The Orange Tunes

By John Walker on December 22nd, 2007 at 5:55 pm.

Valve have recently (yesterday) made available a soundtrack for The Orange Box, available from their online store.

The 19 track CD contains tunes from Episodes One and Two, Team Fortress 2, and of course Portal. That naturally includes Still Alive, but there’s also a bonus version of the song sung by its co-writer Jonathan Coulton.

The question is, don’t we already have those songs on our computer? All the tunes bar one already exist on your machine, albeit in an encoded format. The trouble is, we all know how to get at those songs and have them as playable mp3s.

So is it some form of piracy to do that? We’ve paid for the games, the songs come with the games, can be heard in their entirity within the game, and with the correct tool, can easily be extracted from the game. So do Valve, by selling a separate “best of” collection, assume we won’t? They’re charging a weeny $9.95 (£5 approx) for the CD, so it’s hardly a cruel attempt to milk their loyal customers. But it does seem a bit odd to essentially re-sell the same songs to us again.

Obviously, most people won’t be arsed faffing around with applications and directory trees to get at the music, and so the CD will be a far better option for them. So, in conclusion, I dunno.

What I do know is that fuzzy-dice companion cubes are not the Plushies we were PROMISED in time for Christmas, and therefore it’s not unreasonable to call for the head of Gabe Newell on a plate.

Someone at Valve, do you mind if we extract the songs from the data, rather than buy your CD? Tell us!

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21 Comments »

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  1. Evo says:

    It may be re-selling a song(s) we already own, but it is Valve so I will be happy to give them my money :D (after Christmas :P )

    Also the real Plush has SOLD OUT!

    D:

  2. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    What I do know is that fuzzy-dice companion cubes are not the Plushies we were PROMISED in time for Christmas, and therefore it’s not unreasonable to call for the head of Gabe Newell on a plate.

    They were actually available, but unsuprisingly they sold out rather quickly.

  3. Bob Arctor says:

    When Introversion did it there wasn’t a backlash.

  4. Alec Meer says:

    The songs in the GCF files are compressed versions, I believe – the CD versions will be much higher quality, so are presumably aimed at audiophile fans. And guys who just really dig Half-Life memorabilia, no doubt.

  5. MedO says:

    At least “Still Alive” is 256kbps, and if they used any halfway decent encoder (looks like it), I seriously doubt that many people could tell the difference.

    If it’s legal or not, at least in Germany, depends on the question if copying a file out of a .gcf is circumventing an effective copy protection mechanism.

  6. Theory says:

    If it’s legal or not, at least in Germany, depends on the question if copying a file out of a .gcf is circumventing an effective copy protection mechanism.

    GCF isn’t part of the copy protection bits of Steam. There’s nothing wrong whatsoever with extracting anything at all from one – you’re entitled to all of it by buying the game.

  7. Masked Dave says:

    They haven’t said you’re not entitled to do it, what they’ve done is provide a nice CD of all of them already done for you, complete (probably) with all the correct artist data and so forth, in a single package.

    It also means you don’t need to buy the game to legally get hold of the music… not that I could imagine anyone wanting to do that, but still.

    Also, 360 and PS3 players would have been unable to extract the songs themselves.

  8. Pod says:

    I bet this christmas version of Still Alive isn’t on there :)

    http://aperturescience.com/

  9. Schmidt says:

    You have to admit, it makes a great present for the video game nerd in your house. Sure he may have swiped the songs already, but now he’s got the CD.

    It’s a possession thing really, plus the simple joy of waving around your friends, like antlers on a your buck. He waves them about so happy to just have them there.

  10. No Picnic says:

    Masked Dave is right. We are the few, the privileged, the PC users. Let us not forget this holiday season those less fortunate than us. There’s those in the world who do not enjoy the some luxeries that we take for granted. There are all those poor, huddled 360 and PS3 users who cannot even play a custom Portal map let alone extract the MP3s.

    They really aren’t that different from us. After all, we both were deprived of the cake to which we promised. So let them have their CD!

  11. Johnny Law says:

    Rarr… way too late for Xmas. This would otherwise be a nice little gift for someone I know who has the 360 version of Orange Box.

    I think I remember the Steam announcement said something about it coming to download services “soon”… anyone remember the exact wording there or know anything more about that?

  12. Johnny Law says:

    Ah, here’s the original wording:

    The CD soundtrack is now available at the Valve Store. The digital version is headed to iTunes, Napster, eMusic, Amazon MP3 and other digital music services in the coming weeks.

  13. lalahsghost says:

    I’m really really irked. On Release Day I bought the Black ApLabs coffee mug (December 14th, 20:11pm PST), but six days later (December 20th, 3:06pm EST) I received an email stating that my order was canceled, money was returned and no mug was being sent my way. :( :( :(

    They stated that it sold out.
    Okay?…
    It sold out on release day?

    How many did they have in stock in the first place and why did they only tell me this six days later that my order was canceled?

    I know this sounds like an overreaction, but the ApLabs cup was only 1 out of 2 things I wanted for Christmas this year… (Other thing was the five disc Blade Runner dvd set that just came out)

  14. Ben Abraham says:

    In regards to the legality of grabbing the encoded music out of the files on your hard drive:

    I don’t really think that that is included in the end user licence that you agree to when you install the game. Please try to remember that you don’t actually *own* the game, just the right to play it in the form that they specify. So any unauthorised modification, extraction whatever probably does constitute, at the least, a breaking of the EULA.

  15. Ryan says:

    I’m pissed that the Aperture Science parking permits sold out so fast. I can still pick up a “WWGFD?” bumper sticker, but it’s just not the same.

  16. Tim says:

    GCF isn’t part of the copy protection bits of Steam. There’s nothing wrong whatsoever with extracting anything at all from one – you’re entitled to all of it by buying the game.
    In fact this is what mod developers do all the time to make mods – however mods are required to run under HL2. So if you HAVE the games, in theory I suppose you can play the tunes. But if you don’t have the games it’s illegal to play them – just like say using Portal textures in your Unreal mod.

  17. Tim says:

    So any unauthorised modification, extraction whatever probably does constitute, at the least, a breaking of the EULA.

    Except of course mod developers who do this all the time and with the blessing of Valve.

  18. Tim says:

    So any unauthorised modification, extraction whatever probably does constitute, at the least, a breaking of the EULA.

    wait… that’s like saying “probably if you break a law, you are a lawbreaker… :^) But still, Valve does NOT lock the steam cache files else modding would be impossible – and they definitely encourage it. Again the only catch is you can’t use the files for applications other than in a game (?) derived from Valve’s base games such as HL2.

  19. Leelad says:

    It’s easy to say “just extract them” but there are those who can’t be bothered and or don’t know how.

    Plus for most it’s a rare chance to get something by valve ON A DISK!!

  20. Krupo says:

    I got a 2nd copy of Orange Box in store as a present to give someone for Christmas.

    I was bemused to see that the store had both a black and Orange copy of the Orange Box.

    I naturally went for the Orange one.

    I was annoyed to see the $10 discount from 3 days ago (spotted at another store in the chain where the game was sold out) was over.

    Instead of complaining I went to nearby terminal, and found the game on amazon.ca and got the store to invoke its wonderful price match promise. Yay Orange Box for cheaper!

  21. Pesh says:

    Maybe it makes a good gift?