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Legacy:Music

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The following sub-pages are hereby proposed:

File Formats Overview and History .. or Music file format

Creating Music

Importing/Using Music in Unreal Engine Games ... or Importing Music


Music can be one of the most important factors in your map. Setting the right music can create an awesome atmosphere and improve gameplay. This section covers almost everything that's related to adding music to your map. The official information regarding Unreal/UT music files is available at http://unreal.epicgames.com/music.htm.

File Formats[edit]

The Unreal engine has used a number of different file formats over its many incarnations. These fall into two groups:

track formats 
a bit like a MIDI file bundled with samples to play: these are a combination of short sound clips and instructions on when to play them
audio formats 
an exact audio recording of the entire piece of music

Early Unreal Engine's Music Formats[edit]

The music tracks in Unreal engine 1 games are all in UMX file formats. Basically, a umx file doesn't contain anything special except for the music track itself which was imported into this umx (this is not entirely true). So which music formats can be used to create umx files?

Games that use the earlier Unreal Engine builds (like Unreal, UT and Deus Ex) support Direct music (MID, MIDI and RMI) and Music Modules - usually shortened to "MOD", but not to be mistaken with a game mod! Modules can have different formats, like .s3m, .xm, .it, .mod.

Also, CD audio can be used as music in maps. However, CDA files don't need to be imported into a umx. You can just assign a track number to your map. This is rather pointless though, as the chances that someone will have the same CD you do in their drive when they play the map is practically null. In practice, you'll want to export the music from the CD and then import it into the editor seperately.

Hellkeeper: .UMX are "packages" of musics, usually containing 2 or 3 tracks (in Unreal 1, not in UT) : if you set a SongSection) in the level propreties or a MusicEvent trigger, you can switch between the differents section. In the original Unreal, this was used to change the music while fighting or when special events took place.

Latest Unreal Engine's Music Formats[edit]

OGG is the new music format used in UnrealEngine2. Ogg Vorbis format is an open source encoding format and has a higher compression rate than MP3. This means that the same quality of music will have a smaller .OGG file than the same quality .MP3 file. Put differently, if you have a .OGG file and a .MP3 file of the same size, the .OGG file will have a higher quality.

More info about ogg vorbis at:

Adding Music to Maps[edit]

The procedure for Assigning Music to Maps is the same regardless of what version of the engine you are using. However, as noted above, different engines (and even different licensed games using the same engine) have different formats that they support, so the procedure for Importing Music and what file formats can be imported may vary.

OGG Vorbis Discussion[edit]

Normally You would import the music into Your map but in this case, You convert it into OGG, place into correct directory and give the file name (without suffix) in the LevelProperties->Audio->Song. There are a few caveartes in this though:

- the OGG player does not obey the PATHS= settings in the UT2003.ini file so if You have a separate directory for map developement, You won't hear Your music - for some reason it has to be placed in the same folder as the rest of the OGG files.

- trying to play the OGG in the editor will crash-boom-bang

Now, to create the OGG files You need an OGG capable converter. One that is freeware and works can be found here.

It is not recommended to rip music off of music CD's - instead You can create/use MIDI and convert it to WAV using ModPlug tracker. The WAV is then again easy to convert into OGG.

Note: this is completely unnecessary. If you want to use a piece of music on a CD, run it through WinAmp and output it to OGG format. Done deal. MIDI is extremely unreliable, as the sounds you hear on one computer can vary widely from the sounds you hear on another, and converting to WAV is an unnecessary step.

A more widely used alternative is the Oggdrop utility. Download it here. Start it and just drag the wav file onto it and it will encode it for you. Right click on it to alter options like bitrate, quality, mono/stereo etc. I (Hawkeye) prefer OggdropXPD myself which is the exact same tool but with more options. Highly recommended for it's speed, versatility and ease of use.

  • some more stuff... (Ogg Vorbis links etc.)

To be edited:

  • How to import MIDIs – GAH! I'm wetting my pants in anticipation! Using Midis would be FANTASTIC for this thing I'm working on. – Cap
Heh, as far as I know, UEd supports MODs, so importing a MIDI into a MOD should work. But when I do this, the music won't play, because the samples aren't imported. This used to work with previous MPT versions... There's a discussion about this at the BuF Music board, so I'm just gonna ask those people about it – The Alien

Hmm, maybe this page should be divided to stop it from getting too long. I'll see if it needs dividing in the future... – The Alien

yup, splitting it might be necesssary soon, especially if you're thinking of importing your tute. – Tarquin
Well, I don't care if the tute is imported here or not. :) It's there on my site, and that's what I wanted. =) If you think it would be good to have it here, I'll be happy to import it ;) – The Alien
P.S. Sorry for the self-pimpage :D :p ;) – The Alien
bah. If you can't pimp yourself, who can you? :)
True. :D

Comments[edit]

bmw5002: I converted a collection of the old UT tracker style music into Ogg format so you can use it in your UT2003/2004 maps for a little reminiscing :-) Mail me at bmw5002 at optonline dot net if you want 'em.

Wormbo: I just found out you could import music into .U files with this line in a .UC file:

#exec NEW MUSICFACTORY FILE="..." NAME="..."

Birelli: I think we should split this page by first paraphrasing everything into a quick and clean explanation of how to do things, and then link to pages with some of this "extremely in-depth info" ;-).

Wormbo: This page definately needs some work.

RDGDanClark: I'm not a total expert on music in Unreal Engine games, but I'll see what I can do here.

Foxpaw: This page has a lot of repetition and redundancy. I'll add the Category:Legacy Refactor Me.

Nuleo: The Ogg Vorbis format really sucks. Even though it has a higher compression ratio, even at the highest quality, it sounds muffled, scratchy, and less bright than mp3s or wavs and I have composed about 12 minutes of music so far for a UT2003 Total Conversion. I think this is part of the reason why the UT2003 soundtrack isn't very good.

Foxpaw: In theory, Ogg Vorbis is a lossless compression format so it shouldn't sound any different. It's possible that the decoder built in to UT2003 is not very good. In UT at least, there was a major difference between the music in-game and the same music files played using Winamp or Sonique, so maybe this is kind of the same deal.

MythOpus: Well, are you refering to the add-on music player in ut2k3 or some other thing ?

Foxpaw: No, I mean that UT did not produce a completely faithful playback of the actual MOD file that was supposedly being played as music. This was not a flaw in the format, simply a consequence of UT's playback mechanism. Similarly, the Ogg Vorbis files may sounds bad in UT2003, but I highly, highly doubt that it is the fault of the format. As far as I know, an Ogg Vorbis file decoded should be completely identical to the source waveform.

Nuleo: Ogg files are not completely identical to their source (.wav or other) files. And the quality of the ogg files is still worse than the mp3s even when played in Winamp. Probably cause the mp3 format has been around longer so better mp3 encoders are available.

Wormbo: It all depends on the bitrate used. At the same bitrate an OGG sounds better than an MP3. Try e.g. 64kb/s, you'll definately notice the effect.

Hawkeye: Ogg Vorbis is much better than mp3 at equal bitrate. This is true at both low (32-64) and high (192-up) bitrates.

Trust me on this. I ripped 500 Audio CD's first in mp3 and changed to ogg because they sound much better than mp3 at equal or slightly lower bitrates.

Graphik: I cleaned a little before realizing the futility. This page needs a complete rewrite.

Birelli: Ok, I moved the info on Music Modules to it's own page. This makes the page a lot easier to read, and really all that info belongs on it's own page. I think next is to re-write the "assigning music to maps" and move it towards the top of the page. Maybe even it's own page, this is really the only info most people care about.

Birelli: Alright, I think I've finally got things in at least somewhat working order. Nowhere on this page was there a description of how to import a music file into your map. The Importing Music page has what used to be the "Importing Music" section of this page, but it doesn't seem to actually instruct how to import music. Probably that page's content should be moved to another page about the different formats available and replaced with a nice tutorial about how to import a music file into the music browser.

Anyway, is everyone happy with this current structure? If so let's work inside it to polish things up. It's not done yet, but it's at least understandable. In particular the discussion of the OGG file format needs to be cleaned up and probably moved up under the "latest engine file formats" or even onto its own page about the OGG format.