Heya @bjornsundell and @msplanton,
Thanks for your questions and comments etc Always VERY welcome!
I’ll give you a whole lot of info that should be useful to LOTS of peeps!
Soooo… the Web Player is a VERY different beast to the Unity based Fantasy Player.
It has allowed some AMAZING things (eg Players joining without an account or app install, automatic download of required Samples without preinstalls, better quality panning and reverb), BUT also the Web Player is MUCH more exposed to the power profile of both the system and browser it is running on.
Very interestingly there are some specific things that the Web Player struggles with that didn’t cause problems for the Fantasy Player (these are the things causing the sound to break up on some content).
After much experimentation we have discovered there is a fairly clear threshold between ‘sound-good’ and ‘sound-bad’ in the Web Player, and as long as we keep the demands on the Web Player below a certain threshold on any given device then the sound stays smooth and nice.
We have also discovered there were a number of specific problematic behaviours which we are now hunting and eliminating on all public content.
To do so, we have got ourselves a ‘beloved-old-laptop’ which we are now using as our benchmark machine. If content plays happily on this device we are confident to release it to the public AND it should play happily on most players machines out in the big-scary-wide-world.
So, ALL new content, since about 4 months ago plays well on this device AND now we are going back through ALL old content to ensure it works too.
AND we have created a ranked list of ALL Moods on Syrinscape with a weighted measure of how hard it might be for a device to play back the content on the Web Player… the team is working our way through that list, from worst downwards. We have currently ‘fixed’ 125 Moods, out of probably about 300 that may be causing issues on some devices.
The things causing the most problems:
- we have found several commonly used Elements that (by obeying their parameters) end up triggering 10s of simultaneous Samples overlapped-apped-pped-ped-ed. Unity didn’t have a prob doing this, the Web Player finds it harder. It has been easy to fix these Elements without changing the sound of the final mix hardly at all.
- some Moods have been using MANY different Reverb presets simultaneously that actually sound VERY close. It doesn’t really make sense using “city”, “forest”, “mountain”, AND “plain” all in one Mood, especially when the actual location we are trying to synthesize is in the “city”. Rationalising these four reverb units to just "city is often enough to push the Web Player from sounding bad to sounding good.
- and finally, sometimes simply turning off a couple of VERY quiet Elements that aren’t really contributing anything can also get the Web Player over this threshold. For example, we are playing sound… we have four different wind loops going in our location ambiance (simple ambiances are often not very busy so that works)… but now battle has started (very noisily) and with lots of roars and weapon sounds and foley, we really don’t need ALL those winds anymore (they are only adding white noise, thus actually reducing clarity), so switching a couple of them off clears up the sound.
Soooo… all that goes towards saying:
- the Web Player is amazing
- it has trouble playing some of our older content on SOME devices
- we are fixing
- let us know when you run into something specific that won’t play smoothly and we’ll take a look at that first (send us the SoundSet name + Mood name) via the support email.
- when you find something that doesn’t play, simply clicking off a few Elements should usually clear things up = ESPECIALLY if you see an Element with its play-ring madly spinning as it triggers lots and lots of Samples all at once. Help us hunt those too!
- when building content, restrict yourself to 3 or 4 simultaneous reverb presets in any given Mood + watch out for those naughty Elements, and fix them by spreading out the playback a little.
The Web Player IS our focus for development and improvement still for the moment, but that of course doesn’t rule out circling back to the Fantasy Player at some point. Where we focus our time depends on user feedback (like that above), and usage data (what people are actually running for their games) which is overwhelmingly the Web Player right now.
So, MAINLY, continue to make yourself heard. We need to know what people are experiencing! And we listen! So many of the really good features in Syrinscape (including Online Player itself) are there because users suggested them!
Phew! Quite the post from Ben.
Ask more questions to clarify as might be useful!
And let us know how you go with the comments above.