Music tracks in FreeSpace are determined by the music tables. Mission designers can use the Mission Specs editor (Shift-N) to set the music track that the mission will play. In-mission music is dynamic: it changes depending on in-mission events. This is the list of such events:
- Arrival of enemy ships (can be disabled for certain ships in FRED)
- Arrival of friendly ships (can be disabled for certain ships in FRED)
- Completion of mission goals (can be disabled for certain mission goals in FRED)
- Player death
- Ambient (when enemy is either not present, or are well outside firing range)
Apart from in-mission music are briefing music tracks that are played only in command and mission briefings. They can be set in FRED through the Briefing editor (Shift-B). Briefings are limited to one track per mission; command briefings share the same track as the briefing. In FRED 2 Open, the Fiction Viewer uses its own music.
Furthermore, there are three music tracks for debriefings: "Success", "Average", and "Failure". "Success" is played if all mission objectives are met and the player is allowed to progress in the campaign. "Failure" is played if the player is not allowed to progress in the campaign. "Average" is played if the player is allowed to progress, but has not satisfied all primary and secondary objectives. Recent builds of FRED 2 Open allow mission designers to select which tracks are played under each of these three circumstances through the Debriefing editor (Shift-D). The engine had been capable of this since at least 3.6.10, but FRED 2 had yet to integrate it into its GUI.
Lastly, each main hall has its own music track. These tracks can also be used in command and mission briefings.
FreeSpace Open supports much finer control of in-game music, allowing mission designers to specifically tailor musical scores to the events and tempo of a mission. Soundtracks can now be changed during the mission when desired, and any track can also be played at any time (including briefing and mainhall tracks, or any tracks placed in the music folder). This is possible through several new SEXPs:
Retail supports only *.wav files, but FreeSpace Open also supports *.ogg files.
List of tracks
Most tracks were created by Dan Wentz, who composed the majority of the music for both FreeSpace 1 and FreeSpace 2. Some FreeSpace 1 cutscene scores were collaborations with Steven von Kampen, a composer and sound designer from Noiz Audio who was hired for the project.
(This list is based on the FreeSpace Port version of FreeSpace 1)
Main hall music: "Choco Mousse"
- 1. "Fortress"
- 2. "March"
- 3. "Chaser"
- 4. "Worlds Apart"
- 5. "Spook"
- 6. "Haunted"
- 7. "Marauder"
- 8. "Strike"
- 9. "Monolith"
- 10. "Darkside"
Note: The last mission, Good Luck, has no soundtrack. However, a CD of enhanced music tracks provided by Dan Wentz implies that this track was intended to be used in Good Luck. It would have been the only standard single-player FS1 mission with this music.
Music tracks in FreeSpace 2 are named after books of the Bible.
Main hall music tracks: "Aquitaine", "Psampik" [sic] (Terran and Vasudan main halls, respectively)
- 1. "Genesis"
- 2. "Exodus"
- 3. "Leviticus"
- 4. "Numbers"
- 5. "Deuteronomy"
- 6. "Joshua"
- 7. "Revelation"
Some music that was created for the games but not included in the game files was released to the community in a music pack. The pack included some remastered versions of game tracks, as well as several unused outtakes, cutscene scores and trailer music. The pack also contained a humorous bonus track, "Bite Me".
In early 2012, composer Dan Wentz revisited his old work, creating remixed versions of many familiar tracks from both games. The remixes were published on the internet on audio distribution website SoundCloud. Dan Wentz himself also visited the Hard Light Productions forums and created a thread entitled FreeSpace Music Remixes dedicated to the subject. The remixes remain in progress, and plans have been announced to release the remixed tracks into a format suitable for in-game use.