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Interesting information on the Exile music and new-ish tracks!

#1 User is offline   Capella 

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:22 PM

So I was trying to link the Amateria theme to a friend on YouTube earlier and came across YT user shadyparadoxes's upload of Exile tracks. What really interested me was that s/he had put together a wonderful explanation of exactly how the in-game music is put together! I know many of us have used the wonderful tools like Riveal and Revelator to get into the Myst game files and extract the musics, but how many of us know exactly what the mysterious music filenames mean, or how they're put together in-game?

I'm reposting their hard work here because I thought we might be interested in the hows:

Quote

Most of the music in this game is comprised of multiple source audio files playing at once, to give it a self-composing feel.

The number of puzzles solved in the current age determines which set of music files plays. If none or all four of the puzzles are solved, then the files are drawn from the resource folder LI_T, EN_T, or MA_T, where LI stands for Edanna (life), EN stands for Voltaic (energy), and MA stands for Amateria (matter).

Otherwise, the music is drawn from the folder LI_M, EN_M, or MA_M. Each file within these folders has a 1, 2, or 3 in the filename to specify exactly how many puzzles must be solved in that age for that file to play.

Here's how the music is "composed". Usually, a file denoted as the "pad" loops indefinitely (though in some cases two different pad files are used). On top of that plays a sequence of "mldy" files, usually timed to harmonize with the pad (sometimes another label such as "pipe" is used). Various effects such as "stinger", "bells", "drum", and "squeal" chime in randomly throughout. Some examples of filenames are LI_THEME_pad2.wav, EN_M3_noise4.wav, and MA_M2_mldy5.mp3.

Many of the tracks in the Official Soundtrack are special arrangements and embellishments of the compositions within in game, particularly those found in the M folders. Therefore, these tracks are not actually present within the game, at least not in their exact form.


It's nice to finally know what all the little file names mean now, isn't it? I also highly recommend checking out the put together files, they're really cool and very different from what's in the soundtrack. I'm really enjoying this Voltaic one, especially around 6:36 where the sad tone comes in and 6:57 where the percussion kicks it up a notch.
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#2 User is offline   Veovis17 

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:34 PM

I've always loved shadyparadox's Myst Lets Plays, And was very interested in his music recordings.My favorite song on Exile is the theme from eddanna, and it sounds just like in the game when he posted it.
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#3 User is offline   realXCV 

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:23 PM

That's a good way of describing how it works.

The game also has a few rules as to which music should play (other than the number of puzzles solved).

Some are based on your location
- TOHO_MUSIC2.mp3 will start playing when you enter Atrus' study.
- The HOLO_* tracks only plays in some specific nodes.

Some are based on your actions
- There's no music playing when you're working on a puzzle.
- When you first enter J'nanin, the first music (LEIS_SAAV1.mp3) will stop as soon as you see Saavedro close the door of the observatory.

View PostCapella, on 11 March 2013 - 03:22 PM, said:

how many of us know exactly what the mysterious music filenames mean, or how they're put together in-game?

At least one: me.

What's interesting about these tracks is that because they are made of multiple layers with different lengths or randomly ordered content, they can play for a very long time without you noticing any looping. You may recognize a part that played a while ago but it probably didn't play the same way.
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#4 User is offline   Capella 

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:29 PM

Thanks, realXCV. Any other cool information on how it works that you can give us? Why are the HOLO tracks different? Is the same method used in Revelation?

Besides this YouTuber, has anyone gone and layered together these tracks to create longer cuts of music than the OST has? Or find pieces not in the OST?
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#5 User is offline   realXCV 

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:11 PM

I guess you never heard of Myst III - music player and Myst IV - music player

The HOLO tracks can be considered as part of the story unlike the others tracks. You can hear them in the area around Saavedro's paintings in the Amateria, Edanna and Voltaic.

There are also a few layers that are played based on specific events or location:
- LEIS_SAAV1_stng* files are played at certain stages of the pursuit when you follow Saavedro at the beginning of the game.
- LEIS_WINDOW plays over the LEIS_SAAV2 track when you're looking through the window from the outside.
- Playing of NA_SCENE10_* elements is based on how much Saavedro is angry.

Assembling the tracks:
- Usually, you can consider a group of file with a similar name as one layer. (MA_M1_hit1, MA_M1_hit2, MA_M2_hit2, MA_M2_hit3, MA_M2_hit4).
- With the exception of the pad which plays continuously, the other layers follow this pattern: wait X or between X and Y seconds, play a file, wait X or between X and Y seconds, play another file...
- There are mainly two ways to pick a file within a layer: sequentially or random.
- Each file is played at a specified volume. Most of them play once and then the layer goes back to waiting. Others files can loop for a specified amount of time.
- Sometimes, the starting of a file can be delayed so it can start playing at the same time as another one.
- There are some files that cannot play while some specific ones are playing.

In Myst IV, the idea is mostly the same. You still have the pad and the different layers. It changes on how the timing and volume are handled. Also, unlike in Myst II where the tracks are playing based on your actions, in Myst IV, they are based on your location.

File names (for the music) in Myst IV are like this:
VOX_Play_MU_SP_2A_vox5
The layer name is on the left (VOX). In the middle, you have the track name (MU_SP_2A). In this specific case, the files are picked sequentially (vox1 to vox10). They are parts of the music that plays on the lowest level in Spire with the spider chair.

Of course, in both Myst III and Myst IV, the content and settings of a layer is based on predetermined lists and not on the files names like a user would do when trying to assemble the tracks.
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