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DirectSound in Windows Vista

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Apparently in Windows Vista, DirectSound will no longer be hardware accelerated under Windows Vista, going through the software mixer instead. ie. DirectSound just lost the 'Direct' aspect.

One reason for this is increased system stability, gained by moving things out of kernel space. A laudable aim, but not really an important one given that I'd think most sound drivers are pretty stable, especially compared to their GPU counterparts. Also, with MS moving things like HTTP handling into the kernel, this reason rings less true.

Another reason, and presumably the more important one, is that Microsoft are altering the audio stream to make DRM more effective, as referenced here.

So, many of your existing games are going to run more slowly, sound worse, or perhaps not run at all, so that MS can work with people like the MPAA to protect their interests, not yours.

Developers can opt for OpenAL which still goes direct to the hardware, bypassing this problem. I have no idea how well supported it is, or how awkward it is to program with it. It wouldn't surprise me if it ended up being software emulated on all non-Creative sound cards. Does anybody know any more on this?
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Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
A laudable aim, but not really an important one given that I'd think most sound drivers are pretty stable, especially compared to their GPU counterparts.


Apprently you have never come across the Creative Driver Development team (or a bunch of monkeys on crack as I prefer to refer to them), who apprently can write a driver for a 64bit OS which DOESNT work with more than 2gig of ram enabled... nice one guys [rolleyes]

While I love my X-Fi sound card it would be nice if I could have all 4gig of the ram I've got laying around working if I want sound... [sad]

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Although possible, I wouldn't think that's gonna be fixed automatically by moving the driver to user-land though, is it? It just means you're gonna be screwed both with less memory and slower sound. Double punishment!

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This is really interesting. Surely it makes vista useless for pro audio, or at least useless with most pro level sound cards. Apple will be rubbing their hands in glee.

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Original post by mrbastard
This is really interesting. Surely it makes vista useless for pro audio, or at least useless with most pro level sound cards. Apple will be rubbing their hands in glee.


I wouldn't expect a lot of professional sound software suites to use Direct Sound, although I really don't know much about professional sound suites. Wouldn't they use their own API or something of the sort?

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I get the impression they will still support ASIO drivers, if the card has them, so pro audio will use that sort of thing for <10ms latency. But ASIO, while great for audio streaming and mixing, doesn't give you any access to the sort of APIs game developers might expect from a gaming card (eg. reverb models? 3D positioning of sounds? doppler shift?)

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Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
One reason for this is increased system stability, gained by moving things out of kernel space. A laudable aim, but not really an important one given that I'd think most sound drivers are pretty stable, especially compared to their GPU counterparts.


EAX = Crashtastic crashtasms on many people's comps (mostly laymen, but a number of geeks a well). :-(

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You may be right; I've not touched Creative hardware since they screwed Aureal over. But still, if they can't write decent drivers then MS should just refuse to certify them, not cripple everybody else in the process.

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