Getting an Edge on Competition Sounds Good

27 June 2000
Humans are blessed with five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Through the use of these senses, we're able to better understand our environment, while the lack of one or more can have dramatic impact. Unfortunately, virtual reality can only replicate sight and sound with varying degrees of success. Internet gamblers, for example, are far less than impressed with the with the sound effects used for online casinos, at least according to Dis Berger.

Dis Berger is the Director of Information for Wave Dance, a firm that develops audio solutions for software developers, and he thinks his product could do a lot for the online gambling industry.

Berger advised, "The No. 1 stated consumer complaint is that sound effects don't sound like real casino sounds." WaveDance, through its subsidiary Boku Sound LLC, hopes to, as Berger terms it, "increase the entertainment factor and increase player satisfaction" by providing memorable 3-D sound effects for online gaming sites.

The company has set a benchmark for bandwidth with 1K per second audio, something that can be achieved through the second-generation software. Plus, the system works with FLASH 4.0 plug-ins, and can deliver sound effects in .WAV or .MP3 formats. As a result, players can easily appreciate the special sound effects while gambling at their favorite site.

To make the 3-D effects possible, the company digitally enhances stereo sound files to recreate the characteristics of live sound. Wave Dance processing serves to recreate the characteristics of live sound by increasing the size of the sound image as well as creating spatial dimension. For example, on a company CD sound demo, the listener hears cars whiz past for an automobile race, with sound traveling from one direction to another.

Berger says Wave Dance can provide online casinos with both stock and custom sounds that will make it memorable for players. The sound enhancements would be added to the gaming software itself, making it transparent to both the operator and the player. "The sound capacity has already been embedded in the gaming software," Wave Dance would enhance it.

Sound effects can make online casinos standout from competing sites. Berger explained, "Casinos around the world all have different ambiences. Casinos in Vegas sound different than ones in Monte Carlo, which sound different than ones in London."

A number of Internet casinos use some kind of theme, such as South Seas or Las Vegas, he explained, which can be enhanced through the use of sound.

Wave Dance is are currently negotiating with gaming software providers who would then add the sounds to their client sites. The product is new to the online gaming industry, although the entertainment and film industries, as well as website software companies currently use it. The company began operations in 1999 and currently has 16 employees. Many of the employees have film and high tech microcomputer backgrounds, while the company's founder comes from the music industry.

Of course, the best way to learn about 3-D sound is by listening to a demonstration. Ordering information and more is available on their website at

Vicky Nolan joined the IGN staff in October 1999. She's best known for inventing fire, the wheel and swiss cheese. She can be reached at