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Audio A Plea for Unity Audio

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by crb471, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. crb471

    crb471

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    Unity 2020 is out, and we can see the roadmap for the rest of this major release.

    Planned audio improvements: Audio Recording. That's it.

    Will we ever hear audio improvements to the scale of the visual improvements in Unity? Is the DSP graph still even being worked on?

    We're way past the point where sound designers and composers should be begging for scraps, or grateful that we have sound at all. Platforms like Dreams have fully functioning DAW's built into the game engine. Godot lets you play different sounds from animation clips without scripting, which... seems like a basic thing that should exist, right?

    There are hundreds of other small, common-sense, quality of life improvements that could be made in Unity audio, and there are Unity DSP components like the high pass filter that have had bugs for years.

    I don't blame the developers - you all have worked so hard to make the best freely available game engine, and that's amazing. But you've given so much energy into making things look good, providing an array of intuitive, robust tools for visual design; where's the audio equivalent?

    My questions for the community: has everyone just jumped ship for middleware, and is that the proposed solution? Are people using Chunity or Faust for Unity? Is anyone carrying the torch for Heavy, or an embedded PD-style editor? Are we just hoping that Kejiro will save us?

    And for Unity: Is the problem that we're not complaining enough? That we don't have enough community assets? Helm is still the best native Unity audio plugin, and it was released years ago; there's nothing stopping us from making a slew of similar plugins and packages which would solve these issue ... nothing except time and c++ skills.

    It makes me sad and frustrated, but all the more committed to learning plugin development and dsp code. I'll open source any custom audio tools that I can, and make them freely available. All my public repos are at https://github.com/8ude, and I'll update this thread with tools and code when I have something to show for my latest project. I'm not a good coder. Maybe I'll never get there, but I'll try. If you're working on something cool that's audio-related, maybe consider doing the same. Add things to the asset store when it makes sense.

    Unity audio tools are in a sorry state of affairs; we can make them better. Or maybe I'm the only one who thinks this is a problem, in which case - here's to tilting at windmills.
     
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  2. LooperVFX

    LooperVFX

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    upload_2021-6-1_1-38-32.png
    This talk on DSPGraph at Unite Copenhagen 2019 did mention the development a visual "Pure Data" style authoring tool. It seems that Unity audio teams may be under resourced, and/or dependent on other teams to flesh out frameworks and APIs like DOTS or DOTS visual scripting, Graph Tools Foundation, before they start building robust tools on top of that foundation for creative prototyping / architecting.

    Here's hoping UE5's MetaSounds hitting early access will help Inspire Unity Tech's executives to invest in growing Unity's DSPGraph team (they are reportedly a small team.) Likely smaller than they should be to stay at or ahead of industry pace, but again there may be some organizational project dependency or concurrency at play here to consider as well, as alluded to in the same forum post linked in this paragraph.
     
  3. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    Anyone who cares about audio just uses FMOD Studio (including a ton of notable releases games).
     
  4. crb471

    crb471

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    FMOD Studio is not a silver bullet. It doesn't always work properly, can cause a number of issues in builds, requires specialized programming knowledge, and is missing notable features out-of-the-box (including microphone input and fft data).

    The $2000 price point is also a hard sell for teams with limited funding.

    Plenty of people who care about audio, including myself, use standard Unity engine tools in their work, and we've gotten damn good at making lemonade out of lemons.
     
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  5. crb471

    crb471

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    Thank you for the updates.
     
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  6. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    This isn't my experience, I have had much less problems with it than with built in Unity audio (which is more or less a thin wrapper around an much older FMOD version) in the last 1 year we've migrated to FMOD Studio and especially in more fickle platforms like Android.
    Eh, not really? And not that much? I mean yeah, a bit, if you want to make something more specialized, but it still is much simpler than if you would have done it in Unity from scratch (even if it requires "specialized programming").
    The 2000$ fee is waived if you have limited funding (under $500k) and less than 200k in revenue, so I see it as a non-issue in the scenario you proposed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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  7. crb471

    crb471

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    That's great that FMOD consistently works for you. That hasn't been my experience. My last project had consistent issues with PC builds due to FMOD that were difficult to diagnose and debug. One of our review copies went out with broken soundbanks because of FMOD. Lesson learned about the importance of QA, but it soured me on the software. I do appreciate that they are active on their forums.

    I should have clarified - the "specialized programming knowledge" was meant to be in reference to things like microphone input. Unless they made a wrapper for it recently, you need to use the Core api, then work that into a programmer sound if you want it to be part of the Studio signal chain. This forum post chronicles one programmers attempt to get it working and get the data into a usable format. It took them several months.

    For contrast, in Unity this is one line of code (albeit the latency isn't good), and getting the data is one line more. So I guess it depends if you think Mic input should be considered standard.

    I believe I misunderstood their funding tiers, so point taken on that.
     
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  8. laurentlavigne

    laurentlavigne

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    how bad is it?
     
  9. LooperVFX

    LooperVFX

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