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Cataclysm: Bright Nights


A soundpack can be installed in the data/sound directory. It has to be a subdirectory that contains at least a file named soundpack.txt. It can include any number of json files which add any number of sound_effect or playlist.

soundpack.txt format

The soundpack.txt file format needs 2 values, a NAME and a VIEW. The NAME value should be unique. The VIEW value will be shown in the options menu. Every line starting with a # is a comment line.

#Basic provided soundpack
#Name of the soundpack
NAME: basic
#Viewing name of the soundpack
VIEW: Basic

JSON format

Sound effects

Sound effects can be included with a format like this:

    "type": "sound_effect",
    "id": "menu_move",
    "volume": 100,
    "files": [
    "type": "sound_effect",
    "id": "fire_gun",
    "volume": 90,
    "variant": "bio_laser_gun",
    "files": [

Adding variety: If for a certain id’s variant multiple files are defined, they will be chosen at random when variant is played.

The volume key may range from 0-100.

Cataclysm has its own set of user-controllable volumes that will additionally affect the sound. These range from 0-128, and the default is 100. This means that at default volume, any sound that Cataclysm plays will default to playing at about 78% of the maximum; if you are working on sounds in an external audio editor, expect Cataclysm at default volume settings to play that sound file back more-quietly than your editor does.

Preloading SFX

Sound effects can be included for preloading with a format like this:

    "type": "sound_effect_preload",
    "preload": [
      { "id": "fire_gun", "variant": "all" },
      { "id": "environment", "variant": "daytime" },
      { "id": "environment" }

"variant": "all" will be treated specially and load all variants of the given id.

"variant": "all" uses unoptimal algorithm (because the dev was dumb and lazy and used hacks) and will slow down game loading time.

If "variant" is omitted, it defaults to "default".


A playlist can be included with a format like this:

    "type": "playlist",
    "playlists": [
        "id": "title",
        "shuffle": false,
        "files": [
            "file": "Dark_Days_Ahead_demo_2.wav",
            "volume": 100
            "file": "cataclysmthemeREV6.wav",
            "volume": 90

Each sound effect is identified by an id and a variant. If a sound effect is played with a variant that does not exist in the json files, but a variant “default” exists, then the “default” variant is played instead. The file name of the sound effect is relative to the soundpack directory, so if the file name is set to “sfx.wav” and your soundpack is in data/sound/mypack, the file must be placed at data/sound/mypack/sfx.wav.

Sound effects list

A full list of sound effect id’s and variants is given in the following. Each line in the list has the following format:

id variant1|variant2

Where id describes the id of the sound effect, and a list of variants separated by | follows. When the variants are omitted, the variant “default” is assumed. Where the variants do not represent literal strings, but variables, they will be enclosed in < >. For instance, <furniture> is a placeholder for any valid furniture ID (as in the furniture definition JSON).

# open/close doors
  • open_door default|<furniture>|<terrain>

  • close_door default|<furniture>|<terrain>

    smashing attempts and results, few special ones and furniture/terrain specific

  • bash default

  • smash wall|door|door_boarded|glass|swing|web|paper_torn|metal

  • smash_success hit_vehicle|smash_glass_contents|smash_cloth|<furniture>|<terrain>

  • smash_fail default|<furniture>|<terrain>

    melee sounds

  • melee_swing default|small_bash|small_cutting|small_stabbing|big_bash|big_cutting|big_stabbing

  • melee_hit_flesh default|small_bash|small_cutting|small_stabbing|big_bash|big_cutting|big_stabbing|<weapon>

  • melee_hit_metal default|small_bash|small_cutting|small_stabbing|big_bash|big_cutting|big_stabbing!<weapon>

  • melee_hit <weapon> # note: use weapon id “null” for unarmed attacks

    firearm/ranged weapon sounds

  • fire_gun <weapon>|brass_eject|empty

  • fire_gun_distant <weapon>

  • reload <weapon>

  • bullet_hit hit_flesh|hit_wall|hit_metal|hit_glass|hit_water

    environmental sfx, here divided by sections for clarity

  • environment thunder_near|thunder_far

  • environment daytime|nighttime

  • environment indoors|indoors_rain|underground


  • environment alarm|church_bells|police_siren

  • environment deafness_shock|deafness_tone_start|deafness_tone_light|deafness_tone_medium|deafness_tone_heavy

    misc environmental sounds

  • footstep default|light|clumsy|bionic

  • explosion default|small|huge

    ambient danger theme for seeing large numbers of zombies

  • danger_low

  • danger_medium

  • danger_high

  • danger_extreme

    chainsaw pack

  • chainsaw_cord chainsaw_on

  • chainsaw_start chainsaw_on

  • chainsaw_start chainsaw_on

  • chainsaw_stop chainsaw_on

  • chainsaw_idle chainsaw_on

  • melee_swing_start chainsaw_on

  • melee_swing_end chainsaw_on

  • melee_swing chainsaw_on

  • melee_hit_flesh chainsaw_on

  • melee_hit_metal chainsaw_on

  • weapon_theme chainsaw

    monster death and bite attacks

  • mon_death zombie_death|zombie_gibbed

  • mon_bite bite_miss|bite_hit

  • melee_attack monster_melee_hit

  • player_laugh laugh_f|laugh_m

    player movement sfx

    important: plmove <terrain> has priority over default plmove|walk_<what> (excluding |barefoot) example: if plmove|t_grass_long is defined it will be played before default plmove|walk_grass default for all grassy terrains

  • plmove <terrain>|<vehicle_part>

  • plmove walk_grass|walk_dirt|walk_metal|walk_water|walk_tarmac|walk_barefoot|clear_obstacle


  • plmove fatigue_m_low|fatigue_m_med|fatigue_m_high|fatigue_f_low|fatigue_f_med|fatigue_f_high

    player hurt sounds

  • deal_damage hurt_f|hurt_m

    player death and end-game sounds

  • clean_up_at_end game_over|death_m|death_f

    variuos bionic sounds

  • bionic elec_discharge|elec_crackle_low|elec_crackle_med|elec_crackle_high|elec_blast|elec_blast_muffled|acid_discharge|pixelated

  • bionic bio_resonator|bio_hydraulics|

    various tools/traps being used (including some associated terrain/furniture)

  • tool alarm_clock|jackhammer|pickaxe|oxytorch|hacksaw|axe|shovel|crowbar|boltcutters|compactor|gaspump|noise_emitter|repair_kit|camera_shutter|handcuffs

  • tool geiger_low|geiger_medium|geiger_high

  • trap bubble_wrap|bear_trap|snare|teleport|dissector|glass_caltrop|glass

    various activities

  • activity burrow

    musical instruments, _bad is used when you fail to play it well

  • musical_instrument <instrument>

  • musical_instrument_bad <instrument>

    various shouts and screams

  • shout default|scream|scream_tortured|roar|squeak|shriek|wail|howl

    speach, it is currently linked with either item or monster id, or is special NPC or NPC_loud

    TODO: full vocalization of speech.json

  • speech <item_id> # examples: talking_doll, creepy_doll, Granade,

  • speech <monster_id> # examples: eyebot, minitank, mi-go, many robots

  • speech NPC_m|NPC_f|NPC_m_loud|NPC_f_loud # special for NPCs

  • speech robot # special for robotic voice from a machine etc.

    radio chatter

  • radio static|inaudible_chatter

    humming sounds of various origin

  • humming electric|machinery

    sounds related to (burning) fire

  • fire ignition

    vehicle sounds - engine and other parts in action

    note: defaults are executed when specific option is not defined

  • engine_start <vehicle_part> # note: specific engine start (id of any engine/motor/steam_engine/paddle/oar/sail/etc. )

  • engine_start combustion|electric|muscle|wind # default engine starts groups

  • engine_stop <vehicle_part> # note: specific engine stop (id of any engine/motor/steam_engine/paddle/oar/sail/etc. )

  • engine_stop combustion|electric|muscle|wind # default engine stop groups

    note: internal engine sound is dynamically pitch shifted depending on vehicle speed

    it is an ambient looped sound with dedicated channel

  • engine_working_internal <vehicle_part> # note: sound of engine working heard inside vehicle

  • engine_working_internal combustion|electric|muscle|wind # default engine working (inside) groups

    note: external engine sound volume and pan is dynamically shifted depending on distance and angle to vehicle

    volume heard at given distance is linked to engine’s noise_factor and stress to the engine (see vehicle::noise_and_smoke() )

    it is an ambient looped sound with dedicated channel

    this is a single-channel solution (TODO: multi-channel for every heard vehicle); it picks loudest heard vehicle

    there is no pitch shift here (may be introduced when need for it emerges)

  • engine_working_external <vehicle_part> # note: sound of engine working heard outside vehicle

  • engine_working_external combustion|electric|muscle|wind # default engine working (outside) groups

    note: gear_up/gear_down is done automatically by pitch manipulation

    gear shift is dependant on max safe speed, and works in assumption, that there are

    6 forward gears, gear 0 = neutral, and gear -1 = reverse

  • vehicle gear_shift

  • vehicle engine_backfire|engine_bangs_start|fault_immobiliser_beep|engine_single_click_fail|engine_multi_click_fail|engine_stutter_fail|engine_clanking_fail

  • vehicle horn_loud|horn_medium|horn_low|rear_beeper|chimes|car_alarm

  • vehicle reaper|scoop|scoop_thump

  • vehicle_open <vehicle_part> # note: id of: doors, trunks, hatches, etc.

  • vehicle_close <vehicle part>

    miscellaneous sounds

  • misc flashbang|flash|shockwave|earthquake|stairs_movement|stones_grinding|bomb_ticking|lit_fuse|cow_bell|bell|timber

  • misc rc_car_hits_obstacle|rc_car_drives

  • misc default|whistle|airhorn|horn_bicycle|servomotor

  • misc beep|ding|

  • misc rattling|spitting|coughing|heartbeat|puff|inhale|exhale|insect_wings|snake_hiss # mostly organic noises