Custom Soundtracks

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Simonsloth
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Custom Soundtracks

Post by Simonsloth » October 13th, 2018, 11:32 pm

This may seem like sacrilege to videogame composers but recently when replaying certain games I have been experimenting with listening to an alternative score during certain sequences.

It’s very interesting how different the experience can be. One of my favourite soundtracks/scores in recent times is Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar.

So I’ve decided to play chunks of it whilst playing Driver:San Francisco. It’s actually ludicrous how much it elevates every chase or race against the clock sequence to epic proportions. Especially the track ‘no time for caution’ (the movie version not the soundtrack version which is inferior).



-this is a good version albeit a cover-

I’m playing on ps3 so not especially easy to record it (unless you can do it using Xbox one passthrough, can you?) otherwise I would be demoing it here.

I wondered if anyone else had similar suggestions to enhance or offer a dramatic shift in tone in a game. I suspect playing the Benny hill theme tune during spec ops the line would change it a lot too!

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Flabyo » October 14th, 2018, 8:40 am

The guardians of the galaxy awesome mixtape soundtracks make playing Elite Dangerous feel like a very different experience.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Scrustle » October 14th, 2018, 2:21 pm

I really appreciate this as a feature when they include it in games. I got so much use out of playing my own music in the background on the 360 as I was playing games. I've always been disappointed that the feature has never really come back fully. And when it has, it's usually very limited in some way or obtuse to get set up. Not just like playing stuff off the console's hard drive or a USB stick with no problem. A big chunk of my time playing Oblivion was with custom music. Although I did play mostly with the original soundtrack, which is great in its own right and still has a special place in my heart, I also have fond memories of adventuring across Cyrodiil to the sounds of Tenacious D, as odd as that may sound.

But in more recent years, Forza Horizon 3 did a fantastic job with this feature, which I appreciated a whole lot. After being somewhat disappointed with the in-game track list of that game after FH2, I ended up spending much more time listening to my own music through the system that game had. It was fiddly, and it didn't always work right, but it was so worth it when it did. That game had a system where you could upload your own music to OneDrive, and then use that music to create a playlist in the Groove music app. You could then select that playlist as an in-game radio station. Even though they tried to push the subscription service for Groove with that feature, it was actually not needed at all for using your own music. Obviously with Groove shutting down, they sadly don't have that feature in FH4, but as of right now it still works in FH3. Spent many an hour driving around to Ember by Kubbi, which fits the chilled-out, summery party atmosphere of the game, as well as the Drift Stage soundtrack for something that has more energy and pace to it more the more adrenaline-filled races. So with Drift Stage itself seemingly stuck in development hell, I still got to tear up the roads to that soundtrack. And one thing that put the cherry on the cake with this feature was, since it counted as an in-game radio station, all the audio effects applied to the normal music applied to your stuff as well! It really helped integrate the music in to the game to make it feel like it properly fit in, rather than just being pasted on top of it. The volume would moderate depending on how hard you were driving so the levels were always correct, and when you drove past one of the festival sites the music would fade in to the background and sound like it was actually being played on stage! Such a great little touch. It's a brilliant feature that doesn't get enough credit because of how awkward it was to get working, and how cynically they present it when you actually do try to use it.

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Simonsloth
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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Simonsloth » October 14th, 2018, 2:29 pm

Flabyo wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 8:40 am
The guardians of the galaxy awesome mixtape soundtracks make playing Elite Dangerous feel like a very different experience.
Haha that’s a great idea!

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Alex79uk » October 14th, 2018, 5:07 pm

Don't really have any suggestions, but just wanted to add I loved the way they'd intergrate custom soundtracks on the 360, music cutting out during cut scenes etc, and was so disappointed when I got a PS3 and discovered it was a major pain in the ass to play with custom music, to the point I never bothered on that system. Tried it a bit via Spotify on PS4, but it still doesn't handle them like the 360 used to.

Best of all used to be loading songs in to a custom radio station on the old PC GTA games. It even worked on The Sims, you could drop MP3s in to the correct folder and have the likes of Metallica blasting out their stereo when they danced. Also on PC I used to drop a lot of Clannad and the LOTR soundtrack in to my Elder Scrolls Oblivion folders, and it was always amazing hearing some Clannad start playing as you reached the peak of a hill and looked out over the land.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Suits » October 14th, 2018, 5:46 pm

El-P’s Collecting the Kid album will forever be the only soundtrack I think of when I think of Test Drive Unlimted.

Burned to my 360 using the in game radio feature.

Excellent.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Flabyo » October 14th, 2018, 5:59 pm

I remember putting my own music onto the Xbox for burnout 3 takedown.

From what I can remember there was a desire to keep it going with the 360, but for some reason it never happened.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Suits » October 14th, 2018, 6:10 pm

Flabyo wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 5:59 pm
From what I can remember there was a desire to keep it going with the 360, but for some reason it never happened.
I might be misunderstanding you here, - but you could burn music CD’s to the Xbox 360 hard drive and use the music from it in game.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Flabyo » October 14th, 2018, 6:38 pm

Very few games supported it though, from what I can recall. We were certainly never told we had to.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Suits » October 14th, 2018, 6:50 pm

Oh right, I can only really remember using it on TDU - just thought it was accros the board.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by KSubzero1000 » October 14th, 2018, 6:59 pm

As far as I recall, the way it works on 360 is that the Xbox system itself tunes out the game's music files when using a custom playlist. Which therefore doesn't require any special programming in the game itself.

I can remember using a custom playlist in Burnout Revenge, but it ran over the guide menu instead of in-game, if that makes sense. I also used a muted custom playlist whenever I wanted to manually turn off a game's music while still keeping the sound effects, which worked flawlessly on very game I tried it on.

Basically, I think you're both right. The feature is universal, but not game-dependent.

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Suits
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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Suits » October 14th, 2018, 7:02 pm

Yeah, it was neat.

Came up with all the track names and everything IIRC.

Mind, FH4 even has the capacity to like your Spotify account and play stuff like that.

But the XBox 360 was new at the time and felt pretty cool.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Alex79uk » October 14th, 2018, 8:23 pm

Flabyo wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:38 pm
Very few games supported it though, from what I can recall. We were certainly never told we had to.
Really? Everything I ever tried it with worked. You just played the music via the media player then opened the game. I didn't even copy the music to the console, streamed it from my PC.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Flabyo » October 14th, 2018, 9:44 pm

I guess I mean the full on ‘upload your tracks and they’re properly integrated into the game’ rather than ‘you may as well just stick headphones on and play it off your ipod’.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Michiel K » October 14th, 2018, 9:46 pm

Suits wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 5:46 pm
El-P’s Collecting the Kid album will forever be the only soundtrack I think of when I think of Test Drive Unlimted.

Burned to my 360 using the in game radio feature.

Excellent.
That sounds friggin' solid.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by KSubzero1000 » October 14th, 2018, 9:56 pm

Flabyo wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 9:44 pm
‘you may as well just stick headphones on and play it off your ipod’.
But that's not the way it works either. The Xbox 360 system makes sure to mute the game's original music while keeping the game's sound effects intact. The end result of the sound mixing is exactly the same as on the original Xbox.

The interface may be different, but the result is pretty much the same except for the track names appearing in-game. It's a neat feature which I'm sad has all but disappeared nowadays.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by Flabyo » October 15th, 2018, 8:02 am

I guess I’m not explaining it well. The original Xbox has an api where the *game* could control when and where the users music would be used. So it could still choose to use its own music for, say, cut scenes if it wanted to.

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Re: Custom Soundtracks

Post by KSubzero1000 » October 15th, 2018, 9:31 am

Ah, that's cool. I didn't remember the system being that elaborate.

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