I'm doing a little research on a subject, and it looks like there is some sort of crysis there? Last EAX/OpenAL supporting games were like in year 2006. Why is that? Is there is a major lost of interest of gamers to these effects, or game developers just switching to surround sound (however this has nothing to do with 3D sound effects)?

I think these effects in the video above are pretty nice, why there is so little possibilities for game developers to create such things? From where this limitation comes from?

As far as I undersand it's both lack of some good (preferrably multiplatform) standard API like OpenGL, and support for this API by either OS (for software emulation, if it's possible) or sound card drivers. Does my conclusion is correct? Or maybe there are some other reasons as well?

UPDATE. I've found examples of modern games which produces some other effects in 3D environment, so it's looks like I was wrong. Seems like just this is not-so-popular subject for a common public discussion. What I mean by that it's either so common it became not-to-mention feature of a game, either it's a very narrow area which doesn't produces much discussion or maybe both.

However, I would like to see more example of modern 3d sound effect libraries in action.


FMOD is practically an industry standard. Wwise is also gaining a lot in popularity. They both support a wide variety of platforms. You can get high-quality 3D sound and advanced sound effects on every single worthwhile platform today, with hardware acceleration when available.

There are close to no large commercial games that lack 3D audio and effects. Many hobbyist, student, and indie games also support it. I'm not sure why think there are a lack of games with these features.

There is a lack of a quality open API for such things. OpenAL exists, but... man, it's just horrible. Until such a time that the Open Source community can cobble together a good competitor, FMOD or Wwise are freely available for hobbyists and support Linux and plenty of other platforms.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I think so because there is actually pretty big difference in game sound with, or without such effects (as seen in video). And most of the modern games actually doesn't sound like that. I may be wrong though. \$\endgroup\$ – Petr Abdulin Aug 10 '12 at 7:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ OpenAL is not OSS now, BTW. \$\endgroup\$ – Petr Abdulin Aug 10 '12 at 7:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Petr Abdulin: While Creative's OpenAL is not open-source anymore, many people actually mean OpenAL Soft (kcat.strangesoft.net/openal.html) when they talk about open implementation of OpenAL. \$\endgroup\$ – Tapio Aug 10 '12 at 9:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree about OAL. OpenAL isn't state of art but does its job as rock-solid low-level cross-platform positional Audio Library, most people won't even need more than OpenAL has to offers. \$\endgroup\$ – API-Beast Aug 10 '12 at 10:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mr. Beast: The OpenAL interface is just atrocious. They for some crazy reason modeled it after OpenGL, which already had a bad reputation for being error-prone and confusing. OpenAL is missing tons of features, most importantly any kind of real tooling. If you've never used something like FMOD Designer, it will be difficult to explain the difference in usability and productivity for your sound content people. I'm sure that if all you do is little hobbyist games it might seem bearable, but when you get into high-end audio work with big content, FMOD or Wwise blow away OpenAL easily. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Middleditch Aug 10 '12 at 15:14

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