Steam Audio for more realistic and immersive VR sound goes official

Steam Audio for more realistic and immersive VR sound goes official

Virtual Reality has helped users get immersive experience by completely transforming you into a virtual world and making you feel to be very much a part of it. However, though the visual effects and graphics have considerably improved creating rich content, the tech industry somehow seem to have lagged behind in creating immersive sound experiences.

As a part of this, Valve has recently launched its free Steam Audio SDK Beta to “enhance all interactive products, specifically VR applications.” The SDK is currently available on Unity platform with Real Engine on its way.

This new tech is an improvement over the existing 3D audio and would feature sounds that realistically responds to the virtual environment of the VR content you are watching. Impulsonic, the company that Valve acquired earlier, is behind developing this technology of Phonon audio tools.

Medical sciences show that our brain takes help of the audio cues in order to understand the spatial information. Using this concept, the developers at Valve have arrived with this solution, and the below video will show you how the sound gets partially blocked by the wall by altering the pitch and volume.


Here is an explanation of the technology on the Steam Audio page:

Reflections and reverb can add a lot to spatial audio. Steam Audio uses the actual scene geometry to simulate reverb. This lets users sense the scene around them through subtle sound cues, an important addition to VR audio. This physics-based reverb can handle many important scenarios that don’t easily fit within a simple box-model.

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Steam Audio applies physics-based reverb by simulating how sound bounces off of the different objects in the scene, based on their acoustic material properties (a carpet doesn’t reflect as much sound as a large pane of glass, for example). Simulations can run in real-time, so the reverb can respond easily to design changes. Add furniture to a room, or change a wall from brick to drywall, and you can hear the difference.

This tech is currently supporting several platforms like Mac, PC, Linux, and Android.

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