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Best Sound API?


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#1 AutoBot   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 02:40 PM

I've been thinking about using OpenAL for my audio engine just due to its similar model to OpenGL, which is the graphics API I'm using, but I can't be sure since I don't have much experiance in terms of implementing audio in my applications. Any suggestions on a good sound API for C++ and FL Studio?

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#2 deadstar   Members   -  Reputation: 470

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 03:04 PM

I've been thinking about using OpenAL for my audio engine just due to its similar model to OpenGL, which is the graphics API I'm using, but I can't be sure since I don't have much experiance in terms of implementing audio in my applications. Any suggestions on a good sound API for C++ and FL Studio?


I've had an excellent experience with FMOD (www.fmod.org), but it does depend on how complex the audio design for your game will be. If you want your game to make some noise and play music tracks, then OpenAL is quick and simple to set up and supports a variety of platforms, but if you want an all-singing-all-dancing event-based audio subsystem with UI tools and advanced effects then OpenAL has been a little outdated for years.

What would you like to achieve?
"The right, man, in the wrong, place, can make all the dif-fer-rence in the world..." - GMan, Half-Life 2

#3 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 03:35 PM

Another vote for FMOD if you're looking for something a bit more complex than just playing file X over and over and loading/off loading one hit SFX. Plus Fmod support is FANTASTIC!
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 07:30 PM

What would you like to achieve?


I'd like as much flexability as possible, as well as performance, so I'm probably going to stay away from OpenAL now. I've taken a look at FMOD's site and I'm amazed at how many games use it, as well as how active their community is.

So I'll try FMOD out, unless if there's anything else that seems to be better than that. This looks really promising, though.



EDIT: I see that the licensing fee for FMOD is nearly $10,000, so I can't use that for my games at the moment. Any other ideas?

#5 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 05:11 PM

EDIT: I see that the licensing fee for FMOD is nearly $10,000, so I can't use that for my games at the moment. Any other ideas?


Actually you're looking at the "big boys" (i.e. Nintendo, Sony, etc) licensing section. For more casual projects this is their rate structure:

FMOD Casual License

This license is intended for budget titles released electronically, including Xbox Live Arcade, Sony PSN, Nintendo WiiWare, low price mobile, and PC.


Licensing for 1 title

ProductDescriptionCost for 1 title FMOD Ex (including Designer) First Platform $ 3,000 USD FMOD Ex (including Designer) Subsequent Platforms $ 1,500 USD FMOD Ex (including Designer) iOS/PSP Mini/Android $ 500 USD(taken from: http://www.fmod.org/index.php/sales)


$3,000 is much cheaper than $10,000 but it could still be beyond what is possible for your project. The nice part is you only have to pay the license when your game is published. Until then you can freely download and work with the tools so you could potentially put everything together then seek funding and use your functional game as a demonstration.
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 08:34 PM

Alright, that is a bit better. IMHO I'd rather stay away from any payed resources for my games that go over $1000, really. Don't get me wrong on this, it still looks like a fantastic API and I may even use it just to get insight on audio APIs in general, but I'd rather save expensive publishing licenses as a last resort for now. This still looks like a good idea to have in mind, though.

Any other ideas? For now I want to highlight the main tools out there that I can use when programming my games. I've google searched "audio API" and there's plenty of results out there, I'm just not sure which one to pick.

#7 AutoBot   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:38 AM

...So... OpenAL I suppose? What is the difference between that and FMod?

#8 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:51 AM

...So... OpenAL I suppose? What is the difference between that and FMod?


OpenAL, from what I remember when I worked with it, doesn't have nearly the same amount of ready-made tools and interfaces for the audio creator/implementer to work with. Also FMOD has a much deeper music system that can allow for full customization of when and how music cues transition from each other, add or subtract layers and many other things.
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 10:37 AM

OpenAL, from what I remember when I worked with it, doesn't have nearly the same
amount of ready-made tools and interfaces for the audio creator/implementer to
work with.


Is this something that a DAW such as FL Studio could supplement for? Or is that completely different from the feature set of FMOD?

#10 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7565

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 10:46 AM

OpenAL is just a low level API for sound play back; the features that FMOD has above and beyond it would have to be built on top of it by a programmer.
(As a side note I'm suprised by the FMOD licensing as I seem to recall them having a cheaper option when I last looked... oh well...).

This has no relation to a DAW; you'd use FLStudio to render out your audio (be it sound fx or music) to something like WAV or Ogg format (or MP3 but that has licensing issues attached to it) and then load that in your program and present it to the API in much the same was as you'd use something like Blender to make a model which is then exported and loaded for display via OpenGL.

#11 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 11:44 AM

Is this something that a DAW such as FL Studio could supplement for? Or is that completely different from the feature set of FMOD?


Again (to tag team what Phantom already said) FL Studio just creates the audio assets but does nothing when it comes to implementing the audio in the video game. Not to be rude, but this has been brought up and discussed in your other thread. By asking this question again, I'm afraid you might not still understand this concept.
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 12:41 PM

I know the difference between asset creation and implementation, it was only a miscommunication. When you said "audio creator/implementor" I thought you meant FMOD had it's own audio creation suite. xD But it is only an audio implementation suite.

Is it possible to duplicate the interfaces of FMOD from the ground up using OpenAL (from a theoretical standpoint)? Or does FMOD have extra hardware access/support that OpenAL doesn't have? I usually like low level APIs to some extent because I can customize an object model of my own to create my game engine with.

#13 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 01:03 PM

I know the difference between asset creation and implementation, it was only a miscommunication. When you said "audio creator/implementor" I thought you meant FMOD had it's own audio creation suite. xD But it is only an audio implementation suite.


Oh, what I meant by "audio creator/implementer" is that in many cases the person that creates the audio also implements it. In other cases, commonly freelance, someone else implements the audio.

Is it possible to duplicate the interfaces of FMOD from the ground up using OpenAL (from a theoretical standpoint)? Or does FMOD have extra hardware access/support that OpenAL doesn't have? I usually like low level APIs to some extent because I can customize an object model of my own to create my game engine with.


Sure it's possible but it would take a good bit of programming, time and effort.
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 01:13 PM

Alright, thank you, I think I know enough info to make more decisions on how my audio engine will be laid out.

#15 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7565

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:21 PM

Or does FMOD have extra hardware access/support that OpenAL doesn't have?


It's likely to be the other way around; FMOD sits on top of the platforms audio system, however with OpenAL on windows you can bypass the normal software stack and go "direct" to the hardware on Creative cards meaning you have some access to the EAX effects and (for some cards) on-card RAM for small sounds.

However the work load to produce something like FMOD, including the tools it has, is going to be very high indeed so probably isn't worth the effort.

#16 deadstar   Members   -  Reputation: 470

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:53 PM

Depending on which platforms/languages you're aiming to support, Microsoft's XACT might be something to look at (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee416188%28v=VS.85%29.aspx).

It's an audio API plus set of UI tools for creating sound waves, banks, events and effects, with a data-driven API to get the stuff working in game exactly how you authored it. Documentation is excellent, sample code is plentiful and since it's mostly aimed towards the XNA community the support forums are lively.
"The right, man, in the wrong, place, can make all the dif-fer-rence in the world..." - GMan, Half-Life 2

#17 BreckenHipp   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 11:53 AM

Wwise is the best implementation middleware I've ever used. It's extremely intuitive, and incredibly indepth. There hasn't been an issue I couldn't solve with Wwise.




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