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Ogg Vorbis support now in Miles sound system!
pepoluan
post May 11 2006, 21:19
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RAD Game Tools, which makes multimedia engines for lots of games, now has incorporated Ogg Vorbis support in their Miles Sound System! Their official announcement regarding Ogg Vorbis support is here.

And here's the development history. Ogg Vorbis support is added quite recently (April 10, 2006).

So now I guess the Ogg Vorbis format will finally go mainstream...

Edit: Add link to development history.

This post has been edited by pepoluan: May 11 2006, 21:26


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rjamorim
post May 12 2006, 02:43
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QUOTE (pepoluan @ May 11 2006, 17:19) *
So now I guess the Ogg Vorbis format will finally go mainstream...


It's been used in games for years already!


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pepoluan
post May 12 2006, 10:35
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ May 12 2006, 08:43) *
QUOTE (pepoluan @ May 11 2006, 17:19) *
So now I guess the Ogg Vorbis format will finally go mainstream...


It's been used in games for years already!
Yes I know, but most of the support are 'patchy', in the sense that gamemakers must write their own routines to play Ogg Vorbis. For big gamemakers with a legion of programmers (Microsoft came to mind), that's okay. But for gamemakers who can't afford such? They will use whatever ready-made solutions out there.

As RAD is arguably one of the most-used game framework, this allows such gamemakers to just 'go out and use Ogg Vorbis'.

Case in point: I have Civilization IV on my PC. All the tracks are MP3s. They use Miles Sound System, and they invest a lot of effort in gameplay and couldn't be bothered with patching up MSS to play Ogg Vorbis (I've corresponded with them). Now that Miles support Ogg Vorbis, it's become relatively minor for them to convert their waveform files into Ogg Vorbis files.


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vlada
post May 12 2006, 12:25
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For example a czech game called Mafia uses OGG Vorbis for in game music. Btw. it was the best game I ever played. In addition to great music, it also has a very good grahics and perfect storry.

So even small studios, who wanted to do a really good game, used Vorbis before. But the integration of Vorbis in Miles Sound System will bring Vorbis also to game developers who don't care about quality anymore, like EA, for example.

But for OGG Vorbis to become a mainstream, you would need one more thing: better end user support. For example there in no official DirectShow OGG splitter and Vorbis decoder. There are some implementations from Illiminable and RadLight team. FFDShow has 2 implementations of Vorbis decoder. But none of them are official AFAIK.

Also a web plugin for playing OGGs would attract a lot of users.
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Daijoubu
post May 12 2006, 21:55
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Well, a lot of games use FMOD...

Now that it's part of the MSS, bigger companie may aswell use it smile.gif

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Hollunder
post May 13 2006, 00:45
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well, I don't see that as such a step forward for ogg.
It may be nice but I don't think that the user community will be much bigger because of that.
How many players care for the audio format of a game?

I think that ogg has been and still is quite widespread in the free an open source game community, so no changes here either.
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Societal Eclipse
post May 13 2006, 09:38
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If this is for the type of game where you can replace the default music and add your own then it would be great for just that reason. Giving the consumer more choices of encoding when they want to add to the soundtrack and spice up something they've gotten used to already.


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pepoluan
post May 13 2006, 12:28
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Of course, we can't expect Ogg Vorbis to overnight become the format of choice and replace the MP3 as the reigning king. However, at least this gives significantly more 'platforms' supporting Ogg Vorbis. Thus, the incorporation of Ogg Vorbis into a widely used gaming platform significantly increase the availability of Ogg Vorbis platforms.

RAD Tools, in their website, has a page explaining that they 'absorb' the MP3 licensing fee into their framework's pricing. Who knows, maybe they will produce a lower-priced MSS without MP3 licensing fee, as now there's an alternative to MP3 for significantly compressed audio files.

QUOTE (Hollunder @ May 13 2006, 06:45) *
well, I don't see that as such a step forward for ogg.
It may be nice but I don't think that the user community will be much bigger because of that.
How many players care for the audio format of a game?

I think that ogg has been and still is quite widespread in the free an open source game community, so no changes here either.
Well, if a game has a captivating sound track, and it is easily accessible (i.e. not packed into a proprietary container), users will try to find the track, and try to play it. At least, this gives gamers an introduction to the Ogg Vorbis format.

The problem with open source games, is that too many gamers are unaware of them.

QUOTE (Societal Eclipse @ May 13 2006, 15:38) *
If this is for the type of game where you can replace the default music and add your own then it would be great for just that reason. Giving the consumer more choices of encoding when they want to add to the soundtrack and spice up something they've gotten used to already.
Case in point: Civilization IV is extremely moddable (i.e. to introduce scenarios, rather reminiscent of Blizzard's games). These modders may specify their own soundtracks.

Edit: FWIW, The default in-game soundtracks for Civ IV is also user-replaceable. Currently they use older MSS so I can't use Ogg Vorbis files.

Edit2: Stupid typo. Note to self: Don't post anything when you're stoned.

This post has been edited by pepoluan: May 15 2006, 08:35


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HotshotGG
post May 14 2006, 19:40
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QUOTE
Also a web plugin for playing OGGs would attract a lot of users


There is it's called JOrbis. It's a java applet, rather than an "extremely clunky slow your machine down to a complete halt" flash player. wink.gif


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Daijoubu
post May 14 2006, 23:49
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Well games that are avalaible for download want to reduce the install size thus may gamble on the audio

I've seen a few that re-compressed the 160kbps MP3 to 96/64kbps thus it ended up sounding like crap (Ragnarok Online and Shattered Galaxy for example)

They should have used the uncompressed source and LAME at least...
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foxyshadis
post May 15 2006, 06:26
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QUOTE (vlada @ May 12 2006, 04:25) *
But for OGG Vorbis to become a mainstream, you would need one more thing: better end user support. For example there in no official DirectShow OGG splitter and Vorbis decoder. There are some implementations from Illiminable and RadLight team. FFDShow has 2 implementations of Vorbis decoder. But none of them are official AFAIK.

Well, vorbis.com's get set up page recommends Illiminable, along with other xiph.org pages iirc, so that's fairly close to an "official" decoder. Especially since it decodes all the major xiph codecs.
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pepoluan
post May 15 2006, 08:34
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QUOTE (Daijoubu @ May 15 2006, 05:49) *
I've seen a few that re-compressed the 160kbps MP3 to 96/64kbps thus it ended up sounding like crap (Ragnarok Online and Shattered Galaxy for example)

They should have used the uncompressed source and LAME at least...
Or use Ogg Vorbis at -q 1 (nominal 80 kbps, my average 84 kbps) biggrin.gif


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kjoonlee
post May 15 2006, 08:37
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QUOTE (foxyshadis @ May 15 2006, 14:26) *
QUOTE (vlada @ May 12 2006, 04:25) *
But for OGG Vorbis to become a mainstream, you would need one more thing: better end user support. For example there in no official DirectShow OGG splitter and Vorbis decoder. There are some implementations from Illiminable and RadLight team. FFDShow has 2 implementations of Vorbis decoder. But none of them are official AFAIK.

Well, vorbis.com's get set up page recommends Illiminable, along with other xiph.org pages iirc, so that's fairly close to an "official" decoder. Especially since it decodes all the major xiph codecs.

The author has write access to the Xiph SVN server; its source is hosted at /trunk/oggdsf/.


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rjamorim
post May 16 2006, 15:31
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QUOTE (HotshotGG @ May 14 2006, 15:40) *
QUOTE
Also a web plugin for playing OGGs would attract a lot of users


There is it's called JOrbis. It's a java applet, rather than an "extremely clunky slow your machine down to a complete halt" flash player. wink.gif


Give me flash over "extremely memory and CPU hungry" java any day!


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bubka
post May 17 2006, 04:53
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i am pretty sure even console systems use vorbis, i rememeber seeing that Nintendo GameCube used vorbis, I am pretty sure other systems too

yes I am right: here is the full list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogg_Vorbis#Use_in_video_games

* id Software's Doom 3
* Lionhead's The Movies
* Epic Games' Unreal Tournament 2003 and Unreal Tournament 2004
* Crytek's Far Cry
* Croteam's Serious Sam and Serious Sam II
* The PC port of Microsoft's Halo
* GTA San Andreas
* Uru: Ages Beyond Myst
* Myst IV: Revelation
* Schizm
* Operation Flashpoint
* Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
* America's Army
* Trackmania

This post has been edited by bubka: May 17 2006, 04:54


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gameplaya15143
post May 17 2006, 16:20
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I have to agree with rjamorim on java vs. flash. It would be nice if flash supported vorbis, but at least we have jorbisplayer even though it uses java wink.gif

This post has been edited by gameplaya15143: May 17 2006, 16:21


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fpi
post May 17 2006, 16:53
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Full list at xiph.org wiki:
http://wiki.xiph.org/index.php/Games_that_use_Vorbis
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pepoluan
post May 22 2006, 08:54
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QUOTE (foxyshadis @ May 15 2006, 12:26) *
QUOTE (vlada @ May 12 2006, 04:25) *
But for OGG Vorbis to become a mainstream, you would need one more thing: better end user support. For example there in no official DirectShow OGG splitter and Vorbis decoder. There are some implementations from Illiminable and RadLight team. FFDShow has 2 implementations of Vorbis decoder. But none of them are official AFAIK.
Well, vorbis.com's get set up page recommends Illiminable, along with other xiph.org pages iirc, so that's fairly close to an "official" decoder. Especially since it decodes all the major xiph codecs.
Someone really should tell xiph to update their 3rd Party Software page.
  • It does not list several popular media players, e.g. MediaMonkey
  • All DirectShow filters there are listed as "no longer being maintained"
  • Etc.


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Firon
post May 29 2006, 09:06
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QUOTE
Added optional Ogg Vorbis support! This new ASI decoder requires signing a special separate license with RAD before you can download it. It's available for all Miles platforms and is completely integrated into Miles. It uses a bit more CPU than MP3 and doesn't quite loop as well, but is a good option when you need low bit-rates.


Seems rather underwhelming... A separate license, and poor looping? Doesn't sound very appealing, were I a game dev.

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kjoonlee
post May 29 2006, 10:00
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Um, Ogg Vorbis should support loops better than MP3. It's got native gapless playback, and there are library hooks that were added for looping, IIRC.

If looping doesn't work properly, it's the developer's fault, not the format's.


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Firon
post May 29 2006, 10:05
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I know, I was stating that the support for Vorbis in MSS is rather underwhelming. They could've done a better job, and certainly not have to force developers to get a separate license to use it. Just makes it less likely for developers to want to use it, imo.

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Jeff at RAD
post Jun 5 2006, 02:53
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Hi guys, this is Jeff Roberts from RAD Game Tools.

I'm the primary developer on Miles (and Bink), so I thought I'd quickly replies to the emails here.

Umm, let's see, there were some general questions about whether more games will use it. Yeah, that will definitely be true - more games license Miles per month than are using Ogg in total now, so yup, you'll see it in a lot more games on a lot more platforms. There was also a comment that now the larger shops will use it more - well, actually our licensees are pretty even distributes between large, mid and small developers, so I think you'll see used more across the board.

OK, there was a note wondering whether you could use Ogg in existing Miles games - no, even if you dropped the decoder into the Miles directory it wouldn't load due to version issues (we had to add some custom stuff for Ogg, especially for VBR seeking).

> A separate license

Yeah, we do make people sign a separate license, but we do for MP3 and Voxware too. This license basically just says, hey, RAD doesn't make any claims about the IP in Ogg - that's up to the game developer to evaluate. Our other licenses have similar wording. Also, there are several companies like Microsoft (of course) and others that specifically disallow the use of any LGPL or GPL licensed components. So, for these companies, they don't sign the separate license, and they don't get to use Ogg.

> and poor looping?

Well, the looping isn't poor, it's just not as good as our implementation of MP3. Standard MP3s suck for looping, it's true, but we wrote the MP3 decoder in Miles from scratch, so we know it inside and out. We also have a custom encoder and frame editor just to handle authoring the loops.

We could, of course, write our own Ogg decoder and have these advantages too, but I'm not sure if we'll do that or not. Maintaining our own MP3 decoder has been a lot of work. We would also not technically play "Ogg Vorbis" files at that point, but rather just "Vorbis" files. The file and data stream levels are separate in Ogg (which is the right way to do it), but for perfect looping, you need to be one level lower, so we'd have to have one decoder for Ogg files proper, and one for our loop munged files. MP3 only has one level (the data stream), so we didn't have to stratify anything.

In fact, our upcoming support for Speex does exactly this - there is one decoder for Ogg Speex files on the disk and other that talks directly to Speex for internet voice chat.

In any case, this isn't really an MP3 *or* Ogg thing anyway. Developers don't think that way - they just want options. So, I'll guess that a lot of games will use both MP3 and Ogg. Since Ogg files take about 1.56X the CPU hit as MP3 files, most short samples that will need perfect looping will generally be MP3 anyway (because you tend to play more of them at once). Environmental audio tracks like long sound effect tracks and music would be better in Ogg due to the higher compression. So, both have their place.

And I think that's everything. If anyone has any questions, I'll check back in here for the next few days.

Thanks,

->Jeff
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pepoluan
post Jun 6 2006, 22:20
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Hi Jeff! Welcome to HydrogenAudio. It's a pleasure having you here as a gaming platform developer, as you can see that nearly all the developers of audio coding technologies are here wink.gif

From my point of view, it's not MP3-vs-Vorbis, actually, but only the sadly very lacking recognition of a free audio codec with great potential. It's very depressing that most people only ever hear of MP3, and scratch their head when they hear Vorbis. At least the development of Miles in this regard help increase the recognition of Vorbis.

I'm quite curious as to your description on enabling looping on Vorbis. IIRC, Vorbis was designed to be perfectly gapless, with or without the Ogg container (i.e. the .ogg file). If an audio track can be edited by any wave editor to be looping, then theoretically I think you can just crop the looping track at the exact loopstart and loopend, encode the file, and then just decode it with perhaps 500 ms buffer. Everytime decoding hit the loopend, just start redecoding the file from the beginning.

Anyways, Vorbis libraries are free and open source. Plus, there's also the SSEx (x=1,2,3) accelerated libraries by the codename of Lancer. Do check out HA Wiki, especially this page, this page, and last but definitely not least, this page.

Peace! smile.gif


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Jeff at RAD
post Jun 8 2006, 10:12
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> but only the sadly very lacking recognition of a free audio codec

Possibly... I guess I don't care much about the freeness or not from an _end-user_ standpoint because MP3 is ubiquitiously licensed. From a _developer_ standpoint, it's just a trade off - if I care about the performance, I license MP3. If I don't care about the CPU speed, hey, Ogg is cool, free and sounds good.

> just crop the looping track at the exact loopstart and loopend,

No, that is not true - any perceptual encoder has spacial uncertainty within the frequency window. It's impossible to avoid this - it the nature of the underlying mathematics. The only way to do it perfectly without specific codec knowledge is to cross fade over those loop points. That works great for a lot of applications, but not games. Games prefer a non-lumpy performance profile - it's worse to be lumpy than slow, even. So, cross fading sucks, because games will see a performance spike when the loop point is hit because it has to decompress two blocks to overlap them.

For MP3, Miles side steps all of this by giving you a way to shift the encoding back and forth to give you block level loop points that line up perfectly without having to cross fade. This tool does compression, auditioning, pitch shifting, and lots of frame knowledge about MP3 to make it happen. I just don't know if I want to go there with Ogg too. We'll see if our developers ask for it.

And in fact the gap that most people hear with MP3 doesn't even require these kinds of tricks to eliminate. 90% of MP3 encoders click out one frame of silence at the start of a file. You can remove this frame from an MP3 with the Miles Sound Tools on our website and most MP3s will loop fine.

> Plus, there's also the SSEx (x=1,2,3) accelerated libraries by the codename of Lancer.

The Lancer libraries only make a significant difference on encoding (do they even ship decoders now?). We don't supply encoding at all - only decoding. For the game market, only decoding time matters. If encoding was ever a bottleneck, they would just buy additional or faster machines.

But, in any case, I'd love to see better Ogg performance. Unfortunately, most of the places we need the most speed improvement are platforms that open source can't contribute too (like a certain couple new consoles that we support).

Thanks man!
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kjoonlee
post Jun 8 2006, 10:19
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The CHANGES file for Vorbis says:

libvorbis 1.0.1 (2003-11-17) -- "Xiph.Org libVorbis I 20030909"

* numerous bug fixes
* specification corrections
* new crosslap and halfrate APIs for game use
* packaging and build updates

The support was commited to libvorbisfile in March 2003, according to Michael Smith. Proper looping should be easy, I think.


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