A data driven, portable, high level audio API for games and other interactive applications (currently being refactored, not quite useable yet).
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Latest commit 8560325 Sep 1, 2014 @stuffmatic stuffmatic - fixed crash when using DSP units with missing update callbacks
- removed compiler flag causing errors with recent versions of Xcode



What is this?

Kowalski consists of two main components, both written in C for maximum portability:

  • A data driven, light weight audio engine.
  • Tools to build, validate and view data for the Kowalski engine.

The primary audience is developers of games and other interactive applications where audio plays an important role.

Please note that Kowalski is still in development.

Why another audio engine?

There are plenty of audio engines around, but Kowalski is the only option that is

  • Highly portable
  • Well documented
  • Released under a permissive license
  • Data driven, using well defined and documented XML and binary formats

External dependencies have been kept to a minimum; the Kowalski engine only relies on platform specific libraries to pass buffers to the audio hardware and the Kowalski tools only depend on libxml2.


Key features include

  • Positional audio in the form of distance attenuation, directional cone attenuation, doppler shift and positional panning.
  • Mix buses allowing better control over complex mixes.
  • Mix presets for easy switching between different predefined mixes.
  • Real time decoding of IMA ADPCM (IMA4) and Ogg Vorbis streams and support for using said streams as positional audio sources.
  • Dynamic playback rate (i.e pitch) control for both uncompressed and compressed audio.
  • Audio level metering making it possible to keep track of the output levels and detect clipping.
  • 32 bit floating point internal processing.
  • An approximate sample clock API making it possible to synchronize audio and for example visuals with a granularity dependent on the buffer size.
  • Psychoacoustically correct gain control designed to give a linear change in perceived loudness for linearly varying gain values.
  • iOS only: Playback of MP3 and AAC audio files using the hardware decoder.

The Kowalski engine is not designed to handle

  • Complex DSP networks and audio routing.
  • Decoding a wide range of audio formats.
  • Playback of MIDI files.
  • Playback of tracker files (.MOD etc).