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HTML5 Audio Question

  • Thread starter atxgamedesigner
  • Start date
A

atxgamedesigner

Guest
I've made a few games target for web-based deployment.
My concern is how Audio is supported -

From my readings, GMS only supports MP3, WAV and OGG for your game projects.
I would assume HTML5 builds package audio with MP3 and OGG for browser support.

The problem is the $2500 licensing fees involved in using MP3 audio in distributed games.
Now, this fee is not applicable to anything under 5000 distributions.
Which, if you hit that number of sales with your game, you should not have any issue paying that $2500.
But, with web-based games (which are most likely free to play), its not exactly improbable to think that you could hit 5000+ total plays if the game is right and the right marketing campaign is executed.

So....

Can we simply ditch the MP3 files that get exported, and only use OGG?
(Not ideal, as the game would then not function with audio in every browser situation).

Why no support for an MP3 alternative, like AAC?
This would certainly extend browser support, and wouldn't hold small time game devs liable to licensing fees.
After all, most people are here using GMS because it doesn't require us to pay royalties....
 

chmod777

Member
Some browsers don't support OGG files.
http://caniuse.com/#feat=ogg-vorbis

Game Maker Studio 1.4 (I suppose GMS2 acts in the same way) checks if the browser can read ogg AND mp3. If the browser can read ogg and/or mp3, then the ogg files will be loaded. If the browser can only read mp3 files, the mp3 files will be loaded.
So removing the MP3 files is not a good idea.

I don't see why we should pay to use the mp3 format, especially since all patents have expired (if I trust Wikipedia).
 
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atxgamedesigner

Guest
Well, I wouldn't trust Wikipedia as a single source of knowledge - but suppose I did, it states that patents are still enforced in the United States, which is where I'm located.
And I assume, even if you are a developer outside the US, you would be liable for tracking sales/plays by US consumers and then still be liable for paying the licensing fees?

I'd love to get a more firm answer on this, should anyone be able to provide that.

And I understand that OGG isn't support by all browsers - that's why I inquired about AAC support.
According to MDN, AAC is support by all modern browsers.

The only information I've found about MP3 licensing is here: http://mp3licensing.com/royalty/games.html
This site is maintained by Technicolor (Thomson-Brandt, one of the developers of the technology). So it seems to be a very real thing.
 

Nocturne

Friendly Tyrant
Forum Staff
Admin
All mp3 patents apply to processes and methods like encoding, decoding and transmission (mp3 was developed for TV signals initially). In most games the audio player is part of the game and thus requires licensing BUT in HTML5 audio the browser is the audio player, and all the patented technology is in the browser (or the media framework used by the browser). So the burden is on the browser publisher to pay any licensing, not the person that makes games that run on the browser.
 

rwkay

YoYo Games Staff
YYG Staff
@atxgamedesigner - you need not worry about the MP3 fees as this has all been paid on your behalf by the browser writer, you are free of that worry and expense.

We have to package both Ogg and MP3 as some browsers do not support Ogg and some do not support MP3 so to support ALL browsers you need both sets of files.

Russell
 
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atxgamedesigner

Guest
@Nocturne and @rwkay

I greatly appreciate the detailed responses.
In my research, I stumbled upon a GM competitor and what they had to say about using MP3 files in HTML5 titles:
https://www.scirra.com/blog/64/why-you-shouldnt-use-mp3-in-your-html5-games
http://www.html5gamedevs.com/topic/7095-best-audio-format-to-use-mp3-wav-or-ogg/ (there is a post from a Scirra rep on this one: "A couple of years ago we confirmed all of this with an MP3 licensing representative while developing Construct 2.").

So, maybe they were misinformed, or there was a misinterpretation of the mp3 licensing terms somewhere down the line?
I just want to cover myself - I don't want to get any surprise fees that I didn't budget for.

Also - based on Nocturne's reply - "In most games the audio player is part of the game and thus requires licensing..." means that any game distributed for any platform (not HTML) would then be subject to that $2500 licensing fee.
So if I build my game using just WAV files for the audio, I would be good? GMS doesn't compress those into MP3s for the final executable, correct?
 

FrostyCat

Member
@atxgamedesigner - you need not worry about the MP3 fees as this has all been paid on your behalf by the browser writer, you are free of that worry and expense.

We have to package both Ogg and MP3 as some browsers do not support Ogg and some do not support MP3 so to support ALL browsers you need both sets of files.

Russell
If that's the case, could you consider changing over to OGG+AAC for GMS 2.x (and perhaps 1.x as well)? According to this compatibility table, OGG+AAC gives the same complete coverage that OGG+MP3 does, without the issue of hazy submarine patents.
 

Mick

Member
I did a quick test in a HTML5 project, I converted the mp3 files to m4a (AAC) and did a search/replace in the javascript file ("mp3" -> "m4a"). The project loads in Chrome and Firefox normally, I don't have any browser to test if the m4a files are working but this (simple) method could be used if you want to replace your mp3s with aac in an exported HTML5 game to ease your mind. What is the parameter for the javascript by the way?

Code:
<!-- Run the game code -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="virtualemotions/CommandPrompt.js?BDFBC=382092249"></script>
Here is the HTML5 with the replaced audio files if somebody wants to test it (might not work properly in mobile browsers though): http://gamephase.net/virtual-emotions-aac/
 

hippyman

Member
@atxgamedesigner - you need not worry about the MP3 fees as this has all been paid on your behalf by the browser writer, you are free of that worry and expense.

We have to package both Ogg and MP3 as some browsers do not support Ogg and some do not support MP3 so to support ALL browsers you need both sets of files.

Russell
Sorry to derail the topic for a second, but does this mean that we would still need to worry about licensing fees for the desktop exports?
 

rwkay

YoYo Games Staff
YYG Staff
We don't use MP3 on our desktop exports at all so you need not worry about that.

Scirra are incorrect in their analysis and should have consulted a lawyer, if the MP3 player is part of the system (Operating or Browser) then it is the platform provider (manufacturer or browser author) who needs to pay the MP3 licensing fees and not the game author. The fees on the MP3 licensing site are for games on console platforms (where the platform provider generally does NOT pay the MP3 fees, generally because they provide a separate solution).

Russell
 
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