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Open AL?
Oh this is a good one.

"Why are you using OpenAL in the book when its been replaced by more modern sound systems like Fmod? I don't want to have to learn such old tech!"

Ah that is such a good question, and the answer simply is that FMOD isn't available for SBC's, and isn't likely to be considering how large it is and how complex it has become.
I use FMOD in my PS4 and PC development and love it, its really wonderful, if I could get it to work on an ARM based SBC I most certainly would. But until they make a version for me and other SBC game coders (which means both of us), we have to look for the next best alternative.,

The same argument can also be used for MD2-MD5 for models, why do I use these outdated systems. I'd much rather use FBX and other systems but they are not available on any of the current ARM systems. Though I heard there was going to be an IOS version of FBX, I've not see it in action yet and no idea if I can port it to a Pi.

So I used what I thought would work best with the hardware we have to hand. On a low power GPU trying to do too much is a killer for frame rate so MD2 and MD3 don't push it very hard, MD5 does though it can be done and the result is nice easy to view and use models on the Pi and its clones.

Likewise, OpenAL is still very usable, provides 3D surround sound and mixing, and its pretty easy to use with almost any format of sound system if you can convert the data to standard wav format (OpenAL knows nothing of compression systems, it uses only raw files).

It works, its got a small footprint, its not killing the CPU or sound system and theres plenty of help and advice around.

I noted in the book, a lot of the libs we use are 10+ years old and certainly can be considered outdated on PC. But we are not running on a modern PC, and the levels of power we have pretty much match the levels of power of systems form 10 years ago. So use what works.

If you don't like it, I really would love to see you produce something better.'

But rest assured I am always looking for better more uptodate and feature rich systems, so far though...not much on show.
Brian Beuken
Lecturer in Game Programming at Breda University of Applied Sciences.
Author of The Fundamentals of C/C++ Game Programming: Using Target-based Development on SBC's 


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