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Soundtrack Replacement in Sierra classics: Possible or no?
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Level0NPCs



Joined: 24 Apr 2018
Posts: 2
Location: NS, Canada
Soundtrack Replacement in Sierra classics: Possible or no? 

I have been playing through a number of older Sierra classics, and just recently stumbled upon the remastered/remade soundtracks available on the Quest Studios/midimusicadventures website, which made me wonder if it might be possible to somehow override the soundtracks for some of the older Sierra point 'n clicks out there.

I did some research, and did happen across James Woodcock's ScummVM Music Enhancement Project, and set was able to get his updated soundtrack to play in Beneath a Steel Sky, so I am curious if it's a matter of pointing an "extra" folder at the soundtrack and having the MP3 files named correctly, or if there's some sorcery under the hood I wasn't otherwise aware of?

What would be necessary to, for example, play the MP3s of Leisure Suit Larry 3's "Ultimate Extended Version" soundtrack, or the real-instrument versions released by Aubrey Hodges of QfG4, each available through the aforementioned Quest Studios page?

I was hoping I could find the naming convention necessary by poking around in the Larry 3 files using SCI Viewer, but aside from figuring out some of the sound file names within the engine, it didn't help me work out the right filenames for the mp3s in my soundtrack folder.

Am I barking up the wrong tree? Any insight would be useful, as at the moment I really am not sure I even really understand how ScummVM's identifying the right songs to play in the first place. If anyone can help me figure out the right way to go about defining these track names - and even if it's viable, I would gladly do the leg work and provide a track list for relevant downloads from the Quest Studios site - which could be a small, in some cases, but significant step toward refreshing the audio experience while playing some of these classics.

Thank you for your time!

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Post Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:36 am 
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tsoliman
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Joined: 19 Jan 2011
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I actually started the replacement for QFG4 with the Aubrey Hodges orchestral version. Not all the tracks are there and I need several play-throughs to to get everything right. I seem to have lost interest halfway through for some reason but if there is interest I will pick it up again. When I am done, you'll need to buy the soundtrack from Aubrey Hodges and then use my conversion and renaming script for the game to pick them up.

For other games, the general consensus seems to be that "it might work but probably not" because there are sometimes events tied into midi file. (Disclaimer: I am not an SCI dev)

James Woodcock's (awesome) work is replacing a digital track with another digital track, so that is pretty straightforward.

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Post Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:22 am 
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tsoliman
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Joined: 19 Jan 2011
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Here's a quick proof of concept video I threw together.

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Post Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:02 am 
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criezy
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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
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quote:
Originally posted by tsoliman
James Woodcock's (awesome) work is replacing a digital track with another digital track, so that is pretty straightforward.

It actually replaces MIDI tracks with digital tracks, which required modification in the game engines to support it. Here is for example the commit that does it for Beneath a Steel Sky.

I donít know if the SCI engine supports playing digital tracks. And as tsoliman wrote it might not work with some (most?) games, if they have events triggered by cues in the midi music.
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Post Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:58 am 
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almeath



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
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This is slightly off topic, but it involves the issue of audio patching for a Sierra game.

A friend recently asked me if anyone could figure out how to patch Rise of the Dragon (PC version) to use the voice acting from the Sega CD release, which had inferior graphics.

If adding voice tracks could be done for Scumm games like the "Ultimate Talkie" patches for Monkey Island 1 and 2, then I presume it is technically possible.

I do realize that DGDS games are not supported in ScummVM and may not ever be. I guess I am after any opinions on whether that kind of patching would be feasible, given the likely differences in how the PC and Sega CD version of ROTD were programmed.

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Post Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:29 pm 
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tsoliman
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quote:
Originally posted by criezy
It actually replaces MIDI tracks with digital tracks, which required modification in the game engines to support it


I didn't know that! That's awesome!

quote:
Originally posted by criezy
I donít know if the SCI engine supports playing digital tracks.


It ostensibly does ... I mean otherwise my proof of concept doesn't work. I didn't modify any code, just dropped specifically-named WAV files into the folder

quote:
Originally posted by criezy
And as tsoliman wrote it might not work with some (most?) games, if they have events triggered by cues in the midi music.


I am going off of what m_kiewitz said in IRC
(starts at timestamp 20:15 in http://logs.scummvm.org/log.php?log=scummvm.log.26Jun2017&format=html )
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Post Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:50 pm 
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Level0NPCs



Joined: 24 Apr 2018
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Location: NS, Canada
 

tsoliman, that is a thing of beauty, and exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to accomplish. I'd love to be able to replay through some of these games with the enhanced soundtracks that are possible now. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Is there anything unique about QfG4/SCI2 that makes it more possible than others? Would it at least be feasible for other SCI2 titles like SQ6/KQ7? Is the sound engine significantly different from SCI1, for PQ3, QFG3, KQ6 and so on? Sorry for the barrage of questions - it's fascinating to me, and I'd love to expand the concept of what James Woodcock has done to revitalize some of the other classics with remastered soundtracks.

As to criezy's mention, I don't think any of the Sierra titles had any creative midi cuing like what Lucsarts was doing with iMUSE. Even "End tracks" to music usually seemed to cut directly to a specific track, without any transitioning. That said, I'm no programmer, just an enthusiast with a dream, so I don't know how reliant it really is on timing-to-music.

Edit: To that end, I suppose if you're already working in QfG4, I feel like perhaps the Dr. Cranium room might fit the bill, since I think he gets struck by lightning roughly timed to the music, so it might be worth looking there? It's the most likely example I can think of. There's also the Rusalka rising from the water, but that feels more like a track change than a cued event.

QFG3 certainly seemed to have a musical cue thing happening in the intro, with the lightning hitting the hero's sword, then firing off a beam that creates the QFG3 logo. It's also possible that there was some musical timing stuff going on with the character creation screen, as well as the dragon fire bits of QfG1 (Don't think anything in the intro/chargen is cued in QfG4, except possibly skipping to the logo screen from the mountain flyaround, but feels like there may be a fair bit in 1 & 2).

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Post Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:54 pm 
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MusicallyInspired



Joined: 02 Mar 2007
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SCI definitely has MIDI cuing exactly like iMuse does. It just wasn't used as extensively or in depth as the likes of Woodtick from MI2. But it's certainly possible in SCI to replicate it. Not only do certain game events trigger certain musical cues, but also vice versa where certain trigger points in SCI MIDI sound resources can cue game events. Like the Sierra logo sparkling being in time with the glockenspiel notes.

Certain game events in things like cutscenes won't trigger and will loop indefinitely without end unless the game receives trigger cues from the sound resources. Like the KQ5 intro where Mordack appears and sends a lightning storm swirling around the castle. That'll go on forever unless a cue is received by the game script.

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Post Thu May 03, 2018 9:22 pm 
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