A3D Sound For Half-Life
What is A3D Sound?
A3D is a new sound chip technology produced by Aureal Semiconductor. It was introduced in 1997 and it's quickly becoming another technological trend in the game industry. It has been said that A3D grants to audio what 3Dfx does to video.
A3D is designed to function or to reproduce sound the way we would normally hear it, the way our ears would hear it. For example: If you were playing a space simulation game and your ship was in the thick of battle, you would hear the laser fire and explosions that are close by you. Perhaps your wingman, as they often do when I play, meets a sudden and unexpected end. The explosion from that ship would be heard coming from his direction. Now this is nothing new for 3D sound but say we add another ship, a very large ship that is parked off your starboard side and say, your wingman was just off your port position. The sound from your exploding wingman would travel until it struck the large ship and bounce or reverberate back at you. This is one of the many things that A3D does to improve the quality of sound.
So how does A3D do this?
Well, just like in a 3D environment where you need a view point and a surrounding environment to look at, A3D requires a listener and a sound source. It uses Aureal's Wavetracing™ technology, which is a similar idea behind ray-casting or ray- tracing, to project sound waves off objects within the environment. This allows the sound to be rendered with reflections, reverberations and occlusions and it does this in real-time.
OK, my card supports A3D now where do I get the latest drivers?
Simple the latest version of the A3D sound drivers is 3.12 and can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.
A3D Drivers v3.12
NOTE: Do not use with Windows Vista!
Now I have the latest drivers is there any other tweaks I can do?
Yes, you can tweak the sound settings in Half-Life by typing in the console commands and setting different values for settings to suit your gaming needs. A better way of doing this for Half-Life is to create a 'cfg' (config) file to enable your sound setting when loading.
Example of a A3D Sound .cfg file for Half-Life
Simply copy and paste the following load of Half-Life sound settings into a blank notepad document and save it as 's_a3d.cfg'. Then place the file into your Half-Life 'Valve' directory. Remember to activate it by placing 'exec s_a3d.cfg' into your autoexec.cfg file located in your valve folder of Half-Life or whatever Half-Life gaming mod you maybe playing; That's all! now when you load up a game in Half-Life it will auto load your A3D sound setting if you have followed the above instructions correctly.
NOTE: The following settings will only work correctly for A3D supported sound cards not EAX only cards.
echo Executing 's_a3d.cfg'...
echo A3D settings complete