SDK Updates And More

3DceptionLogo

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!

 

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…

Pitch And Perception

George Vlad is a sound design intern at Two Big Ears. Starting with this post he will be documenting his experiments with sound design parameters and audio spatialization on this blog.

Following up on the previous blog post I have been investigating the role of pitch in the perception of movement and spatialization. The first thing I need to mention is that this is my no means an exhaustive process. I would rather say that I’m scratching the surface and providing food for thought for whoever finds this as fascinating as I do.

I designed a set of 5 similar sounding files resembling an internal combustion engine hum. The frequency content in these files lies mostly below 1 kHz as you can see in the picture. The Wwise engine is programmed to pick one of the 5 files at random creating an indefinite loop. I first played the Intro scene with the original sound palette so as to examine its perception with regards to azimuth, elevation, movement and spatialization. My conclusions with regards to this particular file should be taken with a grain of salt when applied to other files. Pitch is only one of many parameters that can alter and skew the perception of movement, elevation, spatialization and so on.

A few words about the Wwise and 3Dception settings I used. The default doppler option in 3Dception was disabled to avoid pitch changes. 3Dception’s room modeling was enabled with the default settings and the attenuation mode was set to 3Dception’s default as well. You will notice an audible gap in the video at certain points. This seems to be caused by the Wwise engine that needs to catch up with the fact that the files are shorter once they are pitched up. I then proceeded to raising the pitch on the sound palette by 2 semitone increments. This helped me observe the changes in perception and enabled me write the following notes.

Azimuth

Although the unpitched sound is diffuse, there’s no doubt that initially it is coming from the left side. Once the Robot object reaches the camera and goes off screen again it is similarly easy to pinpoint it as coming from the right side. It is safe to say that increasing pitch does not affect the azimuth perception by a great deal.

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 Wwise

3DcWwise

The past few months have flown past us. With a monthly release cycle we’ve been squashing bugs and making major improvements, both in terms of quality and performance. Thanks for your encouragement and support!

v0.5 of 3Dception Unity was released two weeks ago and included support for iOS and Android. It now works effortlessly on Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS and Android. We aren’t stopping here, there’s a truckload of improvements and features that are currently being implemented and we are working hard to bring 3Dception to all major development platforms.

Our next stop: Wwise. 3Dception for Wwise is currently in closed beta and works as a mixer plugin in Wwise 2014. We are excited to bring our efficient 3D audio and room modelling algorithms to an amazing authoring tool that is widely used across the industry. While we work towards a public release, you are welcome to try it out and put it through its paces. Sign up below and we’ll send you builds very soon.

Support for Wwise also means support for Unreal Engine 4. 3Dception Wwise includes full support for Unreal Engine 4 and you’ll receive our helper scripts and documentation to get you started.

More news and announcements coming soon!

Get 3Dception Wwise Beta: