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Custom soundtracks


Ste Pickford
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I never blinked an eye when I heard that the Xbox allowed you to rip custom soundtracks to the HD, in fact I probably just shrugged my shoulders. What a 'non-feature' I thought. But I read on here people raving about this. I just don't get it. What's the big deal?

First of all, I generally want to hear the music in the game. Its part of the game, it was generally designed to fit with the game etc., etc. OK, maybe every game doesn't have music as good as Zelda, but I paid £xx pounds for this game, and I want to experience all the content I paid for.

Secondly, I perfectly understand not liking the particular music in a game. Music tastes are quite personal. Although we've probably not done it in every game, I've always tried to push for the seprate sound fx / music volume controls in games I've worked on. Playing games with no sound at all can be crap, but if you can turn the music down but keep the sfx, then you can listen to the radio, or your own music etc (and I often want to listen to football commentary on the radio while I play a game).

And that's the thing. Unless you're house is set up with the stereo in a different room to your console, surely every game has a custom soundtrack feature anyway? You just play your own music in the background. What could be better? Your own CDs, the radio, hell, even vinyl if you've still got a pile like me, playing as loud as you like, with your favourite game.

The hassle of ripping a CD to a HD and setting up custom soundtracks in game is far more complicated than just pressing play on the CD player, for the advantage of what, the tunes getting reset (probably mid-song) when you change levels or something?

Am I missing something really obvious? Can someone explain what the big deal about custom soundtracks on the xbox is?

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the ace thing about having all your music on your xbox is just that. it's all your music on your xbox. this means no more hunting for cd's. (although i do have my ipod docked into the stereo anyway so no need for the xbox)

I agree with games like Zelda and such but for sports/racing/beat em ups or whatever i like to listen to what i like to listen to.

also any decent house would have the xbox going through your stereo set up anyway meaning you couldn't listen to a cd at the same time.

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Hi,

I cannot tell you what the big deal is, but I can tell you what I like about it.

In Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (which is a superb game btw, thank you), I like 'crappy' music like 2 Live Crew (me so horny), Bahamen (who let the dogs out), some old Dutch dance band (sex on the beach), Zangeres zonder Naam (Costa del Sol) - dutch people know what i'm taklking about. Hell, maybe even some 240 bpm hardcore house with lyrics like 'i wanna fuck you in the ass'.

It does not make the game better, but it does make the game more fun in my opinion. I play Burnout 2 with Barry Manilow on het Xbox harddrive, great fun:)

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It works better with some games than others, in PGR for example it works because when driving the car you can listen to your own music/radio stations, as if you was really there, also you can put on your own driving music whcih can add to the atmosphere.

Also i like my music to be a part of the game, not something on in the background, so if i pause the game,the sound track pauses too, if i pick a different level, the sound track changes too, i also dont need to get up and go to the stero to change the cd/track to something else. It just makes it feel better.

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I can't stand it when people insist I play crappy tunes over the original game stuff. Like Ste says, I consider the music and sound to be part of the game, and can't understand why someone would play a game and turn off the sound. We don't live in the 80s anymore, music in games has been good for quite some time.

Sports and strategy are the only exceptions - I can play PES with a CD in the background because all PES needs is the crowd atmosphere. Which it doesn't have, but even if it did I'd have some good music on over the top. My choice. Strategy meanwhile rarely has music that's important. Audio plays no part in the game, so I turn it off while I listen to my own stuff.

But playing Manhunt with Muse in the background, or JSRF with any other music just seems to change the feel of the game. It's wrong. You wouldn't watch a DVD and play your own music over the top now, would you?

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also any decent house would have the xbox going through your stereo set up anyway meaning you couldn't listen to a cd at the same time.

Yep. Cant play CD's while gaming as all my stuff is plugged into the same amp.

The custom soundtrack is excellent for certain games but not others. In PGR2 I use the in game music but in Burnout 2 I have a selection of dance tracks that go really well with the fast paced nature of the game.

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Yep. Cant play CD's while gaming as all my stuff is plugged into the same amp.

The custom soundtrack is excellent for certain games but not others. In PGR2 I use the in game music but in Burnout 2 I have a selection of dance tracks that go really well with the fast paced nature of the game.

Ah someone else with a proper set up B)

Fry Crayola - no one would want to play JSRF with a custom soundtrack, very few people would this is because the sound design is excellent and has been carefully chosen.

The oddest one i've seen was Conflict Desert Storm. It has a custom soundtrack but then i play games like that with no music so i can listen out for things.

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I like to enjoy the in-game music, as a part of a larger whole.

But, on the other hand, anything that allows me to remove the awful shit that EA slaps onto their 'trendy' games has to be a good thing.

Of course, any game that utilises the 'EA Gametracks' thing or whatever it's called immediately loses any claim to the music being a 'part of the game'. It's tacked-on bollocks that adds nothing to the gaming experience - often, particularly in the case of Tiger Woods, it's little more than bad comedy.

I can see how it fits into the likes of NFSU and SSX, but that doesn't make it any less shit.

Get that rubbish out of my fucking game.

But yes, a well made soundtrack adds a great deal to a game and to replace the music is a terrible crime. Just as I wouldn't replace all the music in 2001: A Space Odyssey with a bit of Guns 'n' Roses, I wouldn't be so presumptuous to trifle with the music in a game such as (as mentioned above) Jet Set Radio.

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I used to think the exact saome thing... but for games like PGR which have utterly atrocious soundtracks (just licensed music, not built for the game ala Halo, etc.), it's a very handy feature.

The bad thing about it is, it takes ages - and you end up ruining your favourite albums through repeated listening! The Xbox also seems to be able to tell the difference between a proper CD and a copy, so no putting other game music, etc. on there (Outrun music would have been fab on PGR2 :huh:).

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Fry Crayola - no one would want to play JSRF with a custom soundtrack, very few people would this is because the sound design is excellent and has been carefully chosen.

True - but that's my point.

Games nowadays tend to be designed with sound factored in rather than just "there" - it's an integral part of the experience and for the most part shouldn't be tampered with.

Only in games where the sound is not essential, like racing, sports, strategy and the like, should you think about custom soundtracks or playing your own CD.

Your point about Conflict Desert Storm says this too - why would you want music in a game that's all about atmosphere and a sense of being there?

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I used to think the exact saome thing... but for games like PGR which have utterly atrocious soundtracks (just licensed music, not built for the game ala Halo, etc.), it's a very handy feature.

The bad thing about it is, it takes ages - and you end up ruining your favourite albums through repeated listening!  The Xbox also seems to be able to tell the difference between a proper CD and a copy, so no putting other game music, etc. on there (Outrun music would have been fab on PGR2 :huh:).

put the album on a CDRW. Then just put another album on the CDRW. The xbox can read them.

Hey Stroker what is the music like in Tiger Woods then? Wouldn't it be relaxing, peaceful style tunes?

Only in games where the sound is not essential, like racing, sports, strategy and the like, should you think about custom soundtracks or playing your own CD.

Your point about Conflict Desert Storm says this too - why would you want music in a game that's all about atmosphere and a sense of being there?

I suppose it's better to have the choice than not have the choice though. It isn't on by default, in fact i think the game has silence on as default.

I don't think any other games i've come across have custom soundtrack unless it's racing/sports etc etc. Non one's silly enough to listen to ACDC over Metroid Prime and no one's saying that. Not even on developers are pushing that, especially if they've spent all that cash on a sound artist.

The one missed opportunity has to be Unreal Championship. That would've been ace blowing up people while rocking out to Iron Maiden.

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used to think the exact saome thing... but for games like PGR which have utterly atrocious soundtracks (just licensed music, not built for the game ala Halo, etc.), it's a very handy feature.

The bad thing about it is, it takes ages - and you end up ruining your favourite albums through repeated listening! The Xbox also seems to be able to tell the difference between a proper CD and a copy, so no putting other game music, etc. on there (Outrun music would have been fab on PGR2 ).

Chip the fucker.

An unchipped XBox is a terrible waste of potential.

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Hmm. I'm of the firm opinion that every XBox game, without exception, should have an option to use custom soundtracks.

Music is subjective. It should be optional. The only XBox game I've played that wasn't screaming out for a soundtrack option was Halo, and even then, I'd like to have had one so I could play comically appropriate tunes at various points.

I've been over this, before, at length on the old forum, and I've yet to hear a single rational reason why any XBox game shouldn't have custom soundtrack options. Even if it's only in there as a bonus feature. It should always be there.

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Driving games, sports games, multiplayer modes on everything... there are lots of places where a custom soundtrack would be appropriate. Obviously, it would ruin things like the singleplayer on Halo, but it would be just right in singleplayer Vice City.

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For the exact same reason that DVDs don't feature them, music CDs don't feature remix options and you'd be hard pushed to go to a Radiohead concert and get them to blurt out Beastie Boys classics.

Today games are made and the sound is made for the game, designed for the game, and suits the game. Developers do not want someone fiddling with their work - otherwise they'd not bother with the sound at all, and let you do what you like.

If you don't like it, there's a CD player right over there for your own amusement.

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Depends on the game really. I prefer to play sportsgames to my favourite 'adrenaline'-technotracks instead of the crappy rockmusic you usually get. I also like adding my own music to the GTA games for example. Halo or Rainbow Six with a custom soundtrack wouldn't work, but with most sportsgames it works a treat. For me the experience is more enjoyable because of it, and that's what counts I suppose.

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It also annoys me that custom soundtracks don't play on random properly - why is that? They only play sequentially... in both PGR and PGR2 this is the case, I don't know about other games - does it have something to do with the way the soundtracks are saved on the Xbox HDD? I'd have imagined they were saved as WMA, or MP3 or some such.

Custom sountracks are great, but to not have a rondom play option is dumb.

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If you don't like it, there's a CD player right over there for your own amusement.

So what you're saying is, no custom soundtracks, but if you don't like the music given, switch it off and play your own stuff on the CD player?

Why not cut out the middleman/CD player?

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Secondly, I perfectly understand not liking the particular music in a game. Music tastes are quite personal. Although we've probably not done it in every game, I've always tried to push for the seprate sound fx / music volume controls in games I've worked on. Playing games with no sound at all can be crap, but if you can turn the music down but keep the sfx, then you can listen to the radio, or your own music etc (and I often want to listen to football commentary on the radio while I play a game).

And that's the thing. Unless you're house is set up with the stereo in a different room to your console, surely every game has a custom soundtrack feature anyway? You just play your own music in the background. What could be better? Your own CDs, the radio, hell, even vinyl if you've still got a pile like me, playing as loud as you like, with your favourite game.

The hassle of ripping a CD to a HD and setting up custom soundtracks in game is far more complicated than just pressing play on the CD player, for the advantage of what, the tunes getting reset (probably mid-song) when you change levels or something?

Am I missing something really obvious? Can someone explain what the big deal about custom soundtracks on the xbox is?

I'll respond to this, though - it's because it's inconvenient.

Firstly, ripping songs to the XBox is a piece of piss. You don't habe to name them, you just rip them, and arrange them to suit. Doddle.

Secondly, yes, I can turn down the sound and fuck about with my CD player. But why should I, when there's a perfectly acceptable solution sitting in my hands? It's a hassle. And it's completely unnecessary. It's also infinitely more annoying that ripping CDs to the XBox HD, which only has to be done once.

As for tunes stopping abruptly, that can be annoying, yes. But it's a pretty weak reason not to include soundtracks as an option. And the only other criticism is that the inbuilt Xbox ripper is shit, which, again, is true and a problem. But still.

The question here isn't why?, it's why not?.

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Do Xbox GTA3 and Vice City feature cusomt soundtrack modes like the PC?

Yes, you get a CD player in GTA3 and a Tape Deck in GTA4. So it doesn't interfere with the usual soundtracks, you can switch between all the channels and you custom device. Works very well, especially because every new car you steal will have it's own channel (including your CD) at random.

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Yeah, that one. Or failing that (because that won't work), you'll just have to pick up a £20 CD player for all those custom soundtrack times you deem necessary.

Most games don't need them, the few that do are the ones where the music is not important.

I really don't see the hostility here. You get a nice feature for free and still complaining? Why the hell would you pick up a CD player when you can, if you want, have you own music in the game, nicely synched to starting and finishing levels? It works better this way: in PGR2 you get the menu-music, then your own music during the race and then PGR2's post-race tune afterwards. That way you still get the PGR2 tunes, but your own favourites while driving.

I guess some people can bitch about anything...

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