OpenAL vanished.

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mkultra333
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OpenAL vanished.

Post by mkultra333 »

Visiting the family for xmas, decided to test my ogre game project on my brother's computer. It wouldn't run because he didn't have OpenAL installed, and I use OpenAL for sound. No biggie, I thought, I'll just go download it.

But it seems the OpenAL installer is no longer available. The old links on the Creative site are down, a search for openal turns up nothing. It would appear they have simply stopped development without notice. Fortunately I had a copy of the installer on my laptop, which I had with me, so I used that and the game ran fine.

Bit of a worry though. Makes me wonder if perhaps I should change audio libraries. I looked around and couldn't find any well developed, free, non-gpl/lgpl audio libraries. FMod is way too expensive, at least $500 US, and to be honest it looks quite confusing with all these different packages and "Studios". The one that did look ok is IrrKlang Pro, affordable at about $96 US and with a lot of features. In fact the additional sound processing options (chorus, flanger, distortion, echo, reverb) make me tempted to change over from OpenAL regardless.

It'd be a bit annoying having to change sound engines at this stage, but perhaps it's better to go with something more modern that has developer support still.
"In theory there is no difference between practice and theory. In practice, there is." - Psychology Textbook.

dbtx
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Re: OpenAL vanished.

Post by dbtx »

It's just hibernating :) Creative stopped caring about HW-accelerated 3D audio forever ago (apparently around the Windows Vista release). They let the domain expire last month but the site and the mailing list had gone down long before that, and developer talk in #openal on freenode continued. Ryan Gordon (icculus) somewhat heroically bought openal.org & openal.net at auction. The old SDK and installer are available at http://kcat.strangesoft.net/misc-downloads/ alongside openal-soft which is alive and well and getting integrated MIDI -> soundfont support, from Chris Robinson who (iirc) has worked on OpenMW. A link to the 1.1 spec is all there is to see at the new temporary openal.org, but everything is gonna be ok :) With all these extra cores sitting around, having a heavy audio thread is not a huge deal...

Fun fact: the last message to arrive through the mailing list was titled "my base goes missing?" and we know the person meant bass but then... it did :roll:

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mkultra333
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Re: OpenAL vanished.

Post by mkultra333 »

Interesting. I did notice OpenAL soft, but the lgpl license puts me off, I know it doesn't matter that much but I'm a bit averse to any license that isn't as free as MIT/BSD type licenses. I might give it another look though.

I'm still considering my options, including just staying with the old OpenAL library and just bundling the installer package with the game in case people don't have it.
"In theory there is no difference between practice and theory. In practice, there is." - Psychology Textbook.

dbtx
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Re: OpenAL vanished.

Post by dbtx »

Yeah it bites. A fair number of people want to integrate it but I heard that Apple for example won't let any LGPL code touch their app store, so they ask Chris about relicensing. And of course it would always be up to Creative who published the original software implementation and who (again) seems not to care enough to even say "no". So he talked about rewriting enough of it that it's all his own code, then go with MIT/BSD/etc... but that might not even be legal-- according to some things I read (when thinking about porting/rewriting parts of a GPL standalone program as a library for use by a game engine), it will always be a derivative work unless it is written from scratch according to a specification, by someone who has never seen the LGPL code. But at least we have the specification and it wouldn't have to be written first by someone who knew their way around it, i.e. Chris. And there will be a website to find it.

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c6burns
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Re: OpenAL vanished.

Post by c6burns »

OpenAL was the library I first tried to use when scouting around for something to use in an audio subsystem. There were some things about it that made me wary. If you do decide to switch libraries, I've just had a really good experience with Cricket: http://www.crickettechnology.com/

Free to use provided you notify them of your application, and include a credit to them. Or full source license is 99$

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mkultra333
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Re: OpenAL vanished.

Post by mkultra333 »

Cricket doesn't sound too bad. Thanks for the tip.
"In theory there is no difference between practice and theory. In practice, there is." - Psychology Textbook.

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Re: OpenAL vanished.

Post by c6burns »

Yeah it's a great library from my experience so far. It's not very feature rich is the only con to it. Banks/streaming/3d audio is all there, but they are still developing additional features. So if you were doing a lot of real time audio filters, Cricket might not be able to swap in replace what you have now. Although, when I started using cricket only a few months ago they had literally nothing for effects/filters and now they have a filter interface and a few filters that ship with the library and a new DSP example app ... so the real pro is they are actively developing and they know their own shortcomings.

Anyway good luck! :)

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