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O'Reilly Network: OpenAL Explained

Oct 15, 2000, 19:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dave Phillips)

"OpenAL, the Open Audio Library, is an initiative from Creative Labs and Loki Entertainment designed to provide a cross-platform open source solution for programming 2D and 3D audio. It is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), with current implementations supporting Windows, the Macintosh OS, Linux, FreeBSD, OS/2, and BeOS. The OpenAL API has been designed for portability of applications between supported platforms, particularly games and other multimedia applications using OpenGL for 3D graphics."

"As its name implies, OpenAL is analogous in many ways to SGI's OpenGL, a widely implemented standard for specifying high-quality 3D graphics (see Chris Halsall's article for more information regarding OpenGL). The analogy extends far beyond the name: Many of the design considerations for OpenAL are derived from similar considerations for the visual effects possible from OpenGL, particularly with regard to movement in three dimensions and proximity-dependent texture variance. Because the OpenAL API is so similar to OpenGL, programmers employing OpenGL for graphics can more easily bind sonic activity to visuals, leading to exciting possibilities for games and other graphics-intensive applications."

"As with OpenGL, a little OpenAL code does a lot. Developers can simply place their sounds into a scene and let OpenAL render the changes of the sounds relative to the positional changes of the listener."

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