The good folks at Bethesda Softworks have gone to great lengths to assemble a fine pop soundtrack for Fallout 4. The thing even clocks in at one hour and 45 minutes. Unfortunately, the game can take anywhere from 20 to a 200 hours to complete. So, no matter how much you love those assembled classics, they get old.
That’s where voice talent Casey Mongillo comes in. With next-to-no budget, Mongillo has crafted WRVR, a full-on radio station that comes complete with an ever-expanding list of songs built from a list of public domain classics and, oh yeah, a brand new companion.
We got a chance to talk to the creator of one of Fallout 4’s most necessary mods about her inspiration, process, and becoming part of the game.
What inspired you to tackle a radio station mod for ‘Fallout 4’?
I began working on a radio station for Fallout 3 briefly in 2009, but I never completed it since it just didn’t feel necessary. Though for Fallout 4, the existing radio station studio WRVR was more or less abandoned, and any existing content by Bethesda was cut. Having something almost complete bothered me, so I wanted to fill that void.
How long did WRVR take to put together?
I started jotting down ideas when I was on a plane back to New York from London.
Being stuck on a plane for six or seven hours when caffeinated will make you a little kooky, so I stayed busy by brainstorming how I wanted the overall project to look, sound, and feel. It’s been a work-in-progress ever since that day. The first release took a few weeks to build.
How labor-intensive is it to create a mod for ‘Fallout 4’?
Very labor-intensive. Honestly, you probably have to have a few screws loose to be this dedicated – to anything. Be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time that could be spent outdoors.
What’s your programming and game developing experience?
I am not a programmer, and I wouldn’t wish that job on my worst enemy.
Nothing makes me feel like I’m losing my sanity more than trying to program dialogue or figure out papyrus scripts in the Creation Kit for hours and days and weeks. So, my experience was practically zero until WRVR.
I have, however, worked on many games as a voice director, sound designer, and voice-over artist. So, at least that part of the project was a cakewalk.
What skill level would you say amateur developers need to be at to accomplish something like this?
Bethesda Game Studios’ tool, the “Creation Kit”, is fairly self explanatory, at least for easy tweaks, like what weapons deal what kind of damage, what characters wear what outfits, etc.
The intensity of the mod is determined by how much you’re able to learn using the Creation Kit. You can start out and change a few words around, then tweak more and more as you learn.
For example, originally, I wanted it to be just a radio station. Then, I toyed with creating myself as an NPC radio host. Then, I gave her spoken dialogue, greeting the player. After uploading progress videos to YouTube, people asked me to make her into a companion. So I did.
It sounded like a lot of fun to record the dialogue, so I think that’s what drove me.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.