Sound propagation is how sound waves spread from where they are emitted and how they react with the environment they are located in and any other connected environments which have different properties.
The propagation of a sound mainly refers to how it is reflected, refracted and attenuated by the environment and the objects around it. These elements of propagation affect the characteristics of a sound and the better we can emulate these elements of propagation in computer games, the more realistic and immersive the games will become.
This diagram from <http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/Sound/sprop.html> gives a basic illustration of the phenomena involved with sound wave propagation.
From study of sound propagation I have become particularly interested in interference, refraction and diffraction of sounds when relating to occlusions, obstructions and exclusions.
Also how this affects environments adjacent to eachother and the transitions between them.
This is because it can help to provide such better gameplay in relation to;
- Player feedback
- Reinforcing the visuals
- Environment/ player interaction
The overall outcome is vastly increased gameplay and immersion.