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Thief and other stealth games and - which sound card?

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Anonymous
April 25, 2005 3:57:03 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

Thief fans, self included, might want to check out the Hitman series. I
got in at #2, picking it up on a whim while I was out looking for T:D S.

While every mission involves killing at least one person, you're
rewarded for doing it subtly and with minimal violence. Like Garret,
you carry weapons, but using them generally isn't a good idea, as you're
always outnumbered and outgunned. The best way is doing it by "remote
control." In some missions, you can fatally poison your target without
ever seeing him.

You can also wear disguises, which compensates for your inability to
disappear into the shadows a la Garret. Even with a disguise, your
enemies will notice suspicious behavior.

Anyway, enough plugging Hitman. I'm ready for some real sound hardware
but I don't know what to get. I've been using the built-in nVidia MCP-T
audio hardware on my motherboard but it just isn't cutting it any more.
It works well with older games, but I get a lot of pops, clicks, and
generally anomalous behavior in some newer games, and some games don't
know what to do with it at all. The Hitman series doesn't know how to
use it correctly, so I have to turn off the EAX settings.

Speaking of EAX, is Creative Labs' EAX HD worthwhile? I considered
buying an Audigy 2 card when I built this PC, and I know T:D S supports
EAX HD.

It's been years since I bought a sound card; the last was a SoundBlaster
AWE-32, way back in...1995? I'm aware that since then, PC audio
technology has progressed quite a bit. I'm also aware that >44kHz
sampling rates are a waste of $, and I'm not convinced that I need
anything better than 16-bit sound. From the quick searches I've done,
it seems that 24-bit sound is the latest thing in PC audio, which is
really just playing catch-up with the high-end home stereo world.

Any recommendations? Price isn't the biggest factor, though I wouldn't
want to spend more than $200. I don't need multi-channel
Dolby-mega-digital-magic support, as I play games with headphones 99% of
the time. Maximum compatibility with games and quality of 3D audio
through stereo headphones are the prime considerations.

Objekt
Anonymous
April 25, 2005 5:54:32 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

Objekt wrote:
> <snippage>
> Any recommendations? Price isn't the biggest factor, though I wouldn't
> want to spend more than $200. I don't need multi-channel
> Dolby-mega-digital-magic support, as I play games with headphones 99% of
> the time. Maximum compatibility with games and quality of 3D audio
> through stereo headphones are the prime considerations.
>
> Objekt

My old computer has the SoundBlaster Live Value Edition audio card which
has always worked flawlessly with EAX-enabled programs like Thief, and
which probably could be picked up quite cheaply nowadays. I believe that
it does 32-bit sound, but don't quote me on it.

Cool--another Hitman fan! I always liked the under-rated Hitman series
(despite some dreadful flaws with the user interface in the first
release) and downloaded some free software to supposedly fix any
problems with positional audio not working for Hitman 2. I never noticed
any issues myself, but installed the AM3D Diesel positional audio
software specifically tweaked for H2 out of curiosity. If you're
interested, check it out here:

http://www.am3d.com/download/introducing

then click on 'Diesel Power for Hitman 2' on the right side.

--
Steve
Anonymous
April 26, 2005 6:10:23 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

Steve Burgess wrote:

> My old computer has the SoundBlaster Live Value Edition audio card which
> has always worked flawlessly with EAX-enabled programs like Thief, and
> which probably could be picked up quite cheaply nowadays. I believe that
> it does 32-bit sound, but don't quote me on it.

Wow, they're up to 32-bit samples? That seems really excessive. But
then, I used to think that about 32-bit color vs. 16-bit color.

> Cool--another Hitman fan! I always liked the under-rated Hitman series
> (despite some dreadful flaws with the user interface in the first
> release)

From the reviews I've read, the most maddening thing is the lack of a
savegame feature. That would probably drive me to distraction as well.
It's not so much that I can't make it through a level without saving,
but it gets so tedious and tense that I NEED a break. Hitman 2's "two
saves for Expert" strikes the right balance.

and downloaded some free software to supposedly fix any
> problems with positional audio not working for Hitman 2. I never noticed
> any issues myself, but installed the AM3D Diesel positional audio
> software specifically tweaked for H2 out of curiosity. If you're
> interested, check it out here:
>
> http://www.am3d.com/download/introducing
>
> then click on 'Diesel Power for Hitman 2' on the right side.

I tried it, and it seems to work. However, I wasn't having problems
with positional audio per se. The problem was that with EAX turned on,
voice acting was pretty much inaudible, as were many sound effects.
They were either not present or were very faint. Of course, with EAX
turned off, I still got the 3D spatial positioning, but none of the nice
echo effects, etc. that EAX provides.

Maybe once I get a real sound card, one which natively supports EAX in
hardware, I'll have fewer problems. I haven't played with the Diesel
sound system enough to find whether the anomalous pops/clicks/etc. have
gone away, but it does fix the problem with voices.

FWIW, I have sound problems with the Grand Theft Auto series as well.
In Vice City, the spoken lines (other than the radio) are always a
little crackly, with the kind of distortion you get from turning up a
stereo too loud, though the volume isn't actually very high. This
happens with headphones or speakers, and the sound effects/music aren't
distorted, so it must be a mixing problem. I can turn down the digital
sound output on my sound hardware, but that turns down ALL game sounds
equally, so doesn't fix the issue. Maybe I'll try a different sound
setup (have been using the default EAX setting). The Miles audio module
in GTA III worked well, but it's only 2D.

Objekt
Related resources
Anonymous
April 26, 2005 11:41:59 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

It's still 16 bit sound. There's absolutely no reason to go with 32bit (or
24) yet.
The reason to purchase a Audigy 2 (ZT) is to get EAX HD (a.k.a. eax4)
support with multiple EAX settings active at once. Plus Audigy 2 has better
components (mostly the DAC) than previous Creative cards.

The sound quality in Thief 3 is higher than Thief 1 and 2, mainly because
the audio isen't as much compressed as before. The game won atleast 2 awards
for audio and rightly so.




"Objekt" <t37student@yahoo.com> skrev i meddelandet
news:jZrbe.3576$Yc.1061@trnddc06...
> Steve Burgess wrote:
>
>> My old computer has the SoundBlaster Live Value Edition audio card which
>> has always worked flawlessly with EAX-enabled programs like Thief, and
>> which probably could be picked up quite cheaply nowadays. I believe that
>> it does 32-bit sound, but don't quote me on it.
>
> Wow, they're up to 32-bit samples? That seems really excessive. But
> then, I used to think that about 32-bit color vs. 16-bit color.
>
Anonymous
April 27, 2005 9:09:45 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

Halbermensch wrote:

> It's still 16 bit sound. There's absolutely no reason to go with 32bit (or
> 24) yet.

Not surprising. I note the Audigy 2 does the really ridiculously
excessive 192 kHz sample rate thing. <shakes head> What a silly
marketing gimmick.

> The reason to purchase a Audigy 2 (ZT) is to get EAX HD (a.k.a. eax4)
> support with multiple EAX settings active at once. Plus Audigy 2 has better
> components (mostly the DAC) than previous Creative cards.

I can't seem to find any references to an Audigy 2 ZT online. Did you
mean Audigy 2 ZS? There are several flavors of those.

>
> The sound quality in Thief 3 is higher than Thief 1 and 2, mainly because
> the audio isen't as much compressed as before. The game won atleast 2 awards
> for audio and rightly so.

Cool, guess I'll order a card soon then. I haven't started playing T3
yet, as I've been preoccupied with the Grand Theft Auto and Hitman
series. The "Gamer" edition Audigy 2 ZS Newegg offers seems to be
massive overkill, so I'll get either this card:

http://www2.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=0-N82E1...

or this one:

http://www2.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=0-N82E1...

which seems to be the same thing, except $20 cheaper and lacking the
multi-channel line out (to feed a Dolby 7.1 channel setup, probably),
among other ports I would probably never use.


Objekt
!