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.
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 Codemasters or Turbine sub-directory, within Program Files or Program Files (x86) if you have a 64bits installation of Windows. Also select where the extracted files will be saved to. 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.
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