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BioShock Infinite's Game-Breaking Audio Bug

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News Posted: Mon, Apr 1 2013 3:34 PM
BioShock Infinite is a great game. I'm only into the early chapters as of this writing, but I can already tell you that all the great things people have been writing are, as near as I can tell, absolutely true. We're working on a performance comparison and review that'll be up in the not-too-distant future, so look for them.

For all its gorgeous graphics and amazing attention to detail, BioShock Infinite has a really odd directional audio problem. I've created a video clip that demonstrates it below:


Color me confused on this one. In this case, the problem is worse if I turn left than if I turn right. Turning right merely deadens the sound, while turning left mutes it altogether in one spot. It's almost as though the act of rotating actually makes the game think Booker is standing somewhere else entirely.

I've uploaded another YouTube clip of the same effect in a different spot. This time, it's the background noise of wind blowing past that vanishes and reappears depending on my position.

The issue gets noticeably worse once you actually start moving. One of the ways game developers build immersion in a world is to let you listen in on idle NPC chit-chat. Thanks to this bug, conversations abruptly drop out as you pass near NPCs, only to blare at full volume again if you rotate the camera. Curiously, it doesn't crop up in every situation -- when a barbershop quartet flew by on an airship, I could hear their singing through the entire area.

There are two partial workarounds. Turn on subtitles and always point the camera directly at the NPCs whose dialog you want to pay attention to. I've yet to encounter a situation that couldn't be parsed through this combination, though it may not work if there are chapters where enemies approach for aural 'deaf' spots.

We've reached out to Irrational Games and will update this story if we hear more. I've also taken a look through the game's INF files, but haven't found any settings that had an impact on the problem. Updating the Realtek drivers on my motherboard didn't solve the problem, and it's an issue that's unique to this game.

Update:  I've confirmed that it is possible for enemies to sneak up on you on your 'deaf' side. Depending on which way you face, you won't hear enemy challenges or attacks. Rotate the camera while being struck, and you'll hear snippets of the attack or bits of the challenge.

If you've found a fix, please let me know.
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This is an odd one. I've not had any problems with the sound.

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Joel H replied on Mon, Apr 1 2013 4:47 PM

Your sound might be fine, but your browser is apparently having fits. ;)

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I will def. give this a shot when I get home. So far, I haven't noticed anything like that though.

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turtle replied on Mon, Apr 1 2013 7:08 PM

I absolutely have this problem. I can state I'm fairly certain it's not the mobo/video card audio, as it happens to me when using my WP-350's (Creative bluetooth headphones) with the corresponding USB APTX bluetooth dongle.

The 'displaced noise' that bothers me the most is Elizabeth's footsteps. It drives me bonkers.

Also, what is up with the need to edit the .ini to apparently make this game work right for a ton of folks? It consistently crashed for me after varying play times, and no it wasn't an overclocking issue. It's a problem many are having. Also, apparently high-rez textures not being displayed are an issue for some. Some have solved it through .ini tweaks.

I settled on using RadeonPro (March 30 version) and now it works fine for me without crashing...but kind of disappointed in these issues. I fully understand others are not having them, but it's not something I've witnessed in quite a while. I'm sure through patchwork and drivers it will tighten up...likely right around the time most people finish it (if they haven't already).

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Joel H replied on Mon, Apr 1 2013 7:27 PM

I had some issues related to mouse sensitivity that I eventually fixed by turning *off* Windows mouse acceleration and relying strictly on Corsair's adjustment software. 

 

The game's visuals are fabulous on the Radeon 7950 I've been using. No complaints, no issues. I'm not saying such issues don't exist, obviously, but it's been my experience that many people don't use a program like Driver Cleaner to completely remove an old install. And not doing that really throws the door open to problems somewhere down the line. 

(I'm not saying that's the only cause. Just that it can be a substantial contributing factor). 

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Same problem here. It is especially frustrating in combat when you can't tell where enemy fire is coming from. I also have a hard time ascertaining the location of lockpicks whenever Elizabeth says "Hey, look! A lockpick!" I've also experienced several instances of the audio cutting out completely.

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sackyhack replied on Tue, Apr 2 2013 10:19 AM

Hmm, didn't run into anything like this. Hope you all can get it working for you. I finished it this weekend after going on an all-Internet blackout to avoid spoilers, and it was amazing.

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