Tech giant Google has put out its Resonance Audio toolkit for augmented and virtual reality as a free and open-source tool that anybody can freely use or modify. Rather than simply open-sourcing its existing Resonance Audio tools as they are, Google has opened the suite up for community development, which means that dedicated community members can improve Resonance Audio, or even port it to a wider range of devices and architectures. Google hopes to see the toolkit expand and end up included in a wider range of applications and platforms. Given its nature, Resonance Audio is suitable for everything from simple Android games to complex PC-grade VR experiences.
For the uninitiated, Resonance Audio is Google's take on 3D surround audio, and it takes the form of a special toolkit and SDK that can be integrated into the popular Unity 3D development suite. Resonance Audio uses Ambisonic technology to essentially figure out how best to realistically optimize audio in a 3D space according to its source and surroundings, making a scene like whispering to a fellow audience member during a VR concert extremely realistic. Different sound sources can mesh in real time in a 3D environment, and objects and environment boundaries can affect the way that sound travels, blends, and fades. All of these factors come together to create extremely realistic spatial audio that can work with just about any 3D project, including VR and AR content.
Google is providing all current versions of Resonance Audio for open-source development under the Apache 2.0 license, which means that you can use it for just about anything, so long as you don't claim that the Resonance Audio SDK is solely your own work. Right now, there are versions for Unity, Unreal Engine 4, FMOD, and WWise. Most versions will be moving to a community development model and will be developed by the creators of the engines that they're optimized for, along with the communities surrounding those engines. Developers who want to improve the overall project on all fronts can submit a pull request on Github to do so, and if the dedicated Committing team for Resonance Audio likes it, they'll include it to the larger project source so that it trickles down to all variants of the technology.