Project Triton

Project Triton

Publications

News & features

News & features

Overview

Immersive sound propagation for games and mixed reality

Games and mixed reality must render a believable soundscape for the listener that situates characters and sounds within rich 3D worlds. Project Triton aids this task by physically modeling how sound propagates within a scene given its shape and materials. In doing so, it automatically models immersive sound propagation effects like sound occlusion and reverberation. Project Triton is unique in accurately modeling the true wave physics of sound, including diffraction, while still being fast enough to scale from desktop to mobile devices. Incubated over a decade of focused research, it is battle-tested technology, shipping in major game titles like Gears of War, Sea of Thieves, and Borderlands 3.

Project Acoustics provides easy-to-use plugin integration for Unity and Unreal game engines.

Sound propagation effects

Obstruction

Project Triton sound obstruction

Sound is weakened when it diffracts around obstructions​.

Portaling (sound redirection)

Project Triton sound portaling

Sound heard “through the wall” (red) from source direction is incorrect​. Doors redirect sounds, which is more believable​.


Occlusion

Project Triton sound occlusion

Occlusion is total reduction in loudness from geometry, involving complex propagation and diffraction (diffracted paths in green)​.

Reverberance

Project Triton sound reverberance

Left: Close to the source, direct path (green) is loud compared to reflections (orange), resulting in high clarity and low reverberance. Right: Behind the partition, direct path is weakened from diffraction, causing low clarity and high reverberance, conveying that the source is in a different room.​


Decay Time

Project Triton sound decay time

Larger rooms reverberate longer.​

We perceive many acoustic effects in everyday life that result from the wave nature of sound propagation. They keep us aware and oriented in our surroundings, varying smoothly as we and sounds around us move through the world. Games and mixed reality thus usually need to reproduce them for a natural soundscape. Project Triton models many such important effects, illustrated above. For instance, obstruction and “portaling” together create a believable impression of sounds flowing around doorways. It is common for sound designers to have to do tedious manual markup to obtain such results. Project Triton removes this tedium, driving the effects robustly from scene geometry and empowering the designer with new tools to shape physics for storytelling goals. For example, one can reduce physical reverberance on game dialogue to make it cinematic, while heightening the reverberation on footsteps to make a cave feel spookier. All at runtime while fitting within practical CPU and RAM budgets.

How it works

How Project Triton Works

Project Triton models the actual wave physics of sound propagation through complex 3D spaces. Audible sounds have wavelengths from centimeters to meters so that wave effects must be modeled to avoid unnatural results. An example is the “lamppost problem” – a thin lamppost blocking the ray from source to listener can occlude as much as a concrete wall. We never hear that in reality because sound waves wrap around objects, as seen in the animation above. This is diffraction. It is central to how sound moves around corners and through doorways, scatters, and fills up various rooms with reverberation. Wave simulation is very expensive, so we precompute on static visual 3D geometry on a compute cluster in a “baking” step. The overall pipeline is quite analogous to light baking, in that it moves expensive global propagation computation to a baking step – with the difference that moving sources are supported. This data is passed through a proprietary parametric compressor that drastically reduces data size and enables fast lookup and signal processing at runtime, enabling Triton to run even on mobile devices such as the Oculus Go.

Downloads and Documentation

Visit the official Project Acoustics website.

Further Reading

Product Transfers

People

Microsoft Research

Microsoft Mixed Reality

  • Portrait of Noel Cross

    Noel Cross

    Principal Software Engineering Lead

  • Portrait of Hakon Strande

    Hakon Strande

    Principal Program Manager

  • Portrait of Keith Godin

    Keith Godin

    Senior Scientist

  • Portrait of Mike Chemistruck

    Mike Chemistruck

    Senior Software Engineer

  • Portrait of Ashu Tatake

    Ashu Tatake

    Principal Software Engineer

  • Portrait of Lyle Corbin

    Lyle Corbin

    Principal Software Engineer

  • Portrait of Kyle Storck

    Kyle Storck

    Software Engineer II

  • Portrait of Panu Koponen

    Panu Koponen

    Software Engineer II

The Coalition Studio (Gears of War)

  • Portrait of John Morgan

    John Morgan

    Audio Director

  • Portrait of John Tennant

    John Tennant

    Lead Audio Designer

  • Portrait of Jimmy Smith

    Jimmy Smith

    Senior Software Engineer

  • Portrait of Clarence Chu

    Clarence Chu

    Senior Software Engineer

RARE Studio (Sea of Thieves)

  • Portrait of Jon Vincent

    Jon Vincent

    Audio Director

Videos

Project Acoustics: Making Waves with Triton

Project Acoustics: Making Waves with Triton

Project Acoustics is now available for all game developers and sound designers to use. It employs the Triton technology developed in Microsoft Research for accurate sound propagation using wave physics.…
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Parametric Directional Coding for Precomputed Sound Propagation

Parametric Directional Coding for Precomputed Sound Propagation

Convincing audio for games and virtual reality requires modeling directional propagation effects. The initial sound’s arrival direction is particularly salient and derives from multiply-diffracted paths in complex scenes…
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Gears of War 4, Project Triton: Pre-Computed Environmental Wave Acoustics

Gears of War 4, Project Triton: Pre-Computed Environmental Wave Acoustics

In this 2017 GDC talk, Microsoft’s Nikunj Raghuvanshi and John Tennant discuss both the technical and design aspects of Project Titan, a new audio system that robustly models complex wave phenomena such as diffraction…
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Parametric Directional Coding for Precomputed Sound Propagation

Parametric Wave Field Coding for Precomputed Sound Propagation

The acoustic wave field in a complex scene is a chaotic 7D function of time and the positions of source and listener, making it difficult to compress and interpolate. This hampers precomputed approaches which tabulate impulse…
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Wave-Based Sound Propagation in Large Open Scenes using an Equivalent Source Formulation

Wave-Based Sound Propagation in Large Open Scenes using an Equivalent Source Formulation

We present a novel approach for wave-based sound propagation suitable for large, open spaces spanning hundreds of meters, with a small memory footprint. The scene is decomposed into disjoint rigid objects. The free-field acoustic…
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Sound Synthesis for Impact Sounds in Video Games

Sound Synthesis for Impact Sounds in Video Games

We present an interactive system for synthesizing high quality, physically based audio on current video game consoles. From a recorded impact sound, we compute a modal model, which we use to synthesize variations of the sound…
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Gears of War 4, Project Triton: Pre-Computed Environmental Wave Acoustics

Precomputed Wave Simulation for Real-Time Sound Propagation of Dynamic Sources in Complex Scenes

We present a method for real-time sound propagation that captures all wave effects, including diffraction and reverberation, for multiple moving sources and a moving listener in a complex, static 3D scene…
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Aerophones in Flatland: Interactive Wave Simulation of Wind Instruments

Aerophones in Flatland: Interactive Wave Simulation of Wind Instruments

We present the first real-time technique to synthesize full bandwidth sounds for 2D virtual wind instruments. A novel interactive wave solver is proposed that synthesizes audio at 128,000Hz on commodity graphics cards. Simulating…
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