Audio Resource Management

Interactive audio draws on limited resources. Their usage needs to be anticipated and pre-planned. This chapter considers the dimensions of audio in terms of RAM, CPU and bandwidth and the phases in which it is loaded, used and discarded. George Lucas says that sound is half the picture, but games typically allocate only 10% of their memory and processing resources to audio. Even so, audio is updated more frequently, and interruptions are more obvious. Exceptions like Dance Factory on PS2 and DiRT2 on Xbox 360 are noted and justified. Other comparisons encompass Windows, macOS, Linux, all PlayStation and Xbox models, Nintendo Switch, Android and iOS hardware.


Breakdowns of soundbank allocations are provided for recent mobile, PC and console games with memory footprints ranging from 14 to 371 megabytes, also noting the streams and codecs used.

Soundfield waveform detail from the cover of the book

The four-part B-format soundfield waveform above captures in 3D sound and space a Texan thunderstorm, recorded in 2009 using an experimental Ambisonic microphone hand-made by Dan Hemingson. Soundfields are complementary to positional audio objects, concisely representing the ambient background against which nearer sounds are found and tracked.

Further reading

Loading and Streaming Concepts - next chapter abstract.
Interactive Audio Development Roles - previous chapter abstract.
Return to the index of chapters.
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Copyright © 2019 Simon N Goodwin     [';']