OpenAL Misison Statement


  I'm dedicating this page to our thoughts about our mission, and about the general philosophy concerning the OpenAL API. The last box contains the current Mission Statement text.

  • I propose to change the language to specify ANSI C. All modern compilers support it, and it is very well defined. I'd propose to switch to ANSI C++, but I'm afraid of the response. I guess I shouldn't be. ANSI C++ is also very well defined. The thing is, there is no fully-compliant compiler out there yet, to the extent of my knowledge.

Mission Statement


   The Open Audio Library (OpenAL) is intended to provide an open, cross-platform audio capability suitable for professional game development purposes (it may well be applicable to many other application domains). It is a mid-level library primarily intended to sit on top of existing low-level sound APIs. Initial implementations will focus on sound output capabilities (sampled, MIDI and CD audio), but the architecture will be flexible enough to handle sound input as well.

OpenAL uses a C API for portability and cross-language capability.

OpenAL is thread safe on those platforms that support threads.

OpenAL calls native libraries when possible.

OpenAL uses sound format(s) native to the target platform. Possibly support for a single cross-platform format could be provided later.

OpenAL provides mixing of sampled audio. Maximum number of channels should be queryable.

OpenAL provides the following 2D capabilities for mixed sampled sounds:

  • Volume control
  • Panning
  • Looping
  • Priority

OpenAL provides the following 3D capabilities for mixed sampled sounds:

  • Absolute volume control
  • 3D position relative to listener
  • Velocity relative to listener (Doppler)
  • Looping
  • Priority

OpenAL supports MIDI and CD audio playback.

All outputs may be queried for current status information.

All trademarked things I mention here are TM by their respective owners. If you are one of those owners and want to be specifically mentioned, please, contact me and I'll include it.

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Last updated:
04 Apr 1999