VR World

Google releases new SDK for immersive audio

In an effort to assist developers in creating more immersive audio experiences in AR/VR environments, Google has today released a new spatial audio SDK called Resonance Audio.

Building upon their Google VR Audio SDK, Resonance Audio is intended to provide improvements in modelling of complex sound environments, audio performance, and cross-platform functionality.

Moving beyond basic 3D spatialization, Resonance Audio allows developers to fine-tune aspects of their sound sources — including controlling the direction of acoustic wave propagation. This allows, for example, a virtual guitar to sound quieter when positioned behind it rather than in front of it, or for it to be louder when facing it and quieter when turned away.

Resonance Audio also makes significant improvements in how AR/VR software renders what are called “near-field” sounds (i.e. those in close “proximity” to the user).

In this case, the SDK adds accurate distance perception and a feature that allows developers to set the width of their sound sources — allowing virtual sounds to emanate from anything from a single point to an entire wall.

On the performance front, Resonance Audio makes use of highly optimized DSP algorithms. The result is being able to render hundreds of complex 3D sound sources without causing an undue burden on CPU resources — an especially poignant concern for mobile applications.

Developers can take advantage of the SDK across a very wide range of game engines, audio engines and digital audio workstations. Integrations span Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS and Linux and include Unity, Unreal Engine, FMOD, and Wwise.

Speaking to Unity in particular, Resonance Audio brings with it a precomputing feature that eases the CPU burden of reverb effect playback on software using that engine.

Resonance Audio also brings native APIs for C/C++, Java, Objective-C and the web.

Google explained that “this multi-platform support enables developers to implement sound designs once, and easily deploy their project with consistent sounding results across the top mobile and desktop platforms.”

The SDK is now available via GitHub. Developers are also invited to showcase their software using the new development kit.