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LinuxGames.com: Linux Enters the World of 3D Audio - Q & A With Michael Vance, OpenAL Developer

Mar 09, 2000, 02:45 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Matthews)

[ Thanks to Dustin Reyes for this link. ]

"As is widely known, Linux has drivers for two types of sound cards with 3D audio capabilities, the Sound Blaster Live! from Creative and the Vortex line of cards from Aureal. Unfortunately, those drivers don't currently provide a way for games under Linux to use those 3D features. However, at the Linux Expo this past February, I heard about a new, open 3D audio API that would soon make its debut on Linux, Windows, and MacOS. At the Game Developer's Conference, an announcement has finally been made and the time has arrived to unveil this new API, called OpenAL."

"With a clear nod to the familiar graphics API from SGI, OpenAL hopes to provide a cross-platform API that is as useful and powerful for 3D audio as OpenGL is for 3D graphics. Simply knowing that it exists, of course, raises several questions. Where did OpenAL come from? What features are supported? Who will be providing hardware support? What kind of games can we expect to see using OpenAL? These questions, and many more, are answered below, by Loki programmer Michael Vance."

"LG: Compared to the other APIs out there, like Aureal's A3D and Creative's EAX, what functionality does OpenAL provide? Can it do the reflections and occlusions that A3D 2.0 is known for? What about the excellent reverb that EAX provides?"

"MV: OpenAL currently provides (to a varying degree or another depending upon the maturity of the implementation--we're still writing these) everything in IASIG Level 1 and IASIG Level 2. This includes distance based attenuation, panning based on position, doppler, radiation cones, environmental reverb, etc."

"At one time we had a geometry specification API worked out for doing the neat stuff that A3D does, but it's on the back burner right now while we get the core API done."

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