Spatial audio updates to launch with Season 6

Epic have just released a new blog post outlining some changes they have made to spatial audio to be launched with Season 6. When the patch launches next Thursday, the following changes will be made:

  • Footstep sounds
    • More contrast between above/below steps. 
      • We want this to be easier to determine on the fly, especially while other sounds are playing (gunfire, harvesting, etc).
    • More high frequency audio content to improve your ability to pinpoint the location of steps, and to prevent them from getting drowned out during intense combat.
  • Glider audio tells
    • Increased awareness when an enemy is gliding in your vicinity.
      • Doppler-based glider audio for incoming threats. This will create that “car passing by” effect when a player glides over top of you.
      • Improved spatialization of both skydiving and gliding players.
      • Ability to hear the open/close sounds of gliders from further away.

Along with this, Epic plans to make a number of additional changes during Season 6 to improve audio even further:

  • A system to add audio tells for in-air movement options (falling, Bouncers, Shockwave Grenades, etc).
    • In Fortnite there are a lot of options for players who want to send themselves flying through the air. We want to add sound to players as they fly.
    • This will provide additional tactical information and reduce cases where a player launches behind you without you knowing it.
    • Better info to help you predict where your enemy may approach from.
  • Discover and address cases where sounds don’t play at all.
    • Due to the chaotic nature of the game, sometimes important cues fail to play or are lost in the mix. We’re working on identifying and fixing cases where this occurs.

"With Fortnite’s mobility mechanics and dynamic building/destruction, we  are presented with unique challenges for spatial audio. It’s something  we’ll continue to iterate and improve upon, in addition to other avenues  we are looking to explore for the future. For example, Sound  Propagation, where sounds actually travel through the world like they do  in real life, and HRTF filtering, where sounds around you are filtered to sound as if they're passing through your body."

It seems like Epic are going to spend a lot of time tweaking audio this coming season to get it just right. What are your thoughts?