One of the most striking features of EAGLE is a comprehensive set of tools, which will allow the sound designer to easily create a variety of different audio data sets, or models. These models include: unique environments which simulate reflection and reverberation properties of a room; source property sets which provide initialization parameters for sounds such as distance attenuation and sound cones; and obstacle behavior models that simulate the effects of sound moving through, and around, doors, boxes, windows or other virtual objects. In addition, EAGLE aids the sound designer in creating these models by providing interactive 3D graphical representations as well as real-time auditioning of multiple data sets.
"EAX has had spectacular success with game developers since its launch two years ago and as we continue to add new features and effects to our API, we believe EAGLE will enable developers to take full advantage of the DSP power built into our Sound Blaster Live! cards," said George Thorn, director of audio marketing for Creative Labs, Inc. "With EAGLE we provide developers the ability to quickly and efficiently implement Environmental Audio effects in their games in an artistic manner, much the same way as a Hollywood audio post production studio would for a feature film."
Similar to EAX, EAGLE is designed as a living tool, and will continue to evolve as EAX is extended in the future with new functionality and effects. EAGLE was conceived as a flexible development tool and can be modified to allow for quick and easy Environmental Audio support on a variety of platforms, such as Microsoft's DirectX or the forthcoming Open AL API.
"As an audio designer, I have always been concerned with the lack of quality tools available to help me take full advantage of PC audio hardware, which is why I was excited to learn about Creative's EAX development platform, EAGLE," said Russell Shaw, head of Audio for Lionhead Studios. "With our upcoming new title, Black and White, I plan on using EAGLE to fully exploit the cool EAX effects available on the Sound Blaster Live! cards. Thanks to Creative, implementing EAX will be faster, easier, and very effective."
In addition to audio modeling, EAGLE lets the sound designer import actual game level geometry. In order to support the many different 3D data formats and in-house proprietary formats, EAGLE exposes a plug-in architecture that will allow development houses to write their own import components. Once a game level is imported, the sound designer is then able to assign environment and obstacle properties to rooms and areas of the map. These effects are then applied to sounds interactively during game play. EAGLE also allows the designer to drop sounds into the level geometry for auditioning purposes and real-time 3D mixing, thus delivering total artistic control over the audio experience.
"EAGLE empowers the game sound designer," said Chia Chin Lee, audio director for Soldier of Fortune from Raven Software. "For the first time, the reliance on programmers to adjust the parameters that bring 3D Audio to life has been dismantled, translating into more creativity and productivity for the sound designer."
Pricing and Availability
EAGLE will soon be available for free download at: https://developer.soundblaster.com. It will also be distributed on CD to game developers attending GDC in San Jose, March 10-12.
Sound Blaster is a registered trademark of Creative Technology Ltd. in the U. S. and other countries. All other product names mentioned herein are trademarks of their respective owners and are hereby recognized as such.