Focused on realism and historical integrity, constructing audio for Traction Wars does create some problems. Each gun must sound accurate and be as immersive as possible all on a zero budget.
When the game moved to Cryengine EaaS, it created an opportunity to completely rework the audio implementation. Starting our new project in Wwise opened up many new pathways, from enhanced distance-based real-time effects, improved resource management, and many other important (albeit relatively boring) back end processes. One of the pathways it opened up to us was a third-party plugin called 3Dception, developed by Two Big Ears. 3Dception works as a extension of the default audio positioning in Wwise. By affecting all audio events that pass through it, the plugin adds advanced spatialisation to positional audio in the game.
Instead of the standard left-right audio setup that the majority of games use, 3Dception enables us to create a complete 360-degree audio field. The traditional left-right field only allows players to accurately determine the direction of a sound coming from either left or right of them; only knowing if something is coming from behind based on whether or not you can see it on screen. In Traction Wars, with the help of 3Dception, it will be possible to detect the direction of gunfire from above, behind, below or to either side of you.
3D Audio Demo by Two Big Ears
How does it work?
The binaural effects created by 3Dception in real-time are based on Head Related Transfer Functions, or HRTF, which reveal how the human ear picks up sound differently based on location. It is something humans learn naturally through growth, and allow us to accurately determine the direction of a sound whether we are aware of it or not. (You can tell a car is passing you on the street, or locate some nearby drilling, even if your eyes are closed.) It is when this ability is taken out of the natural location that we really notice it. Listening to binaural audio on the internet (or playing Traction Wars with 3Dception enabled!) enhances the immersion. All of a sudden because of the audio we are in that location.
3D audio has been available through proprietary technology for many years, through dedicated sound cards and audio interfaces. However very few games have (yet, at least) had full 3D binaural audio implemented directly, allowing greater control of directional cues and enhancing the immersion. Traction Wars will launch with support of 3Dception, meaning all you need to enjoy the immersive audio is a pair of headphones.
3Dception will enable Traction Wars to provide a richer and more dynamic interactive audio mix that is accessible to anyone with a pair of headphones. It will be possible to pinpoint the location of your enemy through their gunfire and movement. Shots and explosions will ring out across the terrain and bullets will whiz and ricochet past you. We have been blown away by the immersion which 3Dception has added to our audio in recent testing and we are therefore delighted to announce today that we have been sponsored a full 3Dception license by the team who have created this incredible technology, Two Big Ears.
Keep an eye out for future videos and updates utilising 3Dception in Traction Wars and in the meantime you can find us on social media from the links below!
We will be back in two weeks time with another update but in the meantime you can find us on social media from the links below!