One of the reasons why resolution is so important in virtual reality (VR) is because the more realistic things look, the more immersive the experience. However if your visuals are realistic but your sounds aren’t, it kind of kills the vibe, doesn’t it? This is an area that Valve wants to fix with the release of a new tool called Steam Audio.
According to Valve, “Steam Audio applies physics-based reverb by simulating how sound bounces off of the different objects in the scene, based on their acoustic material properties (a carpet doesn’t reflect as much sound as a large pane of glass, for example). Simulations can run in real-time, so the reverb can respond easily to design changes. Add furniture to a room, or change a wall from brick to drywall, and you can hear the difference.”
Basically the idea is that it is meant to make audio sound more realistic, where if there is a large object in the way, like a wall or big furniture, sound coming from that direction might be a bit more muffled compared to if you were standing directly next to the source. Of course whether or not VR developers will take advantage of the feature remains to be seen, but the tool will support PC, Mac, Linux, and Android and will launch with Unity integration, so it could be worth looking out for in future VR releases.