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The Eighth Annual Interactive Music Conference
PROJECT BAR-B-Q 2003
brainstorming graphic

Group Report: IXMF Rollout Outline

   
Participants: A.K.A. "The Chunks" David Javelosa; Academy of Ent. & Tech, SMC
Jack Buser; Dolby Labs Licensing Scott Snyder; Atari

Chris Grigg; Beatnik

Richard Dekkard; Orphic Rez
Bob Starr; QSound

Julian Kwasneski; Bay Area Sound Department

Darwin Grosse; Cycling '74 George Sanger; The Fat Man
Matti Hamalainen; Nokia Research Center Facilitator: Spencer Critchley; composer
 

Goal

Our goal is to provide a workable outline of a possible rollout plan for the rapid adoption of iXMF by the interactive audio community.

Introduction

Problem Statement:

Developers, publishers and content creators are currently wasting time and money by working with multiple and incompatible audio systems. Even though there have been many advances in implementation tools, creative control is still often not in the hands of the audio artist and remains the responsibility of the game programmer. This compromises quality and wastes resources and these problems are exacerbated when developing multi-platform titles. Completion of the iXMF spec in itself is not enough to solve this problem so we are providing a roadmap for its accelerated adoption by the industry.

What is iXMF?

iXMF is a public standard structured audio file format that supports cross-platform interchange of advanced interactive audio soundtracks. It uses a que-oriented model, is programming-neutral, and can be used without license agreements or royalty payments.

Current Status

iXMF is a draft specification being finalized in the IASIG and should be ready for public release in the first half of 2004. Our plan consists of two sections: a technical plan and a promotional/publicity plan.

Technical Plan

Reference Code Diagram:

Creating reference code

  • Authoring Tool
  • Soundtrack Manager
  • Adapter Layer (for PC)
  • Adapter Layer for second platform or create conversion utility
  • Find and manage development resources for each of the above bullet points. Some probably places to find these resources are listed below:
    • GANG
    • Colleges/Universities
    • Independent Developer community
    • Other resources (such as the Open Source community, etc.)
    • Sourceforge.net, etc.

Creation of the Authoring/Auditioning Tool

  • The initial tool simply needs to be functional (not necessarily pretty)
  • Could be a command-line app at first
  • Needs to allow user access to the core functionality of the format

Creation of the Soundtrack Manager (C++ code layer)

  • This is the functional core of the iXMF engine
    • Will run the same on all platforms
    • The reference version to initially run in Windows

Creation of the Adapter Layer (C++ code layer)

  • This translates cross-platform, low-level commands to the particular platform
  • We will create an adapter layer for the PC
  • To run on a second platform we will either develop a new adapter layer or a converter
    • A converter would translate an iXMF file to the correct file format for the target system
  • To run on a second platform we will also need help from one of the big console manufacturers (Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony)
    • This does not need to be limited to gaming consoles
    • Could approach a wireless gaming company such as Nokia

Creation of the Content demo

  • Retrofit an existing open source engine (Retrofit Quake II, etc.)
    • This eliminates the need for a lot of custom coding
    • There are games for which the code is publicly available (Quake II, etc.)
  • Create compelling content
    • No demo can be without the Wow factor.
    • The prototype should show off iXMF in real-world situations
    • The prototype should allow the demonstration of all core features

Promotional Publicity Plan:

Identify the channels for communication

  • Industry Organizations
    • MMA
    • IASIG
    • AMEI
    • GANG
    • JCP (JAVA Community Project)
  • Media
    • Magazines
      • GD MAG
      • Edge
      • Web: Sites, Zines
        • ixmf.org website
          • needs to be created/updated periodically
        • Add content to the current MMA-IASIG web site
        • sonify.org
        • GamaSutra
      • Forums/user groups
        • DevNet
        • MSDev
  • Companies:
    • Game Developers & Publishers (List TBD)
    • Authoring Tool Developers (List TBD)
    • Platform Companies (PlayStation, Xbox, Windows, etc.)
    • Middleware Companies (Sensaura, Metrowerks, etc.)
  • Conferences
    • GDC
    • CEDEC
    • EA Audio
    • AES
    • NAMM
  • Launch Party
    • Launch iXMF with a splash
    • Notify press
    • Get word out that the format exists and what it does

Marketing Materials

  • White Paper
  • Branding & Collateral (Name, Logo, Press Release, T-Shirts, etc.)

Resources

  • Leverage cooperation by the iXMF group, this BBQ workgroup, Staff at various companies (Sony, Atari, etc.)
  • iXMF Working group develops outline into a full plan with a schedule and manages the project
    • assigning tasks
    • tracking progress
  • Identify potential spokesperson (Linda?)

section 4


next section

select a section:
1. Introduction  2. Speakers  3. Executive Summary  
4. IXMF Rollout Outline
5. What Is Interactive Audio? And What Should It Be?
6. Creating a Win-Win-Win-Win-Win-Win Scenario for DRM
7. nASCAP - Stock Market in Media Rights
8. Quality Audio Applications in the Interactive Entertainment Industry
9. Schedule & Sponsors