For those of you that tuned in to the reveal event, only to be greeted by a man speaking a language that you couldn't even begin to comprehend, we're here to make your life easier.
Thanks to the guys over at Stealth Optional, we've broken down everything you need to know about 3D Audio, and how it's introduction will immediately improve the experience of FPS games.
What is 3D Audio?
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The main aim of the Tempest 3D AudioTech is to replicate as much of a real-life sound as is possible in a video game.
The example that we were given was of rainfall, which is traditionally treated as a single source of sound.
This new technology aims to use the Head-related Transfer Function to create sounds.
This is all being implemented in an effort to try and tailor to how each individual gamer specifically hears sound - which means that it could take a while to get working flawlessly.
Although Sony has only modelled it on roughly one hundred people (allow for five main presets at launch), the end goal is that every gamer has their audio tailor-made for them.
This is the level of customization that we were expecting from next-gen!
Custom-built audio for all
You might end up having to send Mark Cerny a picture of your ears, but it will be worth it!
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In his own words, Mark Cerny said:
“Maybe you’ll be sending us a video of your ears and your head, and we’ll make a 3D model of them and synthesise the HRTF. Maybe you’ll play an audio game to tune your HRTF, we’ll be subtly changing it as you play, and home in on the HRTF that gives you the highest score, meaning that it matches you the best. This is a journey we’ll all be taking together over the next few years."
It sounds like working progress, but the end goal is custom-build audio for all PlayStation gamers.
"Ultimately, we’re committed to enabling everyone to experience that next level of realism.”
What this means for FPS games
Going back to the rainfall metaphor, the end goal is for each raindrop to be generated individually, with each one ultimately creating a different source of sound.
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This means that, rather than hearing rainfall as the dull "white noise" that has come to define current-gen, players will be able to hear the raindrops that are behind them, to their left and right, and which ones are dripping off of their virtual outfit.
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The ramifications of this are absolutely massive for headset gamers, as this will most obviously impact how gamers identify enemy footsteps in Battle Royales and First Person Shooters.
This is the sort of innovation that we were dreaming of when the PS5 and Xbox Series X were first unveiled, and now it really could become a reality!