Microsoft’s new Gears of War features an amazing new Sound Engine

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Microsoft’s new Gears of War now features an amazing new sound engine called Triton which creates more realistic sound which responds to the virtual environment it is created in, resulting in realistic reverb which lets users know if they are in a hallway or cathedral just by ear.

The technology creates a voxel map of an area with accurate reverb characteristics for each material and then applies realistic echo/reflection effects to the soundscape. It is based on work by Microsoft researchers Nikunj Raghuvanshi and John Snyder titled “Parametric Wave Field Coding for Precomputed Sound Propagation.” (video demo)

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This is different from the current state of the art, which merely muted sound based on distance and obstruction.

“The occlusion and obstruction values that Triton gives our game are really, really accurate to every listener position permutation possible on the map,” said Gears 4 audio director John Morgan.

“A lot of people would be like, ‘Why does it sound like I’m in a bathroom when I’m going through this hallway?’ People playing the game didn’t understand why it was wrong, but it felt wrong to them,” Morgan said. “A big part of that is how does the dialog sound? How do the weapons sound? How does the reverb of that space, or the acoustic properties of that space sound? If you get it wrong, people will notice right away.”

While the technology has bankrolled by Microsoft, it was developed specifically for the Unreal engine and the third-party Wwise audio toolset, and will likely not be seen any time soon in other games, even other Microsoft titles.

Gears of Wars players should therefore savour the feature, which can be appreciated in the very beginning of the game, where players have to go from the wide outdoors into a hospital wing and there is a clear difference in the quality of the sound.

Experience it for yourself by buying Gears of War 4 digitally from the Windows Store here. You can also buy it from Xbox Games Store using the below links:

If you’d like to buy a physical copy from Amazon for the Xbox One, you can find it here.

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