Audio is crucial for creating a persuasive VR experience. Because of the key role that audio cues play in our sense of being present in an actual, physical space, any effort that development teams devote to getting it should be worth the effort, as it will contribute to the user’s sense of immersion.
Oculus provides free, easy-to-use spatializer plugins for engines and middleware including Unity, Unreal and native development. Our spatialization features support both Rift and Android development.
Our ability to localize audio sources in three-dimensional space is a fundamental part of how we experience sound. Spatialization is the process of modifying sounds to make them localizable, so they seem to originate from distinct locations relative to the listener. It is a key part of creating presence in virtual reality games and applications.
Oculus provides the following audio tools:
See the following documents for Oculus integrations with popular development tools.
Oculus provides an spatializer plugin and a Lipsync package for Unreal Engine.
|Oculus Spatializer for Unreal - Plugin integrated with Unreal Engine||Oculus Spatializer for Unreal Engine 4|
|Oculus Lipsync for Unreal||Oculus Lipsync for Unreal Engine|
UE4 offers built-in HRTF-spatialization only spatialization for Rift with and limited support for Oculus Go and Gear VR. For an example implementation, see AmbientSound Spatialize in the Unreal Audio Content Example.
Note that when Unreal PC (Rift) applications are launched, if the OculusVR plugin is enabled and the Oculus VR Runtime Service is installed, then the application will automatically override the default Windows graphics and audio devices and target the Rift. The Oculus VR Runtime Service is installed with the Oculus app.
Oculus provides a plugin spatializer for Wwise.
|Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugin for Wwise||Spatializer for Audiokinetic Wwise|
The following image shows an example of Wwise.
Oculus provides a plugin spatializer for FMOD Studio.
|Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugin for FMOD||Oculus Spatializer for FMOD Studio|
The following image shows an example of FMOD Studio.
Oculus provides a plugin for Avid Pro Tools and other Digital Work Stations.
|Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugins for AAX (Windows)|
Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugins for AAX (Mac)
|Oculus Spatializer for Avid Pro Tools (AAX)|
|Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugins for VST (Windows)|
Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugins for VST (Mac)
|Oculus VST Spatializer for DAWs|
The following image shows an example of Avid Pro Tools.
|Oculus Audio Profiler for Windows||Provides real-time statistics and metrics to track audio performance in apps that use Oculus Spatializer plugins.||Oculus Audio SDK Profiler|
|Oculus Loudness Meter||A tool that measures the loudness of your app’s audio mix. Loudness goes beyond simple peak level measurements, using integral functions and gates to measure loudness over time in LUFS units.||Oculus Audio Loudness Meter|
|Oculus Audio Pack 1||An archive of WAV audio files that includes a variety of sounds including weather, animal sounds, and human vocals.|
|Oculus Ambisonics Starter Pack||Includes several AmbiX WAV files representing various ambient soundscapes, such as parks, natural environments with running water, indoor ventilation, rain, urban ambient sounds, and driving noises.|
Sound design and mixing is an art form, and VR is a new medium in which it is expressed. Whether you’re an aspiring sound designer or a veteran, VR provides many new challenges and inverts some of the common beliefs we’ve come to rely upon when creating music and sound cues for games and traditional media.
Watch Brian Hook’s Introduction to VR Audio from Oculus Connect 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBBuuvEP5Z4
Watch Tom Smurdon and Brian Hook’s talk at GDC 2015 about VR Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RDV6D7jDVs
Learn more about audio propagation simulation in the Facebook Reality Labs blog post
Read the Introduction to VR Audio white paper for key ideas and how to address them in VR, or see any of the additional topics:
|Localization and the Human Auditory System||Describes how humans localize sound.|
|3D Audio Spatialization||Describes spatialization and head-related transfer functions.|
|Listening Devices||Describes different listening devices and their advantages and disadvantages.|
|Environmental Modeling||Describes environmental modeling including reverberation and reflections.|
|Sound Design for Spatialization||Now that we’ve established how humans place sounds in the world and, more importantly, how we can fool people into thinking that a sound is coming from a particular point in space, we need to examine how we must change our approach to sound design to support spatialization.|
|Mixing Scenes for Virtual Reality||As with sound design, mixing a scene for VR is an art as well as a science, and the following recommendations may include caveats.|
|VR Audio Glossary||Definitions of technical terms VR audio terms.|
If you’re interested in learning more about Oculus VR audio or just want to chat with other audio-minded developers, drop by the Audio Developer Forums.