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Priority-Driven Acoustic Modeling for Virtual Environments
Computer Graphics Forum, August 2000

Patrick Min, Thomas Funkhouser


Geometric acoustic modeling systems spatialize sounds according to reverberation paths from a sound source to a receiver to give an auditory impression of a virtual 3D environment. These systems are useful for concert hall design, teleconferencing, training and simulation, and interactive virtual environments. In many cases, such as in an interactive walkthrough program, the reverberation paths must be updated within strict timing constraints - e.g., as the sound receiver moves under interactive control by a user. In this paper, we describe a geometric acoustic modeling algorithm that uses a priority queue to trace polyhedral beams representing reverberation paths in best-first order up to some termination criteria (e.g., expired time-slice). The advantage of this algorithm is that it is more likely to find the highest priority reverberation paths within a fixed time-slice, avoiding many geometric computations for lower-priority beams. Yet, there is overhead in computing priorities and managing the priority queue. The focus of this paper is to study the trade-offs of the priority-driven beam tracing algorithm with different priority functions. During experiments computing reverberation paths between a source and a receiver in a 3D building environment, we find that priority functions incorporating more accurate estimates of source-to-receiver path length are more likely to find early reverberation paths useful for spatialization, especially in situations where the source and receiver cannot reach each other through trivial reverberation paths. However, when receivers are added to the environment such that it becomes more densely and evenly populated, this advantage diminishes.

Citation (BibTeX)

Patrick Min and Thomas Funkhouser. Priority-Driven Acoustic Modeling for Virtual Environments. Computer Graphics Forum 19(3), August 2000.