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Hi,

I’m an experienced engineer (in broadcast production) who’s very recently made the jump to designing audio for a game, and will most likely be using fmod designer.

I have spent the last couple of days reading the documentation for fmod designer and doing the tutorials and the like, and am pretty satisfied with being able to integrate the software into my sound design workflow, however I have a few questions. They may seem basic, so my apologies, but there are just a few things I’m not entirely certain about (even after reading forum posts) and I just wanted to clear up.

1) fmod supports Dolby Pro Logic 2 – yes or no? My understanding is yes, you just pass the file through designer transparently (panning hard left right on each side?) and leave the end-user’s system to do the rest of the work (assuming they have some kind of PL2 decoder)? Assuming you can politely force the user to switch over to PL2 mode on their hardware.

2) fmod seems to support 5.1, 7.1 surround per se, but it does not encode in Dolby Digital or AC3 per se. Now this is a -really- basic question that belies how long I’ve only been using pro audio interfaces as opposed to consumer cards, but does this mean that most consumer soundcards do not require an encoded signal to output to 5.1 channels? So if I just go about my mixing in fmod designer as per L,C,R,LS,RS,S routing, the soundcard will do the rest?

3) "3d" Positioning technology and the 3d panning features in fmod – is this dependent on any core technologies in soundcards, such as Creative EAX or similar? Or is it just a generic 3d positioning algorithm native to fmod’s engine?

I appreciate any help I can get on this.

Thanks… :)

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[quote="ringmod":2gzkjl9f]Hi,

I’m an experienced engineer (in broadcast production) who’s very recently made the jump to designing audio for a game, and will most likely be using fmod designer.

I have spent the last couple of days reading the documentation for fmod designer and doing the tutorials and the like, and am pretty satisfied with being able to integrate the software into my sound design workflow, however I have a few questions. They may seem basic, so my apologies, but there are just a few things I’m not entirely certain about (even after reading forum posts) and I just wanted to clear up.

1) fmod supports Dolby Pro Logic 2 – yes or no? My understanding is yes, you just pass the file through designer transparently (panning hard left right on each side?) and leave the end-user’s system to do the rest of the work (assuming they have some kind of PL2 decoder)? Assuming you can politely force the user to switch over to PL2 mode on their hardware.

[/quote:2gzkjl9f]

Yes, it supports it at runtime. An option in the game would have to be supplied to make the internal fmod speakermode be switched over.

[quote:2gzkjl9f]

2) fmod seems to support 5.1, 7.1 surround per se, but it does not encode in Dolby Digital or AC3 per se. Now this is a -really- basic question that belies how long I’ve only been using pro audio interfaces as opposed to consumer cards, but does this mean that most consumer soundcards do not require an encoded signal to output to 5.1 channels? So if I just go about my mixing in fmod designer as per L,C,R,LS,RS,S routing, the soundcard will do the rest?

[/quote:2gzkjl9f]

That is up to the soundcard. We just mix to a 6 or 8 channel pcm stream, and the soundcard will either run it out of 3 or 4 analog stereo pairs (ie creative cards do this) or through toslink some specific soundcards do automatically encode to AC3 for dolby digital.

[quote:2gzkjl9f]
3) "3d" Positioning technology and the 3d panning features in fmod – is this dependent on any core technologies in soundcards, such as Creative EAX or similar? Or is it just a generic 3d positioning algorithm native to fmod’s engine?
[/quote:2gzkjl9f]

EAX is just a reverb api, so it doesnt really relate to 3d positioning.
Generally fmod just has its own 3d pan/doppler/attenuation code. You can do a few things to make it more realistic (at the programmer level) by turning on flags to do lowpass filtering when sounds are behind you (like a ‘listener cone’), and you can do things like lowpass filter sounds on distance (either through lowpass filters curves in designer, or just the recently added ‘occlusion’ effect that can be a lowpass filter at runtime).

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Thank you for your prompt reply! :)

And for your patience with my questions and frustrations. Bear with me, I have just one more. (for now)

The programming team here has told me that they can directly address my desire for graphical (pan pots or sliders) control of things like eq or reverb parameters by whipping up tools/widgets in house for this purpose. I presume the easiest way to do this would be using VST, yes?

Cheers..

  • alex –
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Ok, I’m going to refine the above question.

I’m not a programmer, so I’m sorry if people find these questions tedious.

If I used an off the shelf 3rd party plugin set that was VST compatible, I understand that I can use them in fmod. I’ve already successfully used a handful of them in fmod designer as a test. Next questions though, are:

1) Doing so (using third party VST’s) in fmod designer appears to give you only the ability to add that effect to a layer, add envelopes for each of its parameters, but not to utilise any GUI associated with that plugin. Is this the case? The only way to edit the parameters is manually? If so, that’s a real shame. :( Ideally I would love a setup whereby you could just setup your params in the GUI of the VST click "add point to envelope" like in your surround designer and move on.

2) (this is quite important) if you use a third party VST plugin, are whatever effects you are applying being done so using an fmod’s effects architecture or series of algorithms? I’m sorry this is clumsy – let me give a really specific example. For example, if I used Waves Renaissance Rverb effects on a few layers in my eventxyz, would that effect translate transparently into the game, or is the Rverb (this is my assumption) based on proprietary reverb algorithms, which would require some kind of licensing or inclusion of the Rverb dlls in your game?

I guess what I’m asking is, even though fmod has VST support, is there any point using 3rd party plugins rather than just fmod’s built in effects?

Would appreciate anyone’s knowledge on this.

Cheers again…

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[quote="ringmod":1fff65vt]Ok, I’m going to refine the above question.

2) (this is quite important) if you use a third party VST plugin, are whatever effects you are applying being done so using an fmod’s effects architecture or series of algorithms? I’m sorry this is clumsy – let me give a really specific example. For example, if I used Waves Renaissance Rverb effects on a few layers in my eventxyz, would that effect translate transparently into the game, or is the Rverb (this is my assumption) based on proprietary reverb algorithms, which would require some kind of licensing or inclusion of the Rverb dlls in your game?

I guess what I’m asking is, even though fmod has VST support, is there any point using 3rd party plugins rather than just fmod’s built in effects?

Would appreciate anyone’s knowledge on this.

Cheers again…[/quote:1fff65vt]

Hi Ringmod,

If you use a VST plugin, you would need to ship the .dll with the title. If you don’t own the IP on the .dll, you would need to get the appropriate license. Another limitation is cross-platform support. If you use fmod’s suite of DSP effects you can pretty much use them on every platform we support…the same can’t be said for VSTs. I guess this won’t matter if you are only developing for PC.

As for the GUI issues, I’m sure they will be addressed in the near future..

cheers,
Templar

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Thank you very much, this is pretty much what I expected, so its good to have it confirmed. It’s also pretty cool to realise that you could (given your developer had the cash) develop a game title where all the characters speak with voices modulated by antares autotune. 😆

Cheers…

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