Oculus has released the Audio SDK update with the ability to create a more realistic sound, generating real-time reverberation and occlusion based on the geometry of three-dimensional spaces.
The Audio Propagation tool in the beta stage is included in the Oculus Audio SDK 1.34 update. According to Oculus engineers, it provides more accurate sound distribution with a “minimum setting”.
Audio Propagation generates reverberation based on the geometry of locations, so to change the sound of scenes, developers just need to select the appropriate grids in the scenes and select acoustic materials for each of them. Among the patterns are plaster on bricks, ceramic tiles, carpets and much more.
The upgrade also comes with reverb patterns for several types of spaces, including indoor, outdoor locations, and asymmetrical spaces, which distinguishes it from traditional reverb solutions. On Oculus Connect 5, developers from Facebook Reality Labs talked about these features in a presentation titled “Spatial Audio for Oculus Quest and Beyond”:
In the link entry, engineers complain that modern, top-level games tend to use the time-consuming process of adding independent reverb presets for each room of the scene. Presets switch abruptly when moving between rooms, and the sound in the physical world spreads differently. Some developers are implementing a portal system to solve occlusion problems. The Oculus solution works in real time, dynamically changing the sound when the reflection geometry of sound waves changes as the user moves.
The Steam Audio plugin for the SteamVR platform provides both options with presets and dynamic adaptation, however, in the extensive Unity setup guide, the company claims that it “entails a load on the central processor.” We are not aware of the weaknesses of the Oculus solution.