In most of today’s games, directional audio is not affected by objects in the game world. You’ve probably experienced this when you heard an enemy straight through a wall, instead of hearing them through the doorway. In the real world, when sound waves interact with objects, they get “colored” in complex ways, much like the way light is colored when it bounces off of objects. Recreating these effects correctly increases immersion in any 2D or 3D game, and is especially critical to a sense of presence in VR. Games have traditionally avoided simulating such effects because of the computational challenges involved.
Impulsonic is building technology to make realistic acoustic effects available to games across multiple platforms. The technology simulates how sound waves interact with game geometry, so large rooms sound reverberant, carpeted hallways sound quiet, and enemies are correctly heard through doorways. The technology works on standard headphones and speakers, has an affordable runtime cost, and required straightforward setup. It has been deployed on PC, Mac, and mobile devices, and has been integrated with Oculus Rift.
The technology consists of two parts: the first is a run-time layer that sits on top of FMOD and uses it to render advanced acoustic effects; the second is a content creation tool that integrates with game engines to help author next-generation audio content. We’ll be showing a preview of a content creation plugin for Unity Pro.
Try for yourself! We’ll have a short interactive demo available that compares traditional directional sound to Impulsonic.
Lakulish Antani is co-founder and VP (Engineering) of Impulsonic, Inc. He has a PhD in real-time sound simulation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a B. Tech in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. His research has been published and presented at leading venues in computer graphics and virtual reality, including SIGGRAPH and IEEE VR. He has worked on real-time audio at Intel, and on lighting technology for mobile games at Disney Interactive.
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