Microsoft’s ‘Project Triton’ Makes Game Sounds More “Immersive and Realistic”

Microsoft’s ‘Project Triton’ is a ‘physics-based’ acoustics system which aims to make game sounds more immersive and realistic. The technology is used as the acoustics engine for ‘Project Acoustics’, a larger effort to enhance the overall sound experience in games. First seen in Gears of War 4, Microsoft shared a research report today detailing the workings of Project Triton.

Microsoft’s goal with Project Triton is to prove that accurate wave acoustics can power the audio engines of modern AAA games like Gears of War 4. Project Triton allows for complex renders of wave effects, like obstruction and wave diffraction, while proving designer control and keeping CPU usage to a minimum (less than 10% of a CPU core).

How It Works

While audio designers can achieve similar experience using traditional methods, it is a lengthy and tedious process. Automating the entire process using Project Triton allows the designer to save time and fine-tune acoustics, such as reverberance or reverb decay time.

Obstruction and Portaling
Obstruction and Portaling

“Project Triton models how sound waves actually travel through complex 3D spaces, diffracting around corners and through doorways, reverberating in various rooms, responding to each triangle’s material,” explains Microsoft. “This computation is extremely expensive, so it is precomputed on static visual 3D geometry on a compute cluster in a “baking” step. The overall pipeline is quite analogous to light baking, moving expensive global propagation computation to a baking step rather than during gameplay where CPU is limited. This data is passed through a proprietary parametric compressor that drastically reduces data size and enables fast lookup and signal processing at runtime, allowing Triton to run even on mobile devices such as the Oculus Go.”

Developers can now get their hands on a designer preview of Project Triton by signing up here. Project Triton first shipped with Gears of War 4, and performed exceptionally well. Gears of War 4 audio director John Morgan said: “[Triton] is quite the complicated beast. The occlusion and obstruction values that Triton gives our game are really, really accurate to every listener position permutation possible on the map.”

You can learn more about the technical details of Project Triton in Microsoft’s ACM SIGGRAPH 2014 and 2018 papers. Microsoft’s Nikunj Raghuvanshi and John Tennant discuss Project Triton in detail during the 2017 GDC talk.

Farhan Ali
Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.