Bug #3674

Some ambient sfx play louder than they should

Added by August Avatar over 1 year ago. Updated about 2 months ago.

Sound/Other Media
Target version:
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An example of this is the myriad number of ancestral tombs dotting the landscape. There are a number of (invisible) sources therein that play ambient "ghostly" noises. On similar volume settings, OpenMW will play these effects much louder than vanilla Morrowind from the same distance. Whether the radius of the effect is larger or the effect is simply played back louder, I find it hard to tell.

Related issues

Duplicated by OpenMW - Bug #4332: (Mod)Waterfalls in Tamriel Rebuilt much louder than they should be Rejected 02/27/2018


#1 Updated by scrawl . over 1 year ago

A more specific example with coordinates would be useful.

#2 Updated by August Avatar over 1 year ago

coc "Ilunibi, Soul's Rattle" and setpos x 4165.44, y 3759.45, z 12170.75
(minor curiosity: the z coordinate placed the character slightly above the ground in OpenMW despite both characters being ostensibly the same height - male, dark elf)

You will be placed in front of the 6th house ash altar.

In order of strength, the ambient effects from this position in vanilla MW are as follows:
1) crackling fire of the braziers surrounding you
2) drops of water from the cavern roof
3) the faint sound emanating from the ash statue on the altar
4) the sound of wind blowing through the cave tunnels
5) the ghostly noises emanating from the 6th house bells at the rear of the cave

5 is virtually inaudible until you move closer to its source at the rear of the cave.

In OpenMW, the order of strength almost appears to be the opposite - that is, 5,4,3,2,1.
You will hear 5 from a huge distance away. You must retreat to about y 2829, past the braziers, before you no longer hear it.

It's also bugged in vanilla, but you have to do something specific: turn up the "effects" volume all the way to max (it has to be max) while in the room and you'll see that 5, and only 5, will play at full strength from anywhere in the room. You need to retreat from the altar room to kill it, and it will then play at the correct volume even at max upon returning - unless you adjust the volume in its vicinity again. That may be useful in diagnosing the problem.

#3 Updated by Marc Zinnschlag about 1 year ago

  • Category set to Sound/Other Media
  • Target version changed from openmw-0.42 to openmw-0.43

#4 Updated by Alexei Dobrohotov 9 months ago

  • Status changed from New to Confirmed

#5 Updated by Alexei Dobrohotov 7 months ago

  • Target version changed from openmw-0.43 to openmw-1.0
  • Operating system changed from Windows to Other

#6 Updated by Andrei Kortunov 7 months ago

Is this the same issue as with Rieklings screams (which was fixed in OpenAL 1.17), or a different one?

#7 Updated by Alexei Dobrohotov 7 months ago

It might be. I'll retest it.
However, OpenAL-Soft is 1.16.0 in Ace's Windows builds (even though it's 1.17.2 in builds generated with, so even if it's the same issue, it can't be closed yet.

#8 Updated by Alexei Dobrohotov 7 months ago

Hm. Interesting. I can't reproduce it anymore even with Ace's nightly build (OpenAL-Soft is still 1.16.0). Maybe kcat's improvements did the magic here too.

#9 Updated by Alexei Dobrohotov 7 months ago

No, wait, the ghostly noises are only slightly quieter than in 0.42.0.

#10 Updated by Alexei Dobrohotov 7 months ago

There's no difference in that room when OpenAL-Soft is 1.18.1 with an up-to-date build.

#11 Updated by Andrei Kortunov 7 months ago

All these sounds are played by scripts, attached to activators.
Here is an example of such script:

if ( CellChanged == 0 )
    if ( GetSoundPlaying "Crystal Ringing" == 0 )
        PlayLoopSound3DVP "Crystal Ringing", 1.0, 1.0

Volume=1.0 in this case means that a sound will be played with a default volume from editor, not with 1.0 volume.

Also I noted that "Spirit Ambient Voices" (sound 5) has MinRange=0 and MaxRange=0. Does it mean that a max range will be calculated automatically? Maybe OpenMW uses a too high max range in this case.
Other sounds have MinRange and MaxRange set manually.

#12 Updated by Chris Robinson 7 months ago

I have a feeling vanilla only allows a certain number of instances of a particular sound to play at a time, selecting the 2 or 3 closest ones so they don't all add together. Currently we have a hack to auto-kill scripted sounds when they're more than 2000 units away to fix the overly-loud ghostfence hums and Vivec waterfalls, which seems rather arbitrary when you consider sounds have a defined max distance that they could be silenced at. Larger areas that spread out sound activators would be fine with this since it's unlikely to have more than a couple in range at a time, but smaller areas can have several instances of the same sound in the 2000-unit radius.

#13 Updated by Alexei Dobrohotov about 2 months ago

  • Duplicated by Bug #4332: (Mod)Waterfalls in Tamriel Rebuilt much louder than they should be added

#14 Updated by scrawl . about 2 months ago

Here's a probably related fix from MCP:

"PlaySoundVP volume fix. The PlaySoundVP and PlaySound3DVP commands ignored the volume parameter, because someone forgot to write the code for it."

It would be helpful to know if the original report was comparing OpenMW to vanilla or OpenMW to vanilla+MCP.

#15 Updated by August Avatar about 2 months ago

Hi, this was tested with a vanilla+MCP installation as my separate, unpatched installation caused display problems. I've been unable to make an unpatched comparison at this time but you may be right on the money.

#16 Updated by rot tor about 2 months ago

scrawl . wrote:

PlaySound3DVP commands ignored the volume parameter

That was also my first thought for #4332 but both vanilla and TR use the same parameters for waterfall sounds:

PlayLoopSound3DVP "waterfall small", 1.0, 1.0
PlayLoopSound3DVP "T_SndObj_LargeWaterfall", 1.0, 1.0

However the SOUN objects have different default parameters:
waterfall small (vanilla)

Volume:0.60 Min_Range:5 Max_Range:30

T_SndObj_LargeWaterfall (TR)

Volume:0.90 Min_Range:0 Max_Range:55

#17 Updated by Luke D about 2 months ago

When I duplicated the bug, the problem was not in the vanilla engine, and I did not use MCP.

#18 Updated by Chris Robinson about 2 months ago

rot tor wrote:

However the SOUN objects have different default parameters:
waterfall small (vanilla)

Volume:0.60 Min_Range:5 Max_Range:30

T_SndObj_LargeWaterfall (TR)

Volume:0.90 Min_Range:0 Max_Range:55

This might be a problem. Currently, if both the min and max range are 0, they're replaced with the default range values (specified by the relevant GMSTs). But if just one is 0, it's left alone. Having the min range at 0 prevents distance attenuation from working. I suppose the correct way to fix this would be to replace the min and max range values separately if either is 0.

#19 Updated by Dark Locq about 2 months ago

Some kind of user-configurable limit is needed. The four that bug me (two vanilla ones first):
  • The fall-damage sound effect is about 100% too loud. It jars the crap out of me even when I know it's coming, and it's startles me out of my skin when I don't expect it.
  • Almsivi Intervention is ridiculously loud; it should be only reasonably (e.g. 50%) louder than the other blessing effects, but seems around 200% louder; it actually made my ears ring (I take the headphones off every time I use it now), and I'm not convinced it won't actually damage low-end speakers; it totally "fuzzes out" in an indistict, staticky rumble even in a reasonably good Logitech headset, at a reasonable overall volume level (I'm not a half-deaf metalhead).
  • Balmora Expansion integrates a copy of Heremod's Balmora Waterfall (just north of down at the bridge on the way to Caldera). In the BE version, they added a new sound file for it, but the volume settings in the MP3 are wrong, and it's about 200% or so louder than it should be, which will startle the crap out of you since it's not a gradual effect but just turns on full volume when you get near it. It has about the same effect as someone sneaking up behind you and screaming in your ear. (While BE Waterfall Volume Patch 1.0 by blueclock can fix this, as can replacing the sound file, the average player who adds BE isn't going to have any idea about this.)
  • In Emma's Dog Companions, the dogs' barking is about 100% louder than it should be, really sharp and annoying, but not dangerously so.

The solution may be to have something analyze sound levels and not permit anything to exceed <var>X</var>% louder than baseline; I would set that about 50%, maybe even 25%, but others would have their own preferences.

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