Fund Libaudioverse Development

$17,000 goal

Campaign created 14 months ago
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My name is Austin Hicks, and I'm a disabled computer scientist. I've made significant contributions to the Rust compiler, am known in the blindness communities for work on accessibility, and graduated from Florida Atlantic University with official recognition from the president.
It is a little-known fact that blind people have a form of video game, usually made by a fellow blind developer and usually without expectation of significant monetary return.  These games rely fully on audio, and the state of the art is advanced enough to give us such things as a playable doom clone, a few realtime strategy games, and even an online zombie-themed FPS.  Microsoft provided advanced 3D audio and high quality effects through DirectX until Windows Vista, when they decided that it wasn't worth maintaining and replaced it with a much more basic version.  There are commercial solutions that make up for it, but they all cost more than most single developers can afford.  So I turned to the free and open source software ecosystem and, much to my surprise, found very little that was production ready.  I was therefore motivated to spend my free time over the last 3 years on a cross-platform, free and open source library called Libaudioverse.  It is now very near the point of an initial release.
Libaudioverse  is a dual-licensed GPL3/MPL2 package for all sorts of audio synthesis tasks, roughly 15000 lines of C++ and all by me personally. As a user, it looks very similar to WebAudio.  It's fast, high-level, and incredibly flexible.  Using head-related transfer function technology, it can provide 3D audio through headphones so good you can tell if something is above or below you.  Porting it to new systems only requires writing audio backends and implementing other I/O interfaces.  It currently works on Windows and GNU/Linux.  Applications include functioning as the audio system for a game, implementing virtual instruments, analyzing audio from a microphone, implementing media players with realtime effects, and so on.
One interesting application of Libaudioverse is it's ability to be integrated into NVDA, a free and open source screen reader for the blind.  In this role, it is currently used to provide information on controls as a replacement for spoken information and to allow some basic exploration of otherwise inaccessible images.  In the longest run, I want to investigate using it to develop tools that allow blind people to do accessible data science.
Libaudioverse was built from the ground up to be used from any language. It's designed so that even languages like Python can be used to design efficient audio applications, and it even integrates with garbage collectors.  In terms of features and capabilities, it attempts to sit between the research-oriented packages (things such as SuperCollider, Csound, Nyquist, etc) and the low-level and/or domain-specific packages (OpenAL, PortAudio, etc).  Unlike many of the research tools, Libaudioverse is designed to be packaged, so algorithms written using its components are immediately ready for production use.  And unlike the lower-level, domain specific options, Libaudioverse is flexible.  It can also use multiple cores, something extremely important on modern systems.
In the long run, I want to do a lot more.  I have the knowledge to implement more advanced functionality such as waveguide meshes and other physical modelling components, including accelerating some of it on the GPU.  As a package with applications in gaming, porting it to phones and embedded devices is important.  If I get it running on the Raspberry Pi, it can be used in education.  Though quite efficient already, I can still make it significantly faster.  It could be extended to stream from the internet, or even to build multi-machine audio applications.
Unfortunately, I am a blind programmer who also suffers from a painful condition known as Ulcerative Colitis, and I am now at the point where I must begin seeking employment or other money-making opportunities.  I have to pick between a traditional job or having enough free time to work on large projects like this.  Libaudioverse is very important to me personally.  I would prefer not to work on closed source software for some large, faceless corporation.  Instead, I'd love to continue producing free and open source software that solves problems for everyone.  In addition to being incredibly useful in itself, finishing it would give me a resume suitable for someone who wishes to continue working in the open source space.
I realize I have an insignificant reputation outside very specific circles of the open source community, so I've set the current goal at $17000.  While I could certainly use more, this is enough money for me to complete what already exists. It'd let me get it running on Mac, add Midi and microphone support, finish documentation, produce a web site, and hire another programmer who can do graphics programming to help produce demo software showing it off.  It will also allow me to fix critical bugs after the initial release.  With the initial release as a foundation, I intend to seek further funding in order to provide features I haven't started, such as the aforementioned internet streaming support or the SIMD optimizations needed to run efficiently on the Raspberry Pi.
Libaudioverse already has concrete advantages over all other open source solutions I am aware of.  In the long run, Libaudioverse will effectively compete with commercial, closed-source solutions.
They say time is money, but this isn't quite true for the open source developer.  Money is in fact time, since we have to pay our bills somehow.  It's my hope that you'll help me have the time to finish this project. I've already put a lot into it with no monetary return, and now I need your assistance.  In the event that we do not meet the goal, I'll do what I can. All progress will of course be documented.
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Hi everyone,
My life has gone through a lot of changes and I'm no longer going to be able to maintain Libaudioverse. I'm currently in the process of refunding this campaign. That should happen shortly.

I'm sorry to disappoint everyone. There's a full explanation on my blog: http://camlorn.net/posts/2018-01/libaudioverse-ends.html
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Derek G. Lane
13 months ago

I'd love to see this as a VST; with osaras parameter automation in reaper, sound/game designers could create environments with things which move realistically.

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$17,000 goal

Campaign created 14 months ago
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created March 24, 2017
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Derek G. Lane
13 months ago

I'd love to see this as a VST; with osaras parameter automation in reaper, sound/game designers could create environments with things which move realistically.

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