Dolby Announces New Voice Technology at Austin GDC

Dolby introduced a new tool for the game developer’s kit bag today at the Austin Game Developers Conference in Austin, Texas. Dolby Axon is designed to improve voice communications in online games and virtual worlds.

The idea isn’t necessarily to make voices more clear, but to render them more authentic within the game’s environment. One of the most interesting features is called 3-D Voice, a tool that enables surround panning and distance attenuation, so that as your character moves around in the game, your voice will change in accordance with the game’s environment.

Dolby Axon also includes an occlusion engine that’s capable of dynamically responding to the game’s geometry, so that if your character enters a room or hides behind a wall, your voice will change in response to the various surfaces. Voice fonts, meanwhile, will allow gamers to customize their voice attributes to match the characters they’ve created.

Dolby claims the Dolby Axon software development kit is designed to consume very little bandwidth, and that’s capable of not only supporting thousands of users per servers, but that it can scale across multiple servers—attributes necessary to support any MMO game.

The SDK was released just today, so we weren’t surprised when Dolby spokesperson Ross Fenton told us "We are speaking to a number of developers to integrate the technology, but at the moment we do not have any customers to announce."