OpenAL on Windows

ioquake3 tries to use OpenAL for audio mixing by default. If the OpenAL library is missing (this is common on Windows), it falls back to the internal Quake 3 audio mixer (using SDL to present the mixed audio to the operating system). Both the OpenAL Soft library and internal Quake 3 mixer have pros and cons as discussed in ioquake3 Sound Options: OpenAL vs SDL. s_useOpenAL 0 console variable will disable trying to use OpenAL.

OpenAL itself is an API (application programming interface). There is several OpenAL implementations / libraries you can use.

If the OpenAL library is missing there will be message like this in the console. In that case the internal audio mixer will be used.

Trying to load OpenAL64.dll...
Loading OpenAL64.dll failed
failed to load library: OpenAL64.dll
Trying to load OpenAL32.dll...
Loading OpenAL32.dll failed
failed to load library: OpenAL32.dll

To use the OpenAL Soft library on Windows, go to and download the openal-soft-* on the page. Open the zip.

  • For 64-bit Windows (using ioquake3.x86_64.exe), extract openal-soft-*-bin\bin\Win64\soft_oal.dll and rename it to OpenAL64.dll and add it in the folder with ioquake3.x86_64.exe.
  • For 32-bit Windows (using ioquake3.x86.exe), extract openal-soft-*-bin\bin\Win32\soft_oal.dll and rename it to OpenAL32.dll and add it in the folder with ioquake3.x86.exe.

ioquake3 1.36 (2009) Windows 32-bit installer included Creative’s reference OpenAL implementation. OpenAL Soft is based on it.

There are other OpenAL libraries however I haven’t tested them with ioquake3.

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