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Creative Labs X-Fi Xtreme Music
OpenAL wrapper allows X-Fi users to take advantage of 3D sound in Windows Vista

Creative Labs has opened up the doors to its ALchemy Project to enable hardware acceleration for DirectSound and EAX audio algorithms in Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Vista. The Alchemy Project is currently in its beta stages and intends to work around Microsoft’s audio limitations in Windows Vista due to the removal of the Hardware Abstraction Layer, or HAL.

Microsoft’s removal of the HAL removes the software layer required by digital signal processors to enable hardware acceleration for various 3D audio algorithms including DirectSound3D and EAX in pre-Vista games. Nevertheless, digital signal processors that support OpenAL can still take advantage of hardware audio acceleration.

The Alchemy Project intends to work around Windows Vista limitations by translating DirectSound calls into OpenAL – essentially an OpenAL wrapper. In order to take advantage of the ALchemy Project OpenAL wrapper the installer copies a few necessary files into each game directory.

The automated installer will install the necessary files into each game directory, if there is official support for the game. Officially supported games include:
  • Battle for Middle Earth 2
  • Call of Duty
  • Call of Duty 2
  • Diablo 2
  • Everquest 2
  • FEAR
  • Full Spectrum Warrior
  • Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers
  • Guild Wars
  • GTA: San Andreas
  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Max Payne 2
  • Midieval 2: Total War
  • Neverwinter Nights
  • Neverwinter Nights 2
  • NOLF 2
  • Rome: Total War
If the installer does not officially support your game, Creative Labs provides a guide for advanced users to take advantage of the OpenAL wrapper. Manually adding game support requires the copying of two files – dsound.dll and dsound.ini. On occasion, the unsupported game will work with the default configuration settings. If the default settings do not work, the dsound.ini file is tweak able for better performance. Available settings in the dsound.ini include Buffer, Duration, DisableDirectMusic and MaxVoiceCount settings.

In its current beta stages, Creative Labs ALchemy project only supports Sound Blaster X-Fi based sound cards with OpenAL compatible drivers. Users of Creative Labs previous Audigy 2 and Audigy 4 will have to wait patiently for hardware accelerated DirectSound3D and EAX support in Windows Vista. Jessie Lawrence, developer relations for Creative Labs claims:
For the initial beta phase of Creative ALchemy, we made the decision to concentrate on products based on the X-Fi chip. Games developers have put a lot of effort into supporting the advanced features of this chip so we want to provide the best level of support that we can for our most recent hardware. Support for Audigy 2 and 4 class products will be determined as the current beta progresses and we are able to assess the quality of the beta and overall demand for Creative ALchemy.
Users fortunate enough to have an X-Fi based sound card can download the ALchemy Project installer from the Creative ALchemy Project download page.


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What happened to my old A3D???
By dice1111 on 1/23/2007 10:15:46 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure all of those who had an Areal card with A3D support in Half-Life 1 back in the day, can attest to the awesome potential of 3D audio positioning. Areal got suffed out and A3D seemed to have disapeared with it. Only now i seems EAX is catching up to what A3D was back then.

Anyone know whatever happened to it? Did Creative but it? Because if they did, it sure doesn't sound like it (pun intended).




RE: What happened to my old A3D???
By Snoop on 1/23/2007 1:38:38 PM , Rating: 2
Creative bought out the patents and shelved it (a3d) along with A3D 2.0, which is a real shame.


RE: What happened to my old A3D???
By guwd1 on 1/25/2007 8:21:42 AM , Rating: 2
That kind of crap happens all the time, sadly. One wish there could be laws against patents made to gain monopoly by " removing " or preventing use of competing technologies. That's not what patents are for. There are lots of excelent solutions that sits on a shelf somewhere and won't ever see the light of day because of greedy buissnes men(/woman) :(

It's an insult to those who are hard at work trying to improve our living standard and/or general resource efficiency. Take the 100year lightbulb for example. The lightbulb companies got scared that proffit would decline dramastically and bought the patent. Now they're just sitting on it, doing nothing >:(
You can't even tell for sure that profit would really decline, you could sell them for a MUCH MUCH higher price. Not having to change your lightbulb at home EVER (unless you happen to break it), has to be worth something right!


"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller











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