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Old 04-09-2015, 02:10 PM   #1   Add To Ignore List  
Khnum
 
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Default How to get superior positional sound

I've only tested this in Serious Sam 3 so far, but I'm pretty sure it will work equally well in Serious Sam HD and Serious Sam 2, and most likely Serious Sam 4 and The Talos Principle. It will not work in Serious Sam Classic or Revolution. This is a tutorial on how to enable HRTF (head-related transfer function) for use with headphones. This is way better than normal stereo sound, and even superior to 5.1 and 7.1 surround. You will even be able to notice if a sound is coming from above you or below you. I'm not kidding you.

1. Download the latest binaries of OpenAL Soft from here: click and unzip them.

2. If you have a 32-bit version of Windows, copy bin/Win32/soft_oal.dll into C:\Windows\System32 and rename it into OpenAL32.dll.

If you have a 64-bit version Windows, copy bin/Win64/soft_oal.dll into C:\Windows\System32 and rename it into OpenAL32.dll (Yes I know. The naming was their idea, but it really is the 64-bit dll). Then copy bin/Win32/soft_oal.dll into C:\Windows\SysWOW64 and rename it into OpenAL32.dll (That's the 32-bit one. Confusing enough yet?)

If you already have OpenAL32.dll files there, backup them somewhere before you replace them.

3. Find Steam\userdata\101430473\41070\local\SeriousSam3.i ni, open it and find a line sfx_iAPI = 2; and change that into sfx_iAPI = 1; and save the file. This way the game will use OpenAL instead of its default XAudio2. Start the game and check if you have sound in-game. If you don't, go back and check if you did something wrong. Exit the game for now.

4. In the zip with the binaries that you downloaded, there's an alsoft-config folder. Open it and launch alsoft-config.exe thats inside it. Set channels to stereo, then look down below and tick Force, then click Apply and close the application. To later turn off HRTF, return the tick back to Enable and return the channels to Autodetect.

5. Put on your headphones, disable any virtual surround enhancements if you have enabled such (stuff like CMSS-3D, SBX Pro Studio, Razer Surround, Dolby Headphone, etc.) and launch the game. I recommend you lower the music volume from the game settings so that it's easier to hear sounds. Find some sound source in-game, and rotate around, take notice if you can accurately follow the direction the sound is comming from and the distance to it with your eyes closed.

6. Enjoy the game with realistic 3D sound

There should be a way to do this in Linux as well, but I haven't tried.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:51 PM   #2   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: How to get superior positional sound

Showed this to Alen, he says that Talos is doing something similar in the engine, while "SS3 was still using "hw 3d sound" which is basically bullshit" (to quote him).
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:12 PM   #3   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: How to get superior positional sound

Not sure if Alen understands what I'm talking about here, as SS3 is using XAudio2 by default, which is not hardware accelerated, and I'm not noticing any HRTF at all either, as expected. Did he try out my tutorial? I can definitely feel a massive improvement over the default sound.

btw here's something that I found a bit earlier http://matthewkerswill.com/i-want-hrtfs-in-my-games/ which explains a bit better what we're talking about.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:58 PM   #4   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: How to get superior positional sound

I think he means that it supposed to be hardware accelerated, but it's not.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:17 PM   #5   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: How to get superior positional sound

Serious Sam 3 can also be switched to DirectSound, which is hardware accelerated under Windows XP, but is not under newer operating systems. Windows Vista and 7 don't allow hardware sound acceleration. Windows 8 allows hardware acceleration, but in a different way, and as far as I'm aware nothing really utilizes that new path as of yet. As for OpenAL, I think some sound cards do provide hardware acceleration for normal OpenAL, but here we're talking about using OpenAL Soft, which is done in software as the name suggests, because it allows us to force HRTF regardless if the game is coded to support it or not. Which, I believe in SS3 is not. Or at least I couldn't notice it until I did what I explained earlier.

I also tested this in 2 other games with the same success - ioquake 3 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. And I'm sure this could work for most games that support OpenAL. Though I tested it with Killing Floor some time ago and couldnt get it to work there. I should try again probably.
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