I was asked recently if it was possible to play the Lord of the Rings Online soundtrack on another device, well anything really. The answer is simple - not easily.
Back with the release of the Mines of Moria expansion, the Collector's Edition included a soundtrack album of the MoM sound track. A little later, Turbine released the Shadows of Angmar soundtrack thru the download service from the LOTRO vault. Sadly both are no longer available through that service.
I was able to find a copy of the soundtrack on Fileplanet and you can download that from them. The Lord of the Rings Online Soundtrack was released in 2009, and runs to approximately 307Mb.
Alternatively, as all the music and soundtracks are already saved into your computer, why not "save" the music from there? You can, but you will need some additonal software. The beauty of doing this is that ALL the soundtracks are available (some more easily obtained than others, as will be explained) included the most recent additions. I have to give credit to Roger Edwards who put together this guide, so let us jump in. One caveat on the following, part of the Turbine TOS is that you will not unpack, extract or in anyway manipulate the files, media and content of LOTRO. This procedure can be interpreted as contravention of those conditions. You have been warned, proceed at your own risk. The follow process WILL NOT modify or damage your existing installation of LOTRO.
The Music of LOTRO – Part 1 - Extracting the Files
December 30, 2010 - Roger Edwards
One of the most outstanding aspects of LOTRO is its soundtrack. The score written by Chance Thomas and featuring additional material by Stephen DiGregorio, is comparable to that of any major feature film. Using a leitmotif for each race and culture, the score becomes an additional character in the unfolding story. Over the past three years, selected material from the game soundtrack has been available on two CDs and at one time via direct download. A comprehensive and chronological collection of all the music cues, has never been released.
However, the game soundtrack can be accessed directly from the existing installation and with some effort you can play most of your favourite tracks at you leisure. What follows is a step by step guide of the process I used to extract the relevant music files. Before you attempt this there are a few points to consider. Firstly, the LOTRO soundtrack is subject to the usual copyright laws. Secondly, the process used requires manipulating a single file, “client_sound.dat”, which is 2.58 GB in size (Both US and EU versions are the same at present). You will need a fairly robust PC to do this in a reasonable period of time. Consider this before proceeding.
Extracting the music files from LOTRO:
1.) To begin with you will need a suitable tool to extract the music from the single file that contains them all. I recommend Nova Softare: Extractor 2.5 which is free and user friendly.
After download and installation the first thing you have to do with this application, is to set the default language from Russian to English (or whatever you prefer). The picture below shows the appropriate location of the language settings, within the option tab.
2.) Next, set the location of the file you wish to scan. The target file to scan is called “client_sound.dat”. It can be found in the "C:\Program Files (x86)\Turbine\The Lord of the Rings Online" sub-directory. Also select where the extracted files will be saved to, perhaps create a new folder in the root of your hard disk drive called "Temp LOTRO OGG Files". Then click on the format tab. This will show a list of 59 file types that the program can scan for. Select “OGG” as the LOTRO soundtrack is stored in Ogg Vorbis format. Then click on the Groupfiles tab and deselect everything by pressing the "-" button at the base of the page.
3.) Click “Start” to begin the scan. You will then receive an on-screen message of a technical nature. It is not particularly clear due to translation problems but for scanning to proceed you have to select “OK”. Once you have done so the program will examine the file. This uses a great deal of system resources and it is best not to use any other application while the scan is running. On my PC (an over-clocked quad core AMD system with 4 GB of RAM) this took 25 minutes.
4.) When the process is complete, you will see a list of “OGG” files that have been discovered. There will be over 100, 000 of them. To select them all, simply click on the “+” symbol just above the “Functions” button at the bottom left of the window. This again takes a few minutes to complete, due to the volume of data. Once all have been selected and show a tick on the left of the name, you may click “Extract”.
5.) A confirmation screen will appear asking you to verify the directory you selected earlier for the files to be saved to. Click “OK” to begin the extraction process.
6.) The extraction process again takes a while and it is advisable not to use any other applications on your PC. You may on occasion receive a message that the application has “stopped responding” but this is often erroneous. Simple let the program do its job and it should be done within 10 minutes.
On completion, you may close the “Nova Extractor” software. Please note that due to the volume of data that the package has been handling, it may take a few minutes to close. It may even be beneficial to reboot your PC after the entire process to clear any superfluous data held in memory. You have now successfully extracted the soundtrack of LOTRO along with various ambient sound effects.
In the next article I shall be looking at some of the matters arising from the above process. The files are numbered and do not give any immediate indication of what piece of music they are. I will also look at what software can play back files in Ogg Vorbis format. I did state initially that some effort is required in this undertaking but it is not too taxing. At present this is the most comprehensive way to enjoy the game soundtrack
The Music of LOTRO – Part 2 - Sorting & Playing the Files
December 31, 2010 --- Roger Edwards
In part one we looked at the process of extracting the LOTRO soundtrack. In this part we will look at the 108,526 files that are generated and how to sort through them. The extracted files are numbered but the esoteric indexing is only of use to the game developers. The files vary in size from 7 MB to just 12 KB. Some are whole music tracks, some are fragmented cues and others are ambient sound effects.
The extracted files are in two formats. “OGG” and “OGM”. Both are variants of “Ogg Vorbis” media files. The files with “OGG” extensions are entire files and can be played with an appropriate codec. The files suffixed with “OGM” cannot be played immediately as they are not single tracks but part of one. When LOTRO SoA was originally released, all of the games soundtrack was stored as individual “OGG” files. However, with the addition of MoM, each new track was split into multiple parts, comprising of a header “OGG” file and then multiple component “OGM” files. I would surmise that this may have been done for reasons of copy protection. Turbine have subsequently ceased using this system and all music added on subsequent expansions (SoM & Enedwaith) is again as single “OGG” files.
Now, for those with infinite patience, the fragmented files that comprise the MoM soundtrack can be assembled into single tracks. However, due to the complexity of the procedure involved, I will not cover that here. For the meantime, we shall have to content ourselves with merely having access to everything else, except MoM related material. There is still a great deal to enjoy and once again the amount of music available is greater than the limited selection that was initially released either on CD or via direct download.
The easiest way to play back files in “OGG” format is to simply install VLC Player, which is an open-source multimedia framework, player and server. It simply plays pretty much any media file type you can throw at it. However, we are all creatures of habit and may not wish to change your default media player. Alternatively, simply go to Vorbis.Com where you can find the codec for your media player of choice. Once installed, you will notice that unlike a well tagged MP3, these extracted files still give away little information. The only immediate discernible detail is the file size.
With this lack of information, the process of sorting through the files is somewhat labour intensive. Ordering files by size will help you eliminate a substantial quantity. Anything under 100 KB is either a fragmented “OGM” file or a brief sound effect. However, this does not guarantee that all remaining material is music. There are numerous ambient environmental tracks containing birdsong, waterfalls or the wind blowing. Some of these are 3-4 MB. The inevitable fact is the best way to catalogue the music is to simply play each track and migrate those you like to an alternative directory. Although this will take a while, the reward is finding a particular piece that you have always enjoyed.