|The Fourth Annual Interactive
PROJECT BAR-B-Q 1999
Group Report: The Big Picture
|Participants:||David Baker; Postscore|
|Keith Charley; Creative Labs||George Sanger; Fat Labs|
|Duane Ford; Staccato Systems||Sandi Geary; SingleTrac|
|Chris Grigg; Control-G||David Javelosa; Yamaha|
|Michael Land; LucasArts||Danny Petkevich; Staccato Systems|
|Eric Scheirer; MIT Media Lab||Brian Schmidt; Microsoft|
|Keith Weiner; DiamondWare||
Facilitator: Linda Law; Fat Labs, Inc.
The "Big Picture" working group started by listing the major perceived rants about audio systems and how audio is designed.
Main rants were:
Based on these rants, fairly quickly, the group focused in on how a major problem is based on the reliance on the programmer for audio integration. Though this didn't try to tackle "the big picture," we determined that putting power into the hands of composers and sound designers was essential to solving this problem. Thus, the "big picture" was tabled for another venue, such as the ia-sig. This resulted in the focus for the group: "Making powerful interactive audio easy: Games-A case study"
Although many applications besides games were determined to suffer from the same or similar issues, games was chosen to be a prototypical subject, and that, with careful thought, the results could be extrapolated to a larger scope. Also, there was consensus that there was an immediate and pressing need to solve these issues for this particular example.
Out of the rants came the brain storming sessions. These attempted to categorize issues that can help make everything easier. The basic categories were:
The following are partially beyond our control. They involve integration with scene graphics. Work has been in done in this area (particularly in the non-game areas) and by some game audio API's, but have not been addressed in a generic manner:
Concepts and Definitions
Special concern should be given to these. They're good global issues.
Day two started with a point of contention:
The most abstracted, interoperable system that allows an audio expert control of the audio integration into an application was determined to be a cue based interface between the application and the "audio vision."
DEFINITION: A cue is a mapping between an abstract request for sound services and the supplied service. It may also refer to the event itself, and may be used as a verb.
The Cueing System
The cue interpretation layer does all interpretations of cues. This could be either a simple language interpreter using a script-like language, or be implicitly controlling synthesis parameters. Especially for things like MP4, some things that have been traditionally been game logic now becomes "audio logic". For example, algorithms that expose high level knobs to the game, but cause multiple changes to underlying audio processing parameters.
The abstracted layer provides two types of information to the cue interpreter: Cue control, Parameter Query. The application can also receive callbacks or notifications from the audio engine, for such things as determining when certain musical or audio events occur.
It was determined that standardization of certain components of the system should occur. In the above diagram, light shaded items represent candidates for standardization. By defining a standard control interface between application engine and cue interpreter allows applications to utilize various proprietary audio engines without affecting their main application code. The engine would provide both a rendering engine and a cue interpretation layer that understood standard cue events, parameter queries and notification requests. These requests would then be translated into specific parameters for the specific audio renderer.
The realization was made that a cueing system would likely be neither practical nor desirable for 100% of the audio integration tasks. For this reason, an application would also have a (proprietary) connection directly to the rendering engine. This would allow for situations that were either impossible to describe using the cue-based interface, or where it is simply more expedient to do so.
Common Cue Formats:
ACTION ITEMS FROM WORKGING GROUP
select a section: 1. Introduction
2. Speaker Summary 3.
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