On Android Device Sound Library Delay Issues

LaurenSaladLaurenSalad Inactive, Chef Emeritus Posts: 650
edited December 2011 in From the GS Team
GameSalad community,

I would like to take a moment to address the confusion surrounding Android devices and sound issues related to the Android sound library. We would like to clearly demonstrate the nature of this problem and where it originates. Also, we would like to clearly express our path toward resolution.

When launching the Android platform for GameSalad, our internal staff was compelled to chose which operating systems (and Android sound library) that our software would support. We ultimately made this decision based on the library that would allow access to MORE Android devices, rather than targeting fewer. Specifically, we aimed to provide access to the Nook Color (Android OS 2.2), which at the time our Android engine was built, was the top of the line for Nook devices.

Additionally, we wanted to support BOTH the Nook Color and Kindle Fire (Android OS 2.3). This meant choosing a sound library that supported Android OS 2.2 and earlier, as opposed to choosing to support Android OS 2.3, which would have dropped supported for Nook Color.

During our final launch stages, the new NOOK Tablet device was announced to the public on November 7th (less than a week before GameSalad launched Android publishing). The Nook Tablet, like the Kindle Fire, runs on a modified version of Android OS 2.3.

In Android OS 2.2 and earlier, the operating system is built with a software accelerated audio library system. Unfortunately, this has been known to contain inherent sound deficiencies, including performance lag on some devices. This deficiency between the library and software acceleration system results in a potential sound delay.

Currently, 35.3% of all Android devices support OS 2.2 and 50.6% of all Android devices support OS 2.3. (http://www.androidguys.com/2011/12/02/gingerbread-now-on-more-than-50-percent-of-android-devices/) So, our choices were between supporting 50% (OS 2.3 and up) and 85% (OS 2.2 and up) of the Android market. We chose the 85%, including the NOOK Color.

Operating system breakdown among top devices:

Nook Tablet: Android 2.3 with customized UI

Nook Color: Android 2.2 with customized UI

Kindle Fire: Android 2.3 with customized UI

Our core engine team is currently hard at work at some major architectural changes that should greatly improve this issue. In addition, those changes will also significantly improve performance and project file size.

We are also investigating the ability to support multiple libraries, thus allowing developers to choose a hardware-accelerated library in exchange for dropping support of older Android devices.

We truly understand the paramount nature of such problems for developers and we are diligently taking steps to remedy this concern for everyone in the community.


  • tenrdrmertenrdrmer Member, Sous Chef, Senior Sous-Chef Posts: 9,934
    Out of curiosity are do all book color apps have this sound delay to the extent of GS apps My latest build seems to have a worse delay than past builds.
  • ultimaultima Member, PRO Posts: 1,207
    edited December 2011
    would be nice if we can have a "check mark" option to choose if we'd like to drop support for nook color(and other android 2.2 platform). depending on how heavily our game depended on music. I'm sure even nook will be updating their hardware/software when the product comes to their end cycle... it's just good house keeping to be planning for the future on these type of things. since G/S will be almost always be somewhat behind on software/hardware support because of the nature if the platform, wouldn't it be nice to be a step a head sometimes =) You guys are already doing this for the armv7 i don't see why it wouldn't work android version too. (and of course it's probably more work, so weighting on the benefits of wider support vs forward thinking, like apple does, dropping support for a big chunk of product/software all the time)

    and thank you much for the clarification. it's great.
  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Member Posts: 9,922
    This is the finest responce yet! This is exactly how a great business responds to issues good and bad! Every topic GS encounters should be quickly handled with detailed and informative explanations like this one. This responce is straight out of the proper PR and communication handbook, accurate, honest and to the point. It delivers the foundational questions of communications, Who, What, Where, When and Why. Great Job Lauren!
  • bren7bren7 Member, PRO Posts: 42
    Yes, thank you Lauren. Android publishing with options sounds like a good idea.
  • jorkosjorkos Member, PRO Posts: 353
    thanks Lauren for the explanation.....this makes things much clearer.
  • gregr209gregr209 Member Posts: 441
    Finally! This is exactly the type of information we needed. Thank you SO much for posting this. It does make sense now.
  • ericdg123ericdg123 Member, PRO Posts: 156
    I appreciate the info, but am I missing something. It seems like you are saying we can have games that work on one or the other version of android, but not both. Isn't is obvious that many many games out there work on both versions and play without issues. If its so obviously possible to make a game that works perfect on both of the android versions you mentioned, why are you guys making it sound like at best we will be given a choice as to which version we want our games to play on without sound delays.
  • ultimaultima Member, PRO Posts: 1,207
    edited December 2011
    from my understanding with my own research there are developers out there who's old school, meaning that they've been programming long before there was color monitors. and many of them are used to working with constrains, so they do have the ability to work around most of the issues with performances and delays. now with the android 2.2 system having significant audio delay, i have seen developers talk about this issue and overcoming it with techniques they've used in pre-mobile platforms (of which they decided not to disclose because of competition concerns) so I'd say it's certainly possible that some of the working games out there certainly have brilliant engineers smoothing out the kinks.. and most of the games that's on android 2.2 that's audio delay free seems to be ones that's by bigger developer teams that hires programmers to resolve these kind of issues for them. choosing platform such as GS does have it's downfalls but as long as we know what they are we'll just have to work around it creatively.. personally i quickly developed a sound-less version of the game and published it(just as an experiment not for profit). just a fun project on the side while GS works on the sound.. to make sure the visual is top tier even without the help of the sound. this is a common practice in 3d animation world, stage where you are working without any audio-track that is...

    (just a peak into what some of us are doing while GS is smoothing out the Kinks) and this is being said knowing that they are working on the issue... if they are not i'll be furious as well.
  • 8BitAvrin8BitAvrin Member, PRO Posts: 368
    edited February 2012
    Any news on a GS update with this problem fixed? The lag is very noticeable on the Kindle Fire.

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  • lycettebroslycettebros Member, PRO Posts: 1,598
    0.9.91 sound fix works!
    Sound stops on hitting Home button, lag is there but you can live with it.
    Thanks GS! I can publish!
  • LiquidGameworksLiquidGameworks Anchorage, AKMember, Sous Chef Posts: 956
    "We are also investigating the ability to support multiple libraries, thus allowing developers to choose a hardware-accelerated library in exchange for dropping support of older Android devices."

    Would love to see this implemented. A little tired of sound delays on my KFire and NTablet.
  • LiquidGameworksLiquidGameworks Anchorage, AKMember, Sous Chef Posts: 956
    Its the Nook Tablet as well... Both are HUGE markets
  • LiquidGameworksLiquidGameworks Anchorage, AKMember, Sous Chef Posts: 956

    From the post, it sounds like both Fire and Tablet operate on the same platform "The Nook Tablet, like the Kindle Fire, runs on a modified version of Android OS 2.3." Thus, 1 new publishing option would cover both very important devices. For monetary purposes, these two devices are arguably more important then all the other android phones combined (especially since we don't have ads options).

    On the actual functionality of it, it sounds like GS already did the work, or knows how to do it, since they expressed the above post as a decision between two options. Why couldn't it be an option to support or not support older devices, such as we had with iOS publishing? It sounds like the only part of the code being affected is the sound library included.

    The choice above was expressed as a decision to support new devices or more older devices. GS should be working to support the newer devices, since inevitably the older devices will no longer matter, such as Apple has stopped supporting the original iPhone.

    As it stands, GS developers are limited in their publishing abilities, being unable to publish quality games (and yes, the sound delay does in fact affect quality. The slightest delay makes an app seem sloppy and unpolished. No amount of developer ingenuity can overcome that.) to Amazon, B+N, or MAC appstore. That's 3 out of the 5 major markets where GSers can't publish quality games.

  • JustMe74JustMe74 Member, PRO Posts: 542
    Personally - and I'm aware that I might be in the minority - I would like to see primary support for Kindle Fire / Nook. These are HUGE markets that have a great distribution method (Amazon and B&N) already. If you can also support other Android devices, that's nice too.
  • HapiappsHapiapps Member Posts: 373
    I personally haven't purchased an android dev license while waiting to make sure most of the important things are fixed. Although its only $25 bucks, I won't have to renew without a single game published. But good job GS letting us know exactly whats going on while making decisions instead of leaving us wondering.
  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Member Posts: 9,922
    Why are we resurrecting old threads?
  • LiquidGameworksLiquidGameworks Anchorage, AKMember, Sous Chef Posts: 956

    I did it as to directly reference the GS official position. This post was great to hear in December, but I thought we'd revisit it since it hasn't been addressed. They improved sound delays for older android devices, but have not addressed the issues with these two important markets.
  • HymloeHymloe Member Posts: 1,653
    Sort of sounds like Android has been having sound issues for 6 months? Is it currently fixed?

    I've just got mine running, but no sound FX at all. Only music.

    Running on Desire HD.
  • HymloeHymloe Member Posts: 1,653
    Guess maybe I'll just have to publish without any sound fx in my game.

    That would be PRETTY AWESOME. :-[

  • HymloeHymloe Member Posts: 1,653
    FYI, I can hear no sounds on Android, because my SoundFX files are in CAF format, which works for iOS, but not Android.

    I think OGG is the one that's compatible for both. You live and you learn.
  • HymloeHymloe Member Posts: 1,653
    I'm not sure if it's different now, but when I started using Game Salad, there were no instructions to users that MUSIC should be saved as MP4s, and SoundFX should be saved as OGGs. I think that should be written into the description for the behaviours themselves, when you select them in Game Salad Creator.

    That is just basic clear instructions! :)

    Give the power to the user. Take the frustrating mysterious of game development out of the equation. :)


    - Murray
  • KC_GamesKC_Games Member, PRO Posts: 86

    I know this is an old thread, but I still have lag on audio for my android nexus 7 device for some sounds. I converted to OGG but the lag remains. Does anyone else have thing problem still or is it just me on?

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