Open Audio Library

A cross-platform audio application programming interface (API).
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OpenAL (Open Audio Library, Open but not as in open-source) is a cross-platform audio application programming interface (API). It is designed for efficient rendering of multichannel three-dimensional positional audio. Its API style and conventions deliberately resemble those of OpenGL. OpenAL is an environmental 3D audio library, which can add realism to a game by simulating attenuation (degradation of sound over distance), the Doppler effect (change in frequency as a result of motion), and material densities. OpenAL aimed to originally be an open standard and open-source replacement for proprietary (and generally incompatible with one another) 3D audio APIs such as DirectSound and Core Audio, though in practice has largely been implemented on various platforms as a wrapper around said proprietary APIs or as proprietary and vendor-specific fork. While the reference implementation later became proprietary, there are open source implementations such as OpenAL Soft available.

Key Terms

api style
cross platform audio application
efficient rendering multichannel three dimensional positional audio
open audio library
open source

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Sources & Credits

Last modified on May 6 2020
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