Mechanical Robot Sounds - reference material



I'm working on a game project where I have to design sounds for the interior of a robotic suit. It's very similar to the inside of an airplane cockpit, with a lot of dials/switches/levers, etc. The developers want a very grinding and responsive feel. When the suit breaks down, it'll need large mechanical breakdown and alert-type sounds.

Something along the lines of this:

Do you guys have any suggestions for other reference material from games or films?




Posted 2010-09-27T03:41:01.783

Reputation: 81



+1 on Wall-E. Might also be worth having a look at this post on Designing Sound. It's a great sound library from Michael Raphael that may inspire you to get recording. Or you can buy the whole library from Rabbit Ears Audio...

Colin Hunter

Posted 2010-09-27T03:41:01.783

Reputation: 3 715

@colin @rene Thanks for the support. It was a crazy library to put together. – sepulchra – 2010-09-27T13:26:06.667

@sepulchra absolutely love the Maker Bot 3D printer. Awesome sounds! – Colin Hunter – 2010-09-27T19:27:45.623


District 9 has some shots inside the exosuit towards the end, and sounds really good! Also steel battalion for xbox happens entirely inside a mechwarrior.


The audio quality on the video is quite bad, but i hope it gives an idea

Filipe Chagas

Posted 2010-09-27T03:41:01.783

Reputation: 2 555

1 Every mech suit scene of District 9 – Utopia – 2010-09-27T04:07:08.993


I would personally look at Pixar's Wall-E......great sound design....built from the ground up. The first 15 min is unreal.

Detroit Sound Design

Posted 2010-09-27T03:41:01.783

Reputation: 340

I'd agree with this, the first part of Wall-E has some truly incredible machine noises. – JTC – 2010-09-27T08:52:11.903


Sounds like you'll need to search for items in a junkyard. Lots of scraping metal, hits. I saw a foley video for Spiderman 2 (it was the one with Dr. Oct) and I think he scraped a wheel hubcap against an old car door for Dr Oct ripping out the vault door. Really nice.

Hector Lee

Posted 2010-09-27T03:41:01.783

Reputation: 723


Ill tell ya what worked for me -

Forklifts and dentist drills.

Works wonders -- go to my profile tab at and watch the starcraft 2 trailer.

The majority of a lot of those robotic arms were processed combinations of forklifts and dentist drills to catch either the low or highs, then throw it some sort of detail sound to make it more electronic... a zap, digital blip, etc to give it character.



Posted 2010-09-27T03:41:01.783

Reputation: 2 378

@C3Sound I checked out your version of the SC2 trailer, definitely hear the drills in that. I appreciate the suggestions! – csilver – 2010-09-28T04:48:00.947