A Finalé sound file is a short sound file that is played in Fallout 3 after Combat has ended. Generally, this piece of the song often sounds similar to the current (combat) song's ending. This article will cover how to make your own with a free tool named Audacity, and how to make sure the game engine will correctly handle this file upon your wishes.
Understanding the Finalé parts
In order to know what this article is about, you need to find out first-hand.
Finding Bethesda's pre-set ones
If you ever have manually installed mods for Fallout 3 (without using the package manager of Kaburke's Fallout Mod Manager), you should know that there's a folder known as Data in your Fallout 3 folder - where you installed Fallout 3. Inside, there are several folders. Find the one named Music. This is where Fallout 3 keeps all its songs and such that you hear during gameplay. (Refer to the Fallout 3 Music page for extra information regarding this)
Inside Music, look for a folder named Battle. You'll find files such as Battle_01.mp3. Play them with your favorite music player. You should recognize them. Yes, they are songs you hear during combat.
Now amongst the files, there should be a folder too named Finale. Go inside it. You will find files with the exact same names, but significantly less size. Play the the file with the same name you played before. You'll now hear it's actually the end of the song you hear now. The engine uses these files to indicate combat has ended by playing them.
Understanding the connection
What happens after combat is that, the moment the game sees combat has stopped, it will look in the Finale folder for the same name of the song it was playing during combat. Hypothetically, if it fails to do so, it will randomly select another one to play. Normally this is never the case. But if you, as described in the Music article, place your favorite songs in the Battle folder, this will happen more frequently.
Making your own
In order to make your own parts, you'll need the right tools and need to place everything right. In this article, the usage of Audacity will be explained for this.
Finding and preparing Audacity
Audacity is a free tool that allows you to edit sound files. You will need to be able to save your sound files as an .mp3, but upon first-run, Audacity might ask you to locate a file on your system named lame_enc.dll in order to be able to save mp3 files. Since this file isn't present with the download, you will need to Google it and find a website to download it. (you only need to do this once)
Take some time to run through your selection of music files and songs, and determine what songs you think hold parts (generally somewhere near the end) that you think would be suitable as indicators that combat has ended.
Once you have done that, drag the first file to the Audacity window. It should process it for a moment while it imports the file. How long this takes depends on how strong your computer is. But generally, if you're capable to run Oblivion, it can't be all bad.
What you will see pop up are (normally) two blocks holding some sort of strange shape (in maybe in Blue). They could look familiar to what you see in episodes of CSI. These blocks are actual sounds or rather, music. One block represents one side of music, much like Left and Right when using earplugs. You shouldn't worry about the fact they're with two.
You should see six round buttons. If you ever had a VCR, or ever held a remote, it should look familiar to you. Press the > button to play your song. Good, you're gettin' there. Now click the button with the square to stop the music. (not the II to pause it) Move your mouse over one of the two blocks of blue music. Doesn't matter what one. Click anywhere in the block, and press the play (>) button again. The music will now start from that point. Pretty simple, no?
Click the Stop button again, and try to click-and-drag a selection. Press play. Now you'll only hear the music part of your selection. Again, click Stop, and now try to determine (with Trial-and-Error) what part you think would be fitting for a Finale sound part.
Once you have done this, press Ctrl-X to cut it. It will disappear from the blue music block. Now press Ctrl-A to select everything, and Ctrl-V to paste what you cut earlier. It will overwrite what you selected with Ctrl-A. Now press Play and see if you like your selection. If you want to remove a bit from the start or the end, you can just select it and press Ctrl-K to remove it. If you are happy with your result, go to File and then Export as MP3... and save it to your Desktop for now.
Note: Audacity will not allow you to edit the audio if the music is playing or is set on pause. You must have stopped it with the stop button.
Once you have done this on your selection of favorite songs (or whatever songs you want to do this), you can move the created files to the Finale folder, which was described earlier. From now on, if the game isn't able to match a combat song to its right Finale part, you'll have a chance that instead, one of your sound files will be played.
Associating it with the right combat song is not a big effort. All you have to do is make sure it has the same name as the song in the Battle folder. So for example, I have the song We Are Motorhead.mp3 in the Battle folder, and my custom made file in the Finale folder with the same name. Now, when I fight in Fallout 3, and combat ends while We Are Motorhead is playing, I will hear my custom file playing. It may seem like a lot of effort, but soon this handling becomes a second nature, and the reward of excellent music during Gameplay is the ultimate reward.
- The music of Fallout: New Vegas is "hardcoded" and therefor will not recognize other music files in the Music folder. (partly because, apparantly, the music adapts to your Karma). The only way therefor to have your own music in-game is to replace the music files with your songs, and renaming them exactly the same.
- The Finale system has therefor (apparantly) been thrown out of the window too.