An Audiophile’s Guide to BF:BC2 (Full)

Hi there!

I'm one of the audio programmers at DICE responsible for the audio tech in Frostbite. We know there are many people out there who care passionately about audio in our games, so we thought it'd be nice to give you some information on how our audio engine works and why we do things the way we do. Hopefully with this information you'll know how to get the most out of the audio in Bad Company on whichever platform you choose to play it on. It's going to get quite technical, but I'll try to summarize each section to make everything crystal clear.


Background

When we started building our "Next Gen" engine, Frostbite, we thought about what "Next Gen" would mean for us on the audio side of things. We came to the conclusion that we wanted to be able to use more filters in order to be able to create more dynamic sound behavior, and we wanted the same functionality and result across all platforms we target. This meant doing all the audio processing ourselves. We'd previously used software mixing in BF:1942 and hybrid hardware/software mixing in BF:Modern Combat on the PS2 (to be able to add some filters and 16 more "voices"), but before this point sound in games was mostly just playing back wave forms almost completely unaffected except for volume and pitch alterations.

This of course meant that we wanted sounds to be able to have an arbitrary amount of filters and submixes in any order, which hardware accelerating audio pipelines simply didn't/doesn't support. We felt confident in the fact that all our target platforms either had moved (Xbox360, PS3) or were about to move (PC) to software-based audio pipelines, instead of having fixed-functionality hardware pipelines (Xbox, PS2, some sound cards on PC), so software mixing was the obvious choice for us.

So in short, we went down a path that let us do things exactly the way we felt we needed to do it in order to continue to deliver a high-quality, innovative aural experience in our games and I hope you all agree we've succeeded!

Performance

Naturally, doing all of the audio processing in software puts the CPU under some extra strain. Since Xbox360/PS3 has fixed hardware and both have multiple cores available to do many things in parallel, you could say this is only an issue for the PC SKU where we may end up having less cores than on console. In Bad Company, all audio processing is performed sequentially on a single hardware thread regardless of platform. For PC this means that a CPU with a higher frequency will help more than one with more cores. But of course, there are other areas of the game that execute in parallel, so having more than 2 cores will help the game in general. This is an area we're constantly looking to improve and the results of our efforts will show up in future titles.

The bottom line is that as long as your computer lives up to the minimum spec for the game, things will be just fine. If you're on console there's obviously no need to worry about this stuff at all.


Fidelity

As is common today, we do all audio processing in 32-bit IEEE floating point (at 48kHz) in order to maintain the highest fidelity possible in the final audio stream we deliver to the platform's underlying audio driver. Our source wave forms are encoded using different codecs depending on what is most optimal for each platform. Those codecs are what affects the quality of the audio that the game produces the most. Once we've passed the audio to the underlying audio driver, any difference in fidelity depends on how that driver mixes our audio in together with other audio streams from other active processes and what gear you have. On PC we convert our audio to 16-bit PCM before sending it to DirectSound instead of relying on DirectSound to do it for us. This is mostly a legacy workaround for compatibility/quality issues with some sound cards, but adding support for more than 16-bit output would result in an invalidation of many years worth of tweaking and tuning done to reliably output quality audio through DirectSound, without any noticeable improvement in final audio fidelity for you guys and a massive increase in QA work for us. I'll dedicate the entire next section to this 16-bit "controversy" so those of you who are already in the know, or simply don't care, can skip it easier.

As I already mentioned, the gear you listen to the game through will of course affect the audio fidelity. If you're really keen on audio, you will want to either avoid using the internal DAC that is on your sound card (PC) or in your console. This is simple to do, just make sure you use digital audio output! It's only once you need to go from digital to analog (like to the speakers) that you will need to go through a DAC. You'll also want to keep the DAC outside your computer/console to reduce the induction of noise from other components. This could be as simple as using an external sound card (PC) or a hi-fi/surround system (consoles or PC if your sound card supports digital output).

The next thing to remember is to turn off as much post-processing as possible and make sure you have nice speakers. Any "enhancements" made to the signal after we send it to the audio driver may introduce unwanted artifacts, so turn off "Cinema" modes, "Crispalizers" and such. This goes for sound cards in PCs, home theatre systems and TVs alike. Our sound designers take great care to mix and even master the game thoughtfully, so make sure to select the "Sound System" setting in the audio options screen so that it corresponds as closely as possible to the gear you have! This way the game will adapt its EQ settings and dynamic range to try and make sure the game sounds as clear as possible through your speakers.

Let's simplify all this down and say that 5.1/48kHz/16-bit will get you the best experience on PC, and on consoles a mid-range sound system will do just fine. The game was made with 5.1 (and stereo) in mind, so there's no need to invest in a fancy new 7.1 system.

Bit Depth

I will try to keep this section short, but in doing so I'll have to make it quite technical. In digital audio, bit depth refers to the dynamic range of each sample in an audio signal. So 16-bit PCM gives us a dynamic range of about 96 dB (the simplified formula is 6*bitCount). Don't confuse bit depth with bit rate (number of bits per second) or sample rate, which decides the highest frequency possible to represent as half the sample rate. The human ear typically has a dynamic range of about 120 dB. So our 16 bits won't fully cover the entire dynamic range of the ear. Now if you simply look at the numbers you might feel that since 96 < 120 it would be obvious to want 24 bits (32-bit DACs aren't really used in consumer products) since the dynamic range would be a whopping 144 dB! In reality however, most consumer DACs will have an SNR (Signal-Noise Ratio) below 96 dB and only if you have a really fancy card it'll have an SNR above 96 dB, if you're lucky. And those are measurements done in an optimal environment, not inside your machine! What that means is that you'll start hearing the noise louder than the intended audio signal as it gets that quiet.

You could of course reason that turning the volume up would make even the quietest signal audible, but consider that even if you might be able to get your sound system to play back a 0 dB FS signal (loudest possible output from a sound card) much louder than 100 dB SPL, you wouldn't be able to stand listening to it for long without your ears hurting. Indeed, around 140 dB SPL would mean painful damage to our ears.

So OK, getting the quietest 16-bit signal loud enough in your speakers to be easily heard isn't the most difficult thing to do, but noise will not be far behind and what you'd hear would not benefit your gaming experience in any way. In fact, the HDR audio system in Frostbite culls sounds on loudness during processing, so the 96 dB of dynamic range that 16-bit PCM gives us is more than sufficient to represent our final mix. Also worth mentioning is the fact that it's more important to have a larger dynamic range earlier in the audio processing chain. For example, recording in 24-bit has clear advantages over 16-bit because you'll want your source material as detailed as possible. This is also why all our processing is done in 32-bit floating point, it will retain our source material's dynamic range as well as possible throughout all the processing that we subject it to. But once we've mixed and mastered everything down to a single "full scale" audio stream, 16 bits means plenty of dynamic range.

In short, don't stare yourself blind on numbers on a box with shiny labels, but by all means make sure you have a nice DAC (high SNR) and some nice speakers.

Hardware Acceleration

I touched upon this briefly in the Background section, but it's worth clarifying. Hardware acceleration has been trailing the obvious development in how audio is treated in games for years, unlike graphics acceleration that instead has pushed that area continuously forward. Nowadays even GPGPUs suit the needs of contemporary audio processing better than do hardware accelerating sound cards and we're very excited about the opportunities that something like Intel's Larrabee might give us.

Also, the main benefit that hardware accelerating sound cards has provided to date has been environmental effects, such as reverberation. We believe that we get equivalent or better, more consistent, results from our software solution for a modest CPU cost by today's standards. Even the software APIs available for these cards are lacking in many areas, mainly by retaining the structure of DirectSound that even Microsoft themselves have now abandoned for game development in favor of the more up-to-date XAudio API.

There's nothing to say these APIs couldn't be updated to support the type of functionality needed for advanced audio processing, but the hardware would really need to approach a more general-purpose processor than what today's cards have and then we're back at Larrabee or simply a regular CPU with more cores.

In Closing

Everyone here in the audio department at DICE are very passionate about what we do and on behalf of all of us I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your encouraging comments and interest in audio in our games, be it on the blog, forums or in comments on videos!

We'll keep an eye on your comments for thoughts that might inspire another post about audio in Frostbite.

Thank you.

Comments
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  • HapiJuic 02.14.11 at 07:09

    TLTR
    I LOVE the voice acting in BF:BC2. Seriously one of the reasons I just love playing this game is for the great voice overs. They sound fu@&ing badass

  • SaLaNoS 08.21.10 at 23:13

    So considering all this, what audio settings should I use on my ASUS XONAR?
    16-bit, 48KHz, 5.1?
    I’m presently running 24-bit, 96KHz with 7.1.

  • Swolenator 07.05.10 at 12:57

    Maybe someone can tell me what to set my settings to so that I get the best experience sound wise. I have x-fi titanium sound card and audio technica ath-a900 headphones plugged into the back of it. As it is now it says under windows sound playback that it is speakers creative xfi working 24 bit 48hz. I have the creative settings to headphones. Can someone explain the digital out? How to setup?

  • REIGNnBL00D 07.02.10 at 13:18

    could you guys turn the sound down on the inbetween game cinamatics its blowing holes in me gosh darn eardrums everything else is fine what what you say i gota yank my headphones off after every game please its killing my ears maddness lol make it stop

  • GreyWolf258 04.18.10 at 13:33

    i have a 5.1 surround but i have a problem with the bass, the sound is fantastic by the way dice but i cant figure out how to boost the bass for my xbox, i dont know if it is my sound system, my xbox or the game, can you help?

  • 1)awnPatrol 04.02.10 at 15:28

    DICE and EA,

    I wanted to really say thanks for the great games you have provided on the PC platform. I loved all the Battlefield series and own them all. They are very well designed from all aspects. BC2 on the PC is by far one of the best tactical FPS’s i have ever played. What is great about your Battlefield series is not only is the game fun just jumping into a random server, but it’s an entirely new experience when you play with an organized group. I wound up joining a BF2 clan back in the day that had a bunch of dedicated players some of which were ex-military. The game is entirely awesome experience when played in this fashion. The commander/squad structure you developed made a lot of sense and helped with organization and structure. It was a very easy to use user interface that made sense.

    I really appreciate your commitment to the PC platform. As a software developer by trade, I understand the challenges of targeting a population of hardware/software that is not controlled. I know this is expensive, and difficult to create a game that can scale to a wide variety of customer builds. At the same time the PC is the best platform because you have the ability to create graphics and game play on bleeding edge hardware with robust controls. I am sure this is exciting to develop for the high end as well.

    I have tried to play games on consoles over the years and can’t stand it. I have owned am xbox twice only to sell it 3 months later. I own a PS3, and don’t play any games on it at all (although I’ve tried). The player demographic is much younger and less mature than the PC. I guess I am considered an enthusiast. I probably spend 1000 dollars on upgrading my PC every year. I build my own, and love every minute of it. I have been a hardcore PC gamer since the 80s. I have owned systems such as: TRS-80, IBM PC Jr, Commodore 64, and the Atari 520 ST. I almost never have problems that you see described by people who post all their issues on similar forums. I think most of these problems are self inflicted. These folks almost never take accountability and people have dirty systems, do stupid installs, or just don’t understand the platform.

    In your game design, I also appreciate your attention to detail for sound. I really care about sound. When you released the ultra setting in BF2, I went out and bought an x-fi card. It was worth every penny. The definition and sound I experienced was like no other. No other companies invest into sound like you do. When I read the blog of your sound engineer, I was stoked for weeks. I hope you continue your attention to this.

    Regardless, I hope you continue to support the PC platform. I am not sure how to email your development team directly, so I hope this makes it to them.
    You better believe I will be buying BF3 the second it’s available for preorder. In fact any game that DICE is part of will be at the top of my list.

    My only requests for future BF games:
    - MOAB bombs (utter destruction)
    - Low and slow air strikes that you can call in (with heavy sound to go with it).
    - Prone
    - Some night vision stuff
    - Napalm
    - Cluster bombs
    - Daisy cutters

    Thanks for the great games!

  • jjsoviet 03.16.10 at 18:25

    Bad Company 2 + Sennheiser HD555 = OVERKILL. You’re basically able to use positional audio to your advantage it’s not even funny. :P

    If you have Sennheiser HD600′s, AKG K1000′s, Audio Technica ATh-A900′s or Grado GS1000′s… it’s GG. :D

  • DoubleMint 03.14.10 at 19:27

    I’ve been really blown away by Bad Company’s sound design, and Frostbite’s capabilities with sound. I also found this article informative: http://www.develop-online.net/features/180/Heard-About-Battlefield-Bad-Company
    It sounds like you guys really know what you’re doing at Dice. I was wondering, what kind of setup do you have for field recording? Was there a lot of new audio recorded for BC2?

  • TylerC 03.10.10 at 20:23

    Great engine, but can you optimize the source code ? Sound processing really lows the frame rate.

    Check my thread in Steam Forums. Im not an audio technician expert, but what I know is that I raise about 15 frames per second by downgrade the sample rate to 16bit 44khz.

    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13951439&posted=1#post13951439

  • {GD}Spunky 03.05.10 at 08:22

    Do you at DICE think that an external DAC is unilaterally superior to any PC sound card? I’m curious about this because (on paper) some of the higher end consumer cards from folks like HT Omega, Asus, Auzentech, etc. often have superior DACs, opamps, etc. compared to mainstream cheapo receivers–heck, I found the Claro Plus to be superior to my NAD T753 running analog to the multichannel external inputs. Electronic interference is worth mentioning, though some of these cards have EMI shields for that reason.

    With all the talk about focus on audio in Bad Company 1 and 2 for the last couple years, it would be awesome if you guys could post some full resolution audio samples from in-game. Most titles out there are reduced flat, un-dynamic piles of noise in the final mix, heartbreaking when the effects themselves are wonderfully done.

  • Hilden 03.04.10 at 13:21

    Btw, tried all speaker settings, and yes, all my settings in the computer are maxed (using build-in sound)

  • Hilden 03.04.10 at 13:19

    Got a huge problem. Can’t hear the dialogue at the cutscenes in the game. I maxed the dialogue sound but that only affects while actually playing and not watching cutscenes. If you turn off the music and sound effects you can hear the voices like tiny whispers. Also, the subtitles are around 5secs after than they’re supposed to, so I don’t get anything they say at all :S

  • STUN-LA 02.10.10 at 08:23

    As a professional audio engineer… I can’t wait to hear how it sounds in 5.1.

  • DVA-Deadly 02.08.10 at 03:04

    Thats for a fantastic write up on the sound! After playing the PC beta l was blown away with the sound, its amazing full stop end of! The first time an explosion happend next to me l could feel the bass of the shockwave also your attention to detail with the sound is very impressive, walk past a tree and you can hear the snow fall off it its wonderfull to have that experence in game. And when l put on my Sennheiser’s WOW! Cant wait to play the finished product. One last thing who ever decided to put in a VOIP mute button, please buy that person a beer! A feature thats missing in a lot of modern games.

  • MeisterGlanz 02.03.10 at 08:38

    Surround over Digital Out (Dolby Digital Stream)please, that would be nice

  • DJ_Casper007 02.02.10 at 17:33

    DICE, optimize game that separate Sound cards as Creative Audigy,2,4, X-Fi and other brands would work properly and separatly not taking CPU usage as built-in sound cards as Realtek and other trash. Thnx

  • msscr 02.02.10 at 15:15

    Hello!

    Interesting information here and thanks for sharing it! I would like to ask for a recommendation:

    A friend of mine told me that “War Tapes” is THE sound. I believe him, but I am not sure if it’s OK for me. So here’s my system and I would appreciate it if you recommend me the best option for me:

    QuadCore Intel Core i7 920, 4000 MHz (20 x 200)
    Creative SB X-Fi XtremeMusic/Platinum Sound Card
    Advanced Desktop Audio Razer Mako 2.1

    From what I saw in the BETA for now, the atmosphere is UNIQUE and the sound is huge part of it.

    Thank in advance and keep up the great work!

  • Jay35 02.01.10 at 05:23

    That’s a lot of talk about the audio quality for a game where the default setting (HiFi) [and the WarTapes setting both] have the gain shoved up so much the sounds clip something awful, lowering the perceived fidelity dramatically.

    I really like the HomeCinema setting though, as it brings up the fidelity a lot by lowering the gain and returning the depth of the sounds without them clipping. If you run a 5.1 system and a decent soundcard, you can actually get a much cleaner, more intense sound using Home Cinema than the default or WarTapes.

    Thanks for offering a selection of audio options, because it really does make the difference! :)

  • MassEffect2_522118212491 01.31.10 at 00:27

    I just want to let you guys know that this game has the best sound I’ve ever heard. I immediately smiled when I first fired that shot and heard it on my Sennheiser HD650 . Battlefield 2′s sound was pretty good (I ran it on an X-Fi) but I have to admit, this game sounds much, much better. As an audiophile who still prefer tubes and vinyl, I would like to thank you guys at DICE for giving the audio system the attention it deserves.

  • camsauce3000 01.30.10 at 14:29

    The audio in the first game and in the BC2 is fantastic! Katamakel – if you have any pull please petition the development team to add a option to filter out the adult language. Some of us want to play the game without enduring grief from our significant others.

  • Kr4tos 01.30.10 at 01:16

    “Ferret wrote:
    Makes my Creative X-Fi Card feel useless.”

    Not exactly. BC2 uses their own audio engine for the sound processing, but the end point of the sound it is the soundcard’s driver. The Xfi’s has far better sound quality, yet in sotfware mode, than the mainboard audio slutions. So dont worry. :)

  • Oskool 01.29.10 at 16:57

    katamakel, you guys out did yourselves! I’m playing the Xbox demo and I can’t believe how epic this game sounds when jets are flying overhead. The booms from explosions are powerful, I’m so glad I bought some high end headphones for this game. =) Great job.

  • Eviator 01.28.10 at 17:47

    I use a Logitech G35 headset, which is a 2-speaker USB headset with drivers that emulate 5.1 and 7.1 sound. Despite multiple attempts to learn how audio processing works, I am still ignorant, so maybe someone here can help explain things. I understand the game loads sound bites from files into memory depending upon what is going on in the game, but what happens next? I’d like to know because I’m concerned that the Frostbite engine and my software-based audio processor (since my headphones are USB) are going to cause my computer to do double duty in processing the sound, and that is going to slow down my system. Where does Frostbite come in? Where does my sound driver come in? Where does DirectX fit in? Where will the 5.1 emulation take place in my case?

  • DrA-Funz 01.28.10 at 07:52

    Well, moving away from dedicated processors was already discussed some years before Doom III was released, john carmack talked about everything moving onto the CPU at some time, what we see here is simply simplification of procedures.

    It all makes sense to move it to the CPU, though, my XFI card will be crying in 1 hours time..

    Looking forward on how my Q6600 will handle the pressure.

  • Dukos 01.27.10 at 12:44

    So basically the game is a noddy console port and you guys thought it too much effort to use hardware acceleration because the noddy consoles don’t use it.
    I bought a X-Fi Extreme Gamer (John ‘Pubic’ Wendal thing) with 64MB of sound RAM.
    Wasted my money then?

    In a nutshell you’ll need multi-core and not dual core?
    Good job I bought one of them…see I spent my money wisely there!

  • FlaiL 01.27.10 at 08:38

    I’m going to say that I love what you guys are doing. Introducing to ideas to improve the QUALITY of the game. That is so important in my eyes… Unlike Infinity Ward jsut looking to make as much dough as possible, as cheap as possible.

    I cant wait to get my hands on the PC beta and see for myself these ideas we keep hearing about. Also to help you guys improve on it so you can make more kickass games for us. I will give any and all feedback once I start playing.

    Keep up the good work guys.

    I support DICE 100%

  • Warheight 01.25.10 at 16:27

    Should admit that EXACTLY BC Sound back when i had my first look at it some time ago changed my mind drastically. It went from “Some-sort-of-Battlefield-style-fps-DICE-is-developing-for-consoles-i-have-no-idea-about” to “These-sound-effects-blow-me-up!!”. Seriously, Audio engine is EXTREMELY GORGEOUS, many movie makers must learn from it as well…

  • JK17 01.25.10 at 14:33

    what ever they are paying you it’s not enough

  • FragMonkey 01.25.10 at 10:26

    The sounds in BC2 are BALLER. Have my children please

  • Sicram 01.25.10 at 07:03

    As long as the sound is awesome and whoboom soudns sound as they should I’m all fine. Have tried the PS3 beta at a friends place and though the sounds were really nice.

  • GAMMA GANGSTER 01.25.10 at 03:37

    Hey Jvdx,

    You dont need to buy a 7.1 System, it says in the article above, “The game was made with 5.1 (and stereo) in mind, so there’s no need to invest in a fancy new 7.1 system.”

    Cheers…

  • Cadde 01.24.10 at 23:57

    Actually to all you hardware sound people…

    Bare in mind that PC gaming is moving in a direction where it all blends together. The GPU is no longer used for just graphics but for physics as well. Aegia PhysX attempted to introduce hardware dedicated for physics but was shot down since the GPU could handle this and will handle this, both NVidia and ATI on their respective sollutions but also together in the OpenCL base.

    Is it really that hard to grasp that software (sound through other means than a dedicated sound card) can be done using our multi core CPU’s and quite possibly even on the GPU in the future?
    Soon enough we might have the CPU for doing serial computing and (formerly your GFX) a dedicated card for visualization as well as gaming in general.

    OpenCL will open this frontier up to us, just do a google for “the powder toy” and you will see that graphics cards can be used for so much more than just displaying graphics.

    Combining all these elements into one card is both good and bad. You are now picking one product to do everything for you (like a console) but the benefit here is you might be able to select a different driver to do the work on that hardware. The GPU is merely a processor capable of handling many things at the same time, all with OpenCL as it’s method.
    It can simulate everything we tell it to!

    All we need then is an input solution to talk to the hardware as well as an output solution to let the sound and visuals get back to us.

    Either way, a nice detailed blog by DICE. Keep it up!
    (Next few blogs about PRONE, private dedis, mod tools and battlerecorder. All explaining the details as to why they are not available to us at launch would be nice!)

  • Shad0wMyth 01.24.10 at 23:19

    Well, here we go, another console port aimed at the casual gamer. I just pre-ordered the game 10 mins ago & I’m already starting to regret it. Just wish I saw this article before I ordered it. Not including a hardware acceleration option is taking the cheap way out! I’ll wait to pass complete judgement until I’ve beta tested it. Cross your fingers, sounds like MW2′s little brother. It maybe the lesser of two evils though.

  • TOA Obelysk 01.24.10 at 13:03

    Interesting stuff, this has actually motivated me to purchase some Astro A40s just for the sound!

  • mac9 01.24.10 at 10:22

    “Makes my Creative X-Fi Card feel useless.” – mine too!

    I’d always thought that the sound card, was what the Graphics card did for the action, reduce the CPU overhead.

    Anyway, I’m sure DICE will have produced something SPECIAL… :D

  • Metacom 01.24.10 at 00:20

    Just wanted to say that BF:BC2 just by hearing the trailers alone I can say without a doubt this has the most thoughtful and beautiful sound design I have ever heard in a game.

    Most games skimp on the sound budget and it shows so painfully in my ears.

    BC2 is most definitely ready to rock on my z5500s.

    Honestly this game got me amped from the sound alone. Truly spectacular work guys and girls, keep it up. You deserve many awards :)

  • p_jakeV49 01.23.10 at 21:17

    I personally think the Sound performance of the game is what really makes Battlefield: BC unique.. when i first played the demo of BF:BC i was in love! it sounded so real… You people at DICE are truly amazing at engineering games the way you do and to me its worth spending the $79.99.. keep up the good work..

  • Commander x202x 01.23.10 at 18:40

    I really love how this game sounds so real. I mean in all other war games, there is like a pre-set ” war soundtrack” in the back ( random explosions and gun fire .. ect ) On Battlefield, everything you hear is from an actual player. This tones up the reality of the game so much. Thank you DICE for actually putting quality in your game and not worrying about hype or how fast the game is made. DICE is a company I can trust! :D

  • Battlefield2113 01.23.10 at 17:20

    i love the battlefield series but every where i look it says its rated M. i hope its rated T cause i hate it when the first game is one rating and the other is differnt. that is so frustraing.

  • 1bryce1 01.23.10 at 12:27

    Good stuff. My neighbors will hate me.

  • Serious 01.23.10 at 10:56

    As much as I understand the need for software audio processing please keep in mind the fiasco that ensued when Blizzard introduced Xaudio into WOW. It was very poorly implemented. It had no depth and very sharp on off positional points. It was quickly scrapped and they went back to hardware sound. Please do the community a favor and don’t repeat what they did.

  • Spectre 01.23.10 at 09:12

    I participated in the PS3 beta and was blown away by the audio fidelity. The sound work in this game is truly magnificent and beyond anything I’ve experienced in a game thus far. In many games the sound feels ‘plastic’ and shallow. In BFBC2 I feel that each sound truly travels through the space around me, which adds essential depth to the world. I look forward to getting this on the PC.

    I use serious set of cans instead of speakers — the experience is truly immersing.

    Bravo!

  • ironskate 01.23.10 at 09:08

    Very nice indeed.
    What i have heard so far the audio is just amazing…i just love when you enter a building and audio completely changes.
    The silenced weapons sounds a bit weird if i may say so…i dont know…too much of a nail gun?

  • LeopoldStotch 01.23.10 at 07:18

    you really did an AMAZING job on the sound in BC2.

    When I first saw the trailers and later the Beta I was really blown away.
    For me personally, sound always mattered even more than graphics and you guys really did something memorable here.

    All of you should get a raise.

  • Extreme Liam 01.23.10 at 06:55

    The beta for Xbox 360 is coming in like febuary, the 4th I think and no it is not a private one. It is a public one.

  • Kelerdivan 01.23.10 at 06:40

    Thanks, katamakel, for your explanations. As other people before me, I’d like to know more about voices (talking with the team, patrol, etc).
    I’m not an advanced PC user and sometimes I have difficulties when configuring my micros (some people hear me too loud, others too low, others only hear noise.
    I ignore everything about sound technology (but enjoy the excellent quality and fidelity of the BF sage), but I’d like to ask you for a simply (for noobs like me) and troubleless players communication system that can work with all kind of micros.
    By the way, I had just received a 5.1 auricular+micro from Santa, therefore, I feell hapy to know that your baby will support this audio system.
    Regards from Spain (which has not an authorised dealer for getting the beta:-( )

  • noobkillerbob 01.23.10 at 04:04

    this kind of sounds like what was done with Dirt2… am I wrong? …and it scales to your system specs. anyway, way to push things forward dice. I appreciate dx11, sound, all of it… I really appreciate that my quad will now get some use. I’m glad that there are ppl who want to push gaming tech forward, rather than keeping it where it is for the next 3 yrs.

    Question, how will the mic/voice work in this? will it be crappy like console or more like bf2?

  • UberZerplatzer 01.23.10 at 03:53

    Thank you @DICE for that interesting audio blog. You know what makes the difference between a good game and a great game.

    Comprehensive audio is so important for the right game experience, but some even big developers sometimes don’t care enough. E.g. the sound in ET:QW was in my opinion “insufficient”, even though the game had potential, you don’t felt you handle something powerful…

    Then I played BF Bad Company on the PS3 an I was so IMPRESSED how crisp and powerful the weapon etc. sounds are, and driving/firing a M1A2 really feels you drive a big tank! Awesome! [Subwoofer 2.1 System]…

    In respect of BF series game music, BF1942′s loading theme has still the best recognition value ;)

    Can’t wait to buy BFBC2 for PC, 5th of March (Germany)…. ;)

  • Ferret141 01.23.10 at 03:42

    Makes my Creative X-Fi Card feel useless.

  • Devildoll 01.23.10 at 02:18

    sounds great :)
    no phun intended

  • ZombieRommel 01.23.10 at 00:37

    Thanks for the explanation! I love it when developers explain why they do things. Very cool. Bad Company 2 for sure is going to win many awards for best sound during the 2010 end-of-the-year round-up. You guys are doing a phenomenal job. Can’t wait for the beta!

  • simidude 01.22.10 at 23:16

    Hello Sweden!
    Me and a group of peopel in norway are really looking forward to this game, especially the sound.
    so… keep up the good work!

  • H3ad5pac3 01.22.10 at 21:18

    Quote: Let’s simplify all this down and say that 5.1/48kHz/16-bit will get you the best experience on PC, and on consoles a mid-range sound system will do just fine. The game was made with 5.1 (and stereo) in mind, so there’s no need to invest in a fancy new 7.1 system.

    WTF is this?? No 7.1 for PC???

  • awickedone 01.22.10 at 17:21

    I love the sound of this game, it’s one of the main reasons why I preordered it. Keep up the good work and thanks for the explaination.

  • Killzone_Kid 01.22.10 at 16:50

    So what ‘War Tapes’ option does?

  • dirt junkie 77 01.22.10 at 16:49

    One of the best blog posts I have had the pleasure of reading in a very long time.

    Please keep up with the tech talk.

  • Grimshad 01.22.10 at 16:44

    It’s nice when the developers give us some behind the scenes information. Keep it up DICE. I have a pretty expensive audio setup and so far all of the audio I’ve heard for this game sounds simply amazing. This new sound engine beats everything I’ve seen out right now.

  • LavyBlack 01.22.10 at 16:28

    Thank you for sharing this. The audio in Bad Company 2 was simply amazing! Keep up the good work!

  • W4C Gunner 01.22.10 at 15:21

    Sounds in BF has always been better than anything in the CoD series, I just sad to see my Creative X-Fi FPS card going by the way side. I guess if we have anyone to blame for sound making its way from hardware acceleration via sound cards back to the CPU, its Microsoft and creative not keeping up with the times.

    to DICE audio,

    Very well written and explained in detail!

  • Apexeus 01.22.10 at 14:23

    Thats awesome, now, if only you could give us CONSOLE users some information about the multiplayer side, it would be nice.

  • EchoingCalm 01.22.10 at 13:30

    All i have to say, is this is the game that made me want to go grab a Roccat Kave to replace my old skullcandies ;)

  • 4l3xXx 01.22.10 at 13:05

    What a great post that is, thank you very much and let me also say that you do an awesome job with Frostbite!

  • Guest 01.22.10 at 12:46

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by repi: New #BFBC2 dev blog post “An Audiophile’s Guide to BF:BC2 ” http://bit.ly/4SFtvl

  • Vapo-KAAOS 01.22.10 at 12:45

    Katamakel wins 1 internets.

  • MaDMaXX 01.22.10 at 12:19

    Thanks again Katamakel, nicely elaborated on from your forum posts on the matter.
    This level of detail is most welcomed, can’t wait to read further blogs.

    Really looking forward to the game, the sound is definitely something i’m specifically looking forward to.

    Just a real shame that despite it all being written clearly, so many people (posted in these very comments) still do not get it and don’t seem to grasp some very simple concepts.

  • MaDMaXX 01.22.10 at 12:14

    Thanks again Katamakel, nicely elaborated on from your forum posts on the matter.
    This level of detail is most welcomed, can’t wait to read further blogs.

    Really looking forward to the game, the sound is definitely something i’m specifically looking forward to.

    Just a real shame that despite it all being written clearly, so many people (posted in these very comments) still do not get it and don’t seem to grasp some very simple concepts.

  • Leki 01.22.10 at 11:43

    great blog post, hope to see more blogs posted more often from DICE since you guys are not replying on the forums

  • Brit-pac_Seven 01.22.10 at 11:41

    TO THE BFBC2 TEAM : i wish to add a idea to the bfbc2 game which i think will be cool for a change e.g the c4 i personaly love using c4 to blow up legions of tanks and im quiet tactical with them but it will be more useful if you could blow the c4 in sequence rather then detonating them “all at once” AND I ALSO REALISTICALY THINK IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA IF YOU CAN PICK UP WOUNDED PLAYERS ON THE BF TO BRING THEM TO A SAFE LOCATION 4 THE MEDIC TO HANDLE doing this will reduce the speed of the player and only able to weild a pistol i think this would add a heroic feeling to the game?? (PLEASE REPLY SO I KNOW THE CHANGE HAS BEEN DECIDED OR NOT) FROM 1 OF YOUR LOYAL GAME FANS BRIT-PAC_MARKz..

  • Nakam 01.22.10 at 11:29

    Now, imagine he tried to tweet that?!

    Round of applause goes to *katamakel*, this the kind of detail people want on PC, and this should stop the senseless forum spam about the topic – if Devs responsible for other components like Server Administration and Anti-Cheat are able to give us the equivalent level of detail and insight, then we are very grateful for such a precedent about Audio.

    By the way, that was my suggestions for the next Blog posts – We need to know what options and functionaility we’re going to have with Server Administration, and we want to know what improvements have been made to PunkBuster to stop cheats!

    Again, Well done! xD

  • leadsponge22 01.22.10 at 10:35

    Very cool Had know idea what you were talking about half the time…but all I know is BF is hands down one of the best if not the best sounding game I have ever played.

  • Tephra 01.22.10 at 09:54

    Thanks Katamakel, Once again you speak to us with intelligence and clarity, appreciate the fantastic writeup, and that you took the time to clear up the 16 bit conversion concerns. Thank you.

  • VectorRoll 01.22.10 at 09:30

    Sounds good to me. LOL A little pun their. I still have one question regarding all this that I have not seen an answer to. This time you mentioned not using “Cinema” mode for post-processing. For my sound card that is a part of the Dolby Digital feature.

    Does this mean that we should not use Dolby Digital for either the consoles or PC?

    I ask because the first BC game supported Dolby Digital, and to me such features for sound cards and home theater centers are considered post processing. So it is sort of confusing to hear you all say not to use any post processing.

    Am I missing something here?
    Other than that everything sounds great. :) Another pun LOL

  • Cirap 01.22.10 at 09:08

    that’s cool. now you can release a Behind the Scenes video how you record and mix sounds!

  • IntuQk 01.22.10 at 09:01

    It would be very very funny if u could record ur own voice with the line u need to say and that will be used if u say like Ow shit! i´m hit . :D

  • powerslaver 01.22.10 at 08:58

    all I have to say is that in ALL my gaming life (last 13 years), DICE has given us the most amazing and realistic sound experience.

    a big thank you from us gamers!!

  • zeroy99 01.22.10 at 08:53

    @Zen Shot, read correctly, the blog article is there to tell you that the Software Audio Engine DICE are using has equivalent features and quality when comparing to current Hardware Audio Engines. X-fi technology is rather old at this stage, was released in August 05 … (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_Blaster_X-Fi)

    @Dice, very good article, looking forward to the Beta next week!

  • Sinnister 01.22.10 at 08:47

    I don’t want to sound negative but I just hope there will be also mute button for voice chat.

  • -Vp- 01.22.10 at 08:46

    nice read!

  • Zen Shot 01.22.10 at 08:24

    What? Does that mean no BF2 style Creative X-Fi “ultra high” quality sound support on PC? Please clarify….

  • ashtonhz8907 01.22.10 at 08:09

    Not a big audio tech guy but I can’t wait for even the demo I’m hyped out and if the audio is better than BC1 which I’m sure it will be your doing a fine job in my boo. I use TB headsets and when I hear directionally which way a sniper is shooting from it makes me feel there in game LOL anyways I hope its close to 1943 though the sound in that game blew me away.

  • nopersona 01.22.10 at 08:07

    Haha, I had just discovered the “Home Cinema” setting for my sound on Bad Company 1 yesterday, and I sure have been missing a lot!

    That was a VERY interesting read, and convinced me that I won’t have to buy an expensive sound card for my next PC to have great sound on BC2 (I’ll spend the money on other parts.) Also, I’ll make sure to get rid of my home theater’s post-processing gunk.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain this to us, mr..?, and hopefully it will get more people interested in the sound portion of games, instead of just graphics. The sounds of the first game are simply phenomenal, its great to see that this awesome tradition will continue.

  • SGFin 01.22.10 at 08:05

    I think you’re on the right path (and very well on it). Creative sucks big time with it’s monopoly-crappy-ass soundcards. Too bad the singaporean a-holes have lobbied the dang Windows with their crap. This is the way to do it, though with the expense of CPU-time. Other ways would be to have a decent hardware-platform for audio in Windows OS (now with software in Vista and 7).

  • Oskool 01.22.10 at 08:01

    Thank you for writing this excellent article, katamakel! It answered a lot of my questions and inspired me to learn more about how digital audio works. Frostbite has the best audio engine I’ve ever heard in a game. I ordered a new pair of headphones (Audio Technica ATH-AD700) so that I can fully enjoy the incredible audio in Frostbite games. I’m totally amazed by the sound you guys produce!

  • ifresh21 01.22.10 at 08:01

    Interesting, but im not too worried about sound. I have a console.

    Why don’t you have an article about the destruction system and why you call it 2.0 and not 1.4? I don’t mean that in a bad way but it needs work. I want to blow holes through walls inside houses

  • Marukraut 01.22.10 at 07:53

    Thanks about that audio update, but you didnt mention anything about the Voip what BC2 will use. I have some problems whit BF2. I use Line-in2 2/Mic 2, but when i go to game it changes to Microfone. Some ppl have the same problem. About the quality, I realy wana bang my speakers up whit that.
    I have 4/4.1 speakers, but they are very good quality.
    So, guys in audio department, keep up that good work and try to suprise us more.

  • Hertog 01.22.10 at 07:50

    thanks for the blog, you really took your time to write down some interesting stuff.
    i havent played bc1, and i dont own a console, but from the movie’s and footage i have seen so far, the sound is the best out there, compared to any other shooter.
    This game really wants to make me buy a 7.1 surround sound system and turn up the volume. fantastic.
    im really looking forward to playing the beta, starting on the 28th (6days!)
    cheers

  • Laxen 01.22.10 at 07:46

    You guys are the best on making Sounds too games, MW2 sounds sucks because all the weapons sounds the same. Dice sound is so good that you almost get an orgasm every time you blow something up! Thank you all at Dice for some awesome Trailers,Gameplay and most of all the Sounds!!! :D

  • Laxen 01.22.10 at 07:45

    You guys are the best on making Sounds too games, MW2 sounds sucks because all the weapons sounds the same. Dice sound is so good that you almost get an orgasm every time you blow something up! Thank you all at Dice for some awesome Trailers,Gameplay and most of all the Sounds!!! :D

  • 0FAYNUS0 01.22.10 at 07:30

    Wow. no more console beta

  • Potatum 01.22.10 at 07:05

    thats pretty cool but i want to know is do you have to pre order BFBC2 to be in the beta

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