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[Tutorial] ME3 Wwise Audio Pipeline

Made by modders for modders. Step-by-step instructions on how to achieve specific modding goals with ME3Explorer. We *strongly* encourage you to post new tutorials on the wiki.

[Tutorial] ME3 Wwise Audio Pipeline

Postby Enetirnel » 06 May 2013, 02:40

Firstly, credit goes to Fob for his video tutorial which I am going to embed below the instructions which I have written down if you are unable to hear Fob talking clearly in the video.

Please note that at the current time that music replacement (not vocal dialogue or sound effects) within Mass Effect 3 is not 100% due to the process being convoluted due to multiple issues that one may come across during the replacement process.

1. Backup files BIOGame/CookedPCConsole
2. Open Mass Effect 3 Explorer
3. Open Asset Explorer
4. Find Mass Effect 3.exe
5. See a list of all .PCC files
6. Language versions will be labelled as filename_LOC_INT (English), LOC_IT (Italian), LOC_FR (French), LOC_DE (German) and so-on.
7. Right-clicking on the sound files once inside your region's language .pcc will bring up different options (extract, play, stop and properties)
8. Audiokinetics Wwise - http://www.saintsrowmods.com/files/Wwise_v2010.3.3.zip - it HAS to be this version as the Mass Effect games have been encoded using this older version of Wwise.
9. Start a new project (any name for the project is perfectly fine).
10. Go to Project -> Import Audio Files (any extracted files you want to import and re-encode to replace another in ME3).
11. Imported audio files will be located in the left-hand side under "Active Audio Stream", unconverted files will be coloured BLUE.
12. Once the audio is selected, a frame to the right will open up and allow playback of the file and above it there will be tabs labelled - General Settings, Conversion Settings and so-on.
13. Click on Conversion Settings.
14. Click edit, you need to select the correct conversion settings.
15. In Mass Effect for dialogue the format is Normal, not Stereo and the audio is encoded at 24,000 hz (music in the game has been encoded in multiple formats and may be across various hertz ranges). You can change it but it may not play properly in game due to the change in it's bit rate, bit depth or sampling rate (which you can read as to why down further in my post).
16. The file format must be Ogg Vorbis/Vorbis. You can edit it by bitrate, quality and so-on but if you change the quality and/or bit rate then it can lower the file size.
17. Mass Effect 3 typically uses about 30 kilobytes per second, music streams are typically higher but the music conversion isn't 100% working so Fob hasn't covered it.
18. Once the file is converted, the file will be displayed in Audiokinetics Wwise in a WHITE colour.
19. Once encoded in Wwise, you will need to changethe file ending in Windows Explorer from .OGG to .WAV for ME3 Explorer to import them.
20. Converted files will have a bit of code following the file name, whereas the extracted original ones will not. The code section is referring to the encoded settings for the file itself.
21. Back to ME3 Explorer - Asset Explorer wherever you were, right-click and select import and browse to your newly encoded audio.
22. Once imported, click File and save changes.
23. Use Toc.bin Updater and confirm the updates.



*Notes* Mass Effect 3 Explorer / Asset Explorer will not play the newly imported audio file but instead plays the original one (possibly due to how ME3 Explorer/Asset Explorer pulled it up in memory, not entirely sure why).

The basic range for Mass Effect 3 is 24,000 hertz. Any lower or higher and you may experience issues with the dialogue being higher and faster or lower and slower in pitch and speed unless you have resampled the audio, bit rate and bit depth during the encoding process to ensure it is played back correctly in-game.

And if you change the bit rate (a low bit rate will affect the audio quality), bit depth or sample rate then you will also need to be aware that it may affect the streaming speed due to how those specify how many bits of data can be output from that audio file per second, the bit depth determines the measurements (16 bit is from the range of 2 to the power of 16, 24 bit is 2 to the power of 24 and so-on), the sampling rate affects the frequency of the audio itself (meaning it can be played at a higher pitch or a lower pitch) depending on the file specs if it hasn't been edited and encoded within the proper manner when edited or before or during conversion with Wwise.

If the sampling rate is also outside of the bit depth range (which also covers how many decibels range that digital audio file can cover, the higher the bit depth, the more range the file has) then the audio may not even play (or may be playing but no audio is being output by the file) due to the sampling rate being outside of the file's bit depth range.

Fob has tried changing around some of the settings in Wwise and hasn't encountered any issues as of yet, but I would highly recommend keeping to the original file's settings to be on the safe side to avoid any playback issues due to the aforementioned possible causes of issues if changed.

Fob also recommends to use Ww2OGG by HCS64 combined with extracting sounds via Mass Effect 3 Explorer as by using HCS64's tool you will be able to see the original settings on the original audio files you have extracted and can then adjust your replacement file within Wwise to match the original, again as to avoid any possible playback issues within the game.

A general explanation of the reasons behind the music replacement process and issues with it :

Spoiler:
Within Mass Effect 3 Explorer and/or Asset Explorer files are being displayed as wave format due to how the program has been written to make it an easy conversion from Ogg Vorbis into a commonly used format for those just wanted to do some simple music rips for unreleased music is what I would say.

The thing is, there's still issues with the actual music imports (not dialogue or general sound effects) so you may still need to check the Wwise soundbanks for music IDs and follow along the other sections from what I've written down and combine it with what is mentioned in this post, or you may be able to get away with simply setting a seek table at 8192 for the song you're encoding to import in the game, but that may only work provided that the song you're encoding to be imported is of a same, if not smaller file size than the original track you're replacing otherwise the track will not loop.

Because of the game using Wwise, it's not a simple matter of changing the bit rate, depth or sampling rate of your music/vocal/sound effects audio and dropping the file into the game so it has to be done in a currently convoluted manner and part of the reason that this is the current method is that there were previously issues with editing certain files as they would affect the DLC files and cause authorization issues and ME3 to screw up in general but now, this week we can edit the normal files and the DLC files with the updated ME3 Explorer tools so outside of a couple of bugs with that at the moment, it should be easier sometime soon to edit files within both the main game and DLC content without having to fiddle with multiple soundbanks, duplications of files in order to get it working properly in-game.


Additional posts for reference:
Impingu1984 on replacing Purgatory music
Fob on Wwise's needed usage
PariahKing on editing DLC Audio and staying authorized (either this method or the new DLC editor can be used, but the DLC editor IS new so there could be some more bugs with using the new DLC editor itself than by going with the older and longer method).

This may only apply to DLC files but given the new DLC Editor, it may or may not be needed :

If you have checked the Wwise streaming soundbanks or overall soundbanks and have found that the song you are looking to replace has an ID within it, then you may need to do some hex editing in order to get your replacement song to work - this is currently the only other way to get certain audio files imported into the game properly.

Fob's Guide on hex editing the Wwise soundbanks

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Re: Mass Effect 3 Audio Import Guide

Postby VFerreira93 » 17 May 2015, 18:51

I used Audio Extract to extract some audio files from ME1 and they're all in .ogg format.
I can't seem to upload them into Wwise. How can I solve this and how can I import audio files from ME1? :)
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Re: Mass Effect 3 Audio Import Guide

Postby The Fob » 18 May 2015, 14:51

I use Dragon Unpacker to get audio out of ME1 and that works just fine for me. If you have ogg files that will not play, try to use revorb.exe on them (comes with ww2ogg).

Also, just a quick note that this tutorial is very old. Asset Explorer is a very old tool and has not been updated in some time. I guess the tutorial should still work and is probably ok to test stuff but if you want to make audio mods, it may be much better to make DLC mods and add your own afc files with new sound.
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