Music

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Overview[edit | edit source]

This article briefly describes how campaigns can use music.

Music Tracks[edit | edit source]

Each game has a separate set of available tracks. Shadowrun Returns (Dead Man's Switch) has the fewest, Dragonfall Director's Cut adds more tracks in addition to the SR tracks. These tracks tend to have a classically cyberpunk feel. Hong Kong has a completely separate set of tracks from the first two games, and generally has an Eastern / Cantonese sound.

Track Types[edit | edit source]

Tracks will often be named in clusters. For example, HongKong-Combat-Gobbet-Int1, HongKong-Combat-Gobbet-Int2, HongKong-Combat-Gobbet-WrapUp, and HongKong-Legwork-Gobbet are all designed to be used together, so transitions between these tracks will sound natural. However, you are free to mix and match them if you prefer.

You can infer the use and energy level of a track based on its name.

  • Legwork: Used for exploration, conversation, puzzles, and other default gameplay. This is a relatively calm track.
  • Stealth. Only used in Returns and Dragonfall. This is a quieter track that works especially well for infiltration scenes.
  • Combat. A louder and more energetic track that can accompany fights. Hong Kong includes separate tracks Int1, Int2, and Wrapup for Base, Intense, and Wrapup music, respectively.
  • Stinger. Only used in Hong Kong. This is a brief snippet of music that plays at the start or conclusion of a fight, before returning to the default music.
  • Unique. Tracks that don't have any of the above labels aren't connected to specific sets. These will often be triggered for special events instead of standard gameplay.

Listening[edit | edit source]

It can be tedious to continually re-launch the game to experiment with different tracks. Fortunately, creators have made standalone content packs that you can use to quickly and easily play different tracks and decide which ones work best for your scenes. You can check out the Marshall Parker Jukebox for Shadowrun Returns or the Aztechnology Aural Mindspace for Shadowrun Hong Kong. (As of this writing, there does not seem to be an equivalent program for Dragonfall Director's Cut.)

Playing Music[edit | edit source]

Once you have decided what tracks you want to use, you can add them to your campaign.

Camera Region[edit | edit source]

Most of the time, you will select music via the properties on a camera region. The engine will automatically manage transitioning between default and combat music. You will almost always want "Loop Default Music" checked.

Triggered Music[edit | edit source]

You can also play music via the Gameplay trigger "Play Music". This will override any music currently playing from the camera region or another trigger. You can use "Stop Music" to stop this track and return to the default music.

Special Tracks[edit | edit source]

A few tracks are hard-coded in the engine to play on specific screens. You can use them in other situations as well, but cannot stop them from being played. The following are all used in Hong Kong.

  • TitleTheme-UI: Plays on the main menu when you launch the game.
  • Matrix-Stealth: Plays during character creation when starting a new game.
  • Legwork-Hacking: Plays while hacking Blocker IC.
  • Combat-Kowloon-Int2: Plays on the closing credits after the epilogue.

Bugs and Gotchas[edit | edit source]

There are a few potential issues to be aware of while working with music. All of the following have been observed with Shadowrun Hong Kong, some may apply to earlier versions as well.

If a camera region's music field is set to "None", the current music will continue playing. You can use this to maintain the same default music across multiple regions, or to continue playing default music even after combat starts.

Music may cut out entirely if you start playing inside a conversation and stop playing in a standard trigger. Try to balance your start and stop so they both take place in the same conversation or both happen outside of conversation.

If triggered music is currently playing, it will not transition to a new track even if you switch camera regions or enter combat.

If you start and stop music via a trigger, the default music will resume playing, but the engine will no longer automatically transition to combat music.

Custom Soundtracks[edit | edit source]

There is no built-in capability to use custom music in the Shadowrun editors, so if you really need to have custom tracks and are willing to put some extra effort in it, there are some workarounds, and you'll also have to instruct people subscribing to / downloading your UGC that they'll have to do something extra to make your custom soundtrack work as intended.

First, you should be aware that you can only replace tracks, not add or remove tracks. For instance, SRHK must have 47 tracks, while DFDC must have 61 tracks total. Your custom tracks must be in ogg (128kbps) format.

Second, the resources.assets.resS and resources.assets files in the Data folders will be modified. The resources.assets.resS file must be replaced by an entirely new one and resources.assets should be hex-edited since it's too big and only some bytes need to be changed. Backup and restore solutions should be supplied, as well as the way to automatically hex-edit resources.assets.

Third (but not so important for the end user of your UGC), the internal names of the tracks must remain the same, so your SRHK "Legwork-Museum" track name (as it is referred in the Editor) must stay the same even though you might have replaced it with some ogg track that has nothing to do with "legwork" or "museum" anymore. So, get a notebook and write down which track of yours is the "Legwork-Museum", i.e. "My Exciting Combat Music #2 -- Legwork-Museum".

Finally, be aware of copyright, fair use and legal stuff if you're releasing UGC with third-party music!!!

A Soundtrack Manager was built for Dragonfall DC by FilthyJack and is available at NexusMods, so it should save you the hardcoding work, but you'll still need to have a replace and backup solution for people subscribing to your UGC campaign.

The original research into soundtrack replacement was made by Zetor, and, if you're going to fiddle around the soundtrack of SR Returns or SRHK you should read it very attentively. The procedure to have a new resources.assets.resS file with your new soundtrack is fairly easy.

Once you have a resources.assets.resS file with your new soundtrack, the end user could replace and restore the soundtrack for all three HBS Shadowrun games using van Ziegelstein's Shadow-Tune (of course, the user must set it for the intended game of the series). There are command line and GUI versions available.

Cirion's "CalFree in Chains" SRHK Shadowrun Music Replacer does all the work for the end user in a reasonably foolproof manner by being a single .exe file and having a "Replace" and a "Restore" button. Here's the C# code for Windows and Mac. It needs a resources.assets.resS file with the new soundtrack as a built-in resource and all the correct offsets to be coded in. It is adaptable to all three HBS Shadowrun games: the difference is the number of tracks and the original offsets.

More recently, a utility called Shadowed, created by Betrok, allows new music to be added without replacing existing tracks. This means you can finally extract and then add all the music from Dragonfall to Hong Kong, giving you full access to the entire trilogy's soundtrack and even have the correct track names available in the editor! The only "downside" of this program is that you must make manual backups of several original files first, if you ever want to go back to the "stock" music.