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Sound Advice

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Our alpha test went pretty smoothly, although we have only received feedback from ~25% of the testers so far.

We are now testing out a new character modeller/animator, and one of the partners has signed up to do the textures for it.

I have made numerous improvements to the level editor to allow one to more easily create levels by stiching together various prefab pieces, and our next level will be the first one created in this manner.

We are also cleaning up the RPG system, removing some cruft, and finalizing the list of skills, attributes, etc.

I have spent the past week or so looking into alternative sound libraries. I have been using FMOD for quite a while, and it's been great. Unfortunately, the license fee of $3000 per title is too steep for an episodic game.

I have been looking into several sound libraries, and none has exactly what we want. I'd be curious if someone else has some pointers to help me out.

I broke the sound manager into an abstract interface - it was already pretty close to this before, so it wasn't hard - then implemented FMOD as a version of the interface. I then created versions for OpenAL and Audiere so far. Here is what I've found...

My requirements :

a) Play WAV & OGG files.
b) Stereo panning support.
c) Pitch shifting support ( can simply speed up or slow down playing ) for doppler
d) Free or cheap for multiple titles.

1) FMOD - works great - but the $3K license fee is steep, even though it's only $1.5k per title after the first, or a total of $7500 for a site license. Also has the plus that's it's already coded and working great.

2) OpenAL - has all the features I need, but support seems to be spotty. I don't trust sound hardware - I want to use software mixing after poor experiences in the past. The real problem I have with OpenAL is that their samples run fine, until I build them, then they hang or don't produce sound. My app using OpenAL initializes fine, no errors, but won't actually produce sound...Also no native ogg support, requiring some extra code.

3) Audiere - has exactly the features I need with panning & pitch shifting support. The bad news is that it's smart-pointer happy and seems designed to make media player applications, and not games. My implementation of the soundmgr for Audiere can play ogg files file, but I have yet to figure out how to load a sample once, and play it multiple times without it being conveniently deleted for me. Also apparently has bad latency issues on top of winmm.lib.

4) SDL_mixer - haven't tried this yet. Looks easy, but doesn't have pitch shifting. I saw an article in GPG6 that talks about cheap doppler, so it may be possible to add this myself as an Effect.

Now, I've written low-level sound code before, including 4-voice mixing on a sound blaster for my old shareware game, but I'd really rather skip that this time if possible.
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I feel your pain with the audio librarys, hehe.

Check out Bass :


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