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OK, long faculty meeting, and no access to stuff I am supposed to be working on, or even modding stuff - and most of all, a long pointless argument raging over "No Child Left Behind"'s merits, which really is moot - it isn't as if we can choose to ignore it. So, I already have a bunch of stuff done on soundsets - I'll scribble while Rome burns.

The soundset.

Straightforward stuff like .cre files, etc., really are not a concern until later. I am working from a "character first" perspective, and BG2 graphics are not Oblivion stuff; we can build that stuff later. So, sounds - recorded lines or not? Argument for: everyone has 'em. They help some people characterize the NPC and fill them out in their brain. Argument against, thousands - including tons of time, energy, and work balancing the sounds, only to have a bunch of folks who had supplied the voice and accent in their heads think "hey - that is not how Aran should sound". In fact, I often rip the soundfiles out of mods before playing them - my inner voice is much more comfortable to me than an outsider's interpretation. I like bg1npc's idea of "soundtracks" for speakers, called by script, but that is a whole other topic, and weeks away. But you know what, it doesn't matter at this point - until Aran is 90% or more done, taking the time to record (or hire someone to record) a soundset and/or lines is silly. Things may will change, and perhaps the entire characterization will shift slightly. So the sound recordings themselves, next to last to do. Let's move on to the text strings, and set them up to handle sound when it is eventually recorded and added.


Note: This looks like just a quick couple of days to whip through this, but actually took place over several weeks, and the final draft was vetted by berelinde and Amaurea to make sure I wrote something that fit my idea. Unfortunately, we all write from within our own heads. While I'm not writing Aran for anyone but my personal enjoyment, it is nice to check to see if the communication moves off the page to other folks, or if it ends up being stilted/odd. Some soundreferences with tobbacco use got nixed because the ladies (quite rightly) pointed out that it was a potential turn-off for some readers, while adding nothing really to his character - so I blatantly stole berelinde's rephrase of it into "twig chewing". This stuff is tougher than it looks, because we all want the character to have what comes up in our head during fanfic-like daydreams; unfortunately, if you create a line like La Traviata for dying, it will stink as a soundset:


~[ARAN] Ach! I die! Fie on the, oh fleet mortal life - gone in the blink of an eye.

I die, I expire, I move on from this mortal coil, bound for the next step on the Great Wheel.

Kelemvor, I implore, do take this humble servant Aran Whitehand into your fell embrace, and shield me from Cyric; I pray you deliver me to Tymrra's Bright Golden Grace as quickly as possible.

I die, I expire, I move on from this mortal coil, bound for the next step on the Great Wheel.

It comes quickly now, my life's blood failing, falling, the darkness comes - let us all raise a glass to the death and doom of all mortal things!

I die, I expire, I move on from this mortal coil, bound for the next step on the Great Wheel.

I must *URK* ~


[JAHERIA] Thank you, Korgan. Here, use this to clean your axe. The singing death eulogy was getting on my nerves.

[KAGAIN] Stupid bastard took too long to die. Serves him right for getting lead in the opera.

[iMOEN] It could have been worse - do you know that it takes Violetta pages of score to die, all with orchestral accompaniment? Sheesh!

[VICONIA] Ah, I thought that was just the death screams drawn out exquisitely by a master torturer.

[HAERDALIS] Well, it could have been - was Mutti conducting?


This might be fun to envision in my head, but really, soundset entries are supposed to be very quick, or the lines will trip over others. Wicked short, to the point - that's why they are some of the toughest writing out here. "Characterize your NPC's reactions in less than four words.... GO!"


But, we have caught a break with it, because we have a format to work in, and we know the parameters. Short, simple, to the point, in character. And, WeiDU has taken the work out of all the coding completely. A standard setup in the .tp2 will install the right strings in the right places - and the i.e. engine has a simple format for strings that deal with sound.



STTREF/OFFSET ~[comment] text string~ [sOUNDREF]





STTREF/OFFSET is where in the .cre file the string reference in dialog.tlk is stored. This is why soundsets can get scrambled, and other lines, too - the .cre file carries only a reference number, or index lookup to dialog.tlk. Technically, you could go all fancy hard-core Old Skool here and tell WeiDu the specific offset for the .cre sound, but why when WeiDU does the work for you:




The next, the actual string created in dialog.tlk, ~[comment] text string~ well, that's pretty straightforward - the [comment] will not be seen by the player. In fact, it is where I picked up the idea to try to use this to help translators - when Smoketest, devSin, and Grim Squeaker patiently led me through how sound works in i.e. games, it was there for the BioWare developers. Every soundset in BG carries the referenced sound file in the test string in this format. It is especially useful for usually "no word" things, like "Hurt" and Dying" - the blank sound reference can be labled and searched for by the comment, like this:


SAY DAMAGE ~[c-aran13]~ [c-aran13] sounds like "Ah!", but carries no text - and would get skipped in traification if it were traified as this:


SAY DAMAGE ~~ [c-aran13]


So, last part - [sOUNDREF].


Here, the .wav (or wavc, acm) that we will eventually place in the game override file is referenced. It can only be 8 characters long, and looking at other folk's mods there are lots of ways to label this stuff - BioWare had an odd numbering system that is consistent but does not match .cre ordering - so i am going to arbitrarily label these c-aran## and use the comment as the soundreference. The game won't care if there is no sound matching in the override - it will silently skip it. And then, if I get a soundset recorded and dropped into the override, it will be picked up when that particular string is called by the engine.


Here is the blank template that can be applied for all BG2 engine games (not BG, etc - they have the same structure, but the .cre file has less of these enabled.)


COPY_EXISTING ~myMod/myFolder/myCre.cre~ ~override/myCre.cre~
SAY NAME1 ~ << Full Name Of Creature >> ~
SAY NAME2 ~ << Short (tooltip hovering) Name Of Creature >> ~
SAY MORALE ~[sOUNDREF] << Morale Failure >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY HAPPY ~[sOUNDREF] << When Happy on .2da  >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY UNHAPPY_ANNOYED ~[sOUNDREF] << When Annoyed on .2da  >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY UNHAPPY_SERIOUS ~[sOUNDREF] << When Close to leaving on .2da  >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY UNHAPPY_BREAKING_POINT ~[sOUNDREF] << When leaving on .2da >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY LEADER ~[sOUNDREF] << Moved to Leader >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY TIRED ~[sOUNDREF] << Tired >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY BORED ~[sOUNDREF] << Bored >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY BATTLE_CRY1 ~[sOUNDREF] << Attack Commanded >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY BATTLE_CRY2 ~[sOUNDREF] << Attack Commanded >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY BATTLE_CRY3 ~[sOUNDREF] << Attack Commanded >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY BATTLE_CRY4 ~[sOUNDREF] << Attack Commanded >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY DAMAGE ~[sOUNDREF] << Hit by other >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY DYING ~[sOUNDREF] << Toast >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY AREA_FOREST ~[sOUNDREF] << in area flagged with Forest bit >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY AREA_CITY ~[sOUNDREF] << in area flagged with City bit >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY AREA_DUNGEON ~[sOUNDREF] << in area flagged with Dungeon bit >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY AREA_DAY ~[sOUNDREF] << Daytime >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY AREA_NIGHT ~[sOUNDREF] << Nighttime >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SELECT_COMMON1 ~[sOUNDREF] << Select the .cre >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SELECT_COMMON2 ~[sOUNDREF] << Select the .cre >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SELECT_COMMON3 ~[sOUNDREF] << Select the .cre >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SELECT_COMMON4 ~[sOUNDREF] << Select the .cre >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SELECT_COMMON5 ~[sOUNDREF] << Select the .cre >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SELECT_COMMON6 ~[sOUNDREF] << Select the .cre >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SELECT_RARE1 ~[sOUNDREF] << rare sound >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SELECT_RARE2 ~[sOUNDREF] << rare sound  >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY CRITICAL_HIT ~[sOUNDREF] << successful critical roll >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY CRITICAL_MISS ~[sOUNDREF] << dysmal critical roll >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY TARGET_IMMUNE ~[sOUNDREF] << Up the creek without a paddle >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY INVENTORY_FULL ~[sOUNDREF] << dropping items >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SPELL_DISRUPTED ~[sOUNDREF] << hit wile casting >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY SET_A_TRAP ~[sOUNDREF] << successful trap set >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY HIDDEN_IN_SHADOWS ~[sOUNDREF] << successful attempt to hide >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY PICKED_POCKET ~[sOUNDREF] << successful pickpocket attempt >> ~ [sOUNDREF]
SAY BIO ~[DUMMYREF] << character screen, no sound - text with blank sound reference >> ~ [bLANK]



Well, here goes - in file aranw.tp2, right now empty, we toss in the set of references:

COPY_EXISTING ~aranw/cre/c-aran.cre~ ~override/c-aran.cre~
SAY NAME1 ~Aran Whitehand~
SAY NAME2 ~Aran~
SAY MORALE ~[c-aran01] Helm's bones - RETREAT!~ [c-aran01]
SAY HAPPY ~[c-aran02] Aye, 'tis a fair group. 'Tis better than a clear day on Trade Way.~ [c-aran02]
SAY UNHAPPY_ANNOYED ~[c-aran03] By Tymorra's bright coin, you make some strange decisions. I don't rightly agree.~ [c-aran03]
SAY UNHAPPY_SERIOUS ~[c-aran04] I gave up some serious opportunities to travel with you. Wasn't expectin' this kind of 'adventure'. Stop this, or I'll dissolve th' contract.~ [c-aran04]
SAY UNHAPPY_BREAKING_POINT ~[c-aran05] I'll see you in the hands o' Kelemvor, but not one second before.~ [c-aran05]
SAY LEADER ~[c-aran06] I'll lead, but 'tisn't my strong point.~ [c-aran06]
SAY TIRED ~[c-aran07] Time to make camp. This gear is startin' to chafe.~ [c-aran07]
SAY BORED ~[c-aran08] By Torm's Blood, are we beggin' to be ambushed? Standin' 'round with our swords up our...~ [c-aran08]
SAY BATTLE_CRY1 ~[c-aran09] Archers to th' rear!~ [c-aran09]
SAY BATTLE_CRY2 ~[c-aran10] Spellcasters die first!~ [c-aran10]
SAY BATTLE_CRY3 ~[c-aran11] By Tymorra's Luck!~ [c-aran11]
SAY BATTLE_CRY4 ~[c-aran12] By Sune's Bottom!~ [c-aran12]
SAY DAMAGE ~[c-aran13]~ [c-aran13]  //ah...
SAY DYING ~[c-aran14]~ [c-aran14]  //aarrgh...
SAY HURT ~[c-aran15]  Send the rest o' them to hell for me...~ [c-aran15]
SAY AREA_FOREST ~[c-aran16] Need less trees, more road. Too many places for enemies to hide.~ [c-aran16]
SAY AREA_CITY ~[c-aran17] Trade time! Some trade, then some drinkin', then some sleep... or more drinkin'.~ [c-aran17]
SAY AREA_DUNGEON ~[c-aran18] I gave up comfortable inns an'  guardin' simple caravans to poke around this dank musty place. I'm a bloody idiot.~ [c-aran18]
SAY AREA_DAY ~[c-aran19] Lathander's fat arse is up at last. 'Bout time he shed some light around here.~ [c-aran19]
SAY AREA_NIGHT ~[c-aran20] Bloody dark. Good for coverin' enemies an' ambushes. Someone light a torch, eh?~ [c-aran20]
SAY SELECT_COMMON1 ~[c-aran21] Yep?~ [c-aran21]
SAY SELECT_COMMON2 ~[c-aran22] What's to be done?~ [c-aran22]
SAY SELECT_COMMON3 ~[c-aran23] Do I needs lead?~ [c-aran23]
SAY SELECT_COMMON4 ~[c-aran24] Aye?~ [c-aran24]
SAY SELECT_COMMON5 ~[c-aran25] Yes?~ [c-aran25]
SAY SELECT_COMMON6 ~[c-aran26] I'm listenin'.~ [c-aran26]
SAY SELECT_ACTION1 ~[c-aran27] Got it.~ [c-aran27]
SAY SELECT_ACTION2 ~[c-aran28] Sune's sweet cheeks, I heard.~ [c-aran28]
SAY SELECT_ACTION3 ~[c-aran29] On it.~ [c-aran29]
SAY SELECT_ACTION4 ~[c-aran30] Understood~ [c-aran30]
SAY SELECT_ACTION5 ~[c-aran31] Sune's Bosom, I'm movin', already!.~ [c-aran31]
SAY SELECT_ACTION6 ~[c-aran32] Ilmater's Blood. I said I'd do it.~ [c-aran32]
SAY SELECT_ACTION7 ~[c-aran33] Less talk, more action.~ [c-aran33]
SAY SELECT_RARE1 ~[c-aran34] Watch where you point that thing.~ [c-aran34]
SAY SELECT_RARE2 ~[c-aran35] Aye, I'm here.~ [c-aran35]
SAY CRITICAL_HIT ~[c-aran36] Good.~ [c-aran36]
SAY CRITICAL_MISS ~[c-aran37] Cyric's Black Heart!~ [c-aran37]
SAY TARGET_IMMUNE ~[c-aran38] Bounced off. Damn.~ [c-aran38]
SAY INVENTORY_FULL ~[c-aran39] I'm already carryin' more than my share.~ [c-aran39]
SAY SPELL_DISRUPTED ~[c-aran40] Never did get that one right...~ [c-aran40]
SAY SET_A_TRAP ~[c-aran41] Try that, you bugger.~ [c-aran41]
SAY HIDDEN_IN_SHADOWS ~[c-aran42] Huntin'...~ [c-aran042]
SAY PICKED_POCKET ~[c-aran043] Hey, look what I found.~ [c-aran43]
SAY BIO ~[c-aranbio] When you ask him about his past, ARAN WHITEHAND grasps at a nearby twig to chew on. He explains that he grew up in a small independent family-run Coster plying the Trade Way and Coast Way from Waterdeep both north and south. Working as both Pen and Sword (scribe and fighting guard) made him attractive as an independent, since he could balance accounts, keep inventory, and still operate as a sellsword. A few campaigns with mercenary companies, a few battles, and lots of wandering about has brought him to Amn. He hastens to note that he is not the man to send in to negotiate anything, preferring to wield weapons rather than the spoken word - but if you want a trading contract written up, he's the right man for the job.~ [c-aran44]


Later on, the sound references will be c-aran01.wav to c-aran43.wav, and weeks/months from now when we get there we can deal with how to set the darned thing up to install on Windows/OS X/Linux and play in-game.


Ok, the faculty talk is back to reality-based stuff, like what we are doing with dress-code this year, and how the heck us male teacher-dudes are supposed to inform a 14 year old that her underwear is showing and not get arrested... and worse, how to not insult the mom that sent the girl to school in one of those new thigh-length baby-doll tops designed for use over a pair of shorts, sans shorts. I'd better pay attention again. I'll type this stuff up later, and post it up on an odd moment. Well, technically, if you are reading this, I already did.

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Guest -Anonymous-

Of course, soundsets are essential; and of course you will leave that until you've gotten so many other things ironed out. Having said that, there are a few on these boards who voice for others, the guy who wrote Angelo voiced it himself and also voiced Xan, for example.

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Some potential clips for soundtrack


(the sound that plays as a "soundtrack" in the background, which you can do like BG1NPC instead of voicing - or you can always do in addition to voicing if you want though that can be a bit trickier.)


Baltimore Consort and Merry Companions, "The Art of the Bawdy Song" - unfortunately most of the great "thumpy" music has voice, which is not good as a soundtrack. I might have to get a renaissance quartet or quintet together and record it, but that is a PITA. But one part pfone selection might do as a romance track:





Two Susato renaissance dance variations - #1 is way too fast and needs major sound editing, but is pretty fun; #2 is more deliberate and military, so it might be useful. Either might work for a friendship track; the first might be more useful for in-an-inn flirt or something.






The second Susato dance is calm and dance-able - this might also make a good romance soundtrack.




Tough to decide between Renaissance brassy, bold, bawdy song and more modern interpretations of celtic. Riverdance and Celtic Women has my ear confused. I like more traditional music, but Aran's background puts him half in midaevil/renaissance England (the Northern Sword Coast) or in Ireland/Scotland (Moonshea).

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Just a thought, but you might prefer to have more than one theme. More light-hearted talks get more light-hearted music, more serious talks get heavier stuff.


It's good that you've decided on a general tone of things: medieval and "thumpy."


PS- would you like me to extract those RARs, convert to WAV if necessary, and upload them to TATW so you can link that instead of RARs? That way folks can listen to the actual music without having to download and extract an archive. It's a lot of trouble to go through just to listen to one song.

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I haver over voices.


Angelo and Gavin work for me. Most others (carefully not being particular) don't. Often I listen and then don't use them.


What I do really like is the leitmotif idea of having different musical tags associated with the character - perhaps changing mood as Berelinde says.


Kath Stonedog

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I am with you, KathStoneDog. I like soundtracks, and letting the player's internalization pick up on the "voice". But I know I have a toy at school called a Zoom, so I can run out a full voicing or hire out or whatever for folks who want it, and I will definitely have the options 1. voice 2. soundtrack 3. voice + soundtrack 4. silent. Especially as for a first run it will be me.


Berelinde, help yourself - it would be cool fir people to be able to just click and hear. I just have the raw .wav format, so each are a bit large.

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Here ya go. Sorry it took so long.


Have some links to the musical themes that cmorgan is considering for Aran. Just click to listen.


Ladie Lie Near Me

(did you mean laddie or lady?)


susato deliberate


susato fast


susato second contemplative


Edit: Ladie Lie Near Me needs to be much louder. Area ambient sounds will completely drown that out. It's my favorite of the bunch, though. Susato deliberate/fast are pretty much different arrangements of the same song. All of the Susatos remind me of Handel. Probably the brass. I think LLNM is more "Aran," but that's just me. :suspect:

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I need more coffee. I went to look at that convinced that it was something about Ayr which is a seaside town just down the coast :suspect:


Susato I didn't go for, perhaps because I'm so familiar with it in other contexts (is this a nationality issue? in which case ignore me!) I also thought it was too produced. I think it's often done with modernish brass but I'm sure I've heard it on shawms.


Have a search on "York Waits" and see if that has anything. I learned to circle and pavanne to them waaaaaaaay back and it was a more...... rumbustious sound. Very Mr Whitehand.


Kath Stonedog

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Googling York Waits provided a bunch of albums and some sheet music, but nothing on YouTube. Searching on a whim for "pavanne," spelled wrong, I realize, yeilded

. Not sure it's appropriate for Aran, but damn, it's good.
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Good find! I've not heard that version.


That is a genuine pavanne. However you spell it lol. I think that my hesitation is that it is a courtly piece. Does our boy (sorry, your boy) need more of a peasanty thing?


How about L'Homme Arme? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27homme_arm%C3%A9) which is not courtly in origin and has a bit of a swagger to it when done on early instruments. Not the Mass arrangements, although they are very appealing.


If anyone played Darklands years ago, they used a version of L'Homme Arme as the Map screen music.


Kath Stonedog

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I will take a look - I am happy to hear this idea has merit, because unfortunately I am a musician. Worse, I had a thing for two and three part Renaissance counterpoint and early music on authentic instruments; I was worried I was going too far afield. Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum, anyone? The renaissance and baroque materials more acclimated to modern ears tend to be brass quintet/brass ensemble arrangements. Looking at authentic early music seems to be a fun way of getting him a distinctive voice.

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Ah, hells, if I'd known that was what you wanted, I've got quite a few suggestions. Let's start with

a German folk band that plays on period instruments. That YouTube link is the pits (looks like it was recorded on a digital camera), but you'll get some idea of their sound. We hired them out to play at a party in our encampment one Pennsic and I wound up buying a CD. Aran seems more of a hurdy-gurdy man than a brass man, if you know what I mean.


has better sound quality, but I don't like the song as much.


Another Horses' Bransle

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The Horse Dance! I haven't done that for er..... decades! ROFL :suspect:


Yes, that drone is exactly the sort of thing /I/ had in mind but wasn't expressing well. And "Aran seems more of a hurdy-gurdy man" is pretty spot on how I read him as well.


I can't wait to play with him :)


Kath Stonedog

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