Software theme

Cross-platform audio API for multichannel 3D positional audio originally by Loki Software.


Alternate names: OAL, Open Audio Library

The first video game about OpenAL was released in 1997.

COR Entertainment, Electronic Arts and GarageGames has published most of these games

Presence of OpenAL can easily be noticed (in Windows) if the game directories contain any of the following files: OpenAL32.dll, wrap_oal.dll and alut.dll
Originally released under a BSD license it was changed to a LGPL. v1.1 However became proprietary. "OpenAL Soft" is a compatible updated free alternative to OpenAL. It is a continuation of Loki's version. It notable supports surround sound up to 7.1.

Supported platforms:
* Mac OS 8/9
* Mac OS X
* Linux
* Solaris
* Windows
* Xbox
* X360

Currently supports stereo and 4 channel surround sound. Apparently surround sound breaks (falls back to stereo) with setups that have more than 4 channels/speakers (at least on Linux).

OpenAL SDKs often include some implementation of ALUT (OpenAL Utility Toolkit), a convenience wrapper for quickly setting up OAL.
- source
OAL runs in separate thread automatically (I have no idea how to disable this, nor why would I want to do that). The API is extremely simple to use because of this.

Speaking from personal experience, it took me less than a day to write a crude Ogg audio player with OAL. And most of the time went into understanding Vorbis library (for reading and decoding the audio file) than into learning OAL (both of which I had never before used - nor was I familiar with OGL, which supposedly shares a similar API). OAL also handles sound position and movement in 3D in quite simple manner, so there's even less for the programmer to do.