In the grand new world of VR headsets as platforms, Valve’s new free Steam Audio software is trying to make sound more immersive for any headset out there.
The company describes the beta program (available now) as “add[ing] physics-based sound propagation on top of HRTF-based binaural audio, for increased immersion. Sounds interact with and bounce off of the actual scene geometry, so they feel like they are actually in the scene, and give players more information about the scene they are in,” reads the post.
Valve has released the SDK for the program with no strings attached. You can use it all day and night without any royalties to hand over.
Most importantly, the program isn’t only limited to the company’s HTC Vive headset. “Steam Audio SDK is not restricted to any particular VR device or to Steam.” This means developers making a game for, say, the Oculus Rift can just as easily take advantage of the program, free of charge.
You can read all about the other fancy things Steam Audio can do in the full announcement, including binaural rendering, occlusion, physics-based reverb, and real-time sound propagation.