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How do I Replace Game Sounds?


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#1 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:26 PM

Recently I was looking through the files and folders of all the PC games I have (downloaded from Steam). I noticed that in some cases I found MP3 files, and presumably all I had to do was take my own sound, rename it to the same name as the original sound I want to replace, and delete the old one.  This was generally only the case with basic games though.  The Bioshock demo , differently, contained a small number of files with the extension '.fsb'.   I briefly Googled this, and it seems these files are something to do with Fmod.  Oddworld: Abe's Exodus had what I thought to be a pretty simple sound scheme that would be a good start for me, but the game folder only contained a single file named 'sounds.dat'. 

Now, I have Wwise installed and have spent a few hours learning the basics a while back; I knew Batman Arkham City to have used Wwise, so I downloaded the demo in the hope I might have the tools to work with this one, opened up the folders an found a folder entitled 'SFX', which contained extensions '.bnk'.

In any attempt at opening these files, I've been presented with text gibberish.  Treat me like a noob/idiot if you must, but I'd really just like some idea of where to start here?  I don't know much about how game engines/ audio engines work, or what other files in the game folder may be relevant to the tasks I am trying to carry out.   

Any solutions to either of these games' file extensions would be highly, highly appreciated, however I'd be more grateful for a solution to game audio pertaining to Wwise, because if possible, I'd like to be able to edit FX, attenuation curves etc. and Wwise is the only software I have even a clue how do do this in.

 

And most important of all to keep in mind, I'm finding it very difficult to gauge whether what I'm trying to do is going to be a lot more difficult than I'm making it out to be, but in theory I just don't know how it can be.  I have no knowledge of code though...

 

I've honestly been all over the internet with this one, but all people ever seem to want to know is how to EXTRACT, but not replace a game's audio.  So please help =]

 

Thanks! 


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10163

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:56 PM

Why do you want (or think you need) to do this? 


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:20 PM

For experience in general in putting audio to game, and developing my skill set. Hopefully someday I may even create something worth demonstrating to a future employer. Who really knows? It still seems more relevant to a portfolio than creating a video reel of my own sounds in a trailer video, to have what is essentially an audio only mod, if such things exist.

Edited by Olliepm, 04 January 2013 - 07:21 PM.

My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#4 AdrianC   Members   -  Reputation: 602

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:46 PM

You don't add sound to a game that way when developing. Reverse engineering games to find out how to change sounds like this seems pointless if your goal is to study how sound works in game engines. 



#5 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:02 PM

You don't add sound to a game that way when developing. Reverse engineering games to find out how to change sounds like this seems pointless if your goal is to study how sound works in game engines. 

It's not my only goal.  This would for example give the opportunity to experience the position of designing sound for huge titles (in a safe, deadline free sort of way) . I thought it seemed a great way to audition ambient music. Do you really think there is no point?  What would you recommend doing instead?


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#6 Kryzon   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 3314

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:15 PM

Reverse engineering games to find out how to change sounds like this seems pointless if your goal is to study how sound works in game engines. 

I strongly disagree, mate. Speaking from personal experience, you can learn a lot from reverse-engineering content from games.

In my opinion there's absolutely no other content that's as uniquely educational as something you extract out of an acclaimed, published game for personal study purposes.

 

While some students redo the entire soundtrack behind film scenes or trailers as an exercise, placing your own sounds in a game and seeing them work (or not, and learning why not), can also be enriching.



#7 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:51 PM

I think there is educational merit to this and I'd like to see the answers that come out of this.

#8 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4791

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:48 PM

As far as I know, most games use their own sound format. Which they  can be composed of their own encoding scheme or probably its just a nice package that contains inside several files of popular formats.

 

Your best shot is trying to find mod tools to unpack those sounds, or trying to find the developer of such format (often is some 3rd party) and seek an encoder/decoder on their site.

 

For the fsb files, Google "unpack fmod sample bank format" and see what you can get. Bioshock uses the Unreal Engine right? Maybe the Unreal Development Kit has the necessary tools required for packing/unpacking its files. For example, there are been several new maps for Mirror's Edge since it uses Unreal Engine and the UDK can be used to create levels for it (although no Enlighten middleware to spice up lighting sadly).


"I AM ZE EMPRAH OPENGL 3.3 THE CORE, I DEMAND FROM THEE ZE SHADERZ AND MATRIXEZ"

 

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#9 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:19 AM

I guess this is sort of the point where I'm at the forum's mercy, because I'm completely new to mods and mod tools, and I'm not even sure I'd be able to utilize them without some fundamental knowledge of...well, something I don't already know about!  I made a little progress with one of my above examples, however things only got more complex from there on:

 

The file within the Oddworld:Abe's Exodus folder "sounds.dat" contained every sound used in the game (with the possible exception of intro sequence music/SFX), and I managed to extract this in Audacity, by using the function "import raw data".  This option prompts the user to choose sample rate, byte order, encoding, channels.  I don't know much about how important it is to select the 'correct' settings when importing because what I ended up with was one single track containing every sound from the game, playing sequentially, but sped up, and chimpmonked!  I tried importing with different encoding etc which didn't affect this. (I think this was perhaps an old school way of saving memory) I lowered the speed of my extracted audio track by 82% which I think was about right, as the sounds then sounded as they do in game, changed one sound (keeping it the same length), sped it back up by 82%, exported as .wav, changed text extension to . dat, and popped it back in the game folder.  NOW in theory, this might have worked, but no.  The game sounded completely screwed up, and pitch was way off.

 

I'm not sure if it makes any difference, but I was only planning on using game demos, rather than full titles, just FYI.

 

Cheers for the replies so far!  

 


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#10 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3555

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:49 AM

So please help =]
There is not a good blanket answer to give you.

All programs are designed differently. Some programs will have all their files exposed in a bunch of loose folders, in easy to open formats. Others will have all their files inside a type of type of giant archive file. Such as the sounds.dat that you are mentioning.

This is an archive type file. The program will have a way of knowing which files are in there, at which byte offsets. Most likely, it's a header in sounds.dat that lists all the files, and their byte offsets. The only proper way to edit it is to rebuild it from scratch with the files and the new proper byte offset values. This is done as part of the game's build process, and you won't be able to figure out how to do it unless you have advanced programming knowledge, and reverse engineer the file. This can be very time consuming.

It's illegal to modify and distribute someone else's copyrighted work. You aren't going about this in a good way. If you want to demo your own audio in a game environment, do it the proper way. Download the UDK or UNITY3D and learn how to include your audio into one of their example game projects that you can open up at the source level and modify properly.

Unity has tons of demo projects that you can open up and redo the sound for. http://unity3d.com/gallery/demos/demo-projects

#11 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:10 AM

Thanks!  Very good reply.  As far as the illegal part goes though, I don't think what I had in mind is really comparable to distribution.  It's mainly just personal education. I hope those tools are free though...


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#12 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4353

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

Why do you want (or think you need) to do this?

 

 

You don't add sound to a game that way when developing. Reverse engineering games to find out how to change sounds like this seems pointless if your goal is to study how sound works in game engines. 

 

Every single year I've attended the Demo Derby at San Fran's GDC, each judge panelist has suggested doing this - replace game sounds with your own in a functional, working game (be it open source or what). In fact they often would ask submitters if their video capture was all "in-game" sounds they put in themselves or just a video that was stripped of all audio and then done via post production (like in Pro Tools, etc). Each time they've said it's a highly worthwhile and impressive task and when done well enough can get you a job on the spot.

 

It's illegal to modify and distribute someone else's copyrighted work. You aren't going about this in a good way. If you want to demo your own audio in a game environment, do it the proper way. Download the UDK or UNITY3D and learn how to include your audio into one of their example game projects that you can open up at the source level and modify properly.

 

Very true. It is illegal to distribute another's work. This should be done as an educational practice and not shared publicly on the web. Once you get good enough at it, start doing stuff that you can legally distribute like Daaark's suggestion.


Edited by nsmadsen, 05 January 2013 - 10:58 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#13 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10163

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

Why do you want (or think you need) to do this?

 

 

You don't add sound to a game that way when developing. Reverse engineering games to find out how to change sounds like this seems pointless if your goal is to study how sound works in game engines. 

 

Every single year I've attended the Demo Derby at San Fran's GDC, each judge panelist has suggested doing this - replace game sounds with your own in a functional, working game (be it open source or what). In fact they often would ask submitters if their video capture was all "in-game" sounds they put in themselves or just a video that was stripped of all audio and then done via post production (like in Pro Tools, etc). Each time they've said it's a highly worthwhile and impressive task and when done well enough can get you a job on the spot.

 

Oh. Okay, thanks. That answers my question very well.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#14 AdrianC   Members   -  Reputation: 602

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:25 AM

Every single year I've attended the Demo Derby at San Fran's GDC, each judge panelist has suggested doing this - replace game sounds with your own in a functional, working game (be it open source or what). In fact they often would ask submitters if their video capture was all "in-game" sounds they put in themselves or just a video that was stripped of all audio and then done via post production (like in Pro Tools, etc). Each time they've said it's a highly worthwhile and impressive task and when done well enough can get you a job on the spot.


Interesting. I would judge potential employees on their abilities to create sounds and music, rather then to reverse engineer games, but I'm not the one hiring. Maybe they are looking for an individual who can adapt to different situations.


My recommendation would be to find an open source project, which will likely give you easy access to its files, or joint a team and develop sounds for them for free.



#15 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4353

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:42 AM

Interesting. I would judge potential employees on their abilities to create sounds and music, rather then to reverse engineer games, but I'm not the one hiring. Maybe they are looking for an individual who can adapt to different situations.

 

This is actually my (and their) point. Too many people think good game audio is solely the creation when actually the implementation of that audio is a much larger part of the job. I've heard it said that good content creation is roughly 25% of the job and implementation is the other 75%. When I was working on LEGO Universe much of our job was implementing or trying out how best to implement sounds with other systems. It can (and does) get much more complicated than just X plays this sound at Y volume. So the better you can understand implementation and how other game systems work, the better you can make the audio behave as you intended.

 

My recommendation would be to find an open source project, which will likely give you easy access to its files, or joint a team and develop sounds for them for free.

 

I do not recommend working for free, unless the entire project is a hobby project where nobody will ever get paid. Working for free on a commercial project just undermines the rest of the audio industry who is trying to make some kind of living in games. It gives the continued impression to some game developers that audio is either a very low valued resource or one that shouldn't even cost anything. Instead I'd recommend charging a very low rate or an exchange of services (i.e. I do audio for your game and you do my audio website, etc).


Edited by nsmadsen, 05 January 2013 - 11:48 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#16 AdrianC   Members   -  Reputation: 602

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

True, I was saying work for free if you're still a beginner, and are not that good. If you are at least somewhat skilled, you could try freelancing for a small fee.



#17 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:01 PM

@nmadsen RE:Too many people think good game audio is solely the creation when actually the implementation of that audio is a much larger part of the job. 

I'm glad somebody confirmed this, because it was more or less my reason for thinking this project would be highly beneficial.  It shows a sound designer/composer's willingness and capability to learn about implementation without promise of reward.

 

 

 

 I'd love to be able to get straight in to a project and implement audio the correct way, but it's quite hard to get started for me, or even knowing where to start.  My knowledge of game development outside of audio is not great, and I'm not sure which aspects I should dedicate the time to read up on.  I have the two dev programs recommended in an earlier post, I have Wwise, I thought about getting Fmod, but where on earth to begin?!   As for joining an Indie team, paid or not, I really want to be sure I can deliver what people need before I commit.  I'd like to have a good demo first.  

 

At least a few people here have supported the idea of replacing pre existing game sounds, so if anyone has anything to add about that, I'm not much further ahead.  I found a tool to open and extract Bioshock's Fmod files, but replacing them is still beyond me.


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#18 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4353

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:02 PM

I don't want to derail this thread into a discussion of rates too much but my caution about working for free is:

 

1) In most other industries even start ups charge for services. It's only in the "fun", entertainment industries do you commonly see folks expecting folks to work just for the experience of it.

 

2) I've seen, first hand, developers jump from beginner to beginner while promising great returns and future work. It almost never happens, the beginner ends up feeling burned and the developer moves on to the next eager, naive beginner. (Thankfully most developers are good, solid folks but there are scammers out there.)

 

3) Having a tangible exchange (be it goods or services) changes the working relationship. When a working relationship is free both the provider and the client can begin to abuse the situation. I've seen folks offering free work just flake out and drop a project. I've seen clients abuse the situation. Having a set contract in place with a tangible exhance can help avoid negative situations.... but not always! tongue.png Doesn't have to be a large amount but make it something so the working relationship feels more professional.

 

Slight tangent: In all of the profit shares jobs I took on early in my career I've seen exactly zero cents from all of them. Something to consider next time you hear "we'll offer you X amount of profits!"


Edited by nsmadsen, 05 January 2013 - 12:06 PM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#19 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:34 PM

I feel it may be derailing because I really want to ask what you do?  You seem rather in the know.  I'm assuming you're in the industry? =]

 

(but I still need help)


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#20 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10163

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:37 PM

I feel it may be derailing because I really want to ask what you do?  You seem rather in the know.  I'm assuming you're in the industry? =]

 

You could just look at his sig, and follow the link in his sig...


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.




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