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SDL, OpenAL or FMOD?

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I''m a little lost on which one to use. Any suggestions? I''m not sure how they differ. I want it to add overlapping music and sound effects (mp3,wav, midi etc) to opengl and misc C applications. If the library has the ability to change the tempo (beats per minute),and the format, that would be great. I guess I''d have to ship the libraries with my application, so library size is a concern. I''m definitely no expert, so simplicity & user popularity are very important. Thanx

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FMOD is very good, and will do everything you desire. I haven''t tried the other two you mention. There is also BASS just to confound you further.
They''re all free to download so you could try them all. I tend to create a simple wrapper for these things so that I can swap the underlying API out if necessary.
If you are using SDL for graphics, then you might as well use it for audio as well.


[Damn server seems to be playing up again today]

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I made a audio manager class around fmod, and i must say its a very clean api and very easy to use.

I suggest you use fmod hands down. OpenAL is just as good, but you just have to do a little more job is all.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
SDL is great but the included sound library leaves much to be desired. I use SDL_Mixer. You can find it at the SDL homepage under libraries.

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As far as i''m aware, FMOD doesnt support mp3. Other than that, FMOD has been pretty painless for me to use. I began using OpenAL, but it seems to have died, or at least gone quiet recently.

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Just in case you didn''t know, FMOD is not free for commercial use like OpenAL and SDL_Mixer are. Last time I checked you had to pay about $1000 for a license if you plan on selling anything you make with FMOD.. (Thats why I stick to OpenAL and/or SDL_Mixer.)
Same deal with BASS but I think it''s a little cheaper.

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Also OpenAL plays sound in 3d. It takes some learning but if you want 3d sounds you will have a much easier time with OpenAL than if you were to use FMOD or any other package mentioned here, and write your own routines to make the sound 3d.

[edited by - deadalive on March 3, 2003 8:16:58 PM]

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For me DirectSound/DirectMusic/DirectShow are best multimedia libs(forWIN). Check microsoft site for huge features list. I think it is most highlevel libs available. It supports a lot features than you listed above.

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FMOD is a pretty wicked little library and it works on Windows/PocketPC/Mac/Linux/XBox/GameCube/PS2
I personally use it on both the Win32 and PocketPC environments.

As was mentioned it is not free, but the gents do provide a very affordable Shareware licence agreement -- 100$ for 1 title, $250 unlimited titles (Individual Licence only) per Platform (with multipliers for multiple platforms - ie 2 plats = 1.5x). Linux support is free.

If you never intend charge for your application, then you dont need to licence the product at all.

Take a look around at Fmod.org

One Note: Due to Legal issues around the MP3 codec, you technically cant use mp3 audio within your games with fmod without spending a lot of money.

quote:

Note that FMOD does not include a free license to distribute MP3 in your product. In an agreement with Thompson Multimedia, FMOD is allowed to distribute the mp3 decoder as long as the end user has made the necessary royalty payment to Thompson. More information is at http://www.mp3licensing.com. There is now a 'game license' which only costs $2500 per title. Note that FMOD supports ogg vorbis and wma which are valid alternatives to mp3. (and better quality)


But you will find this with any commercial sound library...

[edited by - Entz on March 4, 2003 3:02:28 PM]

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quote:
One Note: Due to Legal issues around the MP3 codec, you technically cant use mp3 audio within your games with fmod without spending a lot of money.

But you will find this with any commercial sound library...





Thanx for the tip and thanx for the relpies. After looking at them, I much prefer SDL's documentation but neither it nor openAL can change the playback tempo (at least, I couldn't find how..) So guess its FMOD- it even has the ability to loop between markers in the audio file (say to simulate skipping - I can see where that may be a neat effect...)



[edited by - Cat_B on March 5, 2003 2:17:53 AM]

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quote:
Original post by deadalive


Also OpenAL plays sound in 3d. It takes some learning but if you want 3d sounds you will have a much easier time with OpenAL than if you were to use FMOD or any other package mentioned here, and write your own routines to make the sound 3d.

[edited by - deadalive on March 3, 2003 8:16:58 PM]


More wrong FMOD info. It does, in fact, allow for 3d sound. You specify a sound''s location and a listener location. Nothing you have to write. Plus, the support''s great for it.
Incase you were wondering, on win32 platforms fmod just uses DSound unless you want the default windows media path.

Karg

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FMOD is great! It does everything I want it to, and it's MUCH LESS COMPLICATED than DirectSound...it wraps DirectSound...nuff said!

DirectXXX <-- you work for Microsoft, right??? lol...DirectSound sucks bad...at least upto DX 7 which was the last time I used it.

[edited by - Bashar on March 5, 2003 12:05:19 AM]

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ANY sound system on windows will just wrap DirectSound as its the sanest way to do it, even OpenAL does it.
The important point is the wrapping allows a more adstract and less tied to one OSes API way of doing things, so your code written for Windows should work on Linux and anything else that as that API and libs for it.

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Fmod all the way. and while you''re deciding let me point you to a instand cut and paste system you might want to use.

htpp://rucus.ru.ac.za/~xsist10/tutorials/Sound System/SoundSystem[101].html

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Karg - wow. I stand corrected! I had no idea that:

a)FMOD can do 3d sounds (probably easier than OpenAL)
b)FMOD license is much cheaper than I thought (i heard $1000)
and is FREE for linux?!? slick
c)FMOD works on Ps2..!?
Fmod looks mighty tasty now

edit !
hold up:
"There is now a 'game license' which only costs $2500 per title."

Yea umm nevermind FMOD.. $2500 per TITLE!? That's a bit steep, they should write your whole game for that much!!!
So hmm, lets weigh the options. $2500 per game, or FREE for as many games as I want? Yah, I'll be sticking with OpenAL and SDL_Mixer

[edited by - deadalive on March 6, 2003 12:44:12 PM]

[edited by - deadalive on March 6, 2003 12:59:53 PM]

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quote:

Yea umm never mind FMOD.. $2500 per TITLE!? That's a bit steep, they should write your whole game for that much!!!
So hmm, lets weigh the options. $2500 per game, or FREE for as many games as I want? Yah, I'll be sticking with OpenAL and SDL_Mixer



You misread what was said.

You only have to pay that licensing fee if you want to use FMOD's built in MP3 engine. If you don’t use it then you don’t have to pay. Contrary to popular belief MP3 compression is not a royalty free do what you want kind of technology. The encoding schemes are covered under international patents. If you charge for a product containing Mp3 Technology you are supposed to pay royalties ($2500 is cheap compared to 50cents per game or a 50000$ application license). As said FMOD supports WMA and Vorbis, which are free (and better sounding)

Also if S3M/IT/MOD music is up your alley, FMOD has one of the best tracker libraries available.

Also, the 250$ licensing I mentioned is for companies with no more than 1 employee and for shareware titles only. A larger company license is $1,250/title, $3200 unlimited titles. Console licences are different and need to be purchased seperately.

Take a boo around http://www.fmod.org/ look at the SDK docs and what it can do, then compare it to OpenAL

The shareware license was introduces so that small companies (most of use) can use a professional sound library without having to take out a second mortgage (They could of charged more trust me, I was part of the discussion of what a fair price would be for the SW licences). $3200 is not that much considering, other solutions such as Miles sound system cost $12000+.


[edited by - Entz on March 6, 2003 2:43:27 PM]

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