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Music files should be placed in a subdirectory of data/music/. They must be in .ogg format, sampled at 44100 or 22050 Hz. All music are licensed CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Music in core/ will be played by the default player script, modules/MusicPlayer.lua. Mission or per-system scripts should add their own music to a separate sub-directory.

Music in core/ is selected based on game events. When a particular game event occurs a song is chosen at random from the appropriate subdir. The subdirs are as follows:

  • space: ambient music, played while flying in space. When music for a specific event finishes the player will start a song from this category. This is also the fallback category if any category subdir has no songs in it.
  • unexplored: ambient music for star systems beyond the expansion of human civilization. Replaces the default fallback category in those systems. Also acts as hyperspace soundtrack if a track is finished during a hyperspace jump, no matter where the player is in the sector map.
  • near-planet, near-spacestation: ambient music specific to planets and orbital stations. The player will play something from one of these categories if ambient music is requested and the player is near a planet or station.
  • docked: played when the player docks (ie as the station menu appears)
  • undocked: played when the player undocks (ie when the request launch)
  • ship-nearby, ship-firing: played when the player's alert state changes because a ship is nearby (within 100km) or starts firing. Note that the presence of a ship (even a firing ship) does not necessarily mean the ship is hostile and the player is (about to be) in combat.
  • ship-destroyed: played with the player destroys a ship
  • player-destroyed: played when the player is destroyed. Will continue to play over the "tombstone" screen.

Music Style

Pioneer's soundtrack is a combination of electronic, orchestral and classical pieces; most being electronic.

Ambient music is separated into two: core systems and unexplored systems. Core system tracks are electronic melodies generally accompanied by soft beats. Most of Pioneer's original compositions are in this form. Unexplored system tracks have a smoother, minimalist and more mysterious mood. (Not a perfect analogue, but Unexplored soundtrack is to Pioneer what Nether soundtrack is to Minecraft.)

Pioneer2.ogg by Emajogi is an exception; it is an orchestral piece in the form of "space-y" music. Probably feels more like Frontier Elite II, considering it is an old piece in Pioneer and it is probably composed with something like Elite II in mind.

Rest of the core ambience is classical pieces such as Moonlight Sonata and The Blue Danube. They fit really well to the feeling of core (familiar) systems.

Pioneer has situational music as well, most notably the space stations and ship-to-ship situations.

Space stations have classical piano pieces, except one original piano waltz.

In ship-to-ship interaction, if a ship gets close to the player, orchestral suspensing/alerting tracks play. Note that this might not mean the player is at immediate danger, but should expect it.

If the ship(s) starts firing, combat music starts. They are faster-paced electronic tracks. They don't have a really set mood, but they shouldn't go as fancy as Doom OST or Radix OST and it should be OK.

If the player destroys an enemy ship, a short and fast classical piece is played. Player should feel accomplished (as combat is currently trash and it is near impossible to win unless you've been playing for quite some time).

If the player dies (either in or out of a combat situation) a sad music is played.

By using the appropriate Lua mission scripts, mission-specific music can be played. This method was never tried in the official repository.