Customizing Era-Specific Background Music in C3C


Dec 30, 2003
  • I wrote this article as a way to change background music in Civ3. So then I saw that there was already one. :cry: I felt stupid, naturally. So I changed the point of the article! :crazyeye:
  • This is my first tutorial. It is not easy to read. On proofread I will make this better, I promise :cry:

This tutorial was made and tested on Civilizations III – Conquests Expansion Pack Version 1.22, though in theory, it should be able to work for Vanilla or PTW.
The goal of this tutorial is to be able to replace the background music for custom scenarios, mods, or even your normal Conquests game. (( NOTE: This will not tell you how change the menu music ))


Section 0 – Why?
Well, I created this tutorial on the realization that nobody effectively knew how to change music when prompted with the query. Of course, it could have been that the people with the right knowledge never replied, but at least there was no tutorial already.

Oh…wait…did you mean would do you want to change your music? There are many reasons. One possible reason is that you hate the default music or you find it bland. Another reason is that you want the mood of your mod or scenario to match the music (i.e. you would not want the Ancient Era music playing in your futuristic or fantasy mod).
This is also my first tutorial, in case you didn’t notice, so my style of writing may be hard to follow. Please alert me if this is so :D


Section 1 – Your Music
Well, if you have made your choice to change the music of Civ3 for your scenario, mod, or play, you should first choose the replacement songs.
There are a few things that you should keep in mind before you choose your songs:

First and foremost, they will be MP3s.

Second, there will be three different songs for three different eras (Modern Era is different). As well, there will be five different Culture Groups (Middle-East, American, European, Mediterranean, and Asian) each with their own music for each era. This means that if you have a different song for each slot like the default Civ3 does, you will have 15 different songs for the first three eras. In addition to the fifteen songs for the first three eras, you will need three new songs for the Modern Era that are not culture-specific. This makes there a total of 18 different songs…that is, if you decide to create a different song for each slot. Most likely, you will ignore the culture-specific things and simply find 4-7 total Era-specific songs. Or, if you want pure simplicity, just one song for the whole game. This guide does not cover how to create culture-specific songs very tightly, so beware.

So now that you have the number of songs that you need in mind, you will also need to mind their file sizes. This third criteria will reduce a lot of stress when you are publishing your mod or scenario due to download size, and may or may not slow down the game time and how long turns last (if you are just using this personally). In the default music, the maximum file size is about 7 MB in Ancient Age. However, in Middle, Industrial, and Modern ages, file sizes rarely exceed 5 MB. A good, average size is about 2-4 MB each. If you are creating a scenario, keep it 2 or lower at all costs.

With these three things in mind (MP3s, around 3 MB, and 4 to 18 songs), pick out your song to match what you want for your purposes. If you wish to extract MP3s from CDs, see Section 2.


Section 2 – The Programs you will Need
  • GoldWave – This is a program that will allow you to create your Ancient Era Collection, and it is surprisingly simple to use for a free software. This is a required! Unless you already have another wav editor, you must get this.
  • dBpowerAMP – This program will allow you to convert filetypes, and again, it is a very good free product.
  • Free Rip MP3 (Credit to Bhiita) – Although dBpowerAMP can rip music off CDs for you, this program originally posted by Bhiita will get those hard-to-reach music files that record companies hide and that dBpowerAMP can’t reach (of course, you could always use Windows Media Player and then convert them using dBpowerAMP, but this way is easier).


Section 3 – Ancient Era
Go to your Civ3 directory (most likely C:\Program Files\Infogrames Interactive\Civilization III) and go to the “Sounds” folder. From there, go to “build”. This is your battlefield. Get acquainted to everything there, and then back-up this entire directory if you will be messing with this to change your personal music. If you are just making a scenario, recreate this directory onto your scenario path (the same path where your new /art and /text things are, and you have your /Sounds/build to go with it), and work with that.

Every folder represents an era (except for Industrial and Modern, which are combined), and as you can see, every folder is unique, because the layouts are different.

Our first focus is the Ancient Era, which is also the most complicated one. In the director “ancient”, you see that every Culture Group has 9 wavs and 1 mp3 (Except for Asian, which has only 5 wavs). EC = European; GR = Mediterranean; ME = Middle-Eastern; NA = North American; OR = Asian.

The Nine Wavs are each parts of the One MP3, the “full”. Play AncECa first with a normal media player. Then AncECb. Then AncECc. Then AncECd, etc. until you get to AncECi. Notice how they get progressively more elaborate and build on eachother. Finally, play AncECfull, which is the “final” one.

How does this all matter in-game? Well, in Civ3, when you first start the game you start with the “a” wav looping over and over and over again. When you press the “build town” button, the “a” wav stops and the “b” wav starts to loop. Then, progressively, the “c” wav loops at a certain point, then the “d” wav, until you reach the “i” wav. The points at which they change from “a” to “b” and “b” to “c” I do not know. I have observed this and there never seems to be a set pattern, because it always changes at different times. If anyone knows this data I would be glad to know it.
So, anyways, once they are finished looping the “i” wav, they will start to loop “full”. This song will last until the end of the Ancient Era.

So, now that we know what we are aiming for, let’s make those abcdefghi wavs – let’s make our “Ancient Era Library”! Yay! Don’t worry. It’s not as hard as it sounds, especially if you don’t have culture-specific music and only had 4-7 songs like I recommended.
First, open up GoldWave and open the MP3 file that you downloaded/ripped for your Ancient Era (if you’re doing culture-specific, then repeat these steps for each culture). Listen through it by pressing the “play” button (it doesn’t matter which one) and then mentally create nine little “intro blocks” in your head. These little “blocks” should be about the same in length and loop fairly smoothly. It’s okay for intro blocks to overlap. If you need an example, listen to the default files to get a feel of what you are looking for. I will post a real example soon.
Now that you have your intro blocks, go to the main window and drag your mouse over your first intro block (listen to it through to find where it starts and finishes). If you did it right, it should be highlighted in blue. Go to EDIT on the drop-downs at the top and then select COPY.
Then create a new file (FILE -> NEW) and select EDIT -> PASTE. Highlight the areas with no activity (the part that comes after your pasted part) and then press DELETE on your keyboard. Now save it as “ancienteraA” or something, but save it as a wav file!
Then close the window and repeat the process with the rest of your intro blocks, changing A to B to C and so forth. Once you have all nine, close out of GoldWave and open up your /Sounds/build/ancient directory. (If you have culture-specific songs, repeat this until you have 9 intro blocks for every culture group) Delete the entire /ancient directory (DON’T DO THIS TO YOUR DEFAULT DIRECTORY UNLESS YOU HAVE BACKED IT UP! You have been warned!).

Copy and paste your “ancienteraA.wav” into your /Sounds/build/ancient directory (in your scenario path if you are making a mod. In your Civilization 3 folders if you have already backed up the originals. Then copy it again until there are five copies of it in the /ancient directory.
The first one, rename it to “AncECa” (It is probably case sensitive, so “aNcEcA” probably won’t work). The second, rename it to “AncGRa”. The third, “AncMEa”. The fourth, “AncNAa”. The last, “AncORa”.
Then copy and past the “ancienteraB.wav”, and give the /ancient directory 5 copies of that as well. Rename the first one “AncECb”, the next “AncGRb”, then “AncMEb”, then “AncNAb”, then “AncORb”.
Do the same with “ancienteraC.wav”, “ancienteraD”, and so on, until you have copied all nine. If you made an “AncORf”, “AncORg”, “AncORh” or “AncORi”, delete them, because the game only has “AncORa” through “e”.

Then, last but not least, copy and paste your full ancient era MP3 five times and rename them “AncECfull”, “AncGRfull”, “AncMEfull”, “AncNAfull”, and “AncORfull”.

If you are using culture-specific songs, you should know what to do. (I told you that I didn’t cover this one too much in the guide)

And congratuluations! You have just finished your /ancient directory and the most time consuming one!


Section 4 – Medieval Era
This era is the easiest era to do.

First, go to Sounds/build/Middle Ages. Then delete everything there (remember to back them up if you’re directly editing the root). Then, copy and paste your Medieval Era MP3 five times, and then rename them “MidECFull”, “MidGRFull”, “MidMEFull”, “MidNAFull” and “MidORFull” (Again, Case-Senstive).
That’s right: no annoying a-i files here. Simply full MP3s.

If you are using culture-specific songs, then paste your five different songs once each and rename them according to the culture they belong to.

And…we’re done with the Medieval Era!

Section 5 – Industrial Era
Industrial Era is almost identical to Medieval Era, except for the fact that it shares its folders with Modern Era.

Go to Sounds/build/IndModern. Delete everything (again, back them up if you’re editing root). Copy your Industrial Era MP3 five times and rename them “IndECFull”, “IndGRFull”, “IndMEFull”, “IndNAFull” and “IndORFull”. For Culture-Specific things, do the same as you did with Medieval Era. And, as always, it may be case-sensitive. :blush:

Tah dah!

Section 6 – Modern Era
The modern era IMO is the most unique of them all. The Modern Era is not culture-specific, so the same three songs play for every culture. You did have three songs for modern, right? ;) (Sorry if I did not make that clear before)

Back in the same directory as Industrial Era (Sounds/build/IndModern), paste there your three MP3s for modern era (or paste the same one three times, if you only have one). Rename one of them “SmashFull”. Rename the next “StarsFull”. Then rename the last “Techno MixFull”. It is case sensitive (I think), so try to do your best.

Section 7 – Wrap-Up
If all goes well you would not understand a single word I said :D. So ask questions in this thread and correct me the multiple times I am wrong.

Also, there is a way to make a certain set of tracks loop within a scenario. There is a tutorial on that already.


Grumpy Old Man
Mar 18, 2004
Land of King James
This is Very Good, actually! and usefull! You forgot one thing, though-- your Mp3 Files MUST have atleast a 128 bit rate or it will play to ofast in game.


Apr 7, 2003
birmingham, alabama USA!!
Excellent tutorial and thanks a lot, I have been soo sick and tired of the same music for quite some time now. I had just started a thread myself asking how to change this and Goldflash helped me, and also directed me to this thread.
I'm sure this will help a many civ'ers.
Thanks, I'm putting this to use NOW!!!
Dec 27, 2001
Grand Rapids, MI
Ah, an excellent tutorial on user-decided background music. I had started one in this forum, but it had limited information. This is obviously much more in depth. I will provide a link in my "tutorial" to here.

Please note that my tutorial more specifically addresses using the "Music.txt" file to customize some music. Perhaps you could add that information to your very nice tutorial here.



Spacer One

Avatar subject to change
Aug 23, 2005
excellent tutorial MSTK...and thanx also to Goldflash...I tend to replay the first 2 eras alot(I dont like having an overwhelming advantage over my neighbors in the begining of Indust Era), and the Music is soooo tedious...this lets me change it all the time...I am making a rotation of file folders to cycle the songs.... :goodjob: :goodjob: :goodjob:


Benelovent Chieftain of the Ursu Kingdom
Dec 27, 2006
Inside a Ziggurat
WARNING: I Ignored all other repilies.... But, I tried to change the MAIN OF MAIN music in Civ3Complete, it started to breking out. the WWII didn't work. The Middle Ages didn't work. only Diplomacy worked... And still works.
Jul 17, 2003
Lincolnshire, UK
I am having some problems with adding my own music. I have been trying with adding dilpomusic but with no success. My file is the same length pretty much, same bit rate 128 kbps, audio sample rate 44 khz and 2 channels. I have Goldwave. Is there anything else that I should/could check?

Doge Soprano

Jun 22, 2007
Any idea how to change the Diplomusic as well?

I have been trying with adding dilpomusic but with no success. My file is the same length pretty much, same bit rate 128 kbps, audio sample rate 44 khz and 2 channels. I have Goldwave. Is there anything else that I should/could check?

It's been almost three years. I'm guessing people've found out about it or stopped caring but either way I found no tut for adding custom own diplomatic music so I decided the get my fat fingers off my mouse pad and going through trial and error myself. Luckily there was no error. Oh btw we can't add but only replace meaning one culture gets 4 diplomacy tracks only so that's 20 tracks total. Anyway.....

Basically what you do is create a folder called "Diplomusic" in your mod (overwrite the originals if you want to alter the vanilla game). In my case, playing RFRE, I create a folder called "Diplomusic" in the RFRE/sounds folder pretty much in the same structure as the root/vanilla complete conquest game. They must have same name as the originals for the game to be able to read/play them. At least that's what I think otherwise why would they be named DipLOLFiveCultureEarlyPeace.mp3, etc? As for the length, I don't know the exact limit but I know the longest track plays for 1 m 15 seconds and the shortest lasts only 25 secs.
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