Hi Shaun,
Creating my own pan control wouldn't be very easy. I'd have to upgrade
OpenAL, upgrade sfml-audio, and then update my engine using the new
stereo pan control feature. Plus build new windows and Linux libraries
for all of the above since this would be an  unofficial update to
OpenAL and SFML.
Yeah, I could submit my changes to the maintainers for OpenAL and
SFML, but who knows when the new packages would make it into the
general package repositories for Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and all the
other Linux distributions out there. In other words Anyone who would
want to play this game would have to absolutely be running my modified
versions of OpenAL and SFML which defeats the purpose of using the
mainstream stable releases of these APIs which are either installed
with your distribution of Linux or are available in their extra
package repositories. It would be like telling a Windows user that you
have DirectX, but you have to install my custom version of DirectX
instead to play this one game because it doesn't offer feature x.
As it happens DirectX no longer has a pan control either if you use
the XAudio2 library which  ships with current builds of DirectX for
XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Let's face it folks the day of using a basic
stereo pan control is ancient history as far as game APIs are
concerned. These days game developers, mainstream developers, all
create games with high-end 3d audio with support for 5.1 and 7.1 sound
cards. Simple 2d stereo panning is, to put it nicely, very old
fassioned for mainstream game companies and developers. In the case
they want a sort of 2d pan effect they simply pipe it through the 3d
listener interface and emulate a pan effect that way.
For us not having a smooth pan effect is a big issue because we use
audio exclusively and totally depend on accurate rendering of the
audio output. Were this a mainstream game I doubt the average gamer
would notice. As long as the sound comes out of the left speaker,
right speaker, or is center is all they care about. The could care
less if it is 75% off center or 90% off center as long as the effect
is close enough to sound "cool."
I'm not justifying this in any way, shape, or form but am letting you
know things are changing as far as game APIs are concerned. It doesn't
matter if you use a free API like OpenAL or if you go out and purchase
an expensive audio library like FMOD they are all more or less geared
for 3d audio output. Nobody accept us really wants simple stereo
panning it seams.
For example, i can remember when Microsoft made their public
announcement about XAudio2 for Windows Vista and the XBox.They wrote
this huge article about all the cutting edge features in XAudio2,
explained why it was superior to DirectSound,and how they had answered
the mainstream cgame developers demand for improved 3d audio support
for future Windows and XBox game titles. It seams in the rush to meet
the demands of the mainstream game companies, who after all puts money
in Microsoft's pocket to support their platforms, Microsoft decided to
leave out anything they felt was too unimportant like stereo panning.
So XAudio2 doesn't have it unless you write your own using their 3d
audio interface.
I'd imagine if Mac and Linux game developers felt a stereo pan control
was important they would have added one already. However, as OpenAL
doesn't have one I must assume the mainstream and private game
developers for Mac and Linux feel one is unnecessary the same as
everybody else does about XAudio2 and the other big name audio
libraries out there.


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