Thursday, August 16th 2018

NVIDIA Does a TrueAudio: RT Cores Also Compute Sound Ray-tracing

Positional audio, like Socialism, follows a cycle of glamorization and investment every few years. Back in 2011-12 when AMD maintained a relatively stronger position in the discrete GPU market, and held GPGPU superiority, it gave a lot of money to GenAudio and Tensilica to co-develop the TrueAudio technology, a GPU-accelerated positional audio DSP, which had a whopping four game title implementations, including and limited to "Thief," "Star Citizen," "Lichdom: Battlemage," and "Murdered: Soul Suspect." The TrueAudio Next DSP which debuted with "Polaris," introduced GPU-accelerated "audio ray-casting" technology, which assumes that audio waves interact differently with different surfaces, much like light; and hence positional audio could be made more realistic. There were a grand total of zero takers for TrueAudio Next. Riding on the presumed success of its RTX technology, NVIDIA wants to develop audio ray-tracing further.

A very curious sentence caught our eye in NVIDIA's micro-site for Turing. The description of RT cores reads that they are specialized components that "accelerate the computation of how light and sound travel in 3D environments at up to 10 Giga Rays per second." This is an ominous sign that NVIDIA is developing a full-blown positional audio programming model that's part of RTX, with an implementation through GameWorks. Such a technology, like TrueAudio Next, could improve positional audio realism by treating sound waves like light and tracing their paths from their origin (think speech from an NPC in a game), to the listener as the sound bounces off the various surfaces in the 3D scene. Real-time ray-tracing(-ish) has captured the entirety of imagination at NVIDIA marketing to the extent that it is allegedly willing to replace "GTX" with "RTX" in its GeForce GPU nomenclature. We don't mean to doomsay emerging technology, but 20 years of development in positional audio has shown that it's better left to game developers to create their own technology that sounds somewhat real; and that initiatives from makers of discrete sound cards (a device on the brink of extinction) and GPUs makers bore no fruit.
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39 Comments on NVIDIA Does a TrueAudio: RT Cores Also Compute Sound Ray-tracing

#1
VulkanBros
IMO it only makes sense in VR environments or when using Surround ... or maybe i missed a point?
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#3
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
The problem is the lack of framework to do it (e.g. core support in engines). If that doesn't change, whatever NVIDIA comes up with won't fare much better.
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#4
Firedrops
On one hand, it's great that finally a company that can't be patent trolled into bankruptcy by Creative stepped up to resume 3D audio development.

On the other hand, nvidia will probably bury this under gimpworks.
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#5
Raunhofer
VulkanBros
IMO it only makes sense in VR environments or when using Surround ... or maybe i missed a point?
It makes sense immediately when you put your headphones on. It'll matter less with stereo speakers but even then I'd imagine there would be some value to it.

I'm blaming consoles of the current state of audio design. It's not worth it to create accurate positional audio if most of the players are using cheapo TV-speakers.
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#6
chaosmassive
Pardon my ignorance, but I think TrueAudio is trademarked as one of AMD IP?
if I am not wrong, TrueAudio technology existed since HD 7800 series chip AMD just enabled it in R9 200 series
will Nvidia get into trouble by using that name again?
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#7
Vayra86
Nvidia working hard to increase fake value of their new generation of cards.

Don't fall for it bois
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#9
RejZoR
Congratulations, everyone reinventing everything we already had with audio freaking 20 years ago with Aureal Vortex 2 that was doing source based audio tracing. And few years later, Creative with EAX 3.0 doing the same thing. Then everyone dropped this advance stuff for software garbage and now they are again reinventing the wheel of HW accelerated audio. How about not killing good stuff in the first place?
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#10
jabbadap
RejZoR
Congratulations, everyone reinventing everything we already had with audio freaking 20 years ago with Aureal Vortex 2 that was doing source based audio tracing. And few years later, Creative with EAX 3.0 doing the same thing. Then everyone dropped this advance stuff for software garbage and now they are again reinventing the wheel of HW accelerated audio. How about not killing good stuff in the first place?
Yeah you can blame Microsoft for that.
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#11
RejZoR
Would be nice if NVIDIA and AMD would stop twiddling with their manly appendages and both start using TrueAudio Next. Just for once, do something for the greater good of gaming industry, will ya?
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#12
Vya Domus
Vayra86
Nvidia working hard to increase fake value of their new generation of cards.

Don't fall for it bois
Worry not, we're not in the mid 90's anymore when new audio technology was actually exciting. Hardly anyone cares about this stuff nowadays.
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#13
ZoneDymo
I dont care who does it, anything that would emphasis an evolution in sound quality is music to my ears
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#14
CheapMeat
Sound became a second class, well third class citizen for games and immersion. I was disappointed too at Microsoft and Creative in helping kill off true hardware acceleration. Everyone forgot what the true potential and benefit of soundcards were. So discussions later got bogged down by just fidelity (DACs and amps). But I'm glad it's being pushed again, at least from Nvidia's direction.
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#15
spooh
RejZoR
Congratulations, everyone reinventing everything we already had with audio freaking 20 years ago with Aureal Vortex 2 that was doing source based audio tracing. And few years later, Creative with EAX 3.0 doing the same thing. Then everyone dropped this advance stuff for software garbage and now they are again reinventing the wheel of HW accelerated audio. How about not killing good stuff in the first place?
EAX does reverbs to simulate different types of environments but it's not aware of shapes, obstacles or different materials in one place.
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#16
T4C Fantasy
CPU & GPU DB Maintainer
I just want to know how many rt cores are in the dies
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#17
Prince Valiant
RejZoR
Would be nice if NVIDIA and AMD would stop twiddling with their manly appendages and both start using TrueAudio Next. Just for once, do something for the greater good of gaming industry, will ya?
I don't think the majority of developers would use either unless they could be automated in a couple clicks.
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#18
jabbadap
T4C Fantasy
I just want to know how many rt cores are in the dies
Well yeah, has anyone tried to figure anything out of that die shot they gave? At least SMs are clear on that(6 GPC*12 SMs*64cc/SM=4608cc, so it's fully enabled chip).
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#19
RejZoR
Prince Valiant
I don't think the majority of developers would use either unless they could be automated in a couple clicks.
FMOD guys need to implement it in their audio engine given most games use FMOD. But in software form, it's just garbage. It's why all games with it sound so flat and boring it's like we're back in 1995 before EAX happened...
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#20
theoneandonlymrk
Im expecting a dx12 sound based update imminently tbh like when Raytracing got announced as a new Nvidia feature ten minutes before M$ made it a dx12 feature.
That could help with adoption, but given Amds and tencillicas grasp on consoles id wager true audio see's more use.
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#21
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
It need only be compatible with GCN. GCN can async it.
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#22
RejZoR
spooh
EAX does reverbs to simulate different types of environments but it's not aware of shapes, obstacles or different materials in one place.
The old myth of "EAX only does reverbs". Well, that myth has been debunked endless times because since EAX 3.0 HD, it also does actual sound tracing, reflection and occlusion and also applying reverb and spatial effects. Multiple in fact.
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#23
efikkan
Advancements in audio acceleration is certainly appreciated. But I will reserve judgment until I've seen the details, unlike most in this thread. And I would welcome competition, even if AMD have a competing technology.

Everyone auto-bashing Nvidia, please stop for a moment and consider if the shoe were on the other foot. If AMD were releasing a raytracing GPU, you'd be singing endless high praises…
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#24
TheGuruStud
efikkan
Advancements in audio acceleration is certainly appreciated. But I will reserve judgment until I've seen the details, unlike most in this thread. And I would welcome competition, even if AMD have a competing technology.

Everyone auto-bashing Nvidia, please stop for a moment and consider if the shoe were on the other foot. If AMD were releasing a raytracing GPU, you'd be singing endless high praises…
We wouldn't if they're just gonna jack prices, sacrifice gaming perf by losing die space and locking down new features (while making more tarded gimpworks for it, RT in games is still useless).

When it comes to consumer products, nvidia is a marketing company first like apple.
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#25
efikkan
TheGuruStud
We wouldn't if they're just gonna jack prices, sacrifice gaming perf by losing die space and locking down new features (while making more tarded gimpworks for it, RT in games is still useless).
GPU prices have been flat for over 10 years, and it's many years since AMD really competed…

TheGuruStud
When it comes to consumer products, nvidia is a marketing company first like apple.
Compared to AMD's GPU division, which is nearly marketing only at this point, Nvidia doesn't create nearly as much hype as AMD have for their failed Vega and Polaris.
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