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I thought we had a thread about Sound but I guess the discussion is buried in other threads.
Since I've been nudging for sound and pushing OpenAL I feel I should expose some possible pitfalls.

There was discussion earlier this week about sound API's at iDevgames.com

This post worries me, because I think iGame3D users on Windows have
experienced a similiar issues and I can't recall if we have ever fixed it since
we don't use Windows in much other than emulators and a very old 600mhz laptop.

From iDevgames User GolfHacker

Quote:
OpenAL works very well on Mac, but the OpenAL implementation on Windows and Linux leaves much to be desired. I've had occasional problems where it doesn't work with certain audio devices, or the audio is garbled - it happened with enough customers to qualify as a problem, in my book. I ended up converting my Dirk Dashing game to use SDL_mixer instead.

If your game is Mac-only, OpenAL is a fine choice. But if your game is cross-platform, I recommend going with SDL_mixer instead (especially if you only need simple audio playback). Both APIs are easy to use, though I found SDL_mixer to be a bit easier (though not as feature-rich).

There's a good set of OpenAL tutorials here:
[URL="http://www.devmaster.net/articles.php?catID=6"]http://www.devmaster.net/articles.php?catID=6[/URL]

There's a good set of SDL_mixer tutorials here:
[URL="http://gpwiki.org/index.php/SDL_mixer"]http://gpwiki.org/index.php/SDL_mixer[/URL]


Apparently the problem lies in PC sound cards not having drivers or OpenAl specifically installed or not having them installed in the correct location. Well thats what I think this three year old post means

We had an issue on the following sound hardward this winter:
Name Lò, Product 23010769, Name Realtek HD Audio rear output, Name RtkHDAud.sys.
Yeah cryptic.
Googling Realtek OpenAL issues leads to some possible solutions [/url] and apparently points to further problems with the audio card makers tech and developer support in general.

More digging seems to point to the quality of these sound cards, more than openAL itself. Heading back to iDevGames to query golfhacker on his bug reports to see if any other hardware being used caused issues.

I recall having an issue of garbled sound with openAL on Linux with Unreal Tournament 2003, but redirecting the UT-supplied library to the one built specifically for my distribution fixed the issue.

I have no other experience with openAL to my knowledge, as most linux apps seem to use SDL.
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