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Project Acoustics: An alternative to Steam Audio, does not require new zones added to maps


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Hello BSG!

In case you all are not 100% satisfied with the results you're getting with Steam Audio, Microsoft's Project Acoustics may be an alternative to consider.

It's main selling point is that it's very friendly to existing projects and allows "wave form" sound propagation with low resource overhead. Supposedly it calculates the sound "map" straight from the geometry without requiring any zones/planes to be added in by the map maker. Instead, the map maker "tags" parts of the map with a certain material type and then everything else is handled from there.

From what I can tell, the map is analyzed in the Azure Cloud and then sent back to the developer to package with the asset. Meaning the turn-around times can be very fast.

It seems to do all the things that Steam Audio can do (and maybe even a bit more?)

  • Obstruction
  • Portaling
  • Occlusion
  • Reverberance
  • Decay Time

It says it is compatible with Unity3d.

Here are some demonstration videos I found that may be of use:

A brief intro to the sound technology (time-stamped @ 1:33)

GDC Conference Presentation

Demo 1 by MDA Digital

Demo 2 by MDA Digital

And here's the github link:


Thank you all for your hard work, all the best!

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Doing some more research this morning, I found a guide on setting up Steam Audio. Evidently creating the sound data map can take a REALLY long time. This guy says a complex level can easily take over a day to compute (timestamped @ 12:26).

That really brings into perspective just how useful Project Acoustic's cloud processing feature can be. Even if it costs a bit to use their render farm (I don't know, just guessing), maybe it's worth it for the gains in productivity and turn-around times?


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Reading about it some more, it sounds like Project Acoustics originally started as something called Triton. Triton was used with Gears of War 4 and was a big hit for how good the game sounded.

Fast forward to today and Triton has since been bought by Microsoft.

One of the main drawbacks to the Triton technology was that, while it was very robust and jam-packed with features, it took a long time for developers to generate the very precise and accurate audio datasets. To address this, Microsoft allows developers to use its own Azure Cloud servers to process the files, drastically speeding up development times.

I'm not trying to shill for MS is any way here, just trying to give updates to BSG so they can know a bit more about it if they ever look into the plugin :)

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Just went through creating a demo in Unity3D myself and the audio probe datasets can also be computed locally as well, in case BSG has its own farm to use.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got a reply from MDA Digital,  who is the creator of some of the demos I used in the original post. In his view, Project Acoustics is better than Steam Audio in almost every way. One of the only drawbacks he's encountered so far is that distant sounds can be a little weird depending on how wide of a calculation area is set by the user (default is 45 square meters, can be increased further at the cost of more bake-time to compute everything)


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