While many gamers may not always realise it, audio in videogames plays as much of a role as visuals and input. Audio in virtual reality (VR) can be used for even greater effect to help covey a scene and immerse the player into the experience. Oculus VR have already revealed that the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) will have Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF) technology integrated into the device, while Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) have been less vocal about the technology coming to the Project Morpheus HMD. At the recent Develop: Brighton conference last week a panel have now confirmed as much.
The panel, which consisted of Nick Ward-Foxton a Senior Audio Programmer working for SCE in their Creative Services Group and Simon Gumbleton a Technical Sound Designer in SCE’s Creative Services Group, revealed that they had been working with HRTF as it ‘is great for VR,’ stated Foxton, ‘As it allows us to basically be more realistic.’
HRTF works with a HMD’s head-tracking tech to calculate where a user’s head is and how that would affect the sounds they’re hearing. Foxton said: “If we can have our sense of hearing married to the world around us it immediately becomes more believable.” Gumbleton adds that audio designers need to ‘Respect head tracking’ as
“Location of sound sources is really important in VR,” stating that emitters placement is very important. “The player needs to pick up on accurate placement of sound.”
With HRTF being an important addition to the immersive experience of VR it’s no surprise that SCE has been working with the technology before the launch of Porject Morpheus next year.