Why is the music in SoA and DoE so awful?

I remember years ago when I downloaded these soundtracks from somewhere, and I was certain they would be as good as in the base game; but boy was I wrong. The music in both expansions is crap and has nothing at all in common with NiN’s soundtrack, just some dull epic, probably fake orchestral compositions that ruined the atmosphere and immersion entirely. Both mission packs were great IMO, but clearly the music makes it very clear that they weren’t developed by Id. Who composed this anyway?

The music in both expansion packs is credited to https://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,2306/. Yes it sounds a bit generic like a lot of game soundtracks around that time, but maybe the developers were going for more of an ‘action’ feel, so there’s rock and electronic stuff, among the ‘medieval’ feel orchestra here and there. Maybe it was budgetary conditions. I wouldn’t say it’s awful, some people actually like the expansions’ music and some even prefer it over the original.

In recent years Romero did a few “Quake Post-mortem” talks describing the development of Quake. One of the interesting bits was him stating that Chris Vrenna apparently supplied id Software with his own ambient music, it was a temporary substitute to hold them over while NIN was still working on the music. Apparently, they listened to Vrenna’s stuff from their network server during the development. It sure would’ve been nice to hear that stuff too.

You can delete the ‘music’ folder in ‘hipnotic’ and/or ‘rogue’ folders, then the game would use the music from the id1 folder, assuming you’re using modern sourceports. However, these two expansions do not use tracks 10 and 11 and in one of the levels you might end up hearing the intermission screen music.

These days you can cobble your own soundtrack. I was thinking of adapting Quake 64 music for SoA and DoE. It’s not NIN of course, but at least it’s somewhat close in style and mood.

for ID1:
track02 - used in the first demo and at the end of the Episode
track03 - used at the end of the Level intermission screen
track04 ~ track11 - used in the levels of the original game

for HIPNOTIC:
track02 ~ track09 - all used in the levels of the SoA, as well as:
track02 - used in the first demo
track09 - used at the end of the Level intermision screen
track06 - used at the end of the Episode (even though levels are in linear order, they are broken in three segments)

for ROGUE:
track02 ~ track09 - all used in the levels of the DoE, as well as:
track03 - used at the end of the Level intermision screen
no special track assignments for opening demo or Episode ending

Good soundtracks from famous artists are expensive. The expansions were probably produced on the cheap.

Chasm has a good selection of tracks that very well fit in Quake’s atmosphere; a few of them are a bit too lively but several others are quite good, especially for base-themed maps. Nothing beats Aubrey Hodges compositions, though. I can only imagine how much better Q64 music would’ve been if not for the N64’s audio limitations.

I would :slight_smile:

First impression always counts. After Trent Razor nothing can compare, as it was a state of impression from that moment. Even if he would try nowadays to add new music it would fail.

So goes for the add-on packs. The conditional behaviour of the listener to its expectation hearing music similar to the original is doomed to error. Why not be more open minded?

Lots of music of that time tried to sound “freaky” and “creep”. Music like Sin - Subculture - Rune - Chasm all had their sequences mixed together. So sometimes it felt as if the game had its peculiar sound of another game. As if they were counceling with track parts to get the best outcome.

I don’t care the somewhat rarely add-on pack music. I just got addepted to them. NIN music would destroy the feeling. In fact…, I was really surprised hearing Nine Inch Nails when I played Tombraider, after forgetting to change the CD.

Speaking of which, how do you assign your own custom tracks to individual maps on QuakeSpasm? For example, in Quake 64, Gloom Keep and Ziggurat Vertigo have each their own theme, whereas in PC Quake these maps use the same music (track10). Is it possible to assign Quake 64’s tracks to all vanilla maps just so they work as in the console version?

Expectations matter, but let’s not get carried away. We’re talking fake guitars here. Of course it’s grating to some people.

Speaking of which, how do you assign your own custom tracks to individual maps on QuakeSpasm? For example, in Quake 64, Gloom Keep and Ziggurat Vertigo have each their own theme, whereas in PC Quake these maps use the same music (track10). Is it possible to assign Quake 64’s tracks to all vanilla maps just so they work as in the console version?[/quote]
Actually Gloom Keep should use track11, as was in original 1996 release. It’s an oversight that in the 2021 Quake re-release every ExM5 map is using track10 instead of track11, which hopefully will be fixed in an update. This way, track11 does not get played anywhere in the re-release version, apart from a couple of levels in ‘Dimension’ addons.

It is possible to assign any music for any map you want, but for that you need the engine to work with external entity files and be prepared to do some fiddling around. Most modern engines like Quakespasm, Quakespasm-Spiked, vkQuake (and even slightly outdated like Mark V and DarkPlaces) support those. Basically it’s a separate .ENT file in \maps\ folder that has entity information (simply speaking, stuff like ammo and enemy placement, etc).

For example you have id1\music\track25.ogg that you want to be played in https://www.quaddicted.com/reviews/perish.html. As always you put perish.bsp in the id1\maps folder. Now you need to extract the entity information from it, for that you can use ericw’s tools, like bsputil.exe --extract-entities perish.bsp and you get perish.ent, which is simple text file with entity information. Right at the beginning, there’s the worldspawn entity and it’s properties:

{ (...cut some stuff out...) "classname" "worldspawn" "message" "Perish the Thoth" "sounds" "10" "wad" "C:/QuakeDev/wads/ogro_flesh.wad;C:/QuakeDev/wads/ad_scastle.wad;C:/QuakeDev/wads/egyptplusplus.wad;C:/QuakeDev/wads/powerslave_tiles-dfb.wad" "worldtype" "1" }
The “sounds” property/key is the assigned track number, in this case it’s track10. Change it to “25” and save perish.ent file, make sure it’s also in the id1\maps folder right next to perish.bsp. Now the engine should be playing track25.ogg in this map. For that, the usage of the external entity file must be enabled. In case of the Quakespasm engines, it’s setting external_ents to “1”.

The same thing can be done with 99% maps in mods too (there are a few maps/mods that switch between several music files which is coded in their QuakeC). If the map is in the pak file, you have to pull it out from there first, and there might be other things to consider, depending on the situation.

Crap, that is an awful lot of work indeed. Wish Quake was as easy to mod as Doom engine games in GZDoom.

I wouldn’t say it’s harder overall. Back in the day, it was definitely more moddable than Doom, although source ports for the latter have come a long way.

Yikes.

[quote=dwere]I wouldn’t say it’s harder overall. Back in the day, it was definitely more moddable than Doom, although source ports for the latter have come a long way.

Yikes.[/quote]
Yeah I think they used the same map sources that Romero released in 2006 (the maps in rerelease are recompiled with lighting and subtle cosmetic changes). These sources also have ExM5 use track10 instead! And in some original Quake versions there was a patchnote about changes: “1.02 - removed one ambient track for retail”. Perhaps these things are connected.

And yet they left it on the cd? Weeeeeeiiiiiiiird.
I spoke to one of the 2021 devs a few days ago about the ExM5 tracks and they said they were currently fixing those maps to use track 11.

Personally, I think there’s plenty of good music in the expansions-- if you can look past the midi-ish sound-- but it doesn’t fit Quake. I still listen to some of it outside the game though.
The main problem for me is the emphasis on strings… violin and cello are some of the most “human” sounding instruments you can get, at least in my opinion, and even being composed in dissonant and discordant ways they still don’t manage to feel inhuman enough for the atmosphere of the game.

An emphasis on woodwind or reed instruments might have had better results since instruments like panflutes and oboes have got an airy, ethereal quality to their sound that you could more easily turn into something otherworldly.

That all being said – credit where it’s due, there were one or two tracks in Dissolution of Eternity that I thought worked surprisingly well in spite of all this. And the guitars, at least, were definitely real… they just don’t seem to have been recorded particularly well :smiley: Might have been intentional though, to get that grittiness.

I honestly think there were a lot of good ideas in those soundtracks, that just could have been executed a lot better.
And it was almost certainly one of the first game OSTs to use any real instrument as a main focus, even if the only real thing in there was the guitar.

[quote=Neofelis nightmarus]And yet they left it on the cd? Weeeeeeiiiiiiiird.
I spoke to one of the 2021 devs a few days ago about the ExM5 tracks and they said they were currently fixing those maps to use track 11.
[/quote]
Well the original game’s ExM5 did use track11. I suspect it was in the plans to remove it for retail full version of the game for whatever reason, perhaps concerned of the CD space. Because map sources dated September 1996 (more than a month after original game was released) have ExM5 use track10 instead. So maybe there were some plans to ditch one track, but it didn’t happen, and that’s for the better.

However these map sources also have a few things that original game’s map do not have at all. So it’s still somewhat of a mystery.

Re-release just had maps recompiled probably from the same map sources, that’s why track10 thing happened.

Not sure, but I thought one of the two add-on packs had music performed by a real symfonic orchestra.