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CarlML

Use .wma files in a game?

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Hi, I'm trying to find out whether it is permissible to use .wma files in a commercial game without having to deal with any kind of licensing fees?

 

The idea is to have a simple sound system which would use standard Windows functionality like mciSendString to load wma sound files.

 

I looked a bit at this Microsoft page about licensing but I find it hard to tell if what it says would include simple usage of wma files:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windowsmedia-components-licensing

Edited by CarlML

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It seems I'll not be using mciSendString because it it creates lag as the sound needs to load from disc everytime it plays it seems, unless you write some utterly complex and custom code that nobody knows of.

 

But still, the question is about wma files, which I may use with some other sound API.

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According to that page, in section "Distributing a device or software containing Windows Media Audio (WMA)," there are license fees involved in the order of USD 10'000.

It's better to batch-convert those WMA files to OGG, which is a public domain format.

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It seems I'll not be using mciSendString because it it creates lag as the sound needs to load from disc everytime it plays it seems, unless you write some utterly complex and custom code that nobody knows of.

 

But still, the question is about wma files, which I may use with some other sound API.

 

That link is about licensing for non Windows platforms. (i.e if you need the codec source-code to write your own wma decoder for Mac/Linux/Android/iOS/Ps4/Whatever).

 

If you are developing for Windows you can just use the Windows Media SDK.

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According to that page, in section "Distributing a device or software containing Windows Media Audio (WMA)," there are license fees involved in the order of USD 10'000.

It's better to batch-convert those WMA files to OGG, which is a public domain format.

Yeah I've been thinking about using OGG but I can't rely on people having that codec instslled can I? Would I not have to distribute that codec with my program/game? I'd prefer to use something that all Windows users have out of the box.

 

mp3 also has a license fee and .wavs are generally too large filesize so I thought wma might be a good fit. I'm not really sure how to inteprete what you quoted though, based on the context and what SimonForsman pointed out above.

Edited by CarlML

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It seems I'll not be using mciSendString because it it creates lag as the sound needs to load from disc everytime it plays it seems, unless you write some utterly complex and custom code that nobody knows of.

 

But still, the question is about wma files, which I may use with some other sound API.

 

That link is about licensing for non Windows platforms. (i.e if you need the codec source-code to write your own wma decoder for Mac/Linux/Android/iOS/Ps4/Whatever).

 

If you are developing for Windows you can just use the Windows Media SDK.

 

So you think I can freely use wma files if developing for Windows? Perhaps there is another page with other kinds of fees for that...

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There is a licensing fee for WMA. I know some radio stations that actually use that format and the fees are pretty steep.

 

FLAC, OGG, and WAV are all free.

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Yeah I've been thinking about using OGG but I can't rely on people having that codec instslled can I? Would I not have to distribute that codec with my program/game? I'd prefer to use something that all Windows users have out of the box.

Yes, you would definitely want to distribute a Vorbis decoder with your game, but if you use the right libraries, all this comes down to is a .dll in the game's directory.

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Alright. I've got a sound system implemented using FMOD now which has OGG support included so I guess I'm all set. FMOD is free to use for indie developers with a budget under 100k so that fits me.:)

 

Thanks for the advice!

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