OpenAL (Open Audio Library) is free software cross-platform audio API.
OpenAL enables a more realistic 3D audio environment (including support for 5.1 and 7.1 surrond) and is required if you want to use the integrated "Voice chat" (VoIP) feature.
It is available for various Operating Systems, like Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS...
OpenAL in OpenArenaEdit
You can enable or disable OpenAL from Setup -> System -> Sound menù. Note that you will be able to select this option even if you do not have OpenAL installed (obviously OpenAL will not work in that case, and SDL will be used instead).
- To check if you have it enabled, go to the "Setup -> System -> Sound" menù, or use the command console and write "/s_useopenal", then hit "enter": if it is set to "1", it is enabled; if it is set to "0", it is disabled. If you change this value, you may need to quit OpenArena and launch it again, to make the change effective (unsure if a /snd_restart command may be enough, but probably not).
- To check if you have it installed, when you are sure it is enabled, open OA's command console and scroll it (PagUp/PagDn) looking for OpenAL related errors (you can also close the game and open stderr.txt file with a text editor). For example, with Microsoft Windows the error should look like Failed to load library: "OpenAL32.dll". Under Linux, the message could talk about "libopenal.so.0". If it is correcly installed, you should not find such error.
You can use the /s_alDriver command to view/set the name of the OAL library (under Windows, it should be OpenAL32.dll).
Note: Probably, many old mods may not include the OpenAL option in the menu. In this case, control it from the console (\s_useopenal <0 or 1>).
Tip: OpenArena allows to export demos to .avi movies. If OpenAL sound system is enabled, the video will not contain audio. If you want your video to include audio, you have to disable OpenAL, if you were using it. If you already had /s_useopenal 0, you are okay... if you had it set to 1, instead, you have to set it to 0, then completely close OpenArena, launch the game again and then export your video, complete with sound (alternatively, probably just using /snd_restart command may be enough to make the change effective) . After you finished, if you want, you can enable OpenAL again. See Manual/Demos#Export to a video file for more info.
Hint: you need to (temporarily) disable OpenAL, in order to use /s_list command to see a list of all the sounds the game has currently loaded, or has tried to load, to be used in the current map. Sounds with 0 size are probably missing files. If you just set /s_useopenal 0, you may require to perform a /snd_restart to make the change effective.
OpenAL and volume controlsEdit
See also: Music
At least with OpenArena 0.8.8 under Microsoft Windows, volume controls behaviour differ if you are using OpenAL or not ("not using OpenAL" for sound may also be referred to "using SDL sound").
"Effects volume" and "Music volume" are two slider controls in SETUP -> SYSTEM -> SOUND menu, and correspond to /s_volume <number.dec between 0 and 1> and /s_musicvolume <number.dec between 0 and 1>, respectively.
As you can guess, 0.0 means no sound, 1.0 means full volume, and 0.5 means half volume. S_volume default value is 0.8. S_musicvolume default value is 0.25.
If you are using OpenAL, "effects volume" and "music volume" are completely independent (you can set effects volume to 0 and still hear the music, if music volume is not 0); if you are NOT using OpenAL, instead, music volume is also affected by effects volume (if you set effects volume to 0, you cannot hear music even if music volume is set to the maxmimum; in other words, in this case "effects volume" acts as a "master volume").
To install OpenAL in your computer, check if a download is available for your Operating System here (Internet Archive) -for example, for Microsoft Windows you can use this direct link (Internet Archive) to download the installer-, and then execute that file (or extract and execute its content). There could be other methods to get and install it, depending on your Operating System. In Debian/Ubuntu (Linux) you can do this with the command: sudo apt-get install libopenal0, else apt-get install libopenal0a.
- Voice chat
- Troubleshooting#Error message "error while loading shared libraries: libopenal.so.0 ..."
- OpenAL from Creative Labs (Internet Archive)
- OpenAL article on Wikipedia
- OpenAL Soft, a LGPL implementation of OpenAL
- DevMaster.net OpenAL Lessons (also: Internet Archive from previous version of the site) (Note: these tutorials are from some year ago, so they could suggest to use some functions now deprecated)