As I've demonstrated from the examples provided in this guide, it's possible to extract music from any game - you just need the right tools and some time and effort. I've gone through the selection of games above not just so you know how to extract music from these particular games (as good as their soundtracks may be), but so you can see how to do it for any game you like.
Some games have music files which are up-front and apparent. Morrowind for example has all of its music under the C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Morrowind\Data Files\Music\ directory in high quality MP3 format. No extraction or conversion is necessary to enjoy beautiful tracks like Morrowind_Title.mp3, especially if you use Nero to burn directly to CD from MP3.
Other games are the exact opposite. As we saw with Mafia for example, it required a custom-made tool (MafiaXTractor) to extract the game music from the .dta files. Even the use of Extractor 2.34 did not pull out the music files.
In between there are a range of scenarios, such as Jedi Outcast's MP3 files simply compressed in WinZip-compatible .pk3 files, or Nightfire's OGG files which only require the use of a player with an OGG plugin like Winamp 3 to play.
The important thing is to examine the file structure of a game. Aside from the obvious search for audio and music directories and their WAV, MP3 or OGG files, check for .dll files which hint at the audio format the game uses. For example Mafia has the files ogg.dll and vorbis.dll in its base directory. This tells us instantly that even though the music/audio files are not visible, the game uses OGG encoded audio. This can help narrow down the search when attempting to extract the files using a tool like Extractor.
Also, remember that some formats may appear playable, like the WAV files in Hitman 2 or the ASF files in EA Games like NFSHP2 and NBA Live 2003, but in truth these files cannot be played as they are with a software player. Attempt to use Extractor on the file first, and use GAP or Sndview in particular on EA Games.
Finally, if everything fails, the foolproof method for Creative sound card owners is always the Creative Recorder. It has never failed me in recording high quality music from any game. Creative Recorder is also useful if you want to record portions of DVD audio, or streaming audio from any source. As I said, it is totally foolproof in that regard.
There you have it, I think I've covered all the bases when it comes to extracting game music. The sample of games I run through in this guide are particularly well-endowed in the audio department, and I believe it's only a sign of more good things to come in the world of game music. If you're like me, music is a very important part of your life, and what better way to add enjoyment to your purchase of a game by being able to enjoy its soundtrack separately as well.
For all you audiophiles out there, if you spot any errors in this guide or if you have any tools or game music extraction/conversion methods you want to let me know about, drop me a line. I'll update the guide accordingly. I'll also consider a second part to this guide later in 2003 when more great games hit the shelves bursting with musical goodness.
In the meanwhile I hope you've enjoyed this guide and found something useful in it. I want to thank all the authors of the utilities and programs I link to in this guide, and in particular I want to warmly thank the game music composers out there who are giving us all a gift with their wonderful music.
Till the next time take care and as always, I would love to hear your thoughts about this or any other of my guides.