One reason I won’t be using Vista for a while…

Taken from here

Update: The EULA is apparently a nazi. Thanks Hat.

DirectSound3D on Windows Vista

With Microsoft’s decision to remove the audio hardware layer in Windows Vista, legacy DirectSound 3D games will no longer use hardware 3D algorithms for audio spatialization. Instead they will have to rely upon the new Microsoft software mixer that is built into Windows Vista. This new software mixer will give the users basic audio support for their old Direct Sound games but since it has no hardware layer, all EAX┬« effects will be lost, and no individual per-voice processing can be performed using dedicated hardware processing.

EAX has become the de facto standard for real-time effects processing. It has been incorporated in hundreds of games and has become the method of choice for game developers wanting to add interactive environment effects to their titles. Some of the best selling games of all time use the EAX extensions to DirectSound 5.0 and beyond, including Warcraft3, Diablo2, World of Warcraft, Half Life, Ghost Recon, F.E.A.R. and many others. Under Windows Vista, these games will be losing the hardware support that came as standard under the previous Windows Operating Systems, and will no longer provide real-time interactive effects, making them sound empty and lifeless by comparison to the way they sound on Windows XP.

In some cases, where a game specifically looks for a hardware audio path, it may even fall back to plain stereo output. This will be a very different landscape for 3D audio than the one that both Creative Labs and Aureal Technologies® pioneered 8 years ago. Both companies dedicated hardware power to rendering increasing numbers of 3D voices, with each voice taking full advantage of HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) technology, wave tracing and other advanced processing. With the native Windows Vista audio APIs, all this advanced, hardware-based 3D audio processing will be inaccessible. Instead, basic mapping to a generic speaker placement scheme will be employed, and all interactive processing and rendering will be dependent on the host CPU. While it is true that CPUs continue to get faster, the Vista audio architecture intentionally simplifies things, such that the potential processing load for multiple 3D voices is limited. Inevitably there is a tradeoff. This will be especially true for gamers that have come to depend on the kind of high-end 3D audio experience available from products like the SoundBlaster X-Fi, with its advanced headphone 3D audio processing and dedicated hardware DSP effects. For gamers this would be the most noticeable loss in Windows Vista, and it would be a definite step backwards for PC gaming audio if developers only had the option of using native Windows Vista audio APIs. However, they do have a legitimate, proven alternative in OpenAL.


This is good news for the development of OpenAL in the future, but I’m already annoyed at the lack 64 bit drivers/plugins, having even more things backwards incompatible just seems lazy. Hopefully someone will develop a patch that emulates that sound portion of the HAL – if that is even possible.



1 comment so far ↓

#1   Hamish on 10.29.06 at 9:07 pm

Here is another reasion http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/29/microsoft_vista_eula_analysis/

Does sound a rather pain in the ass

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