for those who already use Dolby 5.1 or 7.1 systems. I would prefer to have games using the existing 3D sound system with support for Dolby 7.1 for those who use mutliple speakers. Most serious gamers have a quad sound at least and pandering to the casual gamers who only use two speakers is no more than a waste of processing power.
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