I-Novae and Audio


Over the years we didn’t see a lot, then we started to get more frequent glimpses into the engine over the last couple of months.

What we never did though, was hear anything other then non dynamic music that was placed over a Video. There was some sound in the 2010 demo, but since then, all advances we saw for the I-Novae engine were very visual.

So I ask: "How does the I-Novae Engine stand currently when it comes to audio? What is integrated? Have you or are you planning to integrate 3rd party Audio Middleware interfaces like fmod or wwise to allow sound and music designers to work more independently from the programmer(s) or is there 3D sound, that goes beyond just surround?"

I know, there’s no sound in space. But it is on planets with atmospheres and inside your ship, when you are hit for example, and I think I-Novae will probably go the route of “Simulated Technobable Sound” anyway.

What I want to emphasize is that, with video, we normally only can see one direction at any moment, while audio allows to render the whole surrounding of the player all the time. It can enhance the fidelity of the game immensely. Additionally when combined with a head tracker (e.g Oculus), you could make use even better biodynamik 3D sound.

This was nearly never discussed on here, as, obviously, it isn’t the main attraction of the I-Novae engine, still, leaving out such a fundamental part completely from discussion is neglecting all the possibilities we humans have to perceive.


I’ll see if Panu and Flavien can answer some of your questions.


The prototype currently uses OpenAL, Battlescape will likely use wwise. Flavien correct me if I am wrong :slight_smile:


If there are chain guns, I want noise so loud my headphones will cry for mercy. Like, really beefy.

I am so disappointed by the multi-cannon/chain guns in Elite. They sound like a 4 year old going “Pbtptptptpt”, if you know what I mean. :wink:


If I remember correctly I made a suggestion back then that would explain ambient sound: Sensors that turn background radiation into noise (since each body has some kind of radiation a planet could not only be seen but also heard, and planets would sound different, depending what type of planet they are. Ships themself would be rather silent (especially built that way to be more stealthy in space by creating a low audio footprint) but could block radiation emitted by surrounding planets, thus creating a sort of hole in the soundscape, which could give the avid player a way to detect close ships he/she can’t see). I also remember people telling me that it was a … suboptimal thing to spend cpu time on ^^


We’ve been using OpenAL mostly for historical reasons. It’s a relatively low-level API which doesn’t offer many features, and that is totally code-oriented. Sound designers can’t work with it, they can only provide the final sound effect, and the programmer has to set the parameters in code directly to manipulate them at run-time.

We’re indeed considering using fmod or wwise after the Kickstarter. It’ll probably depend on our budget for licensing and integration difficulty. It also depends on technical constraints, like being able to work in a world with large coordinates, and whether the sounds keep working at high velocities. OpenAL breaks at high velocities with tons of sound glitches which is one of the reasons we want to go away from it. Other than that, I don’t have much to add, as it’ll depend on a lot of things after the Kickstarter finishes.