Mark “Wolfric Tugmutton” Lampert brings us another of his must read posts on the Bethsoft Fallout 3 Forum:
I’ve been doing a lot more field recording so far and will continue to do a lot more for Fallout 3 compared to previous projects I’ve worked on. I expect to do more recording of interior kind of stuff than exterior, though — various everyday machines are very useful (refrigerator, microwave, sources of 60Hz electrical hum like a fluorescent light, etc.) can provide endless amounts of source material for use in the more populated areas where there’s actual machinery and electricity present. And those source recordings can be cut up and manipulated to be just about anything. Good, mechanical sounds are great like that because they can be used in so many contexts.
It’s sort of the polar opposite of the world in The Elder Scrolls. In those games the outside world is what’s alive with the different forests, foliage and general climate (Great Forest vs. marsh vs. Anvil coastline in Oblivion, for example), whereas in the Fallout world all that life is largely missing, aside from NPCs and creature encounters. So I expect to focus more on giving a sense of life and activity to the interiors such as your Vault or other pockets of humanity. I’m hoping that the sound of electronics and general man-made activity will feel sort of welcoming compared to the most empty and desolate world beyond the blast doors.
As far as where I pull most of my source material from, it’s all over the place. Sometimes it’s from libraries, sometimes a mix of libraries and field recordings, sometimes purely field recordings, and sometimes there’s a lot of synth material in there, too. It doesn’t matter to me so long as it (in my own order of importance) 1) fits in the world, 2) sounds good, and 3) is original. I’ve said this before, but in audio the ends justify the means, so however I get to the ‘right sound’ is the right way to do it.
Picture from WesJohnson.com