Jonathan Coulton on Writing Portal's End Theme

Jonathan Coulton, nerd songster supreme, has posted about his experience writing the end theme to Portal, part of what might be the best videogame ending sequence ever created.
I recorded a version with some scratch vocals and we sent it to the voice actress who did that character in the game, Ellen McLain. We all went into the studio to record her vocals, then did all the fancy computer sound things they do to make her sound like a computer voice. Ellen's a classically trained soprano, and a very talented voice actress - she has this character down perfectly, and she did a great job conveying emotion in a non-emotional way. Between her and the very strong writing behind her character's dialog, it was hard for me to not end up looking good in all this.
He's posted both lyrics and chords, although no easy downloadable MP3 yet. (There are MP3s floating around though I've heard.) Portal: The Skinny [] (Sorry about the missing link!) Previously:Rule 34: Portal Edition [BBG] • Portal Weighted Companion Cube Papercraft [BBG]
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8 Responses to Jonathan Coulton on Writing Portal's End Theme

  1. Anonymous says:

    Note that if you have the game, you can extract the full quality original MP3 directly from the game data files by using GCFScape ( or a similar program. You can also extract some fantastic sound clips:

    “Remember when the platform was sliding into the fire pit and I said, ‘Good-bye’, and you were like, ‘No way’, and then I was all, ‘We pretended we were going to murder you.’ That was great.”

    “You think you’re doing some damage? Two plus two is… … ten. In. Base. Four. I’m. Fine!”

  2. Dan Tentler says:

    I’ll probably get hammered for it, but I dont care :P

  3. A New Challenger says:

    I wish my computer could handle the game :( It runs the Half-Life 2 demo at a playable but fugly level.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here ya go

    (2mins 57secs, 128Kb/s, 2.71Mb)

  5. Tim says:

    Anyone know how to recreate the effect they did on GLaDOS’s voice? I know it’s probably 70% Ellen McLain that makes it so great, but I still think it sounded really cool and even just a bit of the effect would be fun to recreate if it can be done with software and nothing expensive like a vocorder.

  6. Mike Harris says:

    You appear to have forgotten the link to this story.

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