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.

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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!

 

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.

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.

Björk

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The Museum of Modern Art presents a retrospective of the multifaceted work of composer, musician, and singer Björk. The exhibition draws from more than 20 years of the artist’s daring and innovative projects and her eight full-length albums to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, and costumes.

On the third floor, Songlines presents an interactive, location-based audio experience through Björk’s albums, with a biographical narrative that is both personal and poetic.

We’re honoured and proud to be involved in Songlines, with 3Dception powering the location-based augmented audio experience. We’ve worked with a fantastic team across the world to ensure that the whole experience runs exceptionally well and sounds amazing off an iPod Touch. Yes, an iPod Touch. The exhibition runs from March 8–June 7, 2015. Don’t miss it if you are in New York! Get in touch for press or other enquires.

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Only the 3Dception engine could provide us with the audiophile quality and ease of integration our creative and technical approach for the Björk Songlines project demanded.

The Two Big Ears team and their audio programming expertise were key in our ability to provide visitors to Björk’s show the revolutionary head tracking psychoacoustic spatialised audio experience the artist had visualised for presenting her pure audio work to MoMA audiences.

– Andrew Melchior, Third Space Agency,  Producer of Björk Songlines @ MoMA

Effect Of Distance Parameters

George Vlad is a sound design intern at Two Big Ears. This is the continuation of a series of experiments with sound design parameters and audio spatialization. Read the first post on ‘Pitch And Perception’ here.

Continuing my journey through VR audio enhanced by 3Dception, I investigate the effects of two other parameters: minimum distance and rolloff factor. As expected, the effects of these parameters, including pitch, work in tandem and therefore must be considered together to manipulate the audience or the player.

Minimum distance

According to the 3Dception manual, minimum distance is the distance after which the attenuation starts to take effect. At a first glance this would normally affect the perceived distance between the listener and the source object. As you can experience in video #1 below, this assumption is correct.

However, in addition to changing the perceived distance, there is an interesting side effect, especially when the source is visible to the player. At values lower than the default 1, the object appears to be smaller than it really is. As expected, for values larger than 1, the perceived size of the object increases. The rolloff curve seems to not only affect our perception of distance, but also the size of the object.

Rolloff factor

As per the 3Dception manual, the rolloff factor affects the exponential attenuation model. Values greater than 1 will result in a steeper curve while values smaller than 1 will result in a gentler curve. Continue…

Design Explorations

My name is George Vlad and I’m a sound designer, composer and all round audio guy. Over the past 5 years I’ve been involved in many aspects of video game audio production, from recording to editing and design, from writing music to engineering and restoration. The only aspect of game audio that I’m still learning the ropes of is implementation through middleware.

Parameters

A month ago I embarked on a sound design internship with Two Big Ears with the purpose of widening my implementation horizons and getting to know 3D audio and VR. Coming from a mostly creative environment the learning curve was pretty steep, but luckily my previous experience with Wwise through SoVGA helped me get up to speed with implementation in Wwise and Unity. Over the coming weeks I will be exploring the effect of various sound design parameters and their relationship with the perception of 3D audio and documenting my findings on this blog. I aim to explore a parameter every week.

Pitch

One of the first questions that come to mind when exploring virtual reality and binaural audio is how pitch relates to the perception of movement and spatialisation. We perceive sound as coming from moving sources based on subtle frequency shifts. Thus, a sound source that is approaching will sound ever so slightly higher in pitch, while a source that is moving away from us will produce a sound that is lower in pitch — also known as Doppler effect. The perception of elevation on the other hand is determined by the spectral content of a given sound. As a general rule, low frequency rich sounds will be perceived as coming from lower than high frequency rich sounds.

In the next week I plan on investigating how much of a role pitch plays in the perception of movement, while also testing its effects on the quality of spatialisation. For all my experiments I will be using the 3Dception demo Unity project as a testing ground. I will be attaching 3 different sound palettes to the main character which is a neat little flying robot. Each sound palette will be different from the others in both frequency content and general timbre. This will allow me to observe any changes in perception over the same in-game event by switching from one palette to another. I will record footage of my experiments so that it’s easier to compare the different settings.

3Dception Unity 0.6 — What’s New?

We’ve just pushed out v0.6.0b of 3Dception Unity as we get closer to exiting beta. This update includes over 30 new features, fixes and improvements. Here’s a summary of what’s new:

More Sources!

The active source limit for non-commercial projects has been increased to 10! Yay!

Pricing

The Basic option has been dropped to £9/month from £14/month. You can also optionally pay upfront for a year of free upgrades, if monthly payments isn’t your thing.

Room Model With Variable Surfaces

Room models now include separate reflection properties per surface in the room (walls, ceiling, floor), making it possible to design dynamic environments with a lot more character. The UI gizmos have also been improved, so that the walls change in opacity depending on their reflection property. In one look you’d be able tell what your room sounds like. Cool! Here’s a GIF, just because:

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Continue…

3Dception for Fabric

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Our aim with 3Dception is to make great sounding algorithms available across different devices, systems and workflows. This doesn’t just mean good quality and efficient algorithms, but also supporting the workflows that make good design possible. Fabric for Unity is a great middleware tool if you are developing games and apps for Unity. We’re happy to announce that we’ve partnered with Tazman-Audio to make 3Dception compatible with Fabric. Integration scripts for Fabric will be available for free in the upcoming update of 3Dception — which includes a whole bunch of improvements, optimisations and great new features.

3Dception is currently available for Unity (natively and Fabric) and Wwise across OSX, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. We’ve got a long list of announcements to make in the coming months and we can’t wait to share it!

Full press release below! Continue…