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Games in Surround Sound 2013 Edition...


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#1 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 01:05 PM

This is an overdue followup to my previous thread about the very subject. The hardware methods I use to enable true surround sound in games is virtually unchanged. What is needed to enable it is 5.1 LPCM channels. That's uncompressed multiple analog channels enabled via Audio MIDI setup. The only way to get them is either an HDMI cable hooked up via an MDP to HDMI adaptor or an outboard sound card that has support for multichannel. Optical cables only support 2 LPCM channels and pre-rendered Dolby Digital or DTS sound passthrough and at the moment there's no real time encoders for that in games. The only program that has one is Plex for re-encoding AAC 5.1 or other LPCM based codecs on the fly.

What has changed is software and a method or two related to that that I've used lately.... here's a list of game with support that I have that currently support it and how well... this list is in no particular order and not restricted to recent titles or even native ones... if I don't list a game here I either haven't tested it or it doesn't have support... for example I've no money to get that new LOTR game right now so I haven't tested it.

Games with ** stars I had to replace an openal.dylib inside with openal soft's dylib to enable true multichannel
Games with * stars I had to replace apple's openal system library with openal soft's framework to fix their audio... It's an "at your own risk" sort of mod so message me if you want more info....

As far as sound support goes for ongoing AAA ports Feral has the crown...

Native:
GzDoom and its mods: perfect with its FMODEX hooked up directly to CoreAudio. This means any TC or mod you play via this gets multichannel sound basically for free. The only problem I encountered was one of design. The Wolf3D TC for it has its door sounds not spatialized so they always come from the center no matter where you are facing or how far away from the door you are.

Doomsday Engine: Similarly uses FMOD but doesn't decode songs like GZDoom does. Has better graphics though for the most part.

Assasin's Creed II and Brotherhood: Great sound support... voices coming from center channel when onscreen and everything... this may have been one game that was fixed by OpenAL soft framework...

Batman Arkham City/Asylum: Almost perfect. There are times when onscreen voices don't get sent to the center speaker but for the most part the sound is correct... especially in the second game. In the second game all the FMVs have proper surround sound but the first game during the FMVs the center speaker was silent. During the game most of the time the voices are properly spatialized...

Bioshock 2: Also great for the most part. Mild disuse of the center speaker going on but not as much as the next game...

Bioshock Infinite: OK but it almost seems to not use the LFE (the .1) channel much and none of the onscreen dialog ever seems to come from the center speaker...

Borderlands 2: Same thing as Infinite but the subwoofer channel seems to be used more...

Borderlands 1: Better sound than Borderlands 2 in terms of spatialization. Not 100% perfect when it comes to onscreen dialog but better....

Serious Sam 3: BFE: Was worse off with Apple's OpenAL. Severely underutilized the center. With OpenAL Soft it's improved but not perfect. During in-game everything is correct but during the in-game cinematics it's back to ignoring the center speaker.

Brutal Legend:Again almost perfect except for during cut scenes where the center speaker is ignored...

Stacking: Seems to ignore the center speaker pretty much..

Costume Quest: I don't remember exactly but it seems to follow the same pattern as other double fine games on my list...

Psychonauts (native version) the onscreen voices seem to come from every speaker BUT the center for some reason...

Killing Floor** very good support for the most part... once I replaced the bundled two channel only openal with openal soft dylib as noted.

UT2004** very good support for the most part... once I replaced the bundled two channel only openal with openal soft dylib as noted.

Doom 3* One of the best games for 3D sound once the system OpenAL was replaced with OpenAL Soft. That cures most of the problems it has ignoring the center channel.

Prey* Same as Doom 3

Star Wars The Force Unleashed... before OpenAL replacement with OpenAL Soft the multichannel only properly worked in the FMVs.. after it's working almost 100% everywhere. The main thing going on without it of course was disuse of the center speaker.

LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7: Virtually perfect in every way including onscreen dialog.

LEGO Batman 2: Same

LEGO Lord of The Rings: Same

Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing* I really enjoyed the audio in this racing game especially once I replaced the openal system library with openal soft.. otherwise the center channel is never used.

LugaruHD: Suprisingly supports it. It's not great support but it's there.

Fez: Supports it but the support is strange.. very back heavy like hearing the jumping sounds behind you rather than in front of you.

Mafia II: Great support.. the FMV cut scenes are all two channel though and while most of the in-game cut scenes have proper sound and dialog in the center quite often during the game when a character is completely front\center their voices get sent to front right and left ignoring the center...

Darkplaces Quake: Still a gold standard for supporting both discrete multichannel and specifically encoded 5.1\7.1 matrixing that gives a convincing facsimile of multichannel... seriously it's uncanny. I actually prefer the latter as music gets decoded as well during it and it's a tad more consistent than the former.

ioQuake3: Uses my OpenAL Soft system library and has great multichannel for the most part.

Yamagi Quake II: Same here, espeically after configuring the OpenAL Soft settings recommended in the readme.

Wrapped (in Wineskin.. Cider still doesn't support it AFAIK): In Wine many OpenAL or Xaudio games have fully functioning 3D Audio.. DirectSound not yet though...
If DirectSound was supported I'd be able to enable MANY older games to have it.

Dead Space 1: Perfect 5.1 when run via Crossover Games 12 Wineskin engine.

FEAR3: Great in-game surround sound but the audio in all the FMVs is broken.. only comes from one channel like just left or something...

ROTT (2013)..... much of the in-game voices are not spatialized also much of the shooting... only ambient sounds and sounds of traps in levels and sometimes gun fire.. also the game has performance problems which does not help...

Unreal Gold with latest unofficial patch: Great once you load up the windows version of OpenAL soft dll and do an override.

Mirror's Edge: Works good for the most part but the performance is dissapointing... runs better in parallels for me.

AvP (2010): Works but is basically unstable in either wine or parallels.

Those are just games that I have running in Mac OS X. I'll probably do another post listing games that I've played with it via parallels. It's possible to configure the virtualized sound card there for multichannel if your host OS has it configured.

Also note, most if not all UDK compiled games lack support for it. So anything UDK does not have it. Only hand ported games UE3 games like the ones from Feral seem to have it because on Windows UE3 seems to have ditched OpenAL for the most part in favor of Xaudio via FMOD or WWISE. Virtual Programming chose to just go with basic stereo for their UDK porting efforts rather than say.. hook it up to Core Audio with the functions all hooked up. Their Dark Athena port hardly even had Stereo sound.

Metro Last Light's engine is said to have 3D sound. But when the studio that works on it ported it they like VP decided to just do basic stereo sound.

Same thing about anything Valve related. Including so far on their new darling.. Linux. On the Mac the only way to play a source game with multichannel is in Parallels or Bootcamp.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#2 Jatmister

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:54 AM

Thanks for this post. I love playing games in 5.1, I would choose to play a 5.1 game over a stereo game usually. I wish games would just state simply in the description or some where weather they support 5.1.

#3 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 07:51 AM

Just a quick note to say that one game that should have OpenAL enabled surround sound but doesn't is Quake 4. Neither with Apple's OpenAL nor with OpenAL Soft replacement. It just says "your card doesn't support OpenAL" when clearly it works with Doom 3 and Prey. This also happened with the Windows version so it's not entirely Aspyr's fault.

Also, Aspyr's version of DNF doesn't support it but it works with DNF in parallels.

Same thing with The Darkness II.. transgaming's cider doesn't support multichannel but running the same game in parallels does. Speaking of cider I moved all my cider games to parallels because of better sound support. Mainline Wine has multichannel support and Cider often merges in changes or seems to going by the same sort of bugs cropping up with certain games (like FEAR1) in both so I wonder if they are ever incorporating the Sound refactoring that WineHQ\Codeweavers did that enabled multichannel in Wine with OpenAL or Xaudio.

Presumably that goes the same for running those same games in bootcamp vs the Mac ports. It doesn't matter where you are running Windows so long as your hardware setup supports multiple LPCM channels. More games support surround sound Windows but the support there isn't totally across the board in all games and there are differing levels of compatibility there as well.

Alan Wake has the same level of perfected sound support via either Wine or Parallels. However, on my current rig it's more unstable in Wine than in parallels. So I choose to use the latter.. plus in parallels it gets rumble on the gamepad unlike with Wine which doesn't.

Parallels also seems to support DirectSound multichannel which Wine doesn't so that means more older titles get surround sound there than with Wine... in which an older title only gets it if they specifically support prologic such as Painkiller and Star Trek Voyager Elite Force II when configured in the config menus.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon had great surround sound in Wine but I had to run it at medium detail at 1600x900 for the best performance\stability. Great game though.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#4 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 11:52 AM

The Amnesia series has great sound especially the latest two installments. They both use Core Audio directly (rather than via OpenAL) and have really good surround sound support. Most of the sound placement seems intentional rather than due to bugs in the audio API implementation (although sometimes the game itself might have audio bugs so you never now)... anyway.. yeah.. Amnesia has good surround sound.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#5 Jac42

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:57 PM

All of Blizzards titles support surround sound. I use this with my Logitech 5.1 speakers.
Jack...

#6 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:34 AM

Thanks for the input. Yes, that's one of those outboard sound card solutions I mentioned in my original post. Glad to hear Blizzard still supports multichannel with their games.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#7 Terminator1MW

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 03:14 PM

How specifically do you replace the default OpenAL with OpenAL Soft?

#8 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 03:57 PM

Use this info at your own risk. Mostly recommended for experienced users.

This is what I did:
  • Go into /System/Library/Frameworks/ and backup OpenAL.framework*
  • Download OpenAL Soft compiled into an OpenAL.framework (I had to slightly modify it because certain games where expecting the binary to be in a different place than it has by default.. they expect the binary to be named OpenAL and accessible in the root directory of the framework)
  • I have my slightly modified version available here.
*Don't worry though, messing with this file wont render your system unbootable.

Benefits and caveats.

Benefits:
Certain games will have better multichannel usage such as Sonic Racing, Doom 3, and Prey.. particularly when it comes to utilizing the center channel speaker. Newer open sourced versions of Doom 3 are even being made to use this library by default rather than Apple's OpenAL such as dhewm3 and RBDOOM3-BFG.

Caveats:
Certain older games such as Jedi Knight II and Jedi Academy are hard coded to Apple's OpenAL in such a way that if you try to use this with them their sound wont work if you have OpenAL enabled.

By the way.. this version of OpenAL Soft is a dylib and is to replace the stock OpenAL dylib in the .app file for some games such as UT2004, Killing Floor, Postal 2 and even Shrek 2 to enable multichannel with them. Not very many newer games have such a dylib that can be replaced though.

Both are the latest version of OpenAL Soft.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#9 Terminator1MW

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 05:20 PM

Hey thats great...Thanks! I had downloaded the OpenAL Soft 1.15.1 package and also CMake application and was just staring at them on the desktop not knowing what to do with them ha ha. Personally I LIKE turn key solutions much better!