Originally Posted by Kel Ghu
You are probably amongst the few that still play older games. To me, hardware acceleration really only matters in FPS, that's where sound processing can flex its muscles. But why play BF2 over BF3? Graphics and gameplay still prevail over sound. The last older games I've played in the past few years was Colonization and Day of the Tentacle. But here it was not hardware acceleration that I was missing, but a Roland MT-32! :D
I am pretty sure a proper OpenAL software implementation can be done. Games barely use the power of more than 2 full cores. With most gamers having quad, there's power left for sound processing. But that's not the problem. The problem is that devs don't support OpenAL anymore and no one really knows the reasons...
Let's hope DirectSound3D will be making its way back with a new release of DirectX for Windows 8. It's our only hope. Or make OpenAL somehow attractive again.
For that underlined part, gameplay IS the biggest reason. BF2 may have had a basic unlock system, but it was more of a nice extra, not made into the total grindfest that ruined the series since BF2142. (Which is a shame, as I liked the sci-fi setting of BF2142 and the Titan gametype.) There was no crazy overpowered M60 + Magnum Ammo crap that anyone without instantly became fragbait even a month from release. I hadn't seen a Battlefield game with that much weapon imbalance since Vietnam's infamous M60 + LAW kit!
In the old days of FPSs, Battlefield included, every player pretty much had all the options available to them from the get-go (save a few unlockable primary weapons that weren't really all that game-breaking in BF2's case), which is how a competitive FPS should be. No being forced to grind through the game just to get the decent equipment on a game-wide scale, which is made harder when you're fighting against people who have said decent equipment and are thus dying all the time. It's just bad game design to me.
They also still supported mods back then, something that stopped happening with Bad Company 2, along with users being able to run their own dedicated servers (they're really just renting servers from EA and DICE). The former point may not have been taken advantage of much, but remember that BF1942's Desert Combat mod was what paved the way for BF2.
That latter point means that every post-BC2 Battlefield game on PC (maybe even 2142 as well due to its heavier dependence on a player account for unlocks compared to BF2, for which you could set up offline accounts and LAN play that could be tunneled) will eventually die out when EA pulls the master server plug, as they've been known to do in the past. They will never be able to do that for 1942, Vietnam, or BF2, and thus they'll survive for as long as the community keeps playing them...and believe me, there are still a fair number of people playing those games right now.
Also, in terms of graphics, BF2 doesn't look like it's trying to give me eye cancer with overdone lens flare effects. BF3 seems like it's screaming "Hey, check out these fancy pixel shader effects we can do now!" without really considering whether it's actually a good stylistic choice or not.
Finally...who thought having a Web site for a main menu was a good idea? Seriously, I want to slap the guy at EA or DICE who decided to do that crap for BF3.
So, yes, I have a number of reasons for preferring older FPSs to newer ones in general, not just the Battlefield series in particular, and most of that actually does boil down to gameplay.
Now that I've got all that off my chest, I do agree in that the central issue at hand with modern games, audio-wise, is that they aren't using OpenAL or at least using a software audio mixer with some sort of binaural HRTF headphone 3D surround mix option, and instead treating it as one-dimensional stereo. I'm not sure what it'll take to get the game developers to care at this point, but it'll probably take a robust, easy-to-use middleware like FMOD or Wwise to get their attention.