I don't know much about the specifics on this but would it be possible for the sound card to process geometric (and material if such is available) information from the CPU in a similar way video cards do?
Currently under EAX, acoustic environments are mostly prerendered by the developers. Room dimensions, material information (glass, brick, cement), etc. are all entered into the card for each room where they would be relevant.
In addition to this being a laborious process (Most devs settle for a half-assed sound job), the information does not change dynamically. The parameters given to the sound card can only approximate the actual environment. The disadvantages of this are prominent in outdoor environments, where a large reflective surface such as a building can quickly switch positions relative to the player.
Of course, it would take a fairly powerful sound card to do acoustic modelling the way video cards do transformation and lighting. But with the advent of new 3D engines utilizing complex surface properties, it seems increasingly unfair that sound cards aren't able to share such a wealth of useful data.This comment was edited on May 20, 21:30.
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