What is TrueAudio & Phonon (Physics Based Audio for VR)

In most media experiences particularly in VR, high-quality audio is a very important feature to go by. Spatial (audio appearing to come from a specific location in environment) in VR and 3D gaming can be critical for immersion, presence, and conveyance of information for both game-play and storytelling. This, therefore, brings about variation in sound variables that virtual projects need to simulate, as preferred by listeners.

Phonon is one of a 3D audio technologies used within 3D game engines and SteamVR. It is an enhancement system which is available for sound designers that lets sound designers add physics-based environmental audio to games and VR apps. Basically, it is a fully featured set of physics-based audio tools for creating immersive environmental effects. It includes a single source and channel-based bin-aural processing, propagated geometry-based reflections, dynamic reverb, and occlusion based on scene geometry. Being compatible with existing game engines and middle-ware (Unity, Fmod, Unreal, Wwise), phonon plugs into existing workflows, and provides a multi-platform-based performance, throttling for low latency and easy deployment.

TrueAudio is a software advancement kit for GPU augmented and multi-core quality aural indication dispensation. Essentially, it’s an API that allows user’s (GPU) for performing aural rendering and enhancement i.e. convolution. True Audio provides pre-enhanced library purposes for computationally costly algorithms such as time-varying audio complications, FFT/FHT, and audio-oriented vector math. SDK also provides GPU utility roles that support (GPU) source arrangements, an advancement that allows it to apportion properties on it with visual illustrations while evading effects to quality-of-service.

The advancement of VR technology has made need for an immersive aural experience a necessity. This immersive experience that comes as much close to what we feel in our real world has been as a result of vital aspect of VR. Aural plays more than half of that VR immersive feel. It is for this reason that if the audio profile doesn’t match environment, The immersion would be broken. True aural comes in handy in ensuring it sound is closer The world acoustics. It makes use of a well-crafted auralization possible.

The True Audio software advancement kit offers you a real-time audio enhancement and thus aids in high performance with graphics. The improved VR makes use of (GPU) for the audio hence freeing up CPU resources. In addition, it also enables advanced interactive acoustics.
More features of True Audio include but not limited to;

• Provision of CPU and GPU implementations for all the tasks within.
• Extendable open source API.
• It offers you a multi-threaded, multi-queue and real-time audio engine.
• OpenCL parallel batch convolution engine ensures faster performance.
• Fully real-time dynamic physics-based acoustics rendering.

The interaction between phonon and True Audio helps achieve high-quality rendering. After its emitted by each source being processed on CPU by a phonon, and usually sent down the pipeline for further processing effects or final mixing. With True aural Next, as soon phonon gets data, it sends it to the (GPU) which then, after convolution sends those results back to CPU. This brings massive parallel to compute power of GPUs to aural rendering as well as ensuring True Audio lets phonon continuously updates Impulse Responses (IRs) as a user moves and interacts with environment, without affecting the (GPU) performance.

Basically, phonon works with True Audio Next API if you are using a device with AMD CPU in it. Phonon will automatically switch to AMD TrueAudio Next and thus will begin to model additional sounds physically. For a non-supported system, rendering will be effected using traditional mode of rendering sound.

What is Mixed Mode VR (Virtual Reality)

Before delving into what mixed reality is, it would be prudent to understand virtual and augmented reality first. Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated interactive experience incorporating sensory feedback like visual, auditory, and haptic. Augmented reality (AR) is a variation of VR that renders information alongside a camera feed through a smart phone device allowing the user to look at 3D images.

Mixed reality (MR) is a combination of both virtual and real worlds to create new environments and visuals where digital and tangible objects interact with each other in real-time. It is a blend of VR and the real world, including AR and augmented virtuality, through immersive technology. MR represents the next step in the evolution of how people interact with the environment and computers. It unlocks a variety of possibilities that we could only imagine before now.

MR is where it is at the moment owing to the advancements in various aspects of technology. They include display technology, computer vision, input systems, and graphical processing power. Since its inception two decades ago, the application of MR traverses the boundaries of being only on displays to incorporating location, spatial sound, and environmental input.

From these descriptions, mixed reality first starts with the virtual world where the digital environment overlays reality. The user then has an immersive experience in the virtual world blocking out the real world. It may sound like virtual reality, but digital objects in MR extend over the actual elements. In VR, there is no connection between objects in the virtual world to the reality around the user. There are several mixed reality devices on the market that you can buy if you want the experience. Windows partners with various manufacturers, such as Samsung, HP, and Acer among others, to produce mixed reality headsets that also include motion controllers.

VR Gaming Audio – What is Oculus Sound?

When it comes to virtual reality gaming, audio is a key component just as it is in traditional gaming. After all, without sound, not a single virtual reality game would ever be fun no matter the graphics, plot or other aspects of the game. Top VR games such as Defector, Dark Eclipse, Beat Suber and more would be very uninteresting to play without sound. Actually, 50% of the thrill in a game is derived from the audio.

If you have been following the latest VR gaming audio news, you have probably heard about Oculus Sound. If not yet, today is your opportunity to learn about this powerful audio technology that VR gaming sound engineers rely on a great deal to create unparalleled audio cues for games.

VR gaming audio – what is Oculus sound? Oculus sound is the audio that comes with all Oculus virtual reality games. These games are designed and distributed by Oculus VR, which is a division of Facebook Inc. that was rolled out in 2016.

To experience this kind of sound with a VR game, a special headset known as Oculus Rift is necessary. This is a VR headset developed as well as manufactured by Oculus VR.

How the Oculus Engineers Use This Technology to Create Unparalleled Audio Cues for Oculus VR Games

Oculus virtual reality games are rated for exceptional quality of sound. The game sound engineers at Oculus VR are known to be some of the best in the game. How these engineers are able to build this kind of sound is something that seems to elude many. Many audio experts in virtual reality gaming would like to learn this top secret.

If you are a VR audio expert or enthusiast, who has been trying to figure out the secret behind the Oculus audio cues, today is your lucky day. I am going to show you what Oculus engineers do to create these unmatched audio cues for their virtual reality games. Without wasting any more time, let’s head straight to something called Oculus Audio SDK.

What is Oculus Audio SDK?

It is a priceless tool that the game audio engineers at Oculus Inc, use to create cutting-edge audio cues for the company’s virtual reality games. Oculus Audio SDk is a sound plug-in for VR games that offers plenty of resources needed to build unparalleled audio effects for VR games.

Supported Game Engines

If you are using any of the following game engines to create VR gaming audio cues, Oculus Audio SDK can go a long way:

• FMOD Studio
• Unity
• Avid Pro-Tools (AAX)
• Audiokinetic Wwise
• Many different Window digital audio workstations (DAWs) or visual studio technologies (VSTs)

How to Build Mind-blowing Audio Cues with Oculus Audio SDK

If you are a professional, using Oculus Audio SDK will be a walk in the park. However, if you are a beginner, it might be a little bit of a learning curve. Therefore, we recommend beginning with the basics first. There are many free resources online that you can use to learn the basics of audio creation in virtual reality gaming.

1. To create groundbreaking Oculus Sound effects for a virtual reality game, you will need to download Oculus Audio SDK first.

2. Once you download the software from the official page, install it on your device. From there, you can proceed to build mind-blowing audio cues. Please note that the next steps will depend on your engine as well the audio-middleware you are using.

If you are using Audiokinetic Wwise or FMOD, for instance, you have already finished the better part of the project! This is because Oculus Audio SDK has amazing plug-ins for these two VR game development engines. That means you can get up and running immediately.

If you are using Unity, Avid Pro-Tools (AAX) or any digital audio workstation for Windows, instead, then things are just as simple. Audio SDK comes with amazing audio integrations for Unity 4 and Unity 5. The tool also comes with awesome plug-ins for the other game engines. Your work is to just select desired plug-ins and add a few tweaks to the project.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that Oculus Audio SDK plays a critical role when it comes to building cutting-edge VR gaming sounds. Whether you are using Unity, FMOD, Audiokinetic Wwise or other common game development engine, this priceless tool can go a long way in helping you build an unparalleled audio component for your virtual reality game.