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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

 

I WILL GET YOU FRANK KLEPACKI!

I was surfing the net when I visited the website of Frank Klepacki on a whim. For those of you that don't recognize his name, he's the brilliant composer behind many popular games such as Command & Conquer.

Imagine my surprise to find that he had full length high quality versions of many of his songs (Certainly all the Command & Conquer ones) on his website, playable through a flash player!

Being me, I instantly decided I must have these songs for myself. I began by using a packetsniffer to find out where the flash script was grabbing the files from. It turned out they were all stored in a directory on his webserver, in a filename such as "277.fk". Upon downloading this file and cracking it open with a hex editor, the letters FWS was to be found in the header... a bit of googling determined that these were SWF files.

I fired up the files in Flash Player, and they were indeed SWF files... an SWF extractor confirmed the presence of an MP3 file within the SWF file, however the program wasn't up to the task of extracting the file. After some more googling I turned up a trial of an SWF extractor that I hadn't already expired the trial period of, and was able to extract the MP3 file.

Turns out they're 128kbit stereo MP3 files, certainly high enough quality to store and listen to! I'll be extracting the MP3s from all my favourite songs for my collection. At last, I have high quality versions of the songs, not the crap low-quality versions that actually shipped with the games! (They were 22khz 8-bit)

Comments:
Hi Guspaz,

I'm in the lucky position to have all of Frank Klepackis awesome C&C soundtracks on CD, however I'd love to have his Dune-tunes as well.

So could you please be so kind and shed some more light on where exactly you've found all those files and/or or which program to use?

Kind Regards,
Sindbad

P.S.: Dear Frank K. - if you ever should find this posting, please forgive me for trying to grab your music that way. Unfortunately there's just no other way to get hold of it (with no CD available) and I just love that music so much! ;-)
 
Hmm, well, it's been seven years since I wrote that post... My memory of what I did is a lot less complete than the text of the blog post :)

I do recall that I wrote a BASH script to automate the downloading of all the SWF files, and his site remains the same as it was then, but I don't remember the base URL or anything else, so I can't be of much help to you. Since the files are all named with numbers, the only way to get the files you want would be to play the individual files on the site, and watch the URL with a packetsniffer.

Ultimate, the low tech solution is far easier, although you'll get a slight generational quality loss (from recompressing the MP3): use a sound recording app like audacity to record the "stereo mix" of your soundcard while playing back the song on the site, and trim the ends, then save it as an MP3. It's a kludge to be sure, and as I mentioned there's some generational loss, but it's a lot less effort, so it should be fine if you just want a few songs.
 
Thanks for your quick reply, Guspaz!

It took me a whole weekend, but alas I've been able to retrace all of your original steps and now I've got all those precious files in wonderful mp3 quality!!!! Wohooo!!! :-D

Thanks again for pointing out that the ending of all those SWF-Files ia actually .fk, that's been the most vital information to me!

Kind Regards,
Sindbad

(... who's currently listening to all those wonderful Frank Klepacki tunes ...)
 
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