McGill Partners with Eidos-Montreal for Spatial Audio Technology

Project funded with support of Quebec education ministry

McGill University and Eidos-Montreal today announced a collaborative research project to record and implement spatial music in video games. Project funding of $100,000 has been provided through the I+P Partnerships Program, which is supported by Quebec’s Ministère de l’Education et de l’Enseignement Supérieur to promote collaborations between researchers and Quebec-based companies.

The yearlong project will bring together McGill researchers and the newly constructed state-of-the-art music recording facilities at the Schulich School of Music with Eidos-Montreal’s industry-leading experience in implementing and mixing 3D audio in video games. The partnership harnesses the capacity of the experimental 6DoF (six- degrees-of-freedom) HOA (Higher-Order-Ambisonics) technology to achieve highly interactive presence of music and sound in video games that was not possible before. In 2019, the global market for video games was estimated to be $120 billion USD, and in Quebec more than 11,000 people were employed in the video game industry, as of 2017.

Rob Bridgett, Senior Audio Director, Eidos-Montreal, said “For Eidos-Montreal, leading the development of our games through sound and music is a central part of our Crafting Emotions ethos. Our audiences are more excited than ever about immersive audio in their games. There are huge opportunities for revolutionizing composing, performing and capturing music in an interactive spatial format that can translate to both game engines and our creative visions. McGill’s facilities, research and expertise are one-of-a-kind in this regard.”

Professor Wieslaw Woszczyk, James McGill Professor of Sound Recording at the Schulich School of Music said, “Video game sound and music are now at the forefront of newly emerging spatial audio delivery formats for the mass market, and every major platform developer is investing massively into having convincing 3D spatial audio as default for players via headphones or loudspeakers. Our research will demonstrate how spatial music can be implemented and experienced anew in interactive entertainment media.”

Professor Richard King, multiple Grammy-winning recording engineer and Co-Director of the Immersive Media Lab (IMLAB) at McGill adds, “Professor Woszczyk and I are moving toward more interactive experiences in immersive audio and video, and this new partnership with Eidos gives us a platform for developing a research plan with a direct connection to the user.”

Key outputs expected from the collaboration will be a new suite of tools, techniques and workflow for recording and playback support of multiple Ambisonic sound fields in 3D game engine. The partners will also compose and integrate recorded composition content into game environment, and develop a game prototype displaying a highly interactive spatial presence of music

About McGill University

Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill is a leading Canadian post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 11 professional schools, 300 programs of study and some 38,000 students, including 8,800 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, with more than 7,700 international students making up 20 percent of the student body. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including 38 per cent who claim French as their first language.