Was the switch to fmod sound a performance issue @ the time?

ZDoom LE, Pentium 133's, Windows 98, and DOS 3.1 all go here! A bygone era, of particular interest to some folks.

Was the switch to fmod sound a performance issue @ the time?

Postby invictius » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:20 am

I found out the hard way that fmod cripples old, old systems, but did it have trouble running on budget systems? I want to get an idea of what systems I should have running 1.22 and which should be running 1.23b33.
invictius
 
Joined: 03 Aug 2012

Re: Was the switch to fmod sound a performance issue @ the t

Postby Chris » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:33 am

I can't speak about the switch to fmod itself (it was before my time), nor can I really comment on old fmod's performance. But back then it was possible to get hardware accelerated audio through it, and people without hardware audio would turn down their settings (it was the norm that if you wanted anything fancy you'd have an accelerated audio card, and software audio was just a low-featured fallback). Over time the capabilities of real-time software audio grew (as CPUs improved to handle the processing costs), and I know that at some point, ZDoom started forcing software processing for everyone because hardware was too unreliable.
User avatar
Chris
 
Joined: 17 Jul 2003

Re: Was the switch to fmod sound a performance issue @ the t

Postby invictius » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:54 am

Chris wrote:I can't speak about the switch to fmod itself (it was before my time), nor can I really comment on old fmod's performance. But back then it was possible to get hardware accelerated audio through it, and people without hardware audio would turn down their settings (it was the norm that if you wanted anything fancy you'd have an accelerated audio card, and software audio was just a low-featured fallback). Over time the capabilities of real-time software audio grew (as CPUs improved to handle the processing costs), and I know that at some point, ZDoom started forcing software processing for everyone because hardware was too unreliable.


Does hardware audio basically mean anything except onboard? And does it matter if you just use the drivers that are already with windows?
invictius
 
Joined: 03 Aug 2012

Re: Was the switch to fmod sound a performance issue @ the t

Postby Chris » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:14 am

invictius wrote:Does hardware audio basically mean anything except onboard?

No, it has to be capable of hardware mixing, and likely support DirectSound3D acceleration.

And does it matter if you just use the drivers that are already with windows?

I have no idea. It's generally recommended to get the drivers from the hardware manufacturer's site, but without know what the card is or the state of the drivers Windows has, I can't say.
User avatar
Chris
 
Joined: 17 Jul 2003

Re: Was the switch to fmod sound a performance issue @ the t

Postby invictius » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:16 am

Chris wrote:
invictius wrote:Does hardware audio basically mean anything except onboard?

No, it has to be capable of hardware mixing, and likely support DirectSound3D acceleration.


So, either a sound blaster live, or a modern cheap card would have it?
invictius
 
Joined: 03 Aug 2012

Re: Was the switch to fmod sound a performance issue @ the t

Postby Graf Zahl » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:23 am

The main reason for the switch to FMod was simply that at that time it was the only usable sound library with a good feature set.
Hardware acceleration never was a major issue because even 15+ years ago it was something restricted to a small number of hardware enthusiasts.

The switch to pure software processing was done when multi-core CPUs became common and it became evident that hardware accelerated sound was a dead end. Which was ultimately confirmed by both DirectSound and FModEx abandoning hardware accelerated sound for good.

I never owned a real sound card after the year 2000, and I never had problems with old FMod on the systems of its time - it only broke years later when I got my current computer in 2012, on which it sounds like crap. On my previous system from 2007 everything was fine. This breakdown was actually one of the main reasons why I pushed for abandoning FMod entirely. For a continuously running project a library that doesn't stay compatible and stops working over time is not viable. Right now I am in the situation that I only can use older ZDooms from before the switch to FModEx without any sound at all, because it just doesn't work.

invicitus wrote:Does hardware audio basically mean anything except onboard? And does it matter if you just use the drivers that are already with windows?


I never had any interest in hardware accelerated sound cards but no, there were some that didn't do any hardware acceleration. But the big problem was the unreliable feature sets of hardware accelerated sound cards - from limited amounts of sample memory to limited amounts of hardware channels to vastly varying resulting sound output and whatever. The feature actually never matured to a point where it became truly viable, and I think that a lot of this is Creative's doing with extingusishing competitors and themselves never being able to produce a product that wasn't plagued by some driver issues.
So the inevitable happened: When CPUs became fast enough, sound system developers started writing their own software effects processing and mixers, and after that it was "Game Over" for hardware mixing because now even the simple on-board chips got good sound quality and most of those software libraries ran circles around the hardware accelerated sound cards in terms of features.

invicitus wrote:So, either a sound blaster live, or a modern cheap card would have it?


A modern cheap card is more likely not to have it. Don't forget: Basically nobody uses hardware accelerated sound anymore, aside from some hopeless tech geeks. But these people do not buy cheap. If you want to cater to them, it has to cost a bit more. On top of that, how many people still equip their PC with a dedicated sound card? 1%, 0.1% or even just 0.01%. There's just no wide market for such things anymore, especially when it comes to rather obscure features and not just high quality DACs that actually improve sound quality. Modern OSs do not support hardware accelerated sound and neither do modern games because they normally run on a modern sound library that is software mixing only.
User avatar
Graf Zahl
Lead GZDoom Developer
Lead GZDoom Developer
 
Joined: 19 Jul 2003
Location: Germany

Re: Was the switch to fmod sound a performance issue @ the t

Postby invictius » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:40 am

Graf Zahl wrote:
invicitus wrote:So, either a sound blaster live, or a modern cheap card would have it?


A modern cheap card is more likely not to have it. Don't forget: Basically nobody uses hardware accelerated sound anymore, aside from some hopeless tech geeks. But these people do not buy cheap. If you want to cater to them, it has to cost a bit more. On top of that, how many people still equip their PC with a dedicated sound card? 1%, 0.1% or even just 0.01%. There's just no wide market for such things anymore, especially when it comes to rather obscure features and not just high quality DACs that actually improve sound quality. Modern OSs do not support hardware accelerated sound and neither do modern games because they normally run on a modern sound library that is software mixing only.


IMO onboard sound will either die off or become something nobody ever uses due to the prevalence of hdmi audio. However other methods are definitely handy since I have to run another display in order for my amp to output sound...
invictius
 
Joined: 03 Aug 2012

Re: Was the switch to fmod sound a performance issue @ the t

Postby Hellser » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:54 am

A device with a 3.5mm jack will be required still. Even though some monitors all televisions have HDMI audio, we either have to daisy-chain our speakers directly into the television or just plug it into our computers. Given that TVs rarely have an audio out, guess where we're plugging our speakers into.

Onboard audio is here to stay. HDMI cannot replace it. Not without an expense on the motherboard manufacturers or monitor manufacturers by providing us with a HDMI-3.5mm adapter while still splitting off the video signal to the monitor. Then that'll be an issue. HDCP is a thing, we might not even get video thanks to the adapter.

P.S. I have a speaker system plugged into my onboard right now. My brand new DELL monitor does NOT have a 3.5mm audio out port, nor does it have any audio capability. It's plugged into an HDMI port on my video card - and the video card thinks the monitor has speakers.
User avatar
Hellser
Remember Citadel
 
Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Location: Citadel Station
Discord: Hellser#8156
Operating System: Windows 10/8.1/8 64-bit
OS Test Version: No (Using Stable Public Version)
Graphics Processor: nVidia with Vulkan support


Return to Legacy Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest