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Friday, April 27, 2001

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Westlake Talks OpenAL & Unreal Tournament
11:45 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive's Mark Adams recently made a Usenet post regarding the upgrade for Unreal Tournament to enable the special features of Sound Blaster Live! cards. They're working with Creative to incorporate full OpenAL support in the game -- a more complex process than even the EAX enhancements provided in the special copy of Deus Ex. It seems their efforts are paying off, and Mark is hopeful they might have something ready for public consumption soon. Here's his post with more:

Creative has been working with me to get UT using full OpenAL, and
they've been a huge help. I'm checking out the latest version in the
next few days, if everything looks good I think it shouldn't be too long
before we can release it (weeks not months).
This is great news for owners of the Sound Blaster cards, as it will really provide more bang for their investment.

You may be wondering what the difference is between an EAX version of Deus Ex and an OpenAL version of Unreal Tournament. Both take advantage of the Sound Blaster's abilities, so why not just go with the easier EAX? We asked Mark if he could provide more clarification on the two:

EAX basically gives you room effects (cave, hallway, etc) so all sounds get
extra reverb and processing. OpenAL lets you do the EAX stuff plus you are
actually giving each sound to the card with its 3D location in the world, so
the card can do true pan (left/right/front/back) between speakers and also
things like doppler shift if something is moving fast. The full OpenAL
implementation will make even better use of the cards.
We also asked Mark if -- now that UT is getting full OpenAL support -- they would be able to move the code into other UT-based games like Rune or Deus Ex. He notes that Rune is a likely candidate, but Deus Ex will probably just stay EAX-enhanced:
I'll probably try to move the OpenAL code into Rune during the HOV/1.06
patch work. Deus Ex is a bit trickier, it has a more complicated sound
system to handle voice/lip syncing (which is why we went with just EAX on it
originally). Its hard to say if we'll have the time to go back in DX and
add the full AL support.
Great news and thanks to Mark for his continuing help and support. We're anxiously looking forward to the new version of Unreal Tournament, and we'll keep you posted once more information on the patch becomes available.

IMG News: Westlake on Sound Blaster and Games
Westlake Interactive Web Site
Sound Blaster Live!

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