Let’s Make: Traffic Department 2192 – Part 14

Assets - Sound and Music

The music is one of the endearing elements of Traffic Department 2192. It was composed by (Michael) Owen Pallette, the brother of the primary developer. Fortunately for us, the sound and music assets are stored in well-known formats and we can rely on standard tools to extract them. We still need to convert them to more common formats, such as WAV for MP3. There are 34 sound files split between VOC and CMF formats that we're interested in.

Sound File Format

Traffic Department relies on Creative Labs formats that were very common in the 1990s. There's a lot of documentation out there on these formats, if we wanted to consider making a program to simulate the music instructions. Fortunately, we already have a software solutions for sounds...

Extracting Sounds

We'll do this the easy way. We'll start DosBox and hit CTRL-F6 to begin exporting all sounds to a .WAV file. Delete the existing configuration file so we have set sounds on startup. We want to play through twice, the first time with only music, then with only sounds. Then we'll start up the game and play through mission 1 going slowly through each menu scene in order to capture all the music. Close the game after going through 1 cycle of gameplay music. Delete the config file again and then play with sounds only. We only need to capture 1 blaster volley and 1 missile shot.

We have 2 WAV files and we'll bring them in to Audacity. Our goal is to cut the single wave file in to separate tracks for each sound. I recommend watching the video above to see exactly how to do this. Note that you'll need the LAME library in order to export MP3s with Audacity.

Other Issues Alternatives

I demonstrated the Audacity method strictly to save time and focus only on the assets we'll use in the prototype. Ideally we want all of the sound and music files converted. The fastest tool-assisted way would be to use a program like Winamp, queue up all the sound files and make sure the output device is the WAV or MP3 format.