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Unity for pure audio VR project?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Question Unity for pure audio VR project?

Hello,

I am involved in a pure audio VR project where the visitor moves in a room and discovers a virtual soundscape. The position of the visitor is tracked wirelessly and transmitted over an Arduino board to the computer.

Do you think this project would benefit to be made with Unity instead of programs like Max, Pd or SuperCollider?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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It may depend on how you intend to output the sound ultimately. I had always used pd/Max until we started building spatial audio apps. Then I switched to Unity and I’ve never looked back (whether using GPS or AR for positional data). VR should be very similar to AR—if it’d be of help you could follow the guide on our website to build an AR app and just change the positional data method and possibly the ultimate sound output method!

tcwav.com

At the very least, the guide will give you an idea of how you would approach in Unity and how its spatialization works.

Our group specializes in spatial audio—we’re always looking for other musicians to talk to and to help. Definitely reach out!
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcw av View Post
It may depend on how you intend to output the sound ultimately. I had always used pd/Max until we started building spatial audio apps. Then I switched to Unity and I’ve never looked back (whether using GPS or AR for positional data). VR should be very similar to AR—if it’d be of help you could follow the guide on our website to build an AR app and just change the positional data method and possibly the ultimate sound output method!

tcwav.com

At the very least, the guide will give you an idea of how you would approach in Unity and how its spatialization works.

Our group specializes in spatial audio—we’re always looking for other musicians to talk to and to help. Definitely reach out!
A difference is I do not want to build an app. However I've just gone to your website and the Year One app has is very close to my own project, except that I want to run it on a full-fledged desktop computer with wireless headphones.

Also, I'd be curious how Year One performs position tracking using only the user's device itself. Do you derivate it from the embedded accel/gyro/magnetometer? It must be tricky to have consistent positions...
Old 1 week ago
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As far as running it on the desktop with headphones--makes total sense. We actually have been conceptualizing a similar goal to integrate an installation with live performance. I'm guessing you/we'll have to work around the limitations of whatever software you go with. I've never used SuperCollider but I'm guessing it could end up being great for this. In Unity, you'd either have to:

1) Work around the limitation of only one Audio Listener (it looks like there are assets to do this for split-screen games/etc. -- but eventually you'll hit a max number of users)
2) Build the same Unity "game/application," run a bunch of instances of it, and direct the audio from each out to a different audio output

Might not be easy--but Unity really is great for visually creating environments, doing all the distance/direction calculations and spatial audio processing, etc. Definitely where I'd start trying.

I believe Apple's ARKit uses some form of Visual Intertial Odometry--essentially, yep, those sensors in combination with the camera. It's amazingly accurate for audio purposes. I've launched it in one place with an object, walked three rooms away, walked back and seen the object had moved less than a foot. I've even walked halfway around the block and back and the original object position only moved about a yard or so. It solved a lot of the inside out tracking issues we confronted in looking at different sensors, and lets us distribute widely! I know AR can look a little jittery visually, but for audio purposes it's really phenomenal.

Would be remiss to not mention--I've been lucky enough to get to do some toying with the 4DSOUND system. Obviously the use of one of those systems, depending on the project, could be amazing! 4D has some great artist residency programs.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Actually it's going to be an installation rather than an app.

Yes, I'd love to hear the 4D Sound system, it seems amazing.
Old 1 week ago
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Oh absolutely--I meant "application" to refer to a software instance of Unity running on your desktop to power the installation. The limitation workaround would either be one of these two things... (drawing up a quick render)--the ideal version on the left, which has figured out how to get around Unity's limitation on the # of audio listeners; or the one on the right, running a bunch of different versions of the same software--just selecting a different wireless tracker input for each and a different audio output for each to send through an interface to headphones. (Render uploaded to see at http://tcwav.com/Spatial.tif)
Old 1 week ago
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Interesting!

Currently the project is for one visitor at a time because I am not sure the tracking system can accomodate several ones without a reduced tracking frequency.

Do the "XBee" refer to XBee wireless transmission? Used to send audio?
Old 1 week ago
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We used Unity to realize a soundinstallation for an exhibition, using a multichannel soundcard and speaker setup which worked fine. The virtual soundsources moved in the virtual space creating an ever changing piece through the actual speakers.
Old 1 week ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerrSteiner View Post
We used Unity to realize a soundinstallation for an exhibition, using a multichannel soundcard and speaker setup which worked fine. The virtual soundsources moved in the virtual space creating an ever changing piece through the actual speakers.
Was it difficult to learn using Unity?
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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not for me but I did several installations and visuals with other game engines in the past years. Unity was a choice of the venue but I think its rather easy to approach hence its popularity.
Old 1 week ago
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With one output it should be pretty straightforward--happy to provide any advice needed, too. I think your only real challenge will be adapting the data you're getting from your positional tracking system to control the coordinates in Unity. That's just really difficult to do in general--do you know what positional tracking system you're going to use? (And yes I was just presuming you were going to use some sort of XBee-like system to send positional data through an Arduino--so would again wonder on the tracking system you're gonna use).
Old 6 days ago
  #12
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For tracking, I use the Pozyx UWB system with a microcontroller.
Old 5 days ago
  #13
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Wow that’s nice! So yeah—Unity should be pretty straightforward once you get the Pozyx sending the right positional data into it—looks like it’s definitely supported. Let me know if you decide to go with Unity and need any help!
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