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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 54

post #796 of 3095
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

Dropping the dsound.dll and dsound.ini in the game directory with THIEF.EXE does the trick on real X-Fi hardware. In general, you put those two files (which is what you're really doing by pointing ALchemy to a game directory through its GUI) wherever the game executable is, and Thief has no additional executables in any of the game directories' subfolders. Thus, I'm certain it's not a case of misplaced files.

 

Just for the hell of it, I tried doing it through a Windows XP VM, and...the cutscenes actually had sound! Unfortunately, I couldn't actually play the game itself because VMware just gave me a black screen during the cutscenes and in the main menu. At least this shows promise for its DirectSound3D implementation when used on XP, but I'd rather not do any crazy dual-booting on my notebook.

 

In any case, as long as Creative doesn't update their software OpenAL renderer, this isn't going to work out at all. I'll have to find out if Asus fared any better with the Xonar U3, or if they ran into the same pitfalls.

 

The next game I test might be Descent 3, maybe followed by the first two Soldier of Fortune titles since I know they have hardware-accelerated sound (DS3D for SoF1, OAL for SoF2). I just need to move beyond Thief and UT already.

 

 

Executables aren't the only files ALchemy links its library to. There are a few games that can require up to 10 copies of library files on separate folders.

 

I suggest you to set ALchemy like I pointed out, adding the System subfolder within Thief's folder on the Sub Folder settings path.

 

Of course Windows XP will have very much the best experience the USB implementation allows since it skips any wrapper needs. Better than that, only hardware X-Fi audio can provide.

 

Both Soldier of Fortune games run on DS3D, not OpenAL. They work just fine in terms of recognizing hardware audio, but I wasn't particularly impressed with the implementation on the game.

 

You want to try more games? Try Doom 3, F.E.A.R., Half Life 2, Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft, Dirt 1/2/3, Operation Flashpoint, Command and Conquer Generals/3/Red Alert 3, Bioshock, Prey, Cryostatis, Serious Sam FE/SE, just to name a few.

post #797 of 3095
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post
Executables aren't the only files ALchemy links its library to. There are a few games that can require up to 10 copies of library files on separate folders.

 

I suggest you to set ALchemy like I pointed out, adding the System subfolder within Thief's folder on the Sub Folder settings path.

 

Of course Windows XP will have very much the best experience the USB implementation allows since it skips any wrapper needs. Better than that, only hardware X-Fi audio can provide.

 

Both Soldier of Fortune games run on DS3D, not OpenAL. They work just fine in terms of recognizing hardware audio, but I wasn't particularly impressed with the implementation on the game.

 

You want to try more games? Try Doom 3, F.E.A.R., Half Life 2, Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft, Dirt 1/2/3, Operation Flashpoint, Command and Conquer Generals/3/Red Alert 3, Bioshock, Prey, Cryostatis, Serious Sam FE/SE, just to name a few.

 

There's just one little problem with that...there is no "System" subfolder.

 

You must be thinking of Thief: Deadly Shadows, the third game which uses UnrealEngine2.5 and thus would have a "System" folder in which the executables reside, which I haven't tested yet. I'm talking about the first two games that use the Dark Engine, more specifically Thief Gold. They keep their executables in the root directory and don't have any "System" subfolders.

 

If Soldier of Fortune 2 doesn't use OpenAL, then why does the manual mention it and the game directory have an OpenAL32.dll present? I'll work on that later.

 

Doom 3, Half-Life 2, F.E.A.R., Bioshock, Prey, Cryostasis, and DiRT 2/3 are not going to run well on an Intel GMA 4500MHD-based notebook, especially Doom 3 because it uses OpenGL (and Intel's OpenGL "support' is the worst). My desktops could handle them with ease, but I'm not going to risk screwing up their X-Fi drivers and associated software by throwing the USB devices into the mix. This is actually why I'm sticking to older games for testing these USB devices; they're meant for use with this notebook anyway.

 

Good call on Serious Sam TFE/TSE, though. DS3D-based, and very easy to run smoothly even on lower-end computers.

 

I don't have WC3, WoW, or C&C because I'm not really into RTSs or MMORPGs.

 

Operation Flashpoint...might think about that one, but hardly anyone plays it because ArmA II's been out for a while. (And screw that Cold War Crisis mission where you're alone and have to move from a forest to an extraction point on open ground, with enemies everywhere, AI that doesn't have the visibility problems you do, and the all-too-likely result that you will suddenly drop dead, having no idea what just killed you because you didn't see that AI sniper in the woods.)

post #798 of 3095
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

There's just one little problem with that...there is no "System" subfolder.

 

You must be thinking of Thief: Deadly Shadows, the third game which uses UnrealEngine2.5 and thus would have a "System" folder in which the executables reside, which I haven't tested yet. I'm talking about the first two games that use the Dark Engine, more specifically Thief Gold. They keep their executables in the root directory and don't have any "System" subfolders.

 

If Soldier of Fortune 2 doesn't use OpenAL, then why does the manual mention it and the game directory have an OpenAL32.dll present? I'll work on that later.

 

Doom 3, Half-Life 2, F.E.A.R., Bioshock, Prey, Cryostasis, and DiRT 2/3 are not going to run well on an Intel GMA 4500MHD-based notebook, especially Doom 3 because it uses OpenGL (and Intel's OpenGL "support' is the worst). My desktops could handle them with ease, but I'm not going to risk screwing up their X-Fi drivers and associated software by throwing the USB devices into the mix. This is actually why I'm sticking to older games for testing these USB devices; they're meant for use with this notebook anyway.

 

Good call on Serious Sam TFE/TSE, though. DS3D-based, and very easy to run smoothly even on lower-end computers.

 

I don't have WC3, WoW, or C&C because I'm not really into RTSs or MMORPGs.

 

Operation Flashpoint...might think about that one, but hardly anyone plays it because ArmA II's been out for a while. (And screw that Cold War Crisis mission where you're alone and have to move from a forest to an extraction point on open ground, with enemies everywhere, AI that doesn't have the visibility problems you do, and the all-too-likely result that you will suddenly drop dead, having no idea what just killed you because you didn't see that AI sniper in the woods.)

 

 

Actually I was thinking of Thief Gold, but I was mixing folder structure with Deadly Shadows.

 

There are games with both DS3D and OpenAL support, just like there are games with MSX, SW DS3D, HW DS3D, EAX, A3D, etc. Still, it's curious that games support DS3D and OpenAL on the same game given that the base principle is slightly different, but it's a good addition regardless.

 

Half Life 2 and F.E.A.R. runs very easily on IGPs as old as Intel GMA 950, nevermind a GMA 4500MHD that's two generations newer.

 

I wasn't aware you were running it on a notebook, especially one with that IGP. What are its system specs?

 

Ah, that's called the xray AI vision, quite famous on Far Cry (the first game, not the completely unrelated sequel).

post #799 of 3095
Thread Starter 

It's an HP EliteBook 2730p. It's a note-taking workhorse that I didn't buy for gaming (that's what desktops are for), but I'll run whatever I can get away with on it.

 

-Intel Core 2 Duo L9400 (overclocked to 2.13 GHz via ThrottleStop and a dual-IDA BIOS)

-4 GB DDR2

-Intel GMA 4500MHD

-Analog Devices SoundMAX AD1984A

-Intel X18-M G1 80 GB

 

This will have to do until I can afford a Fujitsu Lifebook T901 with the NVIDIA Quadro NVS 4200M option, a rare case of a convertible Tablet PC NOT being stuck with Intel graphics. (Seriously, almost all of them have Intel graphics, and the ones that don't have crappy TN panels and outdated dedicated GPUs.)

 

I could, in theory, use the ExpressCard slot with a PE-4L and plug a real X-Fi card into that, but I'm concerned about how PCIe X-Fi drivers might act if I disconnect it.

post #800 of 3095
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

It's an HP EliteBook 2730p. It's a note-taking workhorse that I didn't buy for gaming (that's what desktops are for), but I'll run whatever I can get away with on it.

 

-Intel Core 2 Duo L9400 (overclocked to 2.13 GHz via ThrottleStop and a dual-IDA BIOS)

-4 GB DDR2

-Intel GMA 4500MHD

-Analog Devices SoundMAX AD1984A

-Intel X18-M G1 80 GB

 

This will have to do until I can afford a Fujitsu Lifebook T901 with the NVIDIA Quadro NVS 4200M option, a rare case of a convertible Tablet PC NOT being stuck with Intel graphics. (Seriously, almost all of them have Intel graphics, and the ones that don't have crappy TN panels and outdated dedicated GPUs.)

 

I could, in theory, use the ExpressCard slot with a PE-4L and plug a real X-Fi card into that, but I'm concerned about how PCIe X-Fi drivers might act if I disconnect it.

 

 

Ah, I see. I'm familiarized with workhorses of that class. I have an old notebook around with a Core Duo T2600 running at stock 2.16GHz, 4GB DDR2, Intel GMA 950 with modded drivers and tweaking tools created by a forum dedicated to Intel IGP modded driver development and tweaking, the onboard audio chip is of no consequence, and a 500GB HDD. Unfortunately it only has PCMCIA.

 

PE-4L shouldn't pose any problem as long as you only connect and disconnect it when the machine is powered off. In the event you boot the machine without PE-4L connected, drivers will just sit there and not call hardware since it's not present.

 

Also, are you running Windows 7 x86 or x64?

post #801 of 3095
Thread Starter 

Windows 7 64-bit, of course. I'd be crazy not to with 4 GB of RAM installed.

 

Having to connect and disconnect with the system fully powered off would be a bit more hassle than I'd like. Word is that people who use the ExpressCard slot for eGPU purposes can at least connect/disconnect their graphics cards while the system's in sleep mode, which I could live with.

 

EDIT: Tested the original versions of Serious Sam TFE/TSE. As it turns out, the EAX option is just for reverb, because I sure as hell am not getting proper positioning out of these games no matter which of my computers I use. There are numerous posts on the Serious Zone forums to the same effect, too. I can't believe any developer would implement EAX for reverb and so forth while completely ignoring proper positional audio like that.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 9/23/12 at 2:23pm
post #802 of 3095

Well, it mainly depends on system specs, are there are some older systems that also have 4GB of RAM that I do recommend staying on 64bits. Yours can already cope the higher 64bits burden.

 

While not recommended, sleep mode is still close to a powered off system. The main issue is that PCIe hardware, by default, isn't hot swappable. If for some reason you can't do the proper shutdown procedure, then at least hibernate to send the system into a deeper sleep state.

 

Regarding Serious Sam, it's a bit of a shame that positional cue accuracy wasn't given the same care as graphics, especially since very little GFX cards can render all the graphics effects both games have, and no current gen GPU can, for instance. And no, just because of the more frantic rhythm of the game, that poses no excuse for less audio treatment.

 

Have you tried F.E.A.R. yet?

post #803 of 3095
Thread Starter 

If hibernation works, I can live with that, even if it means another 4 GB lost on that SSD. (I really wish this system wasn't limited to 1.8" microSATA drives...)

 

As for not trying F.E.A.R., it's because I don't own it, as I stated earlier. Would the demo be fine?

post #804 of 3095

Well, there are already more reasonably priced, higher capacity and high performing mSATA SSDs on the market.

 

In all honesty, I haven't tried the demo, but on all my years of gaming I've never seen a game have its audio crippled on a finished game demo, so it should work ok. And you will notice if it's working properly, contrary to other games.

post #805 of 3095
Thread Starter 

The cost advantage of mSATA (as in the "looks like mini-PCIe but isn't" form factor) gets negated somewhat when I have to plunk down $25-30 for a microSATA-to-mSATA adapter, and if I'm going to stuff a bigger SSD into it, it better be reliable.

 

Intel may not have the fastest benchmarks, but they have a reputation for reliability. Samsung also fares pretty well with reliability, too. OCZ is to be avoided like the plague, though.

post #806 of 3095

SSDs now are for the most part all high performing and easily saturating interface limits, so that's not a concern.

 

OCZ used to be problematic, that's the reputation that went around during the original SSD firmware of the time, virtually all known bugs have been fixed and their latest offering are on par with the best, performance and reliability wise. Samsung has a good balance, and Intel is reliable indeed.

 

In any case, I wouldn't spend much on a laptop with those specs, both CPU and IGP wise.

post #807 of 3095
Thread Starter 

Okay, when I first heard about those Dark Engine (Thief 1/2, System Shock 2) patches on Kotaku, I wasn't impressed. These games already ran on modern computers with modern OSes with a bit of work.

 

But then I read the changelog, and tried them out for myself.

 

THIS. IS. GLORIOUS!

 

You know all those complaints I had about hardware acceleration only working under actual hardware OpenAL devices (read: X-Fi cards with the proper DSP, probably Audigy cards too), regardless of the ALchemy version used?

 

That's no longer an issue. Software OpenAL on all those USB "X-Fi" devices works now. Hardware acceleration works, EAX works, 48 channels are enabled just fine, CMSS-3D Headphone gives proper positioning...this is the greatest thing. I can play these games on my notebook without complaining about the sound now!

 

Of course, that's just one of the many, many improvements these patches bring. Expect to see some impressive mods in the future, now that the engine limits have been raised significantly.

post #808 of 3095

Just like X-Fi cards, so do Audigy cards have real cards with hardware DSPs as well as a few software based cards, namely LS/SE/Value cards.

In any case, I'm glad to see Thief is finally working properly.

post #809 of 3095
Thread Starter 

I say "probably" because while I do know about the EMU10k2 on the proper Audigy cards, I've never had one to test first-hand. Skipped straight from Live! to X-Fi, as you know.

 

Not that I expect any issues since the first two Thief games were developed in the A3D and EAX 2.0 era of hardware sound acceleration...

post #810 of 3095

Hi all,

 

This is all new for me but here recently I bought the ATH A700's (thanks to reading posts here on this site) and now comes the fun part of upgrading the onboard audio.

 

I have been doing a lot of homework, trying to keep my budget at $100 and under for the sound card and the ones I am really considering are the Creative Xtremegamer and the Xonar DG. The thing I keep hearing though are comments like the Xtremegamer is an older card and dosent work as well for current games, and the Xonar is better suited for music than for games. I have my eye on the Xtremegamer though cause I see it being sold at $35 refurbished which seems like a really great deal. But I also know Creative dosent have the best rep. So curious, what is a good recommended card at under $100? This is strictly for gaming with just a bit of music and movies. Or am I just reading too much, and one of these would be just fine?

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