Noticed there wasn't a tutorial on adding music to the skins made for Aurora or the knowledge of it is scattered around random threads from some time ago.
For those looking to add custom BGM tracks to their skins, I'll explain the process.
* A good ear & eye
* A PC running Windows 7 or better ( Using a Mac or Linux? Then grab a Virtual Machine program such as VMFusion or VirtualBox & install Win7 or higher. )
* An Audio Editor ( We'll use Audacity as it has binaries made for Windows, Mac, & Linux. )
* Xuitool ( Part of the Microsoft Xbox 360 SDK which has the Xbox 360 Neighborhood, this is also why you need Windows to run this. )
* XZP skin file for Aurora, extracted somewhere ( For this tutorial, I'll use this awesome NXE skin made by jveda which didn't originally have BGM & put all the extracted stuff on my desktop. You can still follow along with your own skin & path. )
* Your custom music track that you want played on Aurora ( I will use the Xbox 360's Avatar Editor BGM. )
- Step 1 -
Download Audacity from its website & install it. We'll come back to using it later.
- Step 2 -
Get the desired track you want as Aurora's custom BGM, audio format doesn't matter as long as Audacity supports it.
- Step 3 -
Start Audacity, then import your track. Drag the file to the audio editor's window or click File > Import > Audio & select your track.
You should have it successfully imported.
- Step 4 -
This is where your good ear & eye is needed as you'll be editing & testing your music track many times until you feel it not only loops seamlessly, but that it also feels right.
Make sure the project rate is set to 44100Hz.
Once you are happy with how it sounds, move on to the next step.
- Step 5 -
Export your track from Audacity by clicking on File > Export > Export as WAV. Name the track whatever you want & save it wherever you want. [To make this tutorial easy on us, we're going to name it "song.wav" (Without quotes.) & on the desktop.
IMPORTANT: You must export the track in 16-bit signed WAV format! Not 32-bit signed, not 24-bit signed, not 8-bit unsigned!
Once your file is exported, you're all done with Audacity. Proceed to the next step.
- Step 6 -
We're now going to extract our XZP skin via the XZP Tool.
The XZP files should be automatically associated with the tool once it's been installed, so you can just double-click on your XZP file to bring the program up with the contents inside shown. Otherwise you click on Open & point it to your skin file.
You will then see a list of files & how they're structured. Click the first file on top (Usually Aurora_FileManager.xur), then while you hold your SHIFT key, go the bottom last file & click on it. If done correctly, you will have all the content files highlighted.
Create a folder to put all the files in, then drag them out from XZP Tool to there.
Any folder name will work as long as the file structures are unchanged. For my example. I will name my folder NXE_with_BGM as that will soon be the skin's name.
- Step 7 -
Now let's look inside our folder, it may or may not already have a sound folder. (Mine has one, only for SFX though.)
If it does not, then create a new folder. Name it whatever you want, but I suggest "Sounds" (without quotes) to make it easier on you.
Once it is made, drag your WAV file exported from Audacity & slide it in that folder.
- Step 8 -
Open the Xbox UI Authoring Tool. Close out the XUI1 template as we are not making a skin for Aurora in this tutorial.
Make sure you have the Aurora Elements extension installed to enable the modifications of the skin files. Download the script from the Aurora website & put it anywhere you want. I made an Aurora folder in Xbox 360 SDK folder & extracted everything there, so the path looks like C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Xbox 360 SDK\Aurora.
Once the tool is up, check if the extension is installed by going to Tools > Options > General > XML Extensions. If it's not there, add it & then restart the program for it to take effect.
Our focus is going to be on the Aurora_Main.XUR file inside the extracted skin folder. Let's first rename it to "Aurora_Main_OLD.XUR" (Without quotes) as it will act as a backup file. We will delete it later once we're done.
Double click the Aurora_Main_OLD.XUR file & you should see a window open inside the program. You can't modify anything in the XUR format, so you must save it as a XUI file. Do that by clicking File > Save As... & name it Aurora_Main_XUI.XUI. Keep that saved in the skin's folder for now.
- Step 9 -
You now have the Aurora_Main_XUI.XUI file you recently saved. It will look the same as the XUR file earlier, but this time you'll be able to modify it.
The top left area where it says [XuiCanvas] is our focus.
Click on Aurora, then go to the Application Layer. This is the place where our music will be added.
Now look to the left side where there are various tool icons & hover your mouse towards the Windows 95-looking speaker, that is "XAudio Sound" which is what we want.
Click on the speaker icon & your cursor will turn into a crosshair when hovering over the skin preview area below the keyframes. Go ahead & click anywhere you want in the gray rectangle or skin preview, placement does not matter as it will be invisible once the skin gets rebuilt.
You'll notice a new group was created called XuiSoundXAudio at the layer area. In Properties, you should also see ' XuiSoundXAudio : XuiSound : XuiElement '.
- Step 10 -
Now we'll get to finally adding our track!
So click on the recently created XuiSoundXAudio group & go to Properties. You can change the ID name to whatever you want, but if you want to make it easy on yourself, I suggest naming it "BGM" or "Music" (Without quotes.)
Scroll all the way down while in Properties until you see File & Volume. By default XuiTools leaves the File area blank & doesn't know where your custom track is. At File, click the three dots near the empty white box to bring up the file browser. Find the folder you saved the WAV file of your track to (In this example, it's in "Sounds") & select it.
It has now been added to XuiTools, you should see a path made of your selected WAV file near File. Something like "\Sounds\song.wav".
Also by default, XuiTools sets the music volume at -12.000000. You can change it to whatever you want, but anything lower than the default may result in the music being too quiet. If you already made the track quieter on Audacity, you can just set it to 0.000000 or still change it. Since I already edited the track, I'll have the volume at 0.000000
Make sure that 'Play' is enabled in the State area & check the "Loop" box so that it will keep playing your track endlessly from start to finish. Otherwise it will only play once & never again until you return to Aurora.
Now let's check if the BGM plays in XuiTools by previewing it via File > Preview (F5). If everything was set up correctly, then you should have your track playing on loop which means it'll play on your Xbox 360! Once you got confirmation, close out the preview. If stuck on full view, change the windows to Cascade style & click the red X mark on the corner where it says XUI.
Well done! You now have a working BGM track that loops! But we're not done yet, we are close to the end though.
- Step 11 -
Now we're ready to save the changes & will convert our XUI file to XUR with the new information added. Go to File > Export As Binary, then save the file as "Aurora_Main.XUR" (Without quotes) to your skin folder. You're all done with XuiTool, so go ahead & close it.
Go to the folder now & make sure it is not moved out of there or put it in one of its subfolders, your skin will not load on the Xbox 360 console if that happens.
Then delete the Aurora_Main_XUI.XUI & Aurora_Main_OLD.XUR files from the skin's folder as they are not needed anymore. If the skin doesn't work, we can just simply convert that newly made XUR file to XUI & convert the XUI file to XUR again after modifying it.
- Step 12 -
Once you have the new Aurora_Main.XUR file nested in with the rest of the XUR files & you have your specific music track saved in that folder that you pointed XuiTools towards, we will rebuild everything in that extracted folder back to an XZP file.
If you want to change the skin's display name & values on Aurora, you can either use the Skin Meta Generator program or open the skin.meta file with a text editing program like Notepad++. Overwrite the old skin.meta file if you updated it so that you don't mistake it as a clone of the older skin.
Open XZP Tools again & click on the Rebuild button. Then have it point at your skin folder. I do not think the version matters, so pick whatever one (In my example, I selected "Version 1".)
Then click OK to rebuild the XZP skin for Aurora, it will be done once the status say 'Ready' & the newly built XZP file appears.
Double check that everything's OK inside by opening the newly built XZP file in the XZP Tool. There should be your new music track in the package file (In my example it would be named "Sounds\song.wav" with Sounds being the folder it's in & song.wav being the custom BGM track itself.)
- Step 13 -
Okay! Now it's time to turn on our Xbox 360 console & try our new skin out with the BGM track.
You can either transfer the new XZP file to the 360's HDD via USB, FTP, Ethernet, or FATXplorer. Regardless of your method of transfer, send it to Aurora's Skins folder, where the default skin is saved.
Once you're in Aurora, press the B button on your controller to bring up a menu. Go over to the Skins option & select the new skin you made.
You'll likely need to restart Aurora for it to take effect, so either Restart or Reboot the Xbox 360, or if you've set Aurora as your default dashboard then just hit the Guide button & simply select Aurora Home from the quick menu & answer yes.
- Final Step -
Aurora should now load again after the console has been rebooted or restarted.
If you've managed to follow the steps laid out in this tutorial, you should now have your very own custom BGM track playing on the Aurora dashboard & on loop.
Now you can listen to your jam while you're exploring every nook & cranny of Aurora! Give yourself a pat on the back for putting it all together!