What Is The Sound of One Annunciator Warning?

In X-Plane 11.10, annunciator sounds automatically play even if you are using FMOD. This is confusing, particularly compared to 11.05 - here's what's going on.

We have two categories of sounds that are not handled by FMOD as of 11.10:

  • Radio sounds (where you have no way in FMOD to create the exact sound that's going to happen, because it's based on the ATC system or speech synthesis).
  • Cockpit warning bells and other "event" sounds that are triggered directly from the flight model code.

We are planning to make this second set of sounds FMOD-accessible in the future, but to do so we need to create a system for "events" in X-Plane that is accessible to plugins and the authoring interfaces.

My current thinking is that an "event" system would let plugins subscribe to notifications of events, wire up sound events to sim events, and create new events via the plugin system. We may even be able to eventually play particle effects in response to events. The events would have path names (similar to commands and datarefs) for flexibility.

I had hoped to get to this in 11.10 but we just didn't have time, so this will have to wait for a future patch. When we do have sound events we'll have a way to indicate in an FMOD .snd file that (1) you want to wire up sound to particular sim events and (2) you don't want the built-in sounds anymore.

Here's the current set of sounds that are played even if FMOD is in use. If you don't want them, include silent waves in your aircraft's "sounds" folder.

alert/10ft.wav
alert/20ft.wav
alert/30ft.wav
alert/40ft.wav
alert/50ft.wav
alert/100ft.wav
alert/200ft.wav
alert/300ft.wav
alert/400ft.wav
alert/500ft.wav
alert/1000ft.wav
alert/altitude_alert.wav
alert/autopilot_disco.wav
alert/autopilot_fail.wav
alert/dash_OUTER.wav
alert/dot_MIDDLE.wav
alert/dash_MIDDLE.wav
alert/dot_INNER.wav
alert/dash_MORSE.wav
alert/dot_MORSE.wav
alert/gear_warn_1.wav
alert/gear_warn_2.wav
alert/mini.wav

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About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.
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19 Responses to What Is The Sound of One Annunciator Warning?

  1. Jerry Carstensen says:

    Hi Ben, regarding the first point you mention (ATC), could it be that the radio sound ( routing it through FMOD) could have a location in 3D cockpit (emanating from the in-cockpit speakers) or no location (using the "virtual" headphones)?
    Also that overall radio output sound could it be (through FMOD) "enhanced" with some audio filters to get a VHF radio quality sound?
    Regards,
    Jerry C.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Someday, maybe. We're not sure though because in the long term we're planning to change from cut waves to speech synthesis for ATC, and the rules for getting the speech synthesizer into FMOD may be messier than getting wave files in.

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Ben, what's the timeframe looking like for adding FMOD to the 747, md80? Love the immersion it gives and in high anticipation for the update to these aircraft!

    • Chris Serio says:

      The timeframe on those is unknown at this point unless you know someone who could get us unrestricted access to an operating 747 and/or MD-80. That's always our limitation.

      • Dan says:

        Totally understand, thanks for replying. I do not, but hopefully there are some people in the community that can help you with the access to the aircraft at some point.

  3. M.B. says:

    Speaking of sounds, please add an option to disable X-plane ATIS text/verbal - same checkboxes like for the ATC would be great. I'm using Pilot2ATC which handles ATIS information for me but the problem is that if I tune in the radio to the ATIS frequency both Xplane and P2ATC start talking over each other. I'd like to be able to use P2ATC to handle ATIS but I don't see any option in Xplane to disable verbal ATIS, even if verbal/text ATC is disabled ATIS still plays (but text output is disabled).

  4. Scott Gabriel says:

    Great blog post title. A question for the ages.

  5. Jorge Gonzalez says:

    Hi Ben, I have an off topic question. Sometimes when flying with real weather, there are abrupt changes in winds and pressure. Would it be possible to smooth out these weather changes in the simulator so the wind and pressure are gradually changed to match the latest weather? It is a minor issue but it does break the realism a bit when the new weather is read in and the C172 engine RPM suddently redlines into a headwind and the aircraft is 500 feet from assigned altitude.

    Best Regards,
    Jorge

  6. Peter Suranyi says:

    This is what probably have messed up the stock Cessna. Since 11.10, you always get the 'altitude alert' around reaching 2000 feet and sometimes later, too, and I think it's still bogus. I've reported it through the bug reporter back then when 11.10 came out, I'm not sure if someone has read it - probably yes.

  7. Daniela Rodriguez Careri says:

    Oh dear god that explains everything, because I could swear not all of those worked on 11.05. Thanks Ben for this, the event subscription model sounds like a good roadmap but for now I'm happy I don't have to replicate GPWS logic 🙂

    • audiobirdxp says:

      If you want to I'd be happy to share the GWPS I DID replicate so far (for same planes it's necessary because the LR callouts are of e.g. for the altitude depending on how the aircraft is programmed).

      • Daniela Rodriguez Careri says:

        Thank you Audiobird! That would be so sweet! 🙂 I made a rudimentary GPWS in XLua too but it doesn't play the sounds only one time per approach, as Honeywell states in their GPWS manual.

  8. Vtail says:

    Hi Ben, when do you plan to add ability to attach FMOD 3D sound to any scenery object?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      It's something we plan to do but I don't have a time-frame to announce. Some of the infrastructure work to make this happen is already in X-Plane 11.10 - the new "instanced" object API in X-Plane uses new dataref access code that is meant to support FMOD, particle systems, and multi-core rendering.

      • audiobirdxp says:

        That's great to know. BTW I'm sitting on tons of airport related sound files I recorded, including almost any vehicle you can find at an airport. I'd be overjoyed to be of any assistance.

      • Vtail says:

        Thank you for the info. It will be awesome to have the ability to use our knowlegde and professional sound experience to make the XP11 more sound alive outside of the airplane and the airports. We’ll need to build more immersion in sound...

  9. John Wilson says:

    I am confused when you say that you're making sounds "FMOD-accessible," because I already have FMOD playing those sounds, triggering via datarefs. So now in 11.10, in my aircraft it plays the sounds twice on top of each other, sounding like an echo.

    I can put out an update with silent .wavs or remove the triggers in the .snd, but I don't understand. Were some of the other cockpit sounds inaccessible via datarefs as of 11.05? Or is this just going to make them easier to trigger somehow? Sorry if I am not getting something obvious, I struggle with technical things sometimes 🙂

    • Yes, there is for example no dataref that tells you when to play the minimums announcement. You'd need to do the math yourself, getting the value of the minimum setting and the current radio altitude from datarefs, and then trigger the sound based on a calculation.

      The idea of the event model is that X-Plane already knows when to play those sounds, without the need for authors to write more code.

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