Audio Occlusion - First Prototype

published Tuesday, 15 March 2011, 11:00 by Kenneth

Do you know what Audio Occlusion is? No?... OK then, do you know what reality is?... No?... Well then let me try to explain a bit about both and how they relate to each other!

Audio Occlusion

So what is Audio Occlusion really about. Well, to say it in a popular way: it's about how you hear sounds "on the other side of a wall". In most games this is solved by turning down the volume a bit and also turn down the high frequencies (or treble if you like), so it sounds "muffled".

Normally this is solved by checking if there is a clear line-of-sight from the player character to the audio-source. If the line is blocked by an item (wall/crate/person/etc.), you turn down the volume and the treble in various degrees depending of how thick the blocking item is, what material it's made of etc. And when there is a clear line-of-sight with no blocking items you hear the sound loud and clear. (Reverb is usually also tweaked a bit)

I can give you a basic example here (Sorry for the simple look, but I've just watched Tron):

Standard Audio Occlusion Example
You might have experienced this in games before - this example might be a bit exaggerated to prove my point.

I've made a similar system for Running Man, and you can read more about it here if you are interested.

Doorway Audio Occlusion

Allright, maybe it's a silly name, and I haven't really given that part much thought - maybe it should something like "Displaced Sound Propagation Model" or similar... I hope I can come up with a cool name in the future... Please feel free to suggest a name if you have any ideas. :-)

Anyway - My idea is to get a bit closer to how things work in real life. If you take the example above it wouldn't work like that "out here" among us non-digital living entities. No, instead you would of course hear the sounds from the other room through the doorway... So why don't we do just that?

Ok - let's do it then:

Doorway Audio Occlusion Prototype
The sounds in the other room is heard through the doorway - more realistic than though the wall

This might not sound like a revolution to you (or maybe it does - I don't know), but if you think about how it would affect the gameplay (besides the immersive aspect), then it could actually mean quite a bit.

Imagine that you are playing Deadlock and you are in a room with multiple doorways. With the standard "line-of-sight" occlusion model you would hear your opponent(s) through the walls, and are able to pinpoint their exact location... well through the wall like you have "x-ray-ears" or something.The sounds would be muffled, but you would still be able to hear them though the wall.

But with 'my' simple model you will instead only be able to hear through which door your opponent would enter, and maybe also how far he is from the door, but not his exact position - just like in real life.

Of course there are exceptions to this model, and it's far from perfect yet, but this small prototype has provided me with enough proof-of-concept to continue down this path.

Cheers,
Kenneth


Comments

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3 years, 7 months ago

Nice

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3 years, 7 months ago

This is what "immersion" is about!

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3 years, 7 months ago

Nice demonstation. Truly something to look forward to

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3 years, 7 months ago

Details, details, details.

It's all in them little details.

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3 years, 7 months ago

Jawesome! :D

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3 years, 7 months ago

AAAwesome !! :D This is one of the things that impresses me the most of this game!

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3 years, 7 months ago

Very impressed with this!!

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3 years, 7 months ago

That is the kind of thin that will set IM appart from other.
And will improve the Immersion.

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3 years, 7 months ago

thats as said above very impressive

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3 years, 7 months ago

I think that's a fantastic improvement. I rely on audio a lot, and I'm fussy about it, so kudos to you for doing something worthwhile with it!

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3 years, 7 months ago

That's awsome! The doorway occlusion is much better than the standard. Keep up that good work :)
Such things are the reason why I am believing :)

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3 years, 7 months ago

And this is only Deadlock! I am amazed, no, I am stunned. Also, I found little sound ball thingy :D

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3 years, 7 months ago

Thats awesome guys that "Doorway" Occlusion is really impressive, I'd call it "Dynamic Audio Occlusion" lol

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3 years, 7 months ago

You could call it bending sound (-waves). Something that shows that sound actually can travel in more directions than just a line-of-sight.
Again, a well-made piece of oden-door developement. I like that a lot.

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3 years, 7 months ago

I like this ! Awesome guys ;)

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3 years, 7 months ago

I was like.. It's kinda qwiet (that isn't how you spell it :-p) and then i went to the other room and i was like WAAAARGH!! (Or maby just like Wow! :-p)

Put pretty awesome guys :-D

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3 years, 7 months ago

Wow, very impressive. I know it's exaggerated to prove your point, but sound shouldn't be completely eliminated from coming through the wall. You would definitely get some feedback through the wall itself; right now it sounds like it's perfectly insulated which of course is impossible. Hopefully you can come up with a nice balance.

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3 years, 7 months ago

OOOOOiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiii :P

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3 years, 7 months ago

Nice demo kenneth, some reverb would give a extra bling, but that shows that you guys are in the right path with sound, and from what i saw on the UE3 demo you guys will not disappoint. I also have to say that Naty722 is right that the majority of walls can't eliminate sounds like that (but is not impossible has he said).

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3 years, 7 months ago

Good demo guys, keep up the good work :D

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3 years, 7 months ago

Wow this is so amazing! Try and walk past the door with you head turned the other way. It's very easy to sense when you are passing the door.

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3 years, 7 months ago

Sound - one of the main things I'm really looking forward to. In the GDC 08 demo there was this awesome doorway effect in real-time using voic-porting technology by ZPS and I was blown away. So immersive.

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3 years, 7 months ago

Amazing, this Doorway Audio Occlusion and voice porting sys are things that I am really excited about.

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3 years, 7 months ago

very good!

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3 years, 7 months ago

As usual, awesome, guys. True proof you're going the right way, doing a great job so far. Keep it up!

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3 years, 7 months ago

Wow! It's awesome! Needs just a little bit of tweaking and it's perfect! Nice job, as always! You guys always make me believe even more and more 8)

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3 years, 7 months ago

Kenneth, you're an audio GOD.
That is perfect, perfect, perfect.

I expect nothing less from the genius team who made RTVP!

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3 years, 7 months ago

Very nicely done.

You guys should license these technologies you develop fro IM and sell them so other game companies.

Time for me to go Spearhead :p

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3 years, 7 months ago

It's the small things.

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3 years, 7 months ago

It is because things like that that i still belive. It's a wonderful experience to see how a master piece is created on its minimal details.

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3 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely fantastic stuff!!!!!! When I walk through buildings I pay a special attention to how the sound changes in the environment. And this is very good, I'd even go as far as to say it's the best I've ever heard in a game. Great job!!!!!

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3 years, 7 months ago

*drool dangles for a couple minutes* ..... very, very , veeeeery nice!

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3 years, 7 months ago

This is incredible. Really ground-breaking stuff. You guys are really pioneering the industry here. Something that all these new FPS shooters claim to do, but don't. One of the things that I'm most excited about is the real-time voice porting that you guys demonstrated at the end of the GDC video on the briefing room page. I'll be using headphones and a mic even if I'm in the same room as my mates, just to get the immersion going.

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3 years, 7 months ago

I have to admit, I tried the first occlusion demo and I was like...
Damn, I can't believe they are going to use this. It is SO terrible, it sounds miserable, they should just leave it out. Man, was I pissed.

Then, I saw there was a second occlusion model that worked brilliantly. Now, I'm thrilled I support you guys :D I was reminded why I think your team is so amazing, and why I'd love the opportunity to work with you guys one day.

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3 years, 7 months ago

very very nice

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3 years, 7 months ago

@Saijin_Naib: Yeah, i had the exact same reaction :P

Very nice work on the audio effects, quite impressed, keep up the good work :)

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3 years, 7 months ago

OMG!!!! This is so jawesome!
As mentioned earlier I tried to locate the doorway with my eyes closed, and I found it spot on twice! Incredible work guys! You should really patent the tech you develop...
Also; name suggestion: "The ZPAM Effect" (Zero Point(Entity) Audio Manipulation) xD or more professionally; "Realtime Dynamic Digital Spiral Ganglion Directional Wave Density Modulation"
or just "Dynamic DSound" or "DSM" Dynamic Sound(Wave)Mapping

If this where your tool to conquer the world, I think most people would believe. Keep up the good work.

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3 years, 7 months ago

ok this is the best sound / design enguon I've heard in a game ..... nice don

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3 years, 7 months ago

great!...
i mean: if you can feel through the "eyes of your ears"...evr`yone here will believe it!!
=)

btw, i've been thinking on a name for it...

BAs 1.5 (Bridges Across Sound) where 1 = User and 5 = Dimmension

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3 years, 7 months ago

Jawsome.

I always was tired of games making sounds come through the wall. But, with this 'Audio Occlusion', I think the game will be a game a lot of people will talk about.

:) <- Smiley Face

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3 years, 7 months ago

Will this mean I can hear the "whiny kid trying to be all tactical and important sounding"? :V

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3 years, 7 months ago

small glitch in actual doorway though you can stafe through and notice the sound change point. jus a lil heads up but good work.

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3 years, 7 months ago

very nice, its the little things that help make a game great

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3 years, 7 months ago

sounds great!

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3 years, 7 months ago

putting 5 bucks in right now.

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3 years, 7 months ago

Fantastic sound, Really puts you in the game.

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3 years, 7 months ago

Im amazed. The presentation is phenomenal (and I like the look, even though Tron was awful).
I think this IS revolutionary :)

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3 years, 7 months ago

Finally! this is what I thought about when thinking about AAA Indie Development!

Keep this up and I may even pay for these development snippets ;)

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3 years, 7 months ago

Oh wow, this is really fantastic. I'm really surprised at how well this works.

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3 years, 7 months ago

this will be more realistic tha COD

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3 years, 7 months ago

This is going to be nasty when I learn how to detect where people are by sound through Fear online. :D

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3 years, 6 months ago

I got a question for you all, in the Audio Occlusion Prototype did you find the little ball that is the source of the sound? I did. =)

Also one thing that I noticed was that in the 2nd room (the one where the sound is not coming from) the sound is way to muffled for the thickness of the walls.

The walls need to be thicker or and sound less muffled but other then that, epic job.

Also yes I know that what I am talking about is just a Prototype but still figured I would give my 2 cents.

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2 years, 10 months ago

I found a name for the Doorway Audio Occlusion-thingy, it's called "Exclusion" in <a href="http://ixbtlabs.com/articles2/sound-technolo
gy/index.html">this</a> article by Aleksei Menshikov. I have also seen the same therm in a couple of essays i stumbled upon.

Keep up the good work, it's really inspiring!

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2 years ago

This is NOT what emersion is about. For all of those White Knighting this common as hell game, I really feel the need to express the fact Ive played nearly all FPS in the world since Doom and Wing Commander. Firstly, you have a hud...thats not emersive in any way. Secondly, I highly doubt this frail game will have anything "new" to bring to the table at all. Thirdly, I have a damn good sound system, but the fact is, in an FPS, there are two things you will listen for, and the rest is useless garbage getting in the way.

Footsteps
Gun Shots

This isnt "Quake" where one actualy hears where the other person is via pickup sounds. This is a generic FPS game with no intent to do anything other than make money, just like the rest. I was not impressed with anything, outside of the FPS I got in the demos..and that was only due to the fact they were not complete games.

Having an announcer say "This game will be unique and unlike anything youve every played" made me laugh when it looked like a dumbed down version of Blacklight right from the start of the preview video. You want to ask people for money and tell them "to believe" in you? Then give them something to believe in and stop lying and asking for hand outs. Real games dont work like that, and by using "Minecraft" as one of your selling points and use a game which has NO baring on -this- game, pretty much shows me right from the start you are riding on the coat tails of everyone out there to make a quick buck.

Do I believe? Hell no. You will just make another plebian pile of crap and issue people cash-shop type advances like the rest of the FPS games are now. You are not unique, and the system of game play is going to be "been there done that" for anyone who has played any FPS and likes the color grey.

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