Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAudio

Linux support forum for Eschalon: Book III
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Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAudio

Post by xolotl » March 6th, 2014, 12:18 am

Hello forum! Long time no post.

This is getting unweildy with all the edits, so the short version:

With any of the OpenAL sound options selected, many of the sound effects in Book III get cut off far too early, and some "class" of sound effect (like casting spells or opening doors) tends to not play at all. Ambient sounds work fine, as does music, and things like footsteps (the soft crunching on grass, hard footsteps on wood, and squelching noises in swamps all sound totally fine). I've got a couple videos demonstrating this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llfMnDjC9KU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLmofhJufxE

If I switch to any of the FreeAudio options, the sound effects all play properly, but there's a persistent "buzzing" noise which gets worse as the overall volume gets louder. The opening music sounds particularly bad, but it's always present. This seems to be different than the issue mentioned here - I don't have a pegged CPU, and any intermediate apps using sound don't affect it.

This is on a Fedora 19 x86_64 machine, using bare ALSA (no PulseAudio or similar daemons), and an "SB Live! EMU10k1" card.

The original post, and subsequent edits (the long version):

Anyway - I've finally got some time to actually play Book III now. I'm wondering if I'm missing some sound effects or something. I'm just at the very beginning still, and I've killed a few Bog Roaches with my Sparks spell, but the sound effects for both the spell and (possibly) hitting the Roach seem to be missing. Once or twice I heard a bit of a sound when I casted, but it didn't feel like a full sound effect. I *can* hear my footsteps perfectly well, and the squelching noise as I walk over the mucky swamp water areas.

I've posted a little video showing what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llfMnDjC9KU

Anyway, wondering if anyone else had run into that or not, and if so, if it's something specific to the Linux version.

Edit: Okay, after a few more Bog Roaches, I do seem to sometimes get at least a little bit of either the spell-cast or the "hit" sound, but they're both very truncated. Like I'm only getting the very first bit of the sound effect.

Edit edit: Okay, this does seem to happen on other sound effects in the game as well. Here's another video showing various doors opening and closing; I only get a partial sound effect on some of the attempts (though I swear I heard a full opening-door sound effect when I first went into Morwen's house) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLmofhJufxE - footsteps seem to be always fine, as does the ambient sound and music.

Edit edit edit: I didn't think to check before 'cause I figured OpenAL would be the only option on Linux. If I switch to FreeAudio, I do get all the sound effects as I should, though all the audio in the game then appears to have a persistent "buzzing" type noise which I think I saw mentioned elsewhere here, so I'll dig around for that. If I can get FreeAudio working without the buzzing then I'd be happy just using that, instead.

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by xolotl » March 9th, 2014, 9:28 pm

So I finally got around to trying this on my Fedora 20 laptop (with an "HDA-Intel" sound card), and the results are slightly better on there:

1) The FreeAudio driver happens to work quite well on there - no buzzing at all! So that's certainly good enough for me.

2) The OpenAL driver actually behaves just the same as on my F19 desktop - most of the ambient sound works fine, but many sound effects get cut off prematurely, even before they've had a chance to become audible. It's perhaps not surprising, if it's due to a bug in a specific OpenAL version... It turns out that I have to have the package "openal-soft-devel" installed on Fedora in order to even have the OpenAL driver available as an option for Book III. The Fedora 20 and Fedora 19 versions of OpenAL are basically identical, so if it's something to do with the version then I'd expect both systems to exhibit the same behavior. That version, for the record, is 1.15.1. I checked its spec file and it looks to be completely vanilla; there's no Fedora patches applied to it.

If someone on Linux can use the OpenAL driver and get full sound effects, I'd be curious to know what your version of openal-soft is (ie: whichever package owns /usr/lib/libopenal.so). I'd still love to be able to play the game "properly" on my main desktop.

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by SpottedShroom » March 10th, 2014, 2:22 am

I see the same cut-off sounds problem using OpenAL (or "OpenAL default," whatever that means) on Ubuntu 13.10. FreeAudio works fine except for occasionally going fuzzy as I mentioned above. I don't suppose FreeAudio OSS works any better for you on your main PC?

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by xolotl » March 10th, 2014, 8:14 am

SpottedShroom wrote:I see the same cut-off sounds problem using OpenAL (or "OpenAL default," whatever that means) on Ubuntu 13.10. FreeAudio works fine except for occasionally going fuzzy as I mentioned above. I don't suppose FreeAudio OSS works any better for you on your main PC?
No, 'fraid not - all of my OpenAL options behave the same, and all my FreeAudio options behave the same. (I have OpenAL Default, OpenAL OpenAL Soft (sic), OpenAL, FreeAudio, and FreeAudio OpenSound System.)

I actually have been playing on my main desktop, though I don't like to admit that I've been using wine to run the Windows version on there instead. :) I'll keep poking away at the native version, though.

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by The Noid » March 17th, 2014, 1:50 pm

For me the sound is also completely garbled, but I only have the options to choose from "FreeAudio" and "FreeAudio OpenSound System". What do you need to install on a 64bit Ubuntu to get any other options?

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by xolotl » March 17th, 2014, 2:20 pm

The Noid wrote:For me the sound is also completely garbled, but I only have the options to choose from "FreeAudio" and "FreeAudio OpenSound System". What do you need to install on a 64bit Ubuntu to get any other options?
I don't know what the package name would be on Ubuntu, but the file that you need to have present, in order to have the OpenAL options available, is the 32-bit version of "libopenal.so" On Fedora, that's found in /usr/lib/libopenal.so, and it's provided by the package "openal-soft-devel.i686". I have no idea why that file's only found in a "-devel" package on Fedora... On my system it's actually just a symlink to libopenal.so.1, which is a file provided by the non-devel package.

Anyway, hopefully that should give you enough to go on.

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by SpottedShroom » March 17th, 2014, 4:32 pm

The Noid wrote:For me the sound is also completely garbled, but I only have the options to choose from "FreeAudio" and "FreeAudio OpenSound System". What do you need to install on a 64bit Ubuntu to get any other options?
You want libopenal1:i386, but you will probably experience the same "cut off" sound issues xolotl and I both have when using OpenAL.

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by The Noid » March 18th, 2014, 12:15 pm

Thanks, I had that package installed, but there was no symlink named libopenal.so pointing at libopenal.so.1. After creating that link I got the options for OpenAL.
Bizarrely, now the FreeAudio option works just fine without garbling the sound...

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by xolotl » March 21st, 2014, 6:17 pm

I stumbled across an old Book II thread about some sound issues and noticed that BW had mentioned the following:
BasiliskWrangler wrote:...it looks like we can compile with support for:

ALSA
Pulse Audio
OpenAL
I'm curious what your current options are for this, and what you've currently got in there as supported. I suspect that they're probably all available in the version we have already, and "ALSA" ends up showing up as those "FreeAudio" options, but it might be nice to know.

Edit: Yeah, after looking at some BlitzMax forums, it sounds like "FreeAudio" is their own library which is closest to ALSA. It also doesn't look like there's likely to be any other options available now which weren't back then, so there's probably not much to look into on that front.

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by xolotl » April 8th, 2014, 12:25 pm

Alas, just FYI, it looks like both these problems are still present for me on the 1.021 release. Ah, well!

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by BasiliskWrangler » April 8th, 2014, 2:06 pm

xolotl wrote:Alas, just FYI, it looks like both these problems are still present for me on the 1.021 release. Ah, well!
The company who makes BlitzMax has not released a significant update to BlitzMax in several years. We've had a couple tiny bug-fix releases, but nothing in the way of improved/added support for new APIs.

This is why we're changing engines. Right now Unity3D is the frontrunner, so whatever they support, we'll support.
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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by xolotl » April 8th, 2014, 5:45 pm

BasiliskWrangler wrote:
xolotl wrote:Alas, just FYI, it looks like both these problems are still present for me on the 1.021 release. Ah, well!
The company who makes BlitzMax has not released a significant update to BlitzMax in several years. We've had a couple tiny bug-fix releases, but nothing in the way of improved/added support for new APIs.
Yeah, no worries - this would be a pretty difficult set of bugs to work around, made worse because they seem to be at least in part dependant on the hardware sound drivers in question. I've been tempted to reinstall Pulseaudio to see if running that would smooth out any of the issues, but thus far I haven't quite been able to bring myself to try it. :)

It is a bit strange that Books 1 and 2 were (and remain) fine.

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Re: Cut-off sound effects with OpenAL / Buzzing with FreeAud

Post by SpottedShroom » April 8th, 2014, 6:10 pm

xolotl wrote:I've been tempted to reinstall Pulseaudio to see if running that would smooth out any of the issues, but thus far I haven't quite been able to bring myself to try it. :)
I have PA and it's not doing me any good.

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