Oculus Connect 4, the company’s fourth annual developer conference, is set for October 11th and 12th in San Jose, California. There, Oculus will share with developers some of its latest research and developments, including what’s coming to the company’s VR Audio SDK.

See Also: NVIDIA Shows How Physically-based Audio Can Greatly Enhance VR Immersion

Spatial audio is hugely important for creating convincing virtual reality worlds. Traditional stereo audio often sounds like it emanates from within your head. In VR, most sounds need to have distinct sources that sound as if they’re coming from somewhere within the virtual world, just like they would in real life. But simulating realistic sounds in complex 3D environments isn’t as easy as it may seem, especially if you need to do so accurately and efficiently. Many companies have been working on the challenge of spatial audio in VR, with varying degrees of complexity and success.

At Connect 2017 in October, Oculus Audio Design Mananger Tom Smurdon and
Software Engineering Manager Pete Stirling will take to the stage in a session titled ‘2017 Breakthroughs in Spatial Audio Technologies’, to overview the latest spatial audio tech devised by the company.

Get up to speed on key terminology and concepts you need to know, then dive directly into the newest audio tech developed by Oculus. We’ll cover how new techniques and tools like Near Field HRTF and Volumetric Sound Sources help create dramatically increased immersion for people experiencing your game or app. Attendees will also get a first look at what’s coming in the Audio SDK roadmap.

The session description also promises to give attendees a first look at what’s coming to the Oculus Audio SDK, implying that whatever new spatial audio tech the company has cooked up will soon be rolled into the SDK.

SEE ALSO
Oculus Brings More Lifelike Sound Propagation to Audio SDK 1.34

The session is among more than 30 expected at the developer conference, 14 of which are now revealed on the Oculus Connect schedule.

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  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    Sound ray-racing is the most important thing that has been demonstrated 30 years ago and never repeated. I hope it’s here to stay this time.

  • Get Schwifty!

    Pushing the little earphones now might make a _bit_ more sense over the integrated ones in the current HMD…

  • GigaSora

    To me this exemplifies why Oculus is likely to win in the VR race. They got off to a bumpy start due to peoples dislike towards Facebook, but the reality is they just have a lot more money to throw at this in all areas. Even if Vive can keep up hardware wise, they wont be able to when it comes to user experience, research, and ultimately games once it swings over to an Oculus dominated community. These differences are already slightly pronounced in gen 1. Theyre likely to be glaring in gen 2. Its likely Vive will become increasingly dependent on Google for help, then it will become a race between Oculus and Google, which will be a good one.

    • Bryan Ischo

      The bumpy start had little to do with people’s dislike of facebook (sure there are a tiny minority of tinfoil hat wearers who complain loudly about facebook but that really isn’t a major factor), it was mostly about Oculus’ initially inferior offering, which they produced already having access to those vast quantities of Facebook money.

      My point being that evidence already shows that even with Facebook funding them already Oculus was not able to clearly win gen 1, and it’s only because they dropped the price so drastically that they even gained any traction at this point, so it’s not a given that Facebook money is guaranteed to be the deciding factor going forward.

      Except for the ability to dump their product at a loss, of course; there’s always that.

      • GigaSora

        I see what you’re saying, and while their initial offer was undoubtedly inferior, it was only because they were taking the time to get the product right. Vive knew they had to push something out the door, we ended up with weird stick controllers. Oculus waited and produced something worthwhile. I do think you’re downplaying the dislike for Facebook though. There was massive complaint when Facebook bought them, if you recall.

        • Bryan Ischo

          I don’t think it’s fair to say that Vive ‘ended up with weird stick controllers’, insinuating that it was some kind of quick hack to get a controller out the door. They chose that design, they iterated on it over a lengthy time period, there were developer units available for a long time before launch. And the sticks haven’t been changed since they were launched and have worked fine, so it’s quite clear that they simply completed their controller design before Oculus did, allowing them to launch sooner. They also completed their tracking system before Oculus did.

          They did not complete their strap design before Oculus did though, that’s for sure — the deluxe audio strap should have been in gen 1 and the fact that they made their strap system replaceable hints that they knew that they were going to have to iterate on that.

          So … Oculus initial offer was inferior NOT because Valve/HTC rushed theirs (except for the audio strap, but honestly that’s kind of a more minor issue), it was more due to Oculus simply not having their tech done as quickly as Valve/HTC did.

          The impression I got, and this is only my opinion of course, is that Oculus was over confident. They thought that they were going to be the bringers of VR and that everyone would wait as long as it took for them to get their system perfected. I think their design and development process was probably more slow and bloated due to the egos involved and that inherent belief that they were the One True VR company and that everyone was just going to have to wait for them. And they were probably blindsided a bit by how quickly and efficiently Valve/HTC completed their product, and were left scrambling.

          Anyway that’s all behind us now. I’m very eager to see Valve/HTCs response. Those knuckles controllers and a price drop can’t come soon enough.

          • Dave Scott

            … And valve pulling their finger out their arse and making quality games for vr wouldn’t hurt. SteamsVR store right now is still mostly shovelware.

          • NooYawker

            They said they are working on 3 new games. But then present some new card game. It can be frustrating sometimes wondering what they’re doing. Activision won’t stop pumping out Call of Duty games and Valve refuses to give us one Half life game.

          • Bryan Ischo

            I 100% agree with that. Valve can do a tremendous amount for VR adoption just by doing what they’re good at which is making games. It is frustrating to see no obvious movement on that.

          • RFC_VR

            yes, its a shame about the content. I got out of first gen PC VR when I realized this, and am waiting for a more mature library by time 2nd gen rolls out.

            ‘Content is King’ has never been more true, I’ve recently been exploring Daydream View, and really surprised how quickly Google scaled their library and the quality of the content already on the platform. (like FB, the big G has deep $$).

            There have to be compelling reasons to use VR, once the novelty has inevitably worn off (bohemian adaptation).

        • NooYawker

          Vive was released with Steam VR. Everyone who owns a VR system today bought it to play games. Gamers use Steam so the Vive was the natural choice. But yes i agree that Facebooks business model of data mining and advertising does turn many people off, and rightfully so. A company that pays 19 BILLION for an app for the sole purpose of acquiring more data should be viewed with suspicion. Also Oculus was initially released with only a 180° position and no touch controllers.

          • Bryan Ischo

            I just think that the vast majority of consumers don’t give a crap. I mean the fact is that billions of people use Facebook, obviously they don’t have any qualms about it or they wouldn’t use it. 99% of consumers don’t even consider such things.

          • NooYawker

            Yes the vast majority don’t care but most early adopters of VR are gamers who are more technically inclined and a lot of those people do care. But you’re right regular consumers don’t care.

          • Mike

            You’re actually mixing things up when you say “Oculus was initially released with only a 180° position and no touch controllers”. The **touch controllers** were released only for 180°. The HMD has always been capable of full rotation. Unless you go back to the DK2 development kit.

          • NooYawker

            Ok, you can turn around in your seat. I stand correct.

      • Michigan Jay Sunde

        I’d love nothing more than to tell Facebook and Google to eat shit and die, but they have BECOME the internet to the degree I literally can’t ignore them, and now that FB is the parent company of Oculus, I have to suck it up and invest despite my reservations. I have very little beef with Valve. I expect one of the other big announcements at Connect4 to be a Facebook metaverse demonstration, which will be cool ONLY in the event that free speech is permitted on that platform. Otherwise, I hope it dies on the vine.

      • Tags I812

        i dont think they have a warehouse full of these things to unload.

    • NooYawker

      So constant announcements is what it takes to win the race that just started? You mistaken Steam for Vive. Vive is just another manufacturer, Steam is the one developing technologies and licensing it out. Google hasn’t even got a dog in the race yet and you’re already proclaiming their dominance.

      • Mane Vr

        the fight isn’t over hmd but more over the platform. if oculus can show that there sdk has more feature that gamers want in there vr games, they can make home the go to platform. it all comes down to windows mr and if ms allow oculus runtime to work with their partners hmd that could be a big blow to steam vr. as well as if oculus signs on to windows mr.

        • NooYawker

          Steam will always be the go to platform for gamers and Facebook for social media people. The next wave of hardware coming out from many different companies will feature licensed tech from Steam. It’s questionable if Vive will survive. Oculus will survive because they have support from Facebook. Whether they’ll continue to be a major player.. sure why not. Google on the other hand, if history has shown us anything Google sucks at hardware. Glass is garbage, they abandon everything else because it’s all half assed. So even if they come out with something, it won’t last.

          • Mane Vr

            steam will be the go to for 2d games that is for sure but for vr, that is up in the air. there is only one other hmd coming with value tech in it, along with a some trackers that will mean nothing to the home user. Value is going to open steam vr to the windows MR hmd but who knows if MS will allow their partners hmd to work with steam vr. if MS allow their partners hmd to work with home with MS and oculus seem buddy buddy so this is more likely they will close out value on the vr end of thing and while they still get vr games on steamvr it won’t be the go to spot. so why would MS allow oculus home and not steamvr, you just have to look at the fact the minecraft is on home and buying it thru home gives you the 2d ver. in the MS store showing a close partnership

          • NooYawker

            A lot of monopolistic predictions you have there. It’s almost silly to think Facebook and MS are “buddy buddy” and they could legally shut out Steam together while holding hands. I could see MS trying to shut everyone out, but we already know that’s illegal and they have been sued before for trying such things.
            There’s only two places people buy VR games right now, Oculus home, and Steam VR. Valve has licensed their tech to 100’s of companies, and offer many of it’s licenses for free. Yet you seriously believe only ONE other company is releasing hardware with Valve tech in it? I don’t know who will “win” the VR race or if there will even be a winner. But anyone who thinks Steam isn’t going to be a central player in the world of gaming, be it monitor or VR is just wishful thinking.

          • Mane Vr

            Value has license their tech to 100’s but to only two company for hmd htc and lg.. no one company will win vr but when windows MR drops ms isn’t going to fund a too many vr fame they are going to partner with someone and i doubt it’s going to be value. I did say value would love to have windows MR hmd work on steam but that is up to MS if they will allow that i am guessing they r going to want them getting their games on the ms storefront of which i use the example of Minecraft which if u buy the vr ver. Which u can only get on oculus home. U get a copy of the non vr for free on thru the ms store.

          • RFC_VR

            I bought a number of Vive titles from Viveport and currently buy Daydream VR titles from Googleplay; there are certainly other marketplaces i.e. Transport VR, OpenVR, etc.

    • Get Schwifty!

      You see my point then about Oculus – backing by Facebook is no small thing, like them or not, they have very long legs and have under Zuckerberg openly stated an understanding that VR is a decades long adoption curve. In a culture that is so myopic that 3 quarters away is a lifetime, a company that is committed at least on the surface to a decades long effort is pretty amazing.

      I’ll also say that there will be multiple “winners”, certainly Vive and Oculus both seem committed to the game. It’s the next tier (HP, MS, Acer) that there will be some serious fall-out over time I think.

      • NooYawker

        Oculus and Steam you mean. It has yet to be seen if HTC repeats it’s history or actually capitalizes on the headstart.

  • Justos

    I love that the Oculus SDK continues to push the boundaries of immersion and performance in VR. ATW, and ASW were just the beginning. SteamVR is quickly becoming the baseline (and thats fine, since their mission is VR for all HMDs) but Oculus will push the technology at a faster rate.

    Who knew, a company 100% all in on VR would have a better SDK for VR?

    Im sure theres more to be announced too, exciting times :)

    • NooYawker

      Why do people keep making such crazy statements?? Zuckerberg makes some announcements and looks at some technology all of a sudden they’re destroying the competition? It’s like you guys don’t understand technology at all… or reality.

      • GigaSora

        You’re sane and it’s everybody else who is crazy. That’s normally correct, yeah.

        • NooYawker

          Facebook announces some research does not equate:
          “SteamVR is quickly becoming the baseline (and thats fine, since their mission is VR for all HMDs) but Oculus will push the technology at a faster rate.”
          It’s nutty. What technology has Oculus pushed at a faster rate? It’s ALL GEN 1!!!

          • GigaSora

            I dont know how to explain it to you in a way youd understand man. Clearly you dont understand technology at all… or reality.

          • NooYawker

            Please tell me what technology Oculus has come out with at a faster rate? They literally just took room scale out of beta. Is that reality?
            But nice way to say you don’t have an answer.

          • Michigan Jay Sunde

            Async Space Warp, for one. And that shader tech from earlier in the week shouldn’t be sneezed at. They did a better job w/ergonomics and integrated headphones out of the gate, and were first with capacitive button-tops on their controllers. Plus they finance AAA development more aggressively on their platform. The fruits of all their acquisitions in computer vision, markerless hand-tracking, integrated eye-tracking and haptics will come soon. Can you not just be happy that FBOculus is doing dope shit that makes the VR ecosytem a more interesting and competitive place? REALLY not sure when your bad vibes are coming from. They’re doing a $200 all-in-one NEXT YEAR. They will have big news in October. Just be happy you’re living in the future, dawg.

          • NooYawker

            I am happy with any competition in VR. I’m not the one that scream steam is going to kill oculus. But the OP basically said oculus is going to kill steam. All I’m saying is stop being silly. Oculus and vive both are equal now but oculus just caught up. They aren’t pumping out anything faster than valve.

          • Michigan Jay Sunde

            Oculus vs Vive = Apple vs Android. The paralells are crazy. I honestly believe Rift is the better platform, and would burn the house down if they would just adopt Lighthouse tracking or something like it. As much as I love Rift, I still don’t have a roomscale setup for it. It’s an epic hassle and needs sincere first-party support (like first-party HMD extension cables). Instead they’ll drag out Gen 1 largely as-is until they can make something crazily-better for Gen 2. It’s the Apple approach. The OP wasn’t talking about crushing Steam, only saying Oculus was more focused than Valve on VR SDKs and future tech because it doesn’t have a multi-billion-dollar mainstream gaming business to distract them.

          • Dave Scott

            I think the fact that the tracking is so garbage is a real issue for Oculus, couldn’t agree more they need to move away from the optical IR tracking. I’ve got a 360 setup but its such a pain that it’s left me unable to recommend a Rift to anyone over a vive. At the end of the day, the oculus has 2 pro’s –
            1) It’s store has more polished games, which is being rectified for Vive by oculus opening their store without need for revive.
            2) Their touch controllers are better, but the knuckle controllers look even better still.

            It’s not a simple fix for oculus, vive can and are fixing their short comings. Oculus can’t just move to light house to fix theirs, it’ll require gen2 and whole different everything, controllers, headsets, sensors the lot. I think realistically they’ll wait til they’ve got inside out optical sussed out, for both headset and controllers.

            As far as Gen1 goes, Vive is the sensible choice. Gen2, maybe all the oculus investment will pay off – but I would guess like you have that Oculus’s Gen1 will be a lot longer then Vives Gen1, due to them having to swap out so much all at once.

          • GigaSora

            Disagree entirely. My roomscale setup was super simple and effective with just two sensors. Which also means I have the option to set my oculus up in a small space. Not everyone has roomscale, and now Oculus is catering to both. Comments like this make me doubt you even own an Oculus. No Oculus owner would say Vive is the sensible choice. Just like no Apple user would say Android is the sensible choice. (No vive user would say Oculus is the sensible choice either for that matter)

          • Michigan Jay Sunde

            I switched from iOS to Android because of the GearVR, and I was an Apple enthusiast for 20 years. I build my first PC gaming rig after nothing but Macs since I was twelve, because they were dragging their feet on VR. Neither switch was exactly painless, and I still believe in the Apple platform – I just wanted to start developing and couldn’t wait. I have a Vive on my bookshelf, but keep the Rift hooked up because it’s a cinch to simply throw-on at a moment’s notice, and 180-degree tracking gives me zero problems. Software needs to be suited for it, though. It’s far too easy to get disoriented in something like Cosmic Trip and lose your hands while under assault. But my favorite experiences let you sit down, often with a gamepad, which is always flawless, and what I’m designing for. I’ve had uniquely dope experiences on BOTH, and neither one replaces the other fully. If Vive would cut their price to meet the Rift (and make it more comfortable, because damn) then people wouldn’t need to flame each other over which is better – they could buy both for the cost of just one at their ludicrous launch price (aka, what the Vive STILL costs, despite the full 50% off Rift is offering on their bundle right now.)

          • Caven

            Seriously? You really think nobody would ever have reason to recommend a product they don’t own? I prefer Android over iOS, and am a major fan of the Galaxy Note series of phones. That being said, I’d still recommend the iPhone to anyone who prioritizes long-term support from the manufacturer over absolute control over every aspect of the phone, especially if they already use a Mac as their primary computer. In many cases developers prioritize iOS development over Android, so the app ecosystem can be a reason for someone to prefer iOS over Android. But if someone does want more control over their device and wants the sorts off apps that require root access, I’d recommend Android instead. Android also has the benefit that there’s a much larger variety of phones. For instance, Apple has no equivalent to the Galaxy Note series of phones.

            When it comes to VR headsets, I’d definitely recommend the Vive for people who need flexibility in sensor positioning. The Lighthouses don’t need to be connected to the computer, so cables only need to be run as far as the nearest outlet. And when I bought the Vive, the presence of motion controllers was a major selling point, though obviously that’s no longer an advantage over the Oculus Rift. Speaking of the Oculus Rift, at its current price point, it’s a lot better value for the price. $800 is a lot of money, and right now the Oculus Rift is a comparable headset for only half the price. And as Dave Scott pointed out, Oculus currently has the better game selection and controller ergonomics, even if I prefer the touchpad of the Vive controllers.

            Why is it so important to blindly support the product a person actually purchased? I’m not a fan of Oculus because of their past business practices, but that’s not going to stop me from recognizing the things their product does right. Are you going to tell me I must be lying for recommending competing products for different reasons? If you can’t perform an honest appraisal of the relevant merits of two competing products, that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t, either.

          • Dave Scott

            So you don’t think I don’t own a rift because I’d recommend the vive to people because it’s easier to set-up?

            I’m more sceptical about your easy 360 2 camera set-up, you were lucky or you’ve got the tiniest space.

            2 cameras require 2xUSB3, the cabels on the sensors are annoyingly short. You can use USB3 extension cables, but most do not work, active power or otherwise. Same for if you’ve not got enough USB ports – buying an USB expansion card… Again, most don’t work… The sensors are insane bandwidth hogs.

            Also having enough USB ports on the motherboard isn’t a guarantee of it working, as ports share bandwidth if they’re on the same controller.

            3 cameras set-up, the 3rd only requires USB2, and comes with an extension cable in the box. So generally isn’t an issue.

            Setting up the cameras, the system often tells me to physically move the camera position not just rotate. This is an issue if the wall your mounting to obviously can’t be moved.

            Compare that to just plugging in 2 sensors to plug sockets either side of the room.

            I’m happy with my rift, but for a general user, I sadly can’t recommend it outright – especially once the knuckle controllers are out and the oculus store is open. The only thing it’ll have going for it is the significant price difference.

            It’s probably worth noting that I only really like and play room-scale full body games, which probably skews my view somewhat.

          • GigaSora

            Yeah. Pretty much. The Vive is undeniabley a longer and more arduous setup than the Rift first of all. Second, usb cables do work. Thirdly you said you like roomscale games, at which point I wonder who could have possibly made the choice to buy a system that didnt support room scale officially until a month ago. Moreover, you’ve said your roomscale doesnt work. How are you playing these roomscale games? And lastly, everyone who owns a Rift knows its better in all aspects at this point, especially if theyve used a Vive too. Dont believe you.

          • Jimmy Tyson

            Maybe if Oculus included the inatek usb card that everybody will need to buy anyways in the box… But they don’t. I got a Rift when the sale first happened, and I can say that the USB situation has been a real nightmare for me. After I bought the Inatek usb card things got a bit better, but it’s still wonky. Sometimes it will say that my back sensor isn’t working right, even though I haven’t changed a single thing about it. Then, if I remove my USB keyboard from the usb slot on the front of my PC, the back sensor starts working properly.

            The Oculus is actually much more complicated to use in the long run, because of all the usb port drama.

          • Caven

            They weren’t first with capacitive button-tops. The touchpads on the Vive controllers are in fact large buttons, with surfaces so large that they can be effectively reconfigured as multiple buttons. Clicking the touchpad versus merely touching it are two different actions.

          • GigaSora

            Im just kidding. I was reflected what you said earlier. We’re all friends here broski. Everyone just wants VR to be mainstream and awesome. No need to be riled.

          • NooYawker

            I came off a little strong. I definitely have a bias against FB but their hardware definitely is good. I want all platforms and companies to do well. We need more VR users so we can get better content.

          • GigaSora

            Theyre both good realistically I suppose. I guess everyone is just riled up because the more people that buy their headset, the better chance they made an awesome choice and will be rewarded with awesome games haha.

  • Miko Vanara

    Awesome, this will be very interesting and will just add to the immersion.

  • wcalderini

    #$*&% it. I ended up just buying all three platforms. (Yeah…sigh…as of this weekend even the PSVR…So I’m covered). Except for the darn Gear VR live exclusives that are pissing me off in a major way. I have too much invested in the Apple ecosystem for me to jump ship and move to Android for my phones. You’d figure that anything available on Gear should at least be available on the Rift since they are so cosy these days. One of the major things I was interested way back in the beginning was the potential for this medium to open up live entertainment to the masses in a way that had not been done before. But it seems that most all of the live Sporting Events, Concerts, and other live venues seem to be the exclusive domain of Gear so far.
    Hopefully a standalone unit will rectify this.
    The flame wars are entertaining though.
    I am partial to the Vive, and I consider it to be the most immersive of the three.
    I like the fact that I can easily control the super-sampling to match my gear (1080ti) and overall it just seems to be a more immersive experience. And I actually prefer
    the Vive controllers over the Touch controllers.
    Maybe because I constantly feel like I am going to drop them while doing particular changes in game. (Also it’s a crap-shoot when you load up the Oculus stuff as to whether you need The Touch Controllers, The Xbox control, the remote control or visual tracking.)
    But the margin is VERY small. All my preferences are really based on the system I used and was most comfortable with first. (The Vive)
    There are even decent things to be said about the PSVR.
    It really surprised me with how good it was after reading comparison reviews.
    For a simple, sit down, VR experience it’s convenience is a major plus.

    Anway.
    That’s my 2 cents.
    WRC

    • NooYawker

      Honest and fair assessment of your personal experience and preference.
      Expect to be flamed. :D
      I thought about getting a PS Pro/PSVR as well, they have a lot of cool exclusives, but.. maybe when they get some better controllers that are actually made for VR. I remember those controllers came out to compete against the Wii.

  • Michigan Jay Sunde

    Crossing my fingers for a raunchy partnership with OSSIC X and ray-traced sound SDK that unifies both Nvidia and AMD cards.

    • Michigan Jay Sunde

      And why can’t soundcards be a thing again? With Threadripper dramatically opening up the number of available PCIe lanes, could we have a ray-tracing sound card for $99-$150 that could push truly dimensional sound w/o eating GPU cycles? Or just dedicate an older or less expensive GPU to just that task, like you can for Phys-X? I know the focus is on accessibility for lots of people, but the Vive proves enthusiast markets will still pay a shitload for the ultimate experience. Let’s be adventurous!!! :D

      • Bryan Ischo

        I think that sounds like a fantastic idea … however, I don’t think it can happen until the market for such a device is much larger. At the moment you’d be talking about something that would sell to a fraction of VR users, and that’s a pitifully small user base at the moment. But in 2030 maybe we’ll all have ray tracing audio cards and perfect positional sound!

        • Michigan Jay Sunde

          We just need to make sure normies get the value proposition of VR. That means more legitimately useful software, more awesome entertainment and fewer half-baked games. That’s our job. :)

  • Cool! Now I’d like a session on still not used senses like taste :)

  • polysix

    Awesome, can’t wait for the ‘lack of god-rays’ breakthrough. /s