Key release: Miles Sound System 9

Key release: Miles Sound System 9
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

January 16th 2012 at 10:28AM

Develop looks at the new Miles Sound System 9

What is it?: Miles Sound System 9
Company: Rad Game Tools
Price: $5,000
www.radgametools.com/miles

[To read all of Develop's Key Release technology profiles, go here]

There are few game development solutions with a heritage to rival that of Rad Game Tools’ Miles Sound System.

Originally released way back in 1991 for PC titles, it has now seen use on over 5,000 games across 14 platforms, making it one of the most prolific pieces of middleware in the industry’s history.

And now a brand new build of the famous development tool is shipping that marks perhaps the most significant shift in the audio technology’s makeup.

Miles Sound System 9 isn’t entirely unlike its predecessors. Like previous versions it offers a comprehensive solution for managing audio in games, with streamlined content paths for rapid iteration.

Where it differs, though, is in its high level audio toolset, which has undergone a significant redesign in the latest release.

ON CLOUD NINE

“Version 9 introduces Miles Studio, representing our approach to hands off sound authoring and debugging,” explains the middleware’s lead developer Dan Thompson.

“Once again, rapid iteration is the focus, allowing sound designers to fill out and tweak audio events completely independent of programmer intervention.”

Using the latest release of Miles, those sound designers can now capture a game’s sound event stream and replay it as many times as they want.

Additionally, all adjustment and sound set-up can be undertaken on the PC, with what is designed to be intuitive editing for audio presets, events, environments, filters, and mixing.

“Sound designers can then ‘hot load’ - testing, modifying, and mixing all aspects of the sound-scape in real time while playing their game,” adds Thompson.

“In addition, complete captures of the audio from the game can be recorded on to the timeline and replayed, tweaking areas that are difficult to consistently reach in-game.

“Being able to pause, make a change, and continue is huge – your sound designers don’t have to reload the game just to try a new sound, or new effect chain, or whatever.  It’s really fun to work on audio this way.”

Like many of the changes implemented in Miles Sound System 9, the introduction to hands-off sound authoring and debugging is a response to an industry increasingly dominated by complexity.

For the same reason, improvements to workflow – including Perforce integration, the addition of infinite undo, and new multi-selection functionality – have been applied to ease the processes involved in game audio.

DOWN THE LINE

Another new feature that Rad Game Tools has seen generate significant interest is the new timeline.

“As stated above, the ability to record and replay is big, as is the capability to debug and monitor the game’s sound on the fly,” says Thompson.

“Memory usage, CPU usage, sample count and sound memory are all tracked and aligned with the timeline, so you can tell when things went sour, and what caused it.”

The audio middleware firm is confident that the new version of its famous Miles Sound System series is the most robust and powerful that it has produced yet.

Bolstered by its long heritage and relatively potent brand status, and thanks to its combining of the familiar lean Miles with the new various new features, further success looks certain for this well established member of the middleware hall of fame.

www.radgametools.com/miles