Hi Shaun,
Which was my entire point. OpenAL is for me, a way forward, because it
will help me make 3D FPS games because it already has the ability to
render sounds in a full 3d environment and OpenAL Soft supports modern
5.1 and 7.1 sound cards used by hard core gamers.
In fact, although Sony has a proprietary SDK for the Play Station III
it is largely based on Linux open source APIs such as OpenGL for 3d
graphics and OpenAL for 3d audio. OpenGL has long been considered a
serious rival for Microsoft's Direct3D technology for Windows, and
OpenAL is seriously becoming the open source alternative for
DirectSound or XAudio for the Mac and Linux platforms. The fact that
Sony has chosen to use the Linux platform for their Play Station III
console and have incorperated OpenGL and OpenAL into their development
kit speaks for itself what a powerful gaming platform Linux can be
when well known gaming companies like Sony properly use Linux as an
alternative to more expensive gaming platforms such as Windows.  So
Linux is a very viable alternative for blind gamers too, and the
DirectX-like APIs are already there for Linux.
As I see it going back to DirectSound is a step backwards in the wrong
direction for multiple reasons. For one thing DirectSound was
originally developed and released for Windows 95 when something like
the Soundblaster 16 was considered to be the top of the line sound
cards of the day. Although, DirectSound was updated to meet new
changes such as when the Creative Labs Soundblaster Live came out in
98 it quickly became apparent that DirectSound was hopelessly falling
behind the hardware technology it was suppose to support. according to
Microsoft's article on DirectSound vs XAudio2 in order to support the
5.1 and 7.1 sound cards of today like the Soundblaster X-Fi  they
would have had to do a major rewrite of DirectSound  to meet the
demands of the emerging hardware technology. Instead of rewriting
DirectSound the decided to create a new library, XAudio2, that met all
the demands of the emerging hardware and would provide game developers
the means to take advantage of the new audio hardware out there for
the PC and XBox 360. I certainly can't fault them for their decision
as it makes perfect sense to me. Even the cheapo sound card that came
with my desktop computer is 5.1 compatible.
Bottom line, if we went back to DirectSound just to create
side-scrollers we are ignoring the new emerging software and hardware
trends of tomorrow. Side-Scrollers, as some might say, are so
twentieth century. The demand for games with killer 3d graphics and
stunning 3d audio are all the rave today.  That's driving the computer
hardware and software ever upwards and by clinging to simple 2d games
we are going to get left in the dust weather we like it or not. I'm
one of the game developers willing to meet those changes head on and
design a game engine that makes full use of a 3d audio environment in
my future titles. If people don't have the kind of hardware it takes
that's not my problem. It is time we roll with the change so to speak.
I understand some might view this as very negative etc, but the fact
remains the same. We have limited ourselves to 2d shoot-m-ups like
Troopenum, Aliens in the Outback, and Dark Destroyer for far too long.
 We are only just beginning to look into side-scrollers like Q9, Super
Liam, and MOTA.  However, compared to the mainstream 2d games of that
sort have long passed from the mainstream view, or so it seams. We are
in a word "behind the times."


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