Music change for Shenmue 3 (in progress) (Alpha 0.8 released)

Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Hi dear Shenmue fans!

I've been lurking around here for a long time. First of all I want to thank the whole community for everything, for getting Shenmue III in the first place and for improving it with mods. Seriously, how the game changes with mods like the old camera style or the amazing Eric Kelso is amazing.

Well, one of the few things I disliked about Shenmue III was its reused music from II. I don't mind some repeated themes, specially when it comes to characters like Shenhua, but ever since the demo the fact that the Bailu Village Square theme was none other than the f... first theme that you listen in Shenmue 2 broke me so much. It breaks my inmersion because although I love every theme from 1 and 2, I relate every piece of in-game music to them, specially the most common ones. And Shenmue 3 uses too common S2 music, there or in Niaowu, it's like going to Hong Kong again.

Well, to solve that I made a little mod, thanks again to the community for their posts here that helped me find the way to do it. So far I've only changed said theme with Guilin in-game 4, which sets a nice and calm mood and it's not a theme that you listen often in 2. I plan onto changing more themes once I reach them, specially the Niaowu port and so on, but I want to reach there first (I'm playing it again).

I'm open to any suggestions of what themes you'd think that fit in some places that you don't like too much of S3. Whenever I update, wether I change something else in Bailu (maybe when spar with the master but I don't know yet) or when I reach Niaowu (I'm still early with stonemasons) I'll share it here. Hope you like it!

08/05/2021 UPDATE (CURRENT)

Alpha 0.8 ready. This will be the last one until beta, which will have almost all the changes I want to make in Niaowu and credits.

This contains:

- Bailu Square change to Idle Seasons track (looped)
- Lucky Hit track changed to Shenmue 2's Lucky Hit track.
- Main Baillu theme changed to Shenmue 3's Lucky Hit theme
- Chai theme changed to his original from Shenmue

Videos to see them in work:



Just extract it and paste the folder Shenmue3 into your main Shenmue 3 folder, say yes when asking to overwrite.

EXTRA VERSION: ONLY CHAI THEME CHANGED

As the name suggests, it's a version that keeps all the original music and only changes the new Chai theme to the old one from Shenmue. To install, go to Shenmue 3 folder, Shenmue3, Content, Sound, BGM, Hakkason and paste the file there, select yes to overwrite.





01/05/2021 UPDATE (OLD)

Alpha 0.2 ready to download. It's an early release for two tracks that I won't temper with anymore, they'll stay here as they are.

- Bailu Square change to Idle Seasons track (looped)
- Lucky Hit track changed to Shenmue 2's Lucky Hit track.

Videos to see them in work:


And the files. Go to Shenmue3 - Content - Sound and I suggest to to already backup the entire BGM folder (or you rather not and recover it if you want by checking integrity files on Steam or Epic), in any case just paste the whole BGM folder that I link here inside the "Sound" directory and say yes when asks to overwrite.


Things to come (or at least try it) in the future:

- Chai's original theme from Shenmue 1 (very possible) (DONE)
- Niaowu new in-game music (for certain at least the port, and try to loop it too)
- Relocate the Shenmue 3's Lucky Hit theme somewhere else (DONE)
- Loop most of the in-game tracks (or do my best, until yesterday I never edited any kind of audio before)
- Change the credits music to the old piano main theme track.

Any suggestions are very welcome!
 
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Joined
Aug 19, 2018
First welcome to the forums.

I didn‘t mind they reused music from the original games but did take issue when it was specific music associated with certain characters used as throw away store music (Fangmei’s theme comes instantly to mind). Like you said many of us have 15 years of association with certain music so it’s hard to disconnect the two.

If you can it would be great if you could create video of your reworked music so we can see it in action.
 
OP
OP
O
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
First welcome to the forums.

I didn‘t mind they reused music from the original games but did take issue when it was specific music associated with certain characters used as throw away store music (Fangmei’s theme comes instantly to mind). Like you said many of us have 15 years of association with certain music so it’s hard to disconnect the two.

If you can it would be great if you could create video of your reworked music so we can see it in action.
Thank you very much!

Here's a small video of it, sorry for the quality, the HDR burned the recording.


I have seen the problem that some people like you has with Fangmei's theme. When I reach Niaowu I'll take a look and see if I can replace it with some other theme less iconic and that fits the store well. There are a lot of themes in Shenmue 2 from shops or restaurant that have no attachment like Fangmei's that can suit well there.

As I said, I'm open to any suggestions or ideas!
 

spud1897

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Really nice work, it's actually something James and I were discussing for a Podcast episode down the line.

Keep it up
 

ShenSun

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Jul 24, 2018
fantastic mod. This really makes a difference to bailu square. I'll definitely be installing this on my next playthrough
 
OP
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Thank you very much @spud1897 @ShenSun for your kind words. I'll be sure to update as soon as I change anything else, there are at least a couple themes that I want to change and as always don't hesitate to let me know your suggestions.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Great work!

For me, I really think that this is one of the places where Shenmue 3 messed up to be honest. For the most part, it almost feels as if they just randomly slapped the music into Shenmue 3 at the last minute :(

As others have said, we have been listening to these tracks for ~20 years, and thus have associated them with the locations/characters/stores & story beat atmosphere from the first 2 games. I love in S1/S2, that the music changes in certain locations depending on which story event is taking place. One that stands out specifically is when the Free music changes in S1 to make everything feel eerie when you are starting to learn about Charlie etc. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think this ever happens in S3 (it might happen when you are waiting to go to the Hermits Nest to free Yanxin? or that might have just been wishful thinking when I think back lol). I think they just choose a song for each location and left it at that, which is a real shame in itself, but it also makes you get very tired of the same track looped over and over (Bailu Square is the perfect example).

At the same time, I totally agree that a lot of the tracks just seem completely out of place, and they pretty much disregard their former association from the first 2 games, which ultimately makes things seem strange and out of place. A mod to fix the music would be awesome to be honest (and probably a ton of work lol).

I guess while on the subject, if there are no track changes in relation to story beats in S3, do you think that is something that could be modded in?
 
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OP
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Apr 22, 2021
Great work!

For me, I really think that this is one of the places where Shenmue 3 messed up to be honest. For the most part, it almost feels as if they just randomly slapped the music into Shenmue 3 at the last minute :(

As others have said, we have been listening to these tracks for ~20 years, and thus have associated them with the locations/characters/stores & story beat atmosphere from the first 2 games. I love in S1/S2, that the music changes in certain locations depending on which story event is taking place. One that stands out specifically is when the Free music changes in S1 to make everything feel eerie when you are starting to learn about Charlie etc. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think this ever happens in S3 (it might happen when you are waiting to go to the Hermits Nest to free Yanxin? or that might have just been wishful thinking when I think back lol). I think they just choose a song for each location and left it at that, which is a real shame in itself, but it also makes you get very tired of the same track looped over and over (Bailu is the perfect example).

At the same time, I totally agree that a lot of the tracks just seem completely out of place, and they pretty much disregard their former association from the first 2 games, which ultimately makes things seem strange and out of place. A mod to fix the music would be awesome to be honest (and probably a ton of work lol).

I guess while on the subject, if there are no track changes in relation to story beats in S3, do you think that is something that could be modded in?
First let me tell you that I completely agree with you. Actually I played Shenmue 1 again just a few days back while already thinking about this mod, so taking even more notice in the music. And yes, the music changes acordingly to the story and it is superb. I can't recall if it happens in 2, but if it does it is much more limited. I guess that since 2 has a lot of streets and places, repetition wasn't a problem as much as the first one, where there are only the Residence, Sakuragaoka, Dobuita and the port.

As for Shenmue 3, I think it never changes. The game uses a rather simple way to call the tracks (this location at this time -> archive X) and its variations are day, night, investigation day, investigation night. As for my limited skills I can't do that (I'd love to, however) but I think it might be possible with a script, but that would be a ton of work (find the strings, make them call other music, etc). I'd try it myself but I'm not good at scripting, sorry.

As for changing the themes as is, I can do that without a problem and it's not really hard. I just need to know the theme in game and which one goes in its place. One that I'd like to change is Chai's theme to the original, but I think that cutscenes integrate their own music, however I'll look into it tonight and one way or another I may be able to do it.

Other changes as I said are Niaowu port (I have to find an appropiate theme that matches the mood of the place) and some shops in Niaowu. But I need to advance in the game because it's been since launch that I haven't played it again and I forgot some things.

Thank you so much for your comment!
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2018
I’m sure the experts in the community can correct me but I’m 99% certain unlike the FREE music in Shenmue 1 which was dynamic and changed depending on which part of the story you are in, this was not the case with Shenmue 2 and 3.

While I thought it was amazing and makes the original game even more special it takes a lot of extra work and with the limited budget I honestly didn’t expect to see it in Shenmue 3. With that said my two biggest issues with music in Shenmue 3 was using iconic and character pieces sort of haphazardly and the sloppy way music is looped. The latter in particular feels unpolished as the piece of music just ends and then you can often hear nothing as it loops back to start of the song, I wish they made that looping more seamless.
 
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Sergeynest

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Thank you very much!

Here's a small video of it, sorry for the quality, the HDR burned the recording.


I have seen the problem that some people like you has with Fangmei's theme. When I reach Niaowu I'll take a look and see if I can replace it with some other theme less iconic and that fits the store well. There are a lot of themes in Shenmue 2 from shops or restaurant that have no attachment like Fangmei's that can suit well there.

As I said, I'm open to any suggestions or ideas!
Nice work and great choice of music.
 
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I think reusing Shenmue II Guilin music for Shenmue III Bailu makes plenty of sense. And the Bailu square one would be the first one I would replace, too, because of the strong link with Shenmue II intro you mentioned.

But...I suggest you to use this one song for Bailu square instead of the one you picked:


For two reasons:
  • It's more lively and joyful, and I think that fits the location better. (The one you picked has a kind of melancholic, almost sad tone, IMO)
  • There's a full quality version from the Shenmue I&II sound collection, and thus it fits better with the rest of the Shenmue III tracks that surround it.
I would also urge you to put this track for the Lucky Hit games:

It's the original for Shenmue II, and it's also in full quality from the Shenmue Online OST. And with that change you free the actual Lucky Hit track from Shenmue III, which you can reuse for other Bailu section (since it also comes from Shenmue II Guilin disc).
 

ShenSun

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I think reusing Shenmue II Guilin music for Shenmue III Bailu makes plenty of sense. And the Bailu square one would be the first one I would replace, too, because of the strong link with Shenmue II intro you mentioned.

But...I suggest you to use this one song for Bailu square instead of the one you picked:


For two reasons:
  • It's more lively and joyful, and I think that fits the location better. (The one you picked has a kind of melancholic, almost sad tone, IMO)
  • There's a full quality version from the Shenmue I&II sound collection, and thus it fits better with the rest of the Shenmue III tracks that surround it.
I would also urge you to put this track for the Lucky Hit games:

It's the original for Shenmue II, and it's also in full quality from the Shenmue Online OST. And with that change you free the actual Lucky Hit track from Shenmue III, which you can reuse for other Bailu section (since it also comes from Shenmue II Guilin disc).
The ideal seasons theme may work well in replacement of the willy wonka song
 

James Brown

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Ahh this will be great i’m sure! Like @spud1897 said we were planning to look into this further down the line and pick out tracks that just don’t feel right or completely don’t fit. One of the biggest one for me was the credits music lol, literally the worst piece of music for credits to give you a feeling of epic..accomplishment...it’s just Chawan Sign played over and over for 10 minutes 🤔. There needed to be at the bare minimum Shenmue’s main theme or a variation of it! Strange decisions...
 

Sergeynest

Keep your Mind as clear as a Polished Mirror.
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Ahh this will be great i’m sure! Like @spud1897 said we were planning to look into this further down the line and pick out tracks that just don’t feel right or completely don’t fit. One of the biggest one for me was the credits music lol, literally the worst piece of music for credits to give you a feeling of epic..accomplishment...it’s just Chawan Sign played over and over for 10 minutes 🤔. There needed to be at the bare minimum Shenmue’s main theme or a variation of it! Strange decisions..
Don't know if any of you listened to this amazing and emotional performance by Reuben Kee.
It is the best piano performance of Shenmue music that I have ever heard.
Unfortunately Reuben Kee died at the age of 23 in 2007 along with 4 other friends that drowned in a river of Cambodia.
Since Shenmue 3 is a game funded by the fans I always felt that it was a great oportunity to pay tribute to those Shenmue fans that never got the chance to live the dream like us and for me personally Reuben's performance always felt like the perfect theme to honor those that didn't get that chance.

 
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OP
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I think reusing Shenmue II Guilin music for Shenmue III Bailu makes plenty of sense. And the Bailu square one would be the first one I would replace, too, because of the strong link with Shenmue II intro you mentioned.

But...I suggest you to use this one song for Bailu square instead of the one you picked:


For two reasons:
  • It's more lively and joyful, and I think that fits the location better. (The one you picked has a kind of melancholic, almost sad tone, IMO)
  • There's a full quality version from the Shenmue I&II sound collection, and thus it fits better with the rest of the Shenmue III tracks that surround it.
I would also urge you to put this track for the Lucky Hit games:

It's the original for Shenmue II, and it's also in full quality from the Shenmue Online OST. And with that change you free the actual Lucky Hit track from Shenmue III, which you can reuse for other Bailu section (since it also comes from Shenmue II Guilin disc).
First of all, thanks a lot for the great comment!

When I started to "research" for a theme to put into Bailu, what first came to my mind was Guilin. Shenmue 1 music ingame it's not fitting anywhere into 3 and 2's Wan Chai - Kowloon are too constant themes that remind me completely of 2's Hong Kong. Guilin's music is only heard for an hour and changes constantly, so there isn't that attachment.

The first theme you linked here was another one I thought for Bailu Square. However, it didn't click me as much, and let me tell you why. The sound of it reminds me more of a path, like a "walk", even a goodbye. However when you reach that place, the first thing you see are the children doing Tai Chi, an old man sitting, a woman standing... Everything is very calmed and peaceful. Hence why I chose to use the other theme which gives a more calmed mood.

The one you linked I think it's perfect for the path from Shenhua's house to the Square, it's exactly that feeling that gives me. Because that path is essentialy walking down the village, only stopping for the Martial Hall or Tao Get. But that theme, even if it becomes very repetitive, is one that I associate completely to Shenmue 3 and that's why I didn't change it. If we ever get the chance to have a script that can change the music of an area according to the point of story, then I'd put it there.

The Lucky Hit I think I can get it there without a problem, I'll try it ASAP.

Thanks a lot for your feedback!

@Sergeynest that's a great idea! I don't know if the music in the credit is inserted into the video or not, but I'll look into it and try to fit the classical ending song first and Reuben's theme second. I think it would be great.

EDIT: Well, bad news for looping. My idea was to insert a looped song into the game that lasted much longer than the 2-3 minutes that they last ingame. Although I could insert it, the game aknowledges that the original tracks have a certain duration, so when it reaches the time designated for the end of the song (for example, 2:53) it starts all over again, but with a problem: the "first" track still plays. So you have the same song playing twice but in different points in time and there's a very weird remix.

So I guess that the looping part is impossible without scripting. I tried to cheat the system (thought the game would just read the song until the end and start again) but that's not exactly the case. Too bad.

Edit 2: As I thought, it happens with my normal version as well. The original theme is 2:34 minutes long and the new is 3:48, so when it reaches the 2:34 mark instead of stopping and repeating it starts from 0:00 but without stopping, meaning that during 1:14 you hear both tracks at the same time.

That proves that the looping system indeed exists. My normal theme in a weird way loops, I mean, there is no stop ever. But for some reason (probably not to tweak the original audio) they chose the easy way out that was puting the end of the track just a second before the loop, that way it will never colide.

So, knowing how this system works, leaves a door open to looping without tricks. I'll keep digging.

Oh, and the Chai theme is among the normal tracks, not inserted into a video, so that leaves me the possibility to insert the original track from S1. I need to get to Chai first however to try it and it will take me some days.
 
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OP
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I hope mods don't mind that I write a new post because the last one was getting huge with so many edits.

I finally used the Idle Seasons theme that @jcjimher suggested, mainly because it fitted better with the time I had to cut the theme not to overlap with itself. Cutting the track and adding some fading made it loop almost perfectly. So we have the first looping track in Shenmue 3. You can watch it in the video, the latest seconds are the end of the track and the little overlap that combines with the fade (2:48)


I still don't publish this version because tomorrow I'll try adding the lucky hit theme, but I'm very happy with the result so far. I'll try doing the same thing for other tracks in the game, not just the ones I add but I can't promise that.
 
OP
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Awesome work @Old Snake

Any chance of creating a ui tool to select which tracks can be replaced by the user? Or is that to much work on the backend?
Thank you.

Not with my skills and knowledge. I do this in a kinda primitive way (decode, replace track, recode) so the file can't be tempered if not following several steps.

What I can do once this is finished is to make different packs with different combinations if you guys want. Or if a scripter is interested in doing this or any other thing I'm open to help any way I can.

@Fukuhara Niaowu is on the works, at least the port music will be changed for sure and probably more tracks as well.

EDIT: Lucky Hit theme from 2 successfully added. Tonight I'll post the mod and video.

EDIT 2: Well, here it is. As @jcjimher suggested/requested, here is a little pack (I'll name it Alpha 0.2) containing the looped Idle Seasons for the Bailu Square and the Lucky Hit from Shenmue 2. Here the video on the Lucky Hit:


I'll update and re-order the OP, there you'll find the links.
 
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