World of Warcraft Spotlight
After having played the game for hundreds of hours, it is very likely you are getting bored of the game's original music. You could, of course, listen to your favourite music through a media player of your choice. But that means you would have to leave the game, which can be inconvenient at times.
And that's where Soundtrack comes in. This addon allows you to replace the game's original soundtrack with your favourite songs, from within the game! Not only does it let you change the music of individual battles and zones, but it also makes it possible to create your own playlists.
Simply clicking the "Install via Curse Client" button found on the main page is all you have to do to install this addon.
World of Warcraft Interview
We also had the opportunity to hold an interview with Morricone, the original developer of Soundtrack. Read on to learn more about the addon's development process!
How did you get into World of Warcraft?
I got into an early beta of WoW and I wasn't even familiar with Warcraft so I gave the beta key to my friend Lori who became completely addicted during the first beta. Then when the game came out, I got my account and started playing. The only MMO I played before was FFXI.
What made you decide to become an addon developer and what inspired you?
After a few years playing WoW I got tired of the WoW music and started missing the music and ambiance of FFXI. And I thought it would be cool to replace the in-game music with my own MP3s. I looked for an addon to do that and there was only a few addons that let you play MP3s like a mini player, but it wasn't linked to in-game events. So I decided to write the Soundtrack addon.
How did the community respond to the addon’s release?
It was very positive and it felt good to hear from users who were really enjoying it as much as I was. At one point I think the addon had about 200,000 downloads. I did the addon for me at first, than a few users requested some interesting features and the addon evolved from that feedback.
Roughly how much time did it take to finish the first functioning version of Soundtrack?
I think it was about 2 or 3 weeks. But afterwards I spend many months adding more advanced functionality.
Did you come across any challenges during development?
The lua language was quite a challenge. I'm mainly a C# / C++ developer so writing in a language with no debugging support, no auto-completion, and if you forget to declare a local variable it assumes its a global variable, etc was really a pain. I had to write my own custom functions to dump debug logs to the WoW output windows. It was also a pain to get the mp3s in the game since in the game addon code you cannot scan the user's hard drive for security reasons. I had to write a python application so that both pc and mac users could run the same program to scan their music folders to generate the MyTracks.lua file used in game to construct the full list of the users music tracks. And I didn't know python either! I wish Blizzard simply released a function to list files under the WoW program folder. And at one point, the Blizzard PlayMusic function stopped doing cross fades so I had to hack something by playing with the volume manually and it was never quite perfect and the addon lost a bit of its magic when that cross fading functionality was lost.
What was your favourite development tool for this project?
I used Visual Studio to organize my lua files and have syntax highlighting. I used xcode when I was on mac. The most important tool though was Perforce to check in each update and fix and revert my code when I tried something that didn't work.
What stage of Soundtrack’s development process did you enjoy most?
When I had the first world area and battle music working. That's when I could put my FFXI tracks around the WoW zones and the battle music so it felt like I was playing FFXI again.
And what is your favourite feature of the addon itself?
Again, the zone and battle music. The flight music is pretty cool too. My favorite was Bastian's Happy Ride from Neverending Story.
Are you currently working on any other addons?
No, I stopped playing WoW a few years ago, so I left the development of Soundtrack to other volunteer developers who were kind enough to maintain it and make it evolve. Maybe I'll write a similar addon for the next MMO Blizzard is preparing for us.
In addition to your World of Warcraft addon, have you ever released any custom content for other games?
No, apart from my current job as game developer for Ubisoft (making tools for the Assassin's Creed franchise), I've never done any development other that for this addon.
Besides your own projects, what are some of your favourite addons from other authors?
I loved using Clique to make all my healings through Keyboard+mouse clicks combos. I suddenly found myself managing my mana much better and became a better healer with that addon. I used Auctioneer a lot too to help me determine the best prices to put on my auctioned items.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring addon developers?
You need a lot of patience and you need to make an addon you'll want to use yourself!
Having reached the end of the interview, we would like to thank Morricone for taking the time to answer our questions and of course for developing the addon in the first place!
Soundtrack is a great addon for anyone getting bored of the original game music. The addon makes it possible to replace the game's soundtrack and create custom playlists easily, all from within the game!