We are joining Facebook!

We’re excited to announce that we’re joining Facebook!

At Two Big Ears, we’ve been hard at work creating technology and tools that have defined how immersive audio is crafted and experienced in VR and AR both now and in the future. We’re proud to see the impact our work has had on so many great projects.

Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey and scale our work from within Facebook. There is so much still to explore. By joining with a company that shares our values and our vision, we will be able to scale our technology even quicker as we continue powering immersive audio experiences.

Our mission is to make VR audio succeed across all devices and platforms and continue to help creators make the best experiences for billions of people across the world.

Starting today, our pipeline for cinematic VR and 360 video, including the authoring tools, encoder and rendering engine are available for free. We’re excited to be able to continue developing great tools for a larger number of people across the world.

3Dception for Games will no longer be a separate product but we will be working with the Oculus team to combine our expertise and create best in class VR audio. Existing Pro customers will continue to receive support in accordance with your current agreement with Two Big Ears for the next 12 months.

Thank you to our customers, partners and investors, including board members George Elliott and Neil Heywood, the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise and everybody who has been with us on this amazing journey.

We look forward to advancing our mission – and continuing our work with you – from Facebook!

3Dception in VR: Content update

Over the past couple of years, we have been astounded by the way users have jumped on board the VR wagon and crafted groundbreaking and thought-provoking content. At Two Big Ears, we have constantly made an effort to listen closely to developers and understand their real needs. We have piped their immensely useful feedback into our product development roadmap that has allowed us to stay ahead and consistently deliver reliable, efficient and a hyper-realistic immersive audio platform.

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With the launch of consumer VR this year, we wanted to focus on a select few developers who have gone the extra mile and created content which we, as a community, and as a audio technology company, can be proud of. Check these out as soon as you get your hands on a VR setup! All content you see below is powered by 3Dception.

Lucky’s Tale – Playful Corp

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Lucky’s Tale is a delightful platforming adventure game designed exclusively for the Oculus Rift. Whether you’re racing with Lucky through lush trees, dodging swamp pits or battling menacing bosses, you’ll feel like you’ve truly gone inside the world of a video game thanks to the magic of VR.

Read more on the Playful website or if you are one of the lucky few with a Rift already, get it on the Oculus Store.

 

The Gallery: Call of the Starseed – Cloudhead Games

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The Gallery is an episodic fantasy exploration game built from the ground up for virtual reality. Reach out and touch a forgotten world filled with bizarre characters, curious interactions and awe inspiring adventure. Go buy it on Steam, or read more about the game from the website.

 

Fated – Frima

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FATED: The Silent Oath is a first-person immersive adventure set in the mythical age of Vikings and built specifically for Virtual Reality. Written by Assassin’s Creed writer Jill Murray, FATED tells the story of the exile of a man and his family during Ragnarök – the end times.

Read more on the game website.

Dreadhalls – White Door Games

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Dreadhalls is a horror dungeon crawler for the Oculus Rift and Gear VR. You are trapped deep inside a massive dungeon. Explore it, survive it, and find a way to escape. Your only weapons will be stealth, your own courage, and a faint light.

TheVOID

THE VOID - RAPTURE GEAR

There’s so much to TheVoid(Ha!), that we won’t be doing justice on our blog feature to make an attempt and encapsulate everything about it. Head over to their website to see what we are talking about.

 

DOTA2: Secret Shop Demo – Valve

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A VR prototype, built in the world of the hugely successful DOTA 2, sets you down in the wooden shack of a mysterious shopkeeper. The shack is packed to the rafters with mysterious entities, magical creatures and intriguing looking nooks and crannies.

You can check out the Secret Shop demo from Steam.

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This is great, isn’t it? We cannot wait to see this amazing community grow and build incredulous content!

 

We Are Hiring

We founded Two Big Ears in 2013 and have had an amazing time growing our technology, our products, our customers and our team. Each component adds up to make who we are and what we do.

We’re excited to announce that we are now hiring for multiple positions (over fifteen to begin with), including R&D, audio programming, DSP and graphics. We’ve got an exciting future ahead of us and are working with great partners to define the future of immersive media.

We’ve got big technical challenges to solve, details to finesse and amazing technology and products to build. Join us! We look forward to building the future of Two Big Ears with you.

 

Announcing The Spatial Workstation

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One of the things we are really proud of at Two Big Ears is the community that has built around us over the past two years. We’ve seen a range of exciting and amazing projects that have used our technology. We are constantly humbled by what is out there and work hard to deliver on feedback.

This community has been crucial to help us understand the many problems faced by sound designers and developers in VR and AR. There are a whole range of them that need to be addressed — from workflow all the way down to the technology.  We’ve seen many great VR games in the past two years and an increasing number of Cinematic VR and 360 video projects. Designing and developing audio for Cinematic VR and 360 videos has been difficult — non-standard workflows, lack of cross-platform rendering support, large asset file sizes and the lack of a complete pipeline to solve workflow issues.

For a long time now we have been developing a complete audio pipeline geared towards Cinematic VR experiences that is a mix of linear post-production techniques and game audio. 3Dception initially started off as spatial rendering engine, but has now grown into a platform that helps us achieve many things across platforms very quickly. Through most of this year, the Cinematic VR pipeline has been used successfully by a select number of companies across a range of great projects. Their feedback has been crucial — thank you. The pipeline has already been quickly adopted by many studios across the world.

Today, we proudly announce the 3Dception Spatial Workstation which is a pipeline that consists of a range of tools and technologies for designing, rendering, streaming and delivering great 3D audio for real-time cinematic experiences. As a sound designer, you can mix directly to a VR device in real-time from the comfort of your DAW and deliver assets that can be easily played back on the target device. As a developer, you don’t have to worry about audio DSP, assigning individual audio files, video synchronisation and cross-platform compatibility. Achieve great quality and save time — loads of time. You can find out more about the Spatial Workstation here. Our rendering engine supports all of our existing platforms and for the very first time — native web browser support (no plugins!).

This is only the beginning. We’ve got lots planned with many big announcements to make in the coming months.

Who said there’s anything stopping us from combining our geometry based technologies with #### and ####?

3Dception For FMOD

After much demand, we are pleased to announce that 3Dception is now available directly in FMOD Studio across all our supported platforms and game engines — including Unity and Unreal Engine. We have worked closely with the FMOD team to ensure that all of 3Dception’s functionality is seamlessly integrated within FMOD’s UI and workflow. Download FMOD Studio 1.07 to get started!

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Replace FMOD’s 3D panner with 3Dception to enable full binaural spatialisation and room modelling. If you are deploying your game, get in touch with us to get access to the runtime component.

Our aim with 3Dception has always been to make great 3D audio and environmental modelling technology available everywhere. Keep a ear for some major announcements in the next few weeks!

SDK Updates And More

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We’ve been up to lots here at Two Big Ears with feature improvements across our product range, new platform support, new mediums and continuing performance optimisations. Nothing better than a quick blog post to summarise!

Unity 5.2

With the need for spatial audio gaining prominence, Unity’s audio team have addressed the performance issues with 3rd party spatialisation plugins — like 3Dception — with a new Spatialisation Plugin SDK. This new feature is a part of Unity 5.2, releasing tomorrow. We have been trialling and providing feedback on this new SDK over the past few months and Unity’s audio team were kind enough to implement some of our feature requests.

What does this new SDK mean for 3Dception? First off, a massive leap in performance (up to 6x!) which so far was only possible with other middleware or native implementations. Additionally, the new SDK creates a more streamlined workflow when implementing 3D audio. 3Dception’s feature set remains the same but will be translated to this easier workflow.

3Dception 1.2 supports the new SDK, in addition to a whole set of performance optimisations and spatialisation improvements. Unity 5.2 will be released on September 8 and 3Dception 1.2 will be released shortly after was released on 17 September. Existing components such as 3Dception Source and 3Dception Filter have now been simplified to work directly with a Unity audio source. The release includes an automatic update wizard to help upgrade existing projects.

3Dception 1.2 is a Unity 5.2+ only release, but will be back-ported to support Unity 4.x-5.1 (with the older Unity audio APIs). We will be eventually deprecating support for these earlier versions, although 3Dception 1.1 and prior will continue to work.

Wwise

3Dception Wwise 1.1 was released recently and includes many performance optimisations, spatialisation improvements and support for Wwise 2015.x. We have been pleased to see our user base quickly upgrade to Wwise 2015 and make use of all the new features and improvements from Audiokinetic.

Geometry

The geometry system has been in closed beta for the past few months. We’ve been collecting lots of feedback and making many many many improvements to the system. It isn’t ready for prime-time yet, but will be soon. Get in touch with us if you’d like to try it out!

New Platforms & Mediums

We’ve also been working on some new platforms, product integrations and new media of interaction.  There’s been lots of exciting stuff that we’ve been busy with and you should hear more about it all very very soon 🙂

Great Content

We’ve had loads of games that have been in development since we released 3Dception 0.1 (!). Many of these are finally getting closer to release and we can’t wait to talk about them. Watch your social media!

 

Battle for Avengers Tower 360

Who doesn’t want to be a superhero? We have all had secret/not-so-secret fantasies about donning super cool costumes, have futuristic AIs to command and zoom into explosive action scenes in super-slow motion blasting through everything and anything that stands in our way.

What if we could be Iron Man himself?

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Our friends at Framestore teamed up with 72AndSunny, Samsung and Marvel, to grant us exactly that. The Battle for Avengers Tower 360 VR experience is a super-immersive, incredible, short but memorable Cinematic VR experience that allows us to forget all things insipid and be a part of the Avengers as they defend the tower from Ultron and his minions. All in glorious binaural audio powered by 3Dception.

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3Dception was used to ensure that the audio was as great as the fantastic visuals themselves. Hear missiles whizzing past you, Thor’s hammer smashing through sub-Ultrons and the Hulk smashing through objects behind you. All in glorious Cinematic VR, running fluidly on the amazing Samsung Gear VR.

Yes, all of this, running on a smartphone! Creating such an immersive experience running on a phone has it’s challenges, and having realistic binaural audio added to it presents another level of complexity. Which is why 3Dception has been engineered to perform optimally on mobile devices, so that you can hear the action around you as realistically as you see it unfolding, to create a fully immersive, interactive, feature film-quality VR experience with true binaural sound.

If you are one of the lucky few to possess a Samsung Gear VR, head over to the Oculus store and download the Avengers experience to experience the fantasy yourself.

Sound: Now And Next, BBC

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I will be doing a talk on audio for virtual reality and will be on a panel on immersive audio at BBC R&D’s Sound: Now And Next event in London tomorrow. The event is looking to be great, with a fantastic line-up of speakers, panels and technology demonstrations on the future of audio and content creation. Do say hello if you are around! The organisers will be uploading recordings of the talks at a later date.

 

VR meetup – Creative Storytelling through VR

We have been talking about VR and similar technologies and what it means for the average consumer for quite some time now. As a medium, it has the potential to transform media consumption as we know it. VR as it stands now, has an obvious use case for gaming, and few innovative tinkerers and studios have slowly started realising its potential through 360 VR films as well.

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What does it mean for traditional advertising though? Could an enhanced immersive experience be used for increasing engagement with brands, through interactive storytelling? Market research suggests 360-degree video engages people much more than traditionally filmed content. Audiences watch panoramic videos five times as long and they are seven times more likely to share them. Research also supports positive ad impressions, something Microsoft is exploring with its “Ad Pano” format. Interactive panoramic ads have been found to increase product purchase intent 65% over standard ads. (Source)

To explore such questions and deliberate the potential of VR for digital agencies, we will be attending a meetup on Monday 27th April, organised by London based Happy Finish, who are a global creative production studio specialising in high end retouching, CGI, animation, motion grading and VFX for global brands, advertising agencies and photographers. We will be giving a talk and be a part of a panel to examine the advertising and commercial opportunities that VR promises to create.

Few tickets are still available and can be purchased here.

News|  Talks

Björk – Stonemilker VR

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This weekend will see the preview launch of Stonemilker, the haunting first track of Björk’s worldwide hit album Vulnicura, in 360 virtual reality and powered by 3Dception’s real-time 3D audio rendering. The video will be previewed at MoMA PS1 as well as Rough Trade stores in the US and UK. This is just weeks after our announcement of 3Dception’s use in Songlines, currently in exhibition at MoMA, New York.

In Björk’s  words:

i am also incredibly proud to offer a premier of stonemilker . with 360 3D sound mix for virtual reality headset.

this came about as a spontaneous fruit of mine and andrew huang’s collaboration . we had already done black lake , the “family” moving album cover and the black lake “book cover” trailer and then found us in iceland one day with nothing to do and a 360 camera lying about . we discussed its potential for intimacy and andrew then suggested we take it to the beach where the song was written . it immediately rang true for me as that location has a beautiful 360 panoramic view which matches the cyclical fugue like movement in the song . if the song has a shape it is sort of like a circle that just goes on forever .
i had recorded the strings with a clip on mike on each instrument . we have made a different mix where we have fanned this in an intimate circle around the listener .
so as you watch this in the virtual reality headset it will be as if you are on that beach and with the 30 players sitting in a circle tightly around you.

To present such a unique experience, we designed a completely re-imagined workflow that blends the worlds of linear sound design and interactive audio.  Björk’s vision of making the user a part of her world in Iceland, where the film was shot, compelled us to push the envelope of what is possible on mobile in VR. In collaboration with talented teams across continents, we worked towards building a new audiophile VR player which marries the world of real-time binaural audio with high definition visuals. All of this, just to bring you an experience you’ve never seen or heard before.

The video was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, audio remixed for VR by Chris Pike and the mobile VR delivery platform was integrated and pieced together by Third Space Agency (3SA) and digital production specialists Rewind. Visitors to MoMA and Rough Trade will be shown the Stonemilker film on the new cross platform Freefly virtual reality headset developed by Proteus VR Labs.