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ic0de

Whats a good format for music and sfx?

8 posts in this topic

Hi I'm programming a game for which I need music and SFX. I need a good format to store the audio WAVs are too big and MP3s are too low quality. I thought that I should use OGG/Vorbis, are they any good? Other than those whats a good audio format for games?
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Unless your selling your game you should be fine with mp3. If your sound files are in bad quality, that's because of the compression level, not the format. Someone probably encoded them in low quality, you can see it by looking at the Kbps (Kilobyte per sec.) of the file. If you want you could use .wav also, but they tend to be around 10-15 times larger than a mp3 file even at good quality setting, but aren't compressed at all(like bitmap vs jpeg). For mp3, 128, 160 and 192 kbit/s are common setting, higher = more quality.
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If your music is fully produced with effects, virtual instruments or live recordings then OGG is best for the reasons stated. 

However, refer to what your game engine supports - you might be able to optimize even further if you're using something like Unity3D for instance which supports [url="http://unity3d.com/support/documentation/Manual/Tracker%20Modules.html"]MOD files[/url]. They're like MIDI files that include the instrument samples, so they're much cheaper on storage than a fully rendered audio stream like OGG, AAC or other.
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I would take Ogg for music (either streaming from HDD or memory), but for sound fx I'd probably consider a lossless compressor (such as FLAC) and decompress on load for play back.

SFX tend to be small anyway, FLAC will sort out load times but you'll need the decompressed data to play it and there is no point in wasting time decompressing it each time to play.
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I would suggest using xact then your format of choice is no longer an issue. Very east to use. You can use wav files and choose your compression level and setup playlists.
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OGG is more a compression/uncompression algorithm than an actual format... That being said it is the compression / uncompression library I use myself for my music and ambient effects. The way I have implemented it however is with multiple tracks in the same file, cut and spliced for streaming performance.


There was an article I can't remember enough about to find, but it basically detailed how you use multiple streaming tracks to achieve background music and ambiance

I don't know if they compressed their data into the single track, but I did, and cut & spliced it like I said, so that all the tracks could be streamed off disc to play synchronously with a minimum of disc seeks. It's a background and ambiance method I highly recommend it if you can get it working and looping correctly. I managed to get in functional to at least some level, there might be some noticeable problems with the directX sound playback version, but I haven't had the time to go hunting for barely perceivable glitches. But yeah, minimum number of seeks (theoretically zero except 1 when playback returns to start for loop) so it'll play smoothly of a disc, and if you have too many tracks playing side by side, you can just cut them up into smaller pieces when you splice them together into the one file.
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[quote name='Kyall' timestamp='1323849231' post='4893759']
OGG is more a compression/uncompression algorithm than an actual format...
[/quote]

technically, isn't ogg just a container like that of zip files, or mkv files.
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