Changing Swos comments - a short guide

I have finally made my first full set of comments and I daresay it is perfect :) Unfortunately -for most among you- it is in Greek so I doubt that you will find it useful, unless you want to impress Jennifer Aniston (as you may know she's Greek). But I guess that if you have reached the point where Jennifer Aniston is watching you playing Swos, you have already impressed her enough :) Anyway, during the process I have found several things about sounds in Swos that as far as I know are not mentioned anywhere around the net, yet they are important if you wish to use your own comments with the game. So, let's start:

The comments in Swos are in the PCM (RAW) format and they are 22050 KHz, 8-bit, monophonic. They are stored in files usually named like "MXXX_Y_RAW", where XXX is a number and Y is a number or a letter. Each file is one comment and you can hear it in any wave editing program as long as you specify 22KHz, 8-bit, mono when you load it.

The game uses two sets of comments: The first set is the files under the "SFX\PIERCE" folder that are located on the CD. These comments relate to in-game situations like fouls, keeper saves and goals. Since when Swos first came out speed was an issue, these comments are loaded in memory just before the start of a game, so that there are no slowdowns caused by the program trying to access a file on CD during a save or a goal. Besides, this also serves CD-checking purposes since those comments are loaded in memory from the CD before every game. The allocated memory for all CD comments is 2812420 bytes, which is exactly the total size of the files that are being loaded from CD. The game expects each of these comments to be of specific duration, so in order to change the CD comments you have to keep each and every one of them exactly the same size as the original. And burn them on CD, of course. I will refer to these comments as the "in-play" comments.

The second category is the comments on the hard disk. These relate to situations where the ball is not being played, like throw-ins, substitutions, corners etc. These files are loaded on-demand and are stored in allocated memory of 122800 bytes. This means that you can replace them with your own as long as you keep the file size below 122800 bytes. The exception is the comments heard at the endgame, after the final whistle. These are loaded on the same memory as in-play comments, which as we have already seen is 2.8 MB (this memory is not needed anymore because the game is over, and at the next game the in-play comments will be loaded again). So you can have really big endgame comments :) I will refer to all comments in the "HARD" folder as the "out-of-play" comments.

Now, as you probably already know, version 0.01 of my patch overcomes several of these limitations. First of all, the "SFX\PIERCE" folder can now be copied on your hard disk, under the Swos folder, and no CD is needed. More important, the game can now use in-play comments of any duration. I have also increased the total memory allocated for in-play comments from 2.8 MB to about 6.9 MB, which should be more than enough. Version 0.01 of my patch does not increase allocated memory for hard disk (out-of-play) comments. From now on I assume that you have applied my patch so that you don't have to keep exactly the same filesize for all in-play comments.

The "SFX\PIERCE" folder contains 78 files. 76 of them are loaded in memory during the game, while the other 2 (M313_E_.RAW & M158__.RAW) are not loaded and you can even delete them. Of the 76 loaded files, 8 are not used in the game (the M33_X_.RAW files, that correspond to headers). This leaves us with 68 functional in-play comments. The "HARD" folder contains 54 comments (the files starting with "M"). Of these comments, 2 are never used by the game (M10_X_.RAW & M10_Z_.RAW, both of them corner comments) and you can even delete them. So, in total, we have 132 comments but only 120 of them are actually used.

In Swos there are 24 different "situations" (like fouls, goals, substitutions, etc) where comments can be heard. Each "situation" has a few comments associated with it (can be from 1 to 13) and when the time comes one of them is chosen randomly and played. It gets a little more complicated because several "situations" have some comments in common. So, let's see these "situations" in detail along with directions for updating the sounds:

1. Goals - 6 comments

Self-explaining. The comments heard when a goal is scored.
M158_1_.RAWWhat a goal
M158_2_.RAWFantastic goal
M158_3_.RAWSuperb strike
M158_4_.RAWIt's in the net
M158_7_.RAWIt's in the back of the net

Since there is an obvious pause in the game after a goal, you can use here somewhat bigger comments without them being interrupted by another comment.

2. Keeper Saves - 2 (+5 shared) comments

Comments used when the goalkeeper dives to save a shot. This is one of the tricky categories, since it shares some comments with the next category, the Penalty Saves. In particular, the first 5 comments of this category are also used when a penalty is saved by the keeper:
M313_7_.RAWAaah, good goalkeeping
M313_A_.RAWSuperb save
M196_W_.RAWOh, what agility
M196_Z_.RAWThat was a fantastic save
M233_1_.RAWOh, magnificent stop by the keeper

The next 2 comments are not used in saved penalties:
M313_B_.RAWOh, what a great stop
M196_X_.RAWGreat save the keeper

Keep in mind that in Swos very often a save is soon followed by another situation where a comment has to be heard, like a corner or a goal. So, if you use big comments here, they will often be interrupted and this will sound unnatural and vexing. You have to keep these comments short and sweet, at least most of them. For example, if after the save we have a corner, any Save comment will be heard for about 2.5 seconds before the Corner comment starts playing.

3. Penalty Saves - 3 (+5 shared) comments

Comments used when the goalkeeper saves a penalty. As we already saw, this category includes 5 comments from the previous one. But the following 3 comments are only used with penalties, so you can use here a comment like "the keeper saves the penalty". By examining the code I found an interesting bug here: If the keeper saves the penalty without diving (eg if you shoot it by pulling straight back the joystick and pushing the button not for too long), then you will hear a comment from the "Keeper Claims" category. Not only that, but the penalty flag is not cleared and when the keeper dives to save a shot when the game resumes, you may hear a "Penalty Save" comment! (3 out of 8 times). A similar bug is described in the "Penalty Missed" category.
M196_T_.RAWIt's saved
M196_U_.RAWThe penalty's saved
M196_V_.RAWHe's saved it

4. Keeper Claims - 7 comments

Comments used when the goalkeeper gets in touch with the ball but without diving.
M313_6_.RAWThat's well claimed by the keeper
M313_8_.RAWKeeper's come, he's got it
M313_9_.RAWWell claimed
M313_C_.RAWGood hands, good hands
M313_D_.RAWAaah, great hands there
M313_G_.RAWKeeper's up
M313_H_.RAWKeeper's ball

Here apply the same observations about comment duration that have been made in the Keeper Saves category. Probably this is why they decided to exclude the comment "A good goalkeeper fills the team with confidence" (M313_E_.RAW) from this category. It was big and was getting interrupted too often.

5. Own Goals - 6 comments

No surprises here. Comments used with own goals:
M158_P_.RAWWhat on earth was he thinking of ?
M158_Q_.RAWIt's a full moon, balloons are out
M158_S_.RAWOh, gee, what a terrible mistake
M158_T_.RAWOh, no
M158_X_.RAWWhat a ridiculously soft goal to concede
M158_Y_.RAWOh so silly, oh so soft

The obligatory pause that follows an own-goal allows for bigger custom comments in this category.

6. Near Misses - 2 (+2 shared) comments

Comments heard when a great chance is lost. This is another tricky category, since the first 2 comments are also used in the "Hit Post" category:
M10_D_.RAWOooh, desperately close
M10_E_.RAWOooh, only a lick of paint away there

The next 2 are exclusive to this category, so here you can use comments like "it's just out":
M10_J_.RAWInches wide, only inches
M10_K_.RAWOooh, what a shot that was

When these last 2 comments are heard the ball will always be out, so there will be a pause in the game which allows for bigger comments to be used here.

7. Hit Post - 6 (+2 shared) comments

These are the comments used when the ball hits the vertical post (maybe the horizontal too, I haven't verified this yet). As we saw, in this category belong 2 comments from the previous one. But the following 6 comments are exclusive to this category:
M10_F_.RAWThe woodwork saved them on that occasion
M10_G_.RAWKeeper beaten but it's off the woodwork
M10_H_.RAWOooh, crash off the post
M10_R_.RAWHe's hit the woodwork
M10_S_.RAWIt's in, no it's hit the woodwork
M10_T_.RAWHas to be, it's off the post

Like with the saves comments, here we can have another comment following pretty soon. So it's better to keep these comments short. Also, I think that in Swos there is no "hit post and then out" situation, so keep this in mind when you choose custom comments.

8. Hit Bar - 2 comments

These are the comments used when the ball hits the bar, ie the horizontal post. Maybe here are also used comments from the "Hit Post" category, I have to check this out.
M10_I_.RAWSmack, it's hit the bar
M10_U_.RAWIt must be, it's off the bar

Same remarks about comment duration as in the Hit Post category.

9. Good Tackle - 4 comments

These are heard in cases where a tackle is deemed successful and no foul is given:
M349_7_.RAWWell won
M349_8_.RAWOooh, great determination in there
M349_E_.RAWThat's a great tackle
M365_1_.RAWWell in there

I advise these comments to be just a tad bigger than your average "save" comment, since they are often heard in the middle of the field and apart from other comments. But on average don't make them as big as the Goals or the Near Misses comments. Here you can use comments that assume that a foul was not given, like "this should be a foul" or "clean tackle, no chance for a foul".

10. Good Play - 4 comments

Used in situations like when the ball is being passed relatively quickly for sometime without opponent interference.
M313_I_.RAWThat's played nicely to feet
M313_J_.RAWAaah, superb ball there
M349_4_.RAWWell played
M313_O_.RAWThat's a lovely pass

Same observations about duration as in the "Good Tackle" category. Except from the obvious "good play" remarks, here you can use comments that are not so exciting, but make the commentary sound more natural, like "he passes the ball" or "let's see what is going to come out of this". You get the idea.

11. Dangerous Play - 0 (+3 shared) comments

These comments are in a way the opposite of the "Good Tackle" category. Whether a foul will be given by the referee when these comments are heard, is irrelevant. There may be a foul, or there may be not. All the comments in this category are also used in the "Foul" category.
M195.RAWThat's a terrible tackle
M196_4_.RAWYou could say that challenge was a bit over the top

When you change these comments, you have to keep in mind that you can't know whether a foul will be awarded or not. So you can't use a comment like "Referee, are you blind ?" because the referee may have already given a foul and even a card. And you can't use a comment like "Referee says foul" because there may be no foul. You have to keep these comments in the same spirit as the original ones: Just remark about dangerous play.

12. Foul - 4 (+3 shared) comments

Besides the 3 comments in the "Dangerous Play" category, there are also 4 dedicated "foul" comments. When you replace these, you can be sure that a foul was awarded by the ref:
M196_1_.RAWOooh, what a dreadful foul that was
M196_2_.RAWHe'll be lucky to stay on the pitch after that one
M196_6_.RAWFree kick there
M196_7_.RAWOooh, that's a definite free kick

You would guess that since play stops when these comments are heard, you can use bigger custom comments. This is generally true, but if a yellow or a red card is shown, the subsequent card comments will interrupt the foul comment. So you have to keep the "foul" comments rather short too. The chosen foul comment is irrelevant to whether a yellow or red card will be shown by the referee.

13. Penalty - 4 comments

Comments used when a penalty is awarded:
M196_L_.RAWOooh, it's a penalty
M196_M_.RAWPenalty ref
M196_N_.RAWA penalty, a great chance to score

These comments would ideally be about the same size as the foul comments. Computer takes a little time to shoot the penalty so you could possibly use somewhat bigger files without interruption, but humans almost always will shoot the penalty faster than the computer. And since a comment will always follow a penalty take, you are once more advised to keep these comments short.

14. Penalty Missed - 4 comments

Comments used when a penalty is missed. Not saved by the keeper, this is the "Penalty Saves" category, but kicked out. It is rare to hear these comments because they are called only if you send the ball just wide, exactly like a near miss. If you send it far away from the goal no comment will be heard. An interesting bug appears if you send the ball far away from the goal: The "penalty flag" is not cleared, and the next time you have a near miss you will hear a missed penalty comment! Try it and see for yourself: Win a penalty and send it to the birds by pulling the joystick back and right (or back and left) and pressing steadily the button. Then, try to have a near miss. Not a post hit, but a just out shot. You will listen one of the missed penalty comments!
M233_2_.RAWNo bottle there whatsoever
M233_4_.RAWHis bottle went there
M233_5_.RAWOh no, he's missed it
M233_6_.RAWOne against one from twelve yards, he's missed it

Here, like in Near Misses, we will have the ball out of play, so this gives us the opportunity for bigger comments.

15. Penalty Goal - 4 comments

These comments are used when a penalty is successfully placed.
M233_7_.RAWOne against one from twelve yards, superbly placed
M233_8_.RAWOooh, superbly placed
M233_9_.RAWNo question, it's in
M233_C_.RAWOooh, the icemen comet

This is one more case where we can have relatively big comments, since a game break will always follow a successful penalty. But this break is smaller when we have a series of penalties for qualification.

16. Corner - 6 comments

The rest of the categories are about out-of-play comments. Like these ones, which are used when we have a corner:
M10_V_.RAWIt's gone out for a corner
M10_W_.RAWThat's a corner
M10_Y_.RAWNow this could be dangerous
M313_1_.RAWThey're sending the big men forward now
M313_2_.RAWWill it be a near post corner ?
M313_3_.RAWWill it be a far post corner now ?

We can use relatively big comments here, although not as big as in a Near Miss or a Goal because it is very probable that another comment-raising situation will happen soon after a corner.

17. Change Tactics - 6 comments

M10_5_.RAWLooks like a tactical switch
M10_7_.RAWIt'll be interesting to see how this change effects the team
M10_8_.RAWIt'll be interesting to see how this changes things now
M10_9_.RAWLet's hope that the team can settle into this new formation quickly
M10_A_.RAWI wonder how quickly it's going to take them to settle into this new formation
M10_B_.RAWSlight shuffle in positions for the team

We can use big comments here, since the ball is not being played when they are heard.

18. Substitution - 6 comments

No surprises here:
M233_J_.RAWYer, the boy done good
M233_K_.RAWAaah, but the boy done good
M233_L_.RAWThe lad deserves a round of applause, doesn't he ?
M233_M_.RAWYer the lad deserves a round of applause, done well
M10_3_.RAWPerhaps a fresh pair of legs will inject new life into the team now
M10_4_.RAWPerhaps they need a fresh pair of legs on now

We can also use big comments here.

19. Red card - 12 comments

Lots of files here. I understand that they could use more comments in the out-of-play categories since they don't have to be loaded in memory all together, but only one at a time. But I wish they had used more comments for the corners or the throw-ins instead of the rare red cards. Ah well, that's why I'm here, to correct such shortcomings :)
M196_8_.RAWHe's seen red. He's off
M196_9_.RAWI'm afraid he got what he deserved
M196_A_.RAWOooh, he had to go. Referee had no option
M196_B_.RAWThe referee had no choice but to send him off
M196_C_.RAWThat's a terrible decision by the referee
M196_D_.RAWTerrible decision by the ref
M196_E_.RAWIt's an early bath for him
M196_F_.RAWThat's the long walk to the early bath
M196_G_.RAWHe sees red, he'll see the taps, it's an early bath
M196_H_.RAWSending off, that'll surely effect the outcome of this one
M196_I_.RAWI wonder if this will effect the outcome of the game
M196_J_.RAWFootball's a mans game

As the ball is out of play when a red card is shown, we can use relatively big comments here.

20. Yellow card - 13 comments

The most populous category:
M443_7_.RAWThat's a yellow card. I don't think he can complain about that at all
M443_8_.RAWHas to be a yellow there
M443_9_.RAWOooh, he's got to be booked for that
M443_A_.RAWHe's been booked, he's a little bit unlucky
M443_B_.RAWThat's a caution from the referee
M443_C_.RAWI think the referee's going to book him here
M443_D_.RAWThe referee, I think will book him
M443_E_.RAWThat looks like a booking to me
M443_F_.RAWOooh, that's a bookable offence
M443_G_.RAWWell he's in trouble here, it could only be a booking
M443_H_.RAWHe's in trouble with the referee, it could just be yellow
M443_I_.RAWWell he was very lucky just to get away with just a yellow card and a booking
M443_J_.RAWYellow card ? He should have been off ref

Duration guidelines as in the Red Card category.

21. Throw In - 4 comments

Only 4 comments here; more were definitely in order.
M406_3_.RAWIs this gonna be a short one ?
M406_7_.RAWHere he is then with the throw
M406_8_.RAWThrow in then
M406_9_.RAWNow, come on, get things going with the throw

You can use reasonably big comments here. Keep in mind though that throw-ins are very frequent and fancy comments tend to become tiring quickly. A simple and short line may be better in the long run.

22. Endgame/Rout - 1 comment

This comment will be heard after the final whistle if one team has won by 3 or more goals. You could use any comment that talks about clobbering here, but the problem is that the same comment will be heard if one team wins in the penalties by 3-0 for example. As you can see this is not a case where a "rout" comment is appropriate, so I'm thinking about patching the program so that no "rout" comment is heard after qualification penalties. Let me know what you think.
M406_H_.RAWThe full time whistle blows, it's been a complete rout

You can use comments that describe the story of your life here :) As we've already seen, this file will be loaded in a 2.8 MB memory location (6.9 MB if you have applied my patch).

23. Endgame/Sensational - 2 comments

These are used when 4 or more goals have been scored but no team has won by 3 or more goals (otherwise you would hear the "Endgame/Rout" comment).
M406_I_.RAWThe full time whistle goes, it's been a cracker
M406_J_.RAWOh, what a sensational game as the referee blows the final whistle

Exactly like the previous category, you can use huge comments here.

24. Endgame/So close - 2 comments

Hmmm... I don't know when exactly these are heard. I'll search it and I'll get back to you. But I remember I've heard them.
M406_F_.RAWThe full time whistle blows, it's been so close
M406_G_.RAWThat's the full time whistle. Oh, so close

Exactly like before, no real size restriction here for your custom comments.

In all functions that choose in-play comments there is some code that prevents hearing the same comment twice in a row. This is not implemented in out-of-play comments. "But I do hear the same in-play comment twice in a row", you will say. Well, this happens because of the shared comments. For example, the game will choose a comment from the "Dangerous Play" category and will not choose the same one the next time a "dangerous play" situation happens. But you may hear it twice in a row because the second time it will be selected from the "Foul" category.

Now that you know the ins and outs of Swos comments, you may wonder how you can make your own set. You can of course record the comments yourself which will be very rewarding if you have a commentator talent. Just make sure you use a good microphone because the cheap PC ones will not give good results. But you can also record your favorite speaker from TV or radio. This poses the problem that you will need lots of recorded games for some categories; how many games in order to record a suitable "own goal" commment ? So, perhaps the easiest and more "professional" way, is to transfer the commentary from another PC soccer game. And there are lots of them. If the comments are not in an easy to use format, don't worry. In most games you can just mute the crowd effects and record just the speaker(s). Make sure to keep the volume constant in all your recordings, although some programs will allow batch "normalizing" of files if you find out that there are volume fluctuations.

For all your recording needs you can use programs like Wavelab, Soundforge or Cool Edit. There are probably many more that will do the job. Remember to record at 22050 KHz, 8-bit unsigned, monophonic. And then save in the RAW (= PCM) format.

Some editing may be useful if you find that you need comments that are not available. For example, Greek FIFA 2002 doesn't have comments for changing tactics. However, by adapting other comments and by applying some careful and inventive copying and pasting, I managed to create 6 comments that apply to changing tactics and are as good as if they were original.

Don't think that it is too difficult. In less than two days I converted the FIFA 2002 commentary into a full Swos set. And without abandoning my work, my gym or my girlfriend :) The result is much better than the original because I chose many calm comments that don't become tiring. Plus, it is in my language.

So, good luck with your experiments and stay tuned for the next version of my patch that will correct aforementioned bugs in the game and will allow for a greater number of comments for each situation. In the meantime, you are welcome to e-mail me for any corrections or ideas.