You probably already know that from the end of last year we have been working hard on the transition of War Thunder to the new Fmod Studio sound engine. The game is constantly evolving, graphics are improving, new technologies appear, and sound is also evolving. Over the past year and a half, extensive sound work has been done: we reworked essentially all the sounds of aircraft engines, and made them dependent on the player’s view angle. The sound of an aircraft from the front, side and rear now sound different, which undoubtedly has a positive effect on the sound picture of the flight making it more realistic. In the same way, the sounds of guns for aircraft and ground vehicles were reworked, similarly for tank engines. The dependence of a tank shot sound on the terrain, where the tank is located, has been introduced. All these are only a small part of the results of sound improvements made over the past one and a half to two years. All these changes were met by you the players very positively, as we learnt from the results of the polls on our website. In addition, we monitor the War Thunder forums to stay in the loop in regards to your wishes for sound. Some write wishes and critique via personal messages on social networks, or e-mail. Thank you!
During the process of implementing all these improvements, we began to realize that the old Fmod Ex sound engine, which was introduced long ago with any customer support stopped a few years ago, it was beginning to exhaust itself, maximising our potential with it here. Therefore, we decided to transfer all sounds to the new Fmod Studio sound engine, which allowed us to introduce a specific number of new features even at the transition stage, eliminate old bugs caused by the old engine’s features, reduce memory load, which will affect the “stability” of the sound picture and most importantly open ample opportunities for future sound innovations.
Fun fact: The uncompressed sound sources of War Thunder contain more than 82,000 files summing up to about 20 gigabytes!
The transition was quite difficult. The uncompressed sound sources of War Thunder contain more than 82,000 files summing up to about 20 gigabytes. All this had to be transferred to a new project. Even though Fmod Studio allowed us to import the project from the old version - all the resulting sound events had to be checked and finished off manually, since the old project used effects and controllers that were not implemented in the newer version. It was also necessary to make sure that all this would work properly on other platforms besides the PC. Now, finally, we can say that this work is done.
For sound mods enthusiasts, there are two bits of news: both a good one and a bad one. The bad thing is, that sound mods made for previous versions won’t work in 1.91. This is due to the brand new Fmod Studio data formats. However, soon after the release of 1.91, we plan to share the source files for the game’s sound assets for mod creators. So, stay tuned.
The new audio engine offers solid groundwork for further improvements. In the future, we will be able to expand the functionality of the sound design for the game in accordance with modern industry standards (HDRA, binaural sound, occlusion of objects, etc.)
Currently, we can highlight the improvements in the following points compared to the previous version:
- increased positioning accuracy of sound objects.
- the detail of the mix has increased due to the introduction of multiple dependencies of sound groups from each other. For example, if there is an explosion nearby, the volume of other sounds decreases in proportion to the level of the explosion sound.
- many sound producing game objects (explosions, aircraft engines, gun shots) have increased in hearing radius for the listener, thanks to more advanced tools of the new sound engine.
- Thanks to a powerful and diverse toolkit for real-time sound processing, the sound changes more dynamically, depending on the in-game parameters (hearing range, viewing angles, rpm engines, etc.).
- Earlier, part of the logic for the formation of a sound environment laid on the game engine. Now it is shifted to an audio engine, which has a positive effect on the optimization and stability of the game as a whole.
- Thanks to the improved compression and decoding algorithms for the sound content of the new audio engine, we are able to reduce the consumption of RAM, which also positively affects the stability of the game as a whole.
That's all for now friends. We really need and appreciate your continued constructive criticism of the sound in War Thunder. Share your suggestions and ask questions in the comments below, as well as on the War Thunder forums!
The War Thunder Team
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