Hi Che,

I know we can do some pretty funky stuff with the new XNA code, so perhaps you could have a battle in a cathedral, with the sounds bouncing and echoing etc. But at this point I'm not that well researched on XNA audio. As i discover more, I'll let ya know. Tried to set up a test project last night using Xact, but the interface is less than accessible from what I can tell right now. If I can get it working, looks like there are some pretty cool features available in there. Any
of you other developers on list have any  luck with Xact?
End quote

Well, yes and no. I've got some good news, some possible work arounds, but for the most part it is bad news. Bottom line, working with Xact in XNA based game projects is going to be a difficult process for some time to come. As you already know Xact is really not screen reader friendly at all. I've litterally tried everything from scripting it with Jaws/Window eyes, making set files for it, and nothing has worked. That said there are a few work arounds on this subject, but even with them it comes down to a royal pain in the buttt. About a year ago Justin and I both signed up for the XNA forums asking some very pointed issues about Xact 3 accessibility. At the time Xact 3 was in beta testing so we had hoped to get some access changes in the final product that didn't pan out. However, we did get some help resolving some of the issues we faced as blind developers. First, someone in the know on the list pointed out that Xact is basically a mouse driven graphical user interface for the Xact command line programs and it generates some xml scripts that can be edited by hand. Upon some experimentation this is true. If a blind game developer is willing to do all the grunt work of editing and creating the Xact scripts by hand it can be done. However, since Microsoft assumes everyone will be using the Xact tool there is little to know documentation on exactly how to do this properly. The second possible solution is that XNA 3.0 ships with a new sound effect and song API. This thankfully does not require Xact, meaning you can directly control sound and music files directly from code, but at the expence of giving up all the extra features of Xact. Leaving developers such as you and I choosing between accessibility or features. Again doable, but not a full proof solution. Finally, Microsoft is aware that some game companies and developers, besides us, are not all that thrilled with Xact. For that reason for the passed few months DirectX has been shipping with a new audio library named xaudio2.dll. The good news is it seams to be more like DirectSound. The bad news is at the moment there is no official support for .NET programmers leaving us out in the cold again. Although, there is a developer on the XNA Forums who had mentioned making a custom Xaudio2 wrapper for C-Sharp and Visual Basic as he does not like Xact himself. I don't really know if said person is still working on that project, if he is still making the wrapper available, but it is worth googling to see what you can find on that subject. If this Xaudio2 .NET wrapper does exist it is certainly better than options 1 and 2 above. One last thing before I go you might want to read some of these forum posts I have book marked from Justin and my conversations on the XNA forum regarding Xact accessibility issues.

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