The Essence of Interactive Audio

This introductory chapter considers the main themes of the book, sets out how those are addressed and contrasts them with conventional audio production. Interactive media is not like TV or movies. It's live, one time only. The experience is tailored for a single listener who controls the view-point and chooses the listening environment. DiRT Showdown game image

Constraints and opportunities: managing complexity. Learning through play. Software and hardware mixing. Disc and memory capacities. Curves, synergies and neat tricks.

Big business: sales in millions, billions of turnover, teams of hundreds working for years on multiple implementations of each product.

Scalability: from a dozen voices on old phones to hundreds on recent PCs and consoles, in mono, 3D surround sound, both or anything in between. Differences in listening practice between console and PC gamers.

Psychoacoustic dimensions: distance, direction, environment, intensity, motion, pitch.

Human dimensions: threats, opportunities, choices, risks.

Audio system layering: interaction with controllers, physics, game logic, networks and audio endpoints like loudspeakers and headphones.

Logical abstractions: listeners, soundbanks, effects, Virtual Voices, groups and reporting.

Physical sub-systems: panning, mixing, filtering, reverb and monitoring of sound sources.

Pervasive interactivity: the applicability of new tools to old media.

Further reading

Early Digital Audio Hardware - next chapter abstract.
Return to the index of chapters.
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