As an audio output format, what value does ambisonics bring except as 360 video support? Don’t get me wrong, that’s cool and I hope we can support it some time down the line! But ambisonics isn’t a speaker map, it’s a spherical representation of sound pressure from multiple vectors and necessarily requires a decoder to interpret into a speaker output.
So the architecture of a game audio engine is usually something like 3D sound source interpreted by a speaker map–usually surround–or sent through HRTF. These processes output to speakers, stereo or surround, but ambisonics doesn’t output to speakers–it doesn’t output to anything–so there’s no natural evolution to use ambisonics as an output format.
In other words, normal operation is like this:
3D sound source => Surround/Stereo speaker panning
Or through HRTF
3D sound source => Stereo speaker (intended for headphones)
But with ambisonics, it would be like this:
3D sound source => Encode to Ambisonics => Decode from Ambisonics => Surround/Stereo/Binaural speaker mapping
Ambisonics in the normal use case as an output would act as a middle-man, but not a very good one, because you lose spatial resolution (particularly with First Order because it only supports 3 vectors of audio pressure: up-down, left-right, front-rear).
So it’s not a normal game audio process since we already do 3D audio output better without it because we go directly to the speakers.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Ambisonics as a sound source (like an audio skybox) is powerful, and we’re definitely into getting it working on that front–but as an output file format? I mean, there isn’t any native audio capturing going on, so how would that even be a normal thing to support? I think it’s cool, and I hope we get into it, but I don’t think it’s unbelievable to suggest that we don’t output to file in this format since we already don’t output to file in any audio format.
But yeah man, I think it’d be cool, specifically for 360 video, so I hope this is something we can support in the future!