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View Full Version : EAX will no longer work under Windows Vista.


MaXThReAT
11-27-06, 04:16 PM
So, I'm just starting to read up and understand what is going on with EAX and DirectSound under vista. NO EAX through DirectSound at all, No headphone 3D audio processing and maybe no crystallizer. NO per-voice processing and hardware acceleration of DirectSound3D.

However:
For owners of advanced audio cards like SoundBlaster X-Fi, is that the developer community has been preparing for this for over 3 years. Games that support OpenAL today will continue to provide full hardware-enhanced 3D audio under Windows Vista. These will have complete hardware-based HRTF(head related transfer function) support for multiple speaker and headphone setups as well as full support for all the different versions of EAX. Also, these games will be able to take advantage of the hardware-accelerated path on supporting hardware for performance and quality increases.
I think this mean Sudo EAX through OpenAL.

However again:
If a game does not support OpenAL, only DS3D and/or EAX, where a game specifically looks for a hardware audio path, it may fall back to plain stereo output. They will no longer provide real-time interactive effects, making them sound empty and lifeless by comparison to the way they sound on Windows XP- World of Warcraft, FarCry, Half Life, Ghost Recon, F.E.A.R. and many others.

So, some good and some bad. The Creative EAX monopoly has been taken out and new, Dev-grown, audio engines that support OpenAL hardware are in. I'm guessing we'll see a wide range of audio quality coming if each dev has to code there own. I hope Creative already has a full openAL driver supporting 3D headphone tech and the crystallizer. I don't see what will stop some company from coming up with some middleware code they'll sell, starting a new monopoly but at least there will be competition now.

http://www.openal.org/openal_vista.html

jAkUp
11-27-06, 04:20 PM
Creative already has EAX through OpenAL. Games like Doom3, Quake4, and Prey support it.

jolle
11-27-06, 04:48 PM
Yeah the newer games utilizing EAX features via OpenAL wont be a problem, but older games with pure EAX through EAX4 Advanced HD (or whatever its called) will..
Perhaps Creative or someone could write a nifty wrapper tho, kinda like the Glide wrappers that hung around quite a while after 3dfx bit the dirt, to play those Glide only games, or games that just looked/ran better on glide..
I mean you got some CPU cycles to spare on older games, and it prolly wouldnt have to be all that intesive either..

EDIT
and on the feature side, the CMSS3d Headphone and all the other features on for example the X-Fi series isnt tied to EAX AFAIK.
I mean it works on any audio, and it definatly works in OpenAL games like Quake4 which as some of the greatest game sound experience ever IMO.

MaXThReAT
11-27-06, 04:52 PM
Creative already has EAX through OpenAL. Games like Doom3, Quake4, and Prey support it.

For Vista though? I'm talking Creative Vista drivers. Do they already work? I've searched a bit but didn't find much about the 3D headphone effect or crystallizer on Vista.

jAkUp
11-27-06, 04:54 PM
For Vista though? I'm talking Creative Vista drivers. Do they already work? I've searched a bit but didn't find much about the 3D headphone effect or crystallizer on Vista.

Hmmm.. not sure if they are working in Vista yet, I haven't tried it.

jolle
11-27-06, 04:54 PM
I belive its Creative who is behind OpenAL btw.
So they prolly wont have anything against this, infact they get a bit more power now as DirectX powered sound is out of the way, and a API they are more involved with is in place instead.
Dunno if they call all the shots or how it works tho, but they definatly have more say on it then on DirectX..

EDIT
Dont think they´ve released any full Vista drivers with the controlpanel and stuff, just basic sound support, atleast when I was trying out RC2..

DarkJedi664
11-27-06, 05:48 PM
Creative owns OpenAL, so unless MS and Creative have struck a deal with other card companies; everyone's sound card (besides Creative of course) is now obsolete. Auzentech says that they're working on OpenAL drivers; but in the past, they have said that they can't get a license for OpenAL support.

MaXThReAT
11-27-06, 06:02 PM
I belive its Creative who is behind OpenAL btw.
EDIT
Dont think they´ve released any full Vista drivers with the controlpanel and stuff, just basic sound support, atleast when I was trying out RC2..

OpenAL, the Open Audio Library, is an initiative from Creative Labs and Loki Entertainment designed to provide a cross-platform open source solution for programming 2D and 3D audio. It is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), with current implementations supporting Windows, the Macintosh OS, Linux, FreeBSD, OS/2, and BeOS. The OpenAL API has been designed for portability of applications between supported platforms, particularly games and other multimedia applications using OpenGL for 3D graphics. http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/linux/2000/10/13/oa_openal.html

And sure enough I found the vista driver:
SBXF_PCDVTBETA_L3_2_11_0000.exe

http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/ (http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/download.asp?MainCategory=1&nRegionFK=&nCountryFK=&nLanguageFK=&sOSName=Windows+Vista+32-bit&region=1&Product_Name=Sound+Blaster+X-Fi+Fatal1ty&Product_ID=14000&modelnumber=&driverlang=1033&OS=26&drivertype=0&x=31&y=19)

Current release features:

X-Fi Crystalizer™
MIDI Playback
EAX® Effect
PCM stereo output through optical out
Line-in connectivity
Recording capabilities
Audio Console
Entertainment Mode
Game Mode

Known issues:
Applications from the original Sound Blaster X-Fi CD will not work with this download.
The 6.1 speaker mode is not fully functional.
Requirements:

Windows Vista 64-bit or Windows Vista 32-bit RC1
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic, Platinum, Fatal1ty or Elite Pro

Mmmmm Don't see the CMSS-3D for headphones yet. :( But at least the crystalizer is there.

DarkJedi664
11-27-06, 06:17 PM
Look at the date of that article though: 10/13/2000. I think that has changed since then. I think Creative is holding a monopoly on that.

MaXThReAT
11-27-06, 06:37 PM
Look at the date of that article though: 10/13/2000. I think that has changed since then. I think Creative is holding a monopoly on that.

Yeah, didn't even notice the dateline. "Initially it was a joint collaboration between Creative Labs and Loki Entertainment. Later, Creative Labs and former employees of Loki took responsibility for OpenAL (when Loki Entertainment dissolved) and committed to maintaining and improving the API." So I guess it is still Creative holding the monopoly. No wonder Auzentech says they can't get a license for OpenAL. So I guess all that's happened is direct sound is gone and anyone without an OpenAL card is SOL with vista. I see lots of integrated mobo creative chips in the near future.

tomb18
11-27-06, 08:18 PM
Just for everyones information, I have Vista RC2 x64 with the RC1 Sound Blaster X-Fi drivers installed (beta)
First I gotta rant...has creative ever released anything other than beta software????? The quality is usually far from beta quality...
Ok rant finished.
That being said, it does work reasonably well for beta software. 5.1 sound works, openal seems to work, Media center works in dolby digital and stereo. All of the games that do not require eax seem to work. Fear only outputs sound from the center channel.

Of course creative is not happy with just using the Vista functions for speaker set up. They have to use their own Creative Mixer which usually crashes when it starts. It seems to work on the second shot though. There is the usual settings screwup, sometimes working in the Vista control panel, and sometimes mysteriously reset because of the creative mixer.
However, once it is all set up, other than the crashes it seems to work. The crystallizer works, eax effects work at least for openal and media center etc, but not for games.
What is missing is cmss3d which is not yet functioning.

So in general, it seems to work about as well as it used to(lol) under xp64. What I did find surprizing is that it works without a hitch with Cakewalk Sonar and Ableton Live. The only thing, is that one cant change the ASIO latency in the creative driver.

Looks like it could be the first trouble free driver from creative...we will have to see.

ynnek
11-30-06, 07:48 PM
So in general, it seems to work about as well as it used to(lol) under xp64. What I did find surprizing is that it works without a hitch with Cakewalk Sonar and Ableton Live. The only thing, is that one cant change the ASIO latency in the creative driver.

Looks like it could be the first trouble free driver from creative...we will have to see.

You don't happen to know how project5 vista, and x-fi work?

DarkJedi664
12-01-06, 09:01 AM
This really anoys me like no other, Creative owns OpenAL, and they can tell other sound card companies no OpenAL support for you if they want to. So where does that leave people with non-Creative cards? If Creative wants to be dicks, then we're all SOL. Sorry but I refuse to buy an analog only card just to get hardware acceleration from games in Vista!

OWA
12-01-06, 11:11 AM
This is what Wiki says about OpenAL:

OpenAL was originally developed by Loki Software in order to help them in their business of porting Windows games to Linux. After the demise of Loki, the project was maintained for a while by the open source community - but it is now hosted (and largely developed) by Creative Labs with on-going support from Apple and open source enthusiasts.

Whilst the OpenAL charter says that there will be an "Architecture Review Board" (ARB) modeled on the OpenGL ARB, no such organization has ever been formed and the OpenAL specification is generally handled and discussed via e-mail on its public mailing list.

sharangad
12-01-06, 01:33 PM
http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/744/744595p1.html


George Thorn (Director, Digital Media Relations) has sent in an official response to Microsoft's decision to gimp 3D audio in Vista:

"I lead the game developer relations group at Creative and appreciate the opportunity to comment on some of the questions being asked about legacy DirectSound based 3D audio titles running on Windows Vista.

Legacy games that were written to use Microsoft's own 3D audio API will very likely suffer from degraded audio on Vista through no fault of Creative's. They will also degrade on motherboard audio solutions, on Mystique cards, and even on Aureal Vortex based cards. This is because Microsoft made the decision during Vista's development to remove the hardware abstraction layer that allows audio hardware access to the audio streams coming from an application. This is not something that Creative or any other audio vendor can simply rectify with a driver update. It is a consequence of the Vista architecture itself.

In a climate that has lacked a dependable audio API component, dating back to the outset of DirectX, Creative, Nvidia and others have worked diligently to establish OpenAL as an alternative API for games developers to use on the PC as well as on other platforms. With Vista, games written to OpenAL will be able to bypass the new Microsoft audio scheme and talk directly to OpenAL hardware, which allows products like our Sound Blaster X-Fi soundcard to deliver EAX processing and vivid 3D audio over headphones or on multichannel speaker systems.

Many sound designers are more than happy to talk about the value that EAX has brought to their games. We share some perspectives here. Under Vista, the only way developers can continue to add EAX effects to their titles is via the OpenAL API. This explains in part why there are an increasing number of top shelf titles that support OpenAL.

I encourage anyone to experience for themselves the audio quality and realism that X-Fi provides for gaming, and for the reasons outlined here, this is best experienced with game titles that support OpenAL. However, the issue of legacy DirectSound 3D titles running on Vista is a very real problem for all gamers, regardless of what audio system they have. So that we can continue to support gamers that use and enjoy our products and are planning to migrate to Vista, we are studying the feasibility of a translation scheme that would provide all of the benefits of Sound Blaster audio with legacy titles. I look forward to sharing more details on that with you in the near future. Our overall objective remains, as it always has, to provide an outstanding audio experience for you, the gamers. "

More info:

http://www.custompc.co.uk/custompc/news/98878/vista-will-support-eax-in-games-after-all.html

DarkJedi664
12-01-06, 03:08 PM
I think we're more wondering if other sound card companies can use OpenAL or not. If not, that's f'd up...and I will boycott Creative forever!

Redeemed
12-01-06, 03:22 PM
I think we're more wondering if other sound card companies can use OpenAL or not. If not, that's f'd up...and I will boycott Creative forever!

I second that.