[SDL] Re: mcop error causing sound latency

Ryan C. Gordon icculus at clutteredmind.org
Mon Jul 1 13:28:02 PDT 2002

> So my question boils down to getting no latency while the Sound Server is
> on.  There is no latency in Quake 3 even when the Sound Server is running.
> Is it possible to accomplish this with SDL?

Quake 3 doesn't use SDL at all, audio, video, or input.

The KDE sound server (artsd), as well as Esound, will always have latency
due to the nature of what they do; it's fine for bells and whistles from
KDE apps ("wow, it plays a sound when I maximize the window!"), but it
will always be unacceptable for real time video games.

The solution is to bypass the server; disable it or get a sound card that
allows multiple opens of /dev/dsp (the SB Live is one, there are others,
too). Other SDL audio targets, ("dsp", "dma", "alsa" under Linux) have
noticably less latency.

This is just a hard fact of life; sending audio streams over a socket,
mixing them in software, and then sending them to the audio device, all
while fighting for the CPU against a video game, will always be a losing


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