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Finding Inspiration in a Bathtub: Jens Nilsson Interview

Posted Apr 16, 2010 by Michael Bitton

Finding Inspiration in a Bathtub: Jens Nilsson Interview

Jens Nilsson of indie developer Frictional Games (the folks behind the Penumbra series) discusses some of the odd places he finds inspiration for his games' terrifying sound effects in this latest interview featured on our sister site

Read below for a short excerpt:

“The flickering was a fluorescent light gone bad in the bathroom of an apartment we lived in a couple of years ago,” Nilsson recalls. “I placed a microphone up close and then by slowly turning the light on and off, you could exaggerate the flicker and buzzing noises it made.”

“That bathroom also had a great eerie ventilation which I recorded and used in all the Penumbra games,” Nilsson says.

The bathtub proved to be a fount of water sound effects, and Nilsson produced the sound of footsteps in ventilation drums (heard in Black Plague) by pounding in the tub with his shoes. Lest you think him ungrateful, Nilsson has sympathy for the source of both his game sounds and good hygiene (“Poor tub,” he says).

Read the full interview here. is a new site we've launched focused on gaming on the Mac platform. Check it out for all your Mac gaming news, reviews, features, and more!

Michael Bitton / Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB