25MB of RAM allocation allows for dream audio work, says SCEEâ??s Dan Bardino

PS3 â??an evolutionary leap in audio designâ??

The PS3’s memory reserves and native 7.1 output has provided a “vast evolutionary leap” in sound design, according to SCEE’s longstanding audio manager Dan Bardino.

In an interview with Develop, Bardino spoke of how game audio standards have advanced at lightning pace.

“There were real problems before, but I think game audio has taken quite giant strides over the last few years,” he said.

Bardino, who for nine years has been the head of audio at SCEE, praised the PS3’s significant advancements from the PS2 in terms of memory capacity.

“Of the 2MB of RAM we had for sound on the PS2, for The Getaway we used that to recreate the sounds of the whole of London; all the car effects, all the gun sounds, some of the dialogue, music.

“On a standard audio CD, 2 meg accounts for twelve seconds… With the PS3, we’re benchmarking at 25MB.

“So I think the PS3 has provided a real evolutionary leap in sound design, we are now able to do things we were just dreaming of on previous platforms. It’s just crazy to think about where we’re going next.

The PS3’s 512MB of RAM is split to two fixed amounts – 256MB for video and 256MB for processing. It can often be a bone of contention for some developers, as the Xbox 360 has the same 512MB RAM capacity but developers can split the memory however they want.

This essentially is what makes Xbox 360-to-PS3 ports sometimes unfavourable to the latter. It also means that far more Xbox 360 RAM can be dedicated to audio, if needed.

However, Bardino stressed that the PS3 has a number of features that distinguish the console.

“Of course, the PS3 is 7.1-native, so we’re doing interactive 5.1 music on a lot of our games. Killzone 2 and Wipeout HD were both 5.1 and interactive, there’s nothing else out there that’s doing that, he added.

“That’s pushing music further than anything else,” he added.

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