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megagoth1702

My trip to Bohemia HQ in Mnisek (28. April 2015 - 1. May 2015) Audio Q&A inside!

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This text was originally written on the 30th April 2015.

Hello,

I want to tell you guys about my trip to Bohemia Interactive's cozy studio in the middle in nowhere - Mnisek (28. April 2015 - 1. May 2015). I would have loved to make more pictures but the task was forgotten during all the audio nerd talk, sorrey. This was mainly an audio-trip, I wanted to talk to the sound guys and maybe record some vehicles with them, but the recordings were canceled because of bad weather and I ended up spending time with more people than expected. :)

If you just came here for the audio questions & answers, open this spoiler:

Original Document

1. Will Vehicle sounds be affected by speed of sound?

The SoS system is in place for certain sound sources, for example, explosions. We would of course like to extend it further (i.e. to vehicles) but we cannot say when, as we need to consider more factors, such as the level of simulation of looped samples of engines and the correct delay (and sound source position) of a potentially fast-moving source.

2. What about thefly-by sound of munitions & supersonic crack?

There are many things about this feature to be improved very soon, which we’ll mention in an upcoming OPREP. But, specifically, it should work like this: if it's a supersonic bullet, play a supersonic crack. If the same bullet slows down to subsonic, the sound will switch to subsonic fly-by sound. This feature is currently enabled for bullets only, but we are considering to add it for other kinds of ammunition.

3. Indoor occlusion based on doors & windows is possible?

A distance-based interior controller is planned, and it’s possible to factor in the state of doors & windows (open/closed/broken). As usual it’s a question of time, resources and performance set against the gameplay value of deeper simulation.

4. Documentation of sound processing effects (for example radio), parameters (controllers) and general information on the audio system?

We’d like to find a more efficient way of synchronising internal and public documentation. We are currently discussing the idea of introducing some kind of ‘Audio Hub’, where all documentation can be published.

5. How to use the processing effects (radio, reverb) on scripted sounds? Maybe via an additional „soundEffect“ variable?

Dynamic filtering is something we've discussed internally and would like to add to make life simpler and the audio richer. Let's say it's part of a bigger backlog of work for now.

6. Max. distances of sounds are short, why is that?

It is planned to have a dynamic distance, based on environment. Sound will travel further in an empty desert at night than in a dense forest at noon. Current values are a gameplay compromise, and we didn't want to push any feature into the build that could have too much of a negative effect on performance.

7. Graphical EQ in settings?

Not planned.

8. Distance based sounds?

For guns and explosions, there's an idea of having two sounds per weapon, a close and a distant sound. Their ratio in the mix would depend on distance. So at close-range you would hear the close sound, in the distance you will hear the distant sound (and in the middle you will hear some of both). Generally, it is our goal to achieve results dynamically (i.e., not with specific samples for specific ranges, as it becomes hard to maintain); however, we think there are some situations where this may not be possible.

9. EAX Support?

Not planned.

10. Are Arma Audio Devs inspired, influenced by mods of the community and do they steal from it?

We do not consider ourselves to be competitors to our community - we love mods! If the community likes a certain feature and it is popular – why not recreate the functionality in-engine so that it runs better? But in reality, no stealing is happening. No sound mod has ever been 'looked at in detail' to copy something into Arma, we just watch the videos instead or talk directly to the mod maker. To be honest and clear: we follow our own long term plan of improvements for every single feature.

11. Sounds for weapon resting?

There were tests & prototypes, but it became really annoying because it happens too often, and the variation per surface type was too little benefit to justify the considerable amount of work (detection, samples, etc). We're focused on other priorities for now, so no work is currently planned.

12. Why are animations sometimes out of sync with the sound?

Sometimes it's simply down to miscommunication in the team. It can be very, very hard to keep track of every single animation and check every single one every time it changes. However, from time-to-time we are going through and updating sounds according to new animations, and in the back ground, work on auto-testing could help out here.

13. Will AMD True Audio be used?

Probably not.

14. In the weapon configs you define multiple sounds per shot so they can be randomly chosen to add variety to the sound. But they are being played in order!

Yes, this is an obsolete implementation, which we intend to replace it with random selection.

15. Why are you defining so loud sounds in the config and fight the limiter all the time?

In this case, there were no resources or better ways to do it at the time and, overall, we feel this compromise has improved the feeling of firing weapons. In future, we plan to change this - dynamic range should be handled in a much more sophisticated way. There are no more details at the moment we can say, until this feature will be introduced. We can say that it does not mean signal compression, it will be done differently.

16. Quote from forum: „It seems to me that the delivery of audio content and technical features in Arma 3 have been slower than the other content. I'd like to know about the human and time resources the audio team has, and how they compare to the resources available to other aspects of Arma 3 development.“

It's true that audio in Arma was underestimated for many years. It’s not a long time ago that the Arma 3 project refocused / restructured its development, and reinforced the audio team. I am proud that many exciting changes which were missing for so long were introduced during that period. However, it's fair to say that the manpower we have is still very limited - mainly the programmer part of work - but we are constantly growing, so hopefully new features, fixes and updates will be released with much higher frequency!

17. Why are there so many ramps in vehicle sounds? It does not sound very convincing.

The problem is not the system itself, sounds are bound to the RPM controller, which sometimes does not behave in an ideal way. This will hopefully change in the future.

18. A very general question: If you had all the resources you needed – what audio features would you want in the arma sound engine?

As I mentioned: there is a long term plan, analysis, design documents for mostly all audio features(improvements and new as well). Many solutions are very advanced, so we are implementing them in iterations to provide better experience as soon as possible. So, all of them! My personal favorite features I would love to see (hear) in Arma are vector-based-multichannel-amplitude-panner and dynamic convolution reverb.

19. Will there be a distinctive „gear box whine“ sound, known from certain busses and military vehicles?

It is possible right now, there needs to be a sound added in the configs. Vehicles are currently under the magnifier, so this is a great idea for enhancement!

20. What are you using iZotope RX4 for?

We use mostly all of the features, but one use is 'EQ Match': a powerful tool to for example match the tail sound to the shot itself. A very powerful shot followed by a thin tail would sound unnatural, because frequency spectrums are not unified. This amazing tool saves a lot of time.

21. Tails for explosions?

We are considering to implement this, yes.

22. Will munition (shells for example) sound be affected by speed of sound? A rocket flying in the distance for example.

Yes, implementation of this should be part of future enhancements of the speed of sound feature.

23. Is Direct VON 3D positional? If not, can it be?

We can say that we have VON improvements in our plans, but I cannot expand upon this right now.

24. Is sonic boom possible with jets & missiles? Are supersonic vehicles at all possible? (Comment by Megagoth1702: This would require a cone after the vehicle has gone supersonic → complicated?)

Currently no, sonic boom feature for jets and missiles is planned to be implemented at a later stage.

25. The Wipeout Jet (modern A-10) gun, will it become a bit more brutal?

OK. I will take care of this cursed sound . personally

26. How does the XAudio2 API handle many voices? You define many sounds in vehicle configs, are these sounds separate voices?

It's not so simple, '3D' and '2D' sounds are handled separately. For positional sounds (3D), the number of voices means the actual number of samples playing simultaneously; there is our own selection management system to choose which samples are played which are not. Stereo '2D' samples are being managed separately (including sound within vehicle configs).

27. Is it possible to have more than 128 voices? How does the voice system work anyway? What counts as a voice? What are the priorities for voices?

128 is internal limit we set. See the answer above.

28. How exactly does „thrust“ controller work? It seems to quickly jump between 0, 0.5 and 1 with a bit of smoothing inbetween these states.

The input value is based on controller type so, for example, for keyboards there are two values only – key pressed/not pressed (0,1), for different controller type it can be smooth value. Anyway the output value for "thrust" controller is being smoothed with specific kind of moving average.

29. Is it possible to get a „engineLoad“ controller? Engines that are under load sound different than engines that are not.

There is "engineEffectivity" variable, which we do not use at the moment. Improvements of vehicle sounds are currently in progress.

30. How exactly does „cone“ for helos work? What do these numbers mean? cone[] = {3.14, 3.92, 2.0, 0.5};

{inside cone, outside cone, inside volume, volume outside}, angles are in radians, the base vector of the cone should be heading up in the space of the vehicle. More information can be found here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ee418803%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

31. It is possible to create a sound source with script (for example say3D) that is able to MOVE? For example an airplane sound that moves across the map without there actually being a plane?

Yes, for Say3D only, it is linked to an object which can move. Unfortunately, looping needs to be managed manually. https://community.bistudio.com/wiki/say3D

32. Can we get a list of all sound controllers that can be used for audio such as thrust, rotorThrust, transmissionDamage etc.

randomizer, rpm, speed, thrust, camPos, engineOn, rotorSpeed, rotorThrust, angVelocity, gmeterZ, roughness, dustness, damper0, rock, sand, grass, mud, gravel, asphalt, gear, flaps, rotPos, water, apu, batteries, rpmStarter, rpm1, rpmStarter1, motorDamage, transmissionDamage, rotorBrake, latSlip, latSlipDrive, scrubLand, scrubObject, scrubTree, scrubBuilding, scrubArmor, engineEffectivity, rain, wind, lateralMovement, playerPos, rotorDamage

These should work for all looped sounds which use controllers within class Sounds {}; in vehicles.

Since I was bringing beer from Berlin my backpack was heavy when I was running to my bus. I nearly missed it, because I am a lazy bum who likes to stay in bed too much. :cool: During the 4 hour bus drive some tasks were accomplished:

  • Stamina bar was replenished by sleeping even more
  • Funny podcasts were finished, laughing on my own in the bus (
    , DoubleToasted.com)
  • Wonders of nature were observed (It snowed at the border of DE->CZ, and ONLY at the border, you can kind of see it through the glass on the picture, it was completely storming white outside)

I arrived late at Florenc Bus Terminal (damn you blizzard of Czech border!), afraid that my pickup to the studio would not be there BUT to quote Jan Dusek: "I made two EPIC mistakes driving here. I thought I would take the smart way through the city, but apparently everyone else had the same idea." So he arrived just on time in the "Battle Bus". I was told that at the last shooting range recording they were offered to get REAL bullet holes into the bus for improved authenticity. :p Army guys... I was instantly informed that everything we talk about is under strict NDA and the first thing I did after arriving at the studio was signing the document.

I was shown around the studio and met pretty much everyone in the DEV team. Many faces we all know from livestreams were there. Special shout out to pettka! Awesome dude, helped me a lot (via PMs) with understanding deep engine behaviour. Unfortunately I only got to shake his hand, since he had to insta-leave the facility. The house in Mnisek itself is pretty cozy, only 2 floors, a small kitchen with snacks and drinks and a beautiful lake in the back. It's like a holiday house, just filled with computers, cool dudes and a lot of Operation Flashpoint - posters. :rolleyes:

My room was in this house, just above the massive motion capture studio. I settled in and shortly after was driven to the next bigger town (20 minutes walk from the studio) to buy myself some nutritious, balanced meals for the breakfasts and dinners of the days. (The team was kind enough to let me in on the daily lunch-ordering. (Usually pizza.:yay:))

Great! What now? I walked back to my place and - just my luck - found out, that there was a small ping pong game planned in just a few minutes!

Nelson from Portugal - mission designer, responsible for campaign missions and the awesome End Game mode

Pawel (Smookie) from Poland - animator, he got us custom weapon animations for arma3!

Krzysztof (Klamacz) from Poland - programmer, knows a shit ton about AI and responsible for firing from vehicles

Andrej, me - the visitor dude

Perfect opportunity to start sharing that German beer! No need to say, I totally failed against these guys.

On the second day there was not much besides talking to Jan (nickname Dusa) and Kristof (2nd sound designer, master of nasty cat jokes). Also we ordered pizza and here you can see a junior sound designer hard at work. :cool:We also went over community (and my) questions. A part of the answers will go live soon and I will get notice on what details I am allowed to reveal. NDA. In the evening me and Smookie got shit faced (drunk) talking about video games, world politics and marriage. Really manly topicy. :D

The third day was mostly spent in the audio studio. They have a damn studio - acoustically treated, proper monitors, voice over booth, awesome! Me and Dusa shared my last two Berliner Pilsners listening to his music, sounds of vehicles, weapons, playing a bit of guitar and just conversating. He is a cool dude. :) Klamacz and me had some beer and ping pong in the evening and now I am sitting here, writing this wall of text.

Tomorrow I will be brought to my bus back to Berlin. This was not my last time being here. Until my sound design studies start in Oktober this year I will try to come more often, these guys are awesome. Also I am looking forward to being a community <-> developer connection. Together with Dusa I will start documenting (hopefully) all of the audio engine so that modders get an easier life. This will take a lot of time, since neither me nor BI have a lot of ressources to stem the huge amounts of work they are faced with every day.

Final words: Dusa is an amazingly smart, passionate audio guy and he has some talented people working with him. Believe me guys - arma3's audio is in for a treat in the future. In my opinion there basically will be no need for sound mods anymore, other than taste, which is why I will stop active work on my stuff and instead focuss on supporting Dusa's crew any way I can.

I can't wait to come again and talk to these guys. I really feel pretty good here at Bohemia.

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Edited by megagoth1702

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Definitely looking forward for the things to come, sounds very good :yay:

You forgot to ask if there will be definable cones for ground vehicles (aiming to the sides/front/rear of the vehicle for example) :P

A:There is "engineEffectivity" variable, which we do not use at the moment. Improvements of vehicle sounds are currently in progress.

Engine effectivity isn't really usable for sound, or at least i can't think of a possible use. It is just the ratio of the torque the engine currently outputs (for its given rpm) vs. the maximum possible torque it can have. To find "engineLoad" you need to look at how big the torque that tries to stop the motor is (coming from the wheels) and divide it against the current torque output of the engine.

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The two items that stood out to me -- both the promise to personally handle the Wipeout sound and the future implementation of sonic booms for jets and missiles. :D

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Man I hope they can improve vehicle sounds. After playing any kind of racing game, in Arma you wonder where the vehicle sounds even come from because vehicles sounds so weird. Especially some civilian car on a dirt road sounds like some factory line robot (so nothing like a car) :D

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well done :) thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for sharing, I'm glad you enjoyed yourself (and got to have a drink and a laugh with the devs :P)

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That was a great read, thanks megagoth! Can't wait for the Wipeout sound to have the personal treatment, without mentioning all the other good stuff! :D

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Thanks guys. I figured, if I am going to visit it's clear that I am pretty much obliged to share with the community. :)

You guys are either blind or missing this: Distance based sounds - WE WILL GET FRIGGIN close/distant sounds for weapons!!! The most awesome thing for me personally! :)

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Great read. Big thanks to everyone that was involved. For the record, I already deleted all sound mods on my install since 1.42 came out. It's all heading in a very exciting direction.

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You guys are either blind or missing this: Distance based sounds - WE WILL GET FRIGGIN close/distant sounds for weapons!!! The most awesome thing for me personally! :)

THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER!!

Actually i was hoping for this to come. No more the same sound no matter how far you are from the source. AWESOME.

Though I have the feeling that it will take another year until everything is implemented. Sound keeps me from playing Arma right now regularly.

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.... So there studio is a vaction villa with an awesome lake behind it? so..... bis..... when are you starting to get the community over for a massive Lan Party around the lake?

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Definitely looking forward for the things to come, sounds very good :yay:

You forgot to ask if there will be definable cones for ground vehicles (aiming to the sides/front/rear of the vehicle for example) :P

Engine effectivity isn't really usable for sound, or at least i can't think of a possible use. It is just the ratio of the torque the engine currently outputs (for its given rpm) vs. the maximum possible torque it can have. To find "engineLoad" you need to look at how big the torque that tries to stop the motor is (coming from the wheels) and divide it against the current torque output of the engine.

Yes I did. Sorry. :)

The current situation of cones is this: in the model there is a vector which defines the direction of the cone. From there all you can do is set the size of the cone. Dusa said, there will be a way to rotate these cones freely. This probably will work for other vehicles than jets as well. :) I have to find out, whether cone is available to all vehicles right now.

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Awesome post OP!

PS: Does anyone remember BI's mascot, the Raccoon? I re-watched the first livestream and got curious.

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What is "vector-based-multichannel-amplitude-panner" and what it's for?

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What is "vector-based-multichannel-amplitude-panner" and what it's for?

Maybe there will be more "understandable" info in an OPREP. :)

Google:

https://www.google.de/search?q=vector+based+multichannel+amplitude+panning&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=QEVTVcWEMoatsgG5pYGoBA

If you read enough you will get a good idea of what Dusa wants. :)

Edited by megagoth1702

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Sound mods soon no longer be necessary in ARMA3, in my point of view or heard. :Oo: :622:

As this evolving sound engine ARMA3, I would not waste my time to make a sound mod. It's what I think at the moment. :don8::rofl:

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Was this BI's intention all along or were they 'nudged' in this direction by the newfound warcry "dynamic range"

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Yes, hope for actual positional reverb. Hehe, also yeah. I think it's best that the sound become so good that sound mods aren't needed. It'll make everything cleaner.

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Was this BI's intention all along or were they 'nudged' in this direction by the newfound warcry "dynamic range"

Let's just say even if you want something really bad,sometimes you can't have it,its how life is.

Trust me,Dusa knows it all. And now he is able to do much more work,since the team is reinforced. :D

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk

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