Fast Diffraction Pathfinding for Dynamic Sound Propagation



In the context of geometric acoustic simulation, one of the more perceptually important yet difficult to simulate acoustic effects is diffraction, a phenomenon that allows sound to propagate around obstructions and corners. A significant bottleneck in real-time simulation of diffraction is the enumeration of high-order diffraction propagation paths in scenes with complex geometry (e.g. highly tessellated surfaces). To this end, we present a dynamic geometric diffraction approach that consists of an extensive mesh preprocessing pipeline and complementary runtime algorithm. The preprocessing module identifies a small subset of edges that are important for diffraction using a novel silhouette edge detection heuristic. It also extends these edges with planar diffraction geometry and precomputes a graph data structure encoding the visibility between the edges. The runtime module uses bidirectional path tracing against the diffraction geometry to probabilistically explore potential paths between sources and listeners, then evaluates the intensities for these paths using the Uniform Theory of Diffraction. It uses the edge visibility graph and the A* pathfinding algorithm to robustly and efficiently find additional high-order diffraction paths. We demonstrate how this technique can simulate 10th-order diffraction up to 568 times faster than the previous state of the art, and can efficiently handle large scenes with both high geometric complexity and high numbers of sources.


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