In February Valve rolled out the Steam Audio software development kit (SDK) as a free beta to all developers. Featuring a range of audio options, the SDK came with Unity support straight away with Unreal Engine due to be included in a future update. That support has now gone live.
In a posting on Steam, Valve states: “We are excited to announce the first beta release of Steam Audio for Unreal Engine 4. Our plugin now ships with UE4 by default, so you can get started by upgrading to 4.16 Preview 2. This release brings our physically-based sound propagation and HRTF rendering to the UE4 engine, enabling developers to immediately begin creating immersive audio experiences for games and VR. The plugin is free of charge and is not locked to a particular platform or VR device.”
As per the initial release of Steam Audio, the Unreal Engine 4 version provides three major pieces of functionality: HRTF filtering with per-source settings, direct-sound occlusion, and physically-based sound propagation.
Valve expects the latter function to be one of the most popular: “This portion of Steam Audio is what many users are going to be most excited about,” notes the blog. “We’ve introduced a variety of new actors and components that handle tagging acoustically meaningful geometry, specifying acoustic materials, and creating acoustic probes for baking sound propagation data.”
As with any beta release this first launch is experimental and shouldn’t be used for existing projects. To explore existing issues and report new ones head over the GitHub issues page for Steam Audio to find out more.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Steam Audio SDK, reporting back with the latest changes and improvements to the software.