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  GamaDaily
 Weekly Gamasutra

[05.07.11]

PSN Return Delayed, Sony Removes Exposed Personal Details

[05.06.11]

Hackers Say Anonymous Likely Responsible For Sony Attacks
Analyst: A Mass Effect MMO Could Earn More For EA Than The Old Republic
Rockstar, L.A. Times Partner On L.A. Noire Promotional 'Crime Map'
Lenovo-Funded Chinese 'iSec' Console Planned For Second-Half 2011
Source: Layoffs At Crytek Budapest, Kinect Game Moves Foward
Capcom Annual Profits Up 258%, Five Million-Sellers
PSP Far Outsells 3DS In Weekly Japanese Charts
Team Fortress 2 Update Adds Replay Editor
Feature: Behind The Scenes Of The Portal 2 ARG
Opinion: Why The Next 12 Months Could Make Or Break EA
Valve's Wolpaw Offers Behind-The-Scenes Peek Into Portal 2
Opinion: Sorry But The Game Does Not Build Anymore
Gamasutra Expert Blogs: From Company Game Jams To Industry Maturity
Game Developer's May Issue Showcases Xbox Live Indie Games Postmortem
Analysis: Chain World And Clashing Values

[05.05.11]

Sony CEO Stringer Apologizes, Details Identity Theft Insurance
Analyst: EA Invested Roughly $80 Million In The Old Republic
IGN Confirms UGO Acquisition
Ubisoft Confirms Assassin's Creed Revelations
Report: New York Subpoenas Sony Over Network Breach
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 - Professional Leads Japanese Sales Charts
Saturn Brawler Guardian Heroes Coming To Xbox Live Arcade
New L.A. Office For Russian Publisher Nival
Rock Band Passes 100M Song Downloads
Anonymous Denies Involvement In PSN Outage
Report: Split/Second Developer Black Rock Facing Redundancies
GDC Europe 2011 Debuts Playfish, Mortal Kombat, Playdom Talks
Smithsonian Art Exhibit Recognizes Games From Pac-Man To Heavy Rain
Ten Ways Game Makers Can Attract A Top VC
This Week In Console Digital Download: From Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury To Moon Diver
This Week In Video Game Criticism: Portal 2 Tricks And Temporal Fluidity
Analysis: Games, Randomness And The Problem With Being Human

[05.04.11]

EA On Mass Effect 3's Mass-Market Changes, SWTOR Beta Interest, Firemint Price
EA Prepares For Worst-Case Scenario With League Lockouts
Riccitiello's EA Shifts From 'Defense' To 'Offense'
EA Reports Strong Q4 Digital Growth, Narrower Annual Loss
Mass Effect 3 Delayed To First Quarter 2012
NPD: Mobile Titles Represent Nearly Half Of All Full Game Digital Downloads
Sony Lays Out Investigation Timeline, Hints At 'Anonymous' Involvement in PSN Breach
Sony Names Security Firms Investigating PSN Breach
THQ Cancels Saints Row: Drive By, Renames Metro 2033 Sequel
SOE Offers Free Month Of DCUO Following Network Attack
Canadian Law Firm Files $1B Lawsuit Against Sony Over PSN Data Breach
Nintendo Confirms Wii Price Drop, 'Nintendo Selects'
Critical Reception: SCEA/Evolution Studios' MotorStorm: Apocalypse
'Tales from the GDC Vault': A Portal to Better Labeling
Interview: EAi's Cottle Talks Firemint Buy, Developing For 'Fragmented' Mobile Space
Opinion: Hunting For Water In The Sea
Opinion: What's So Special About Games' Living Luminaries?

[05.03.11]

THQ Execs Discuss Growth Strategy, The Future Of DLC
THQ Expanding uDraw Tablet Line To Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
THQ Posts $136M Loss For Fiscal 2011
Sony Declines To Testify At Upcoming Congressional Hearing
Resistance 3 Demo To Be Included In Battle: Los Angeles Movie Blu-ray
Three More DLC Packs Coming To Fallout: New Vegas
EA Announces New Family Game Night For Fall 2011, Series Passes 4M Units Sold
Rockstar, Mulholland Books Publishing Digital Collection Of L.A. Noire Stories
APB Reloaded Open Beta Starts May 18
TIGA Announces New Board Directors, Includes Lionhead and Crytek Bosses
Portal 2 Holds On To Top Spot For Second Week In UK Retail Sales Charts
Interview: Marvel Universe Studio Director's Great Responsibility
Opinion: The Games Media Prepares For Major Changes
Gears of War 3 Beta Invites Available From May 8
GDC Online 2011 Reminds On May 5th Talk Submission Deadline
Interview: The Art Decisions Behind Infamous 2's Modern Superhero Story
Gamasutra Member Blogs: From Improving Security To Crafting Surprises

[05.02.11]

SOE Discovers 24.6 Million More Sony Accounts Compromised
Congress Seeks Answers From Sony Over PSN Attack
Canada Remains On U.S. Piracy Watch List
Iwata: Nintendo Won't Abandon Buttons, Has Not Been Hurt Directly By Social, Mobile
Sony: 'No Truth' To PSN Credit Card Sales Rumor, Passwords Were Protected
Iwata: Nintendo To Schedule 3DS Game Releases To Avoid Third-Party Conflicts
Ubisoft Launching Dedicated Film Studio For Game Adaptations
Report: Syfy's Red Faction TV Film Due In June, Guerrilla Sells 1M
PSN Attacks Prompt New Australian Privacy Laws
Microsoft Launches Vancouver Studio, Reportedly Developing Shooter For Kinect
SOE Takes Down Station.com As 'Intrusion' Investigation Continues
343 Industries: Halo Marketing Is 'A Community Effort'
Sony Merging DC Universe Online Into Four Servers
Report: IGN To Buy 1UP Parent UGO, Preparing News Corp. Spinoff
Release This: MotorStorm: Apocalypse, Bangai-O HD Debut Stateside
Analysis: Incidental Character Choices in Balloon Diaspora
Interview: Will Kassoy's Wild Ride From Activision To Jirbo
Analysis: The Era Of Player Creativity

[05.01.11]

Sony Press Conference Discusses PSN Intrusion, Next Steps

[04.29.11]

Game Funding And Company Acquisitions Rise 36 Percent In 2010
Bit.Trip Series Coming To 3DS As A Retail Package
Valve Offering Free Portal 2 DLC On All Available Platforms This Summer
Australian Capital Territory Considering Independently Adopting R18+ Rating
Gamestop Job Postings Point To Streaming Game Service Development On Android, Linux
Homeland Security Department Helping Investigate PSN Data Breach
Just Add Water Announces Oddworld Strategy Spinoff 'Hand Of Odd'
Atari's Kassar: Calling Programmers 'High-Strung Prima Donnas' Was A Mistake
Gazillion Confirms Marvel Universe MMO As Free To Play, Reveals Writer
Saling The World: Mortal Kombat Overtakes Portal 2 Stateside
Opinion: PlayStation Brand Faces Uncertain Future
Over 250 Universities Worldwide Signed Up For CryEngine 3 Educational License
Best Of Indie Games: This Ain't a Love Story
Opinion: Losing your Objectivity - A Survival Guide
This Week In Video Game Criticism: Perspectives On Alternate Reality Games

[04.28.11]

Viacom Confirms Major Tax Benefits From Harmonix Sale, Lawsuit Defense
Hulu Plus Added To U.S. Xbox 360s April 29th, First Week Free
Record Xbox 360 Sales, Kinect Success Fuel Microsoft Quarterly Growth
South Australia Ready To Accept R18+ Rating, But Only As Replacement For MA15+
Luxology Announces Recoil Plugin For Modo 5.01
Analyst: Game Group Hurt By Digital Sales, Market Contraction, Wider Economy
Pokemon Typing Game Tops Japanese Sales Chart
Hotz: Sony Should Have Hired Security Experts Instead Of Lawyers
Sony: Credit Card Data Was Encrypted, No Evidence To Suggest It Was Stolen
PSP Surges Ahead In Weekly Japanese Charts
Volition Founder Mike Kulas Leaves Studio
Interview: Redbox Ramps Up Game Rental Business
Telltale To Publish Jurassic Park On Xbox 360 As Retail Disc
Interview: 5th Cell's Hybrid, Puppies And 'Marketable Innovation'
GDC Europe 2011 Debuts Mass Effect 3, Slant Six, IMVU Talks
This Week In Console Digital Download: From Outland To Valet Parking 1989
Gamasutra Expert Blogs: From GDC Talks To Treating Employees Right

[04.27.11]

Report: Sony Providing New PlayStation 3 SDKs Before PSN Comes Online
Hulu, SOE Make Amends For PSN Outage, Cost Estimates Differ For Data Breach
Class Action Lawsuit Brought Against Sony Over PSN Data Breach
F.E.A.R. 3 Delayed To June For North America And Europe
Developer Gate Five Suing Pop Star Beyonce For $100 Million Over Botched Game Deal
Massachusetts Digital Games Institute Launches
UK Retailer Game Group Posts Declines In Profits, Sales
UK Information Commissioner To Question Sony Over PSN Intrusion
Feature: Four Best Practices For Achievement Design
Critical Reception: EA/Maxis' Darkspore
Game Developer Reveals 2010 Game Industry Salary Survey Results
Transgaming Launches Cloud Gaming Service In France With Free
Sponsored Feature: CPU Onloading - Leveraging the PC Platform
What The (Game) Papers Say: April 2011
Darkspore Lead: Action-RPG Genre 'Getting A New Life'
Opinion: I Want Ugly

[04.26.11]

Developers Say PSN Outage Affecting Sales, But Remain Hopeful
PlayStation Network Accounts Compromised, Personal Information Stolen
George Romero, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Others Star In New Black Ops DLC
L.A. Noire Will Allow Players To Skip Difficult Sequences
Nintendogs + Cats Passes 1M Sales On 3DS
New EA Ad Boss Sees Value In Free, Sponsored DLC, In-Game Items
Reports: Layoffs Hit Obsidian Entertainment
Analyst: Next Call Of Duty To Sell 25M, Ahead Of Battlefield 3's 10M
THQ Extends Warhammer 40K Licensing Agreement
LucasArts Signs Studio-Wide Licensing Deal For Unreal Engine 3
Minecraft Mod Developer Accounts On The Way, Free To Sign Up
EA COO John Schappert Moves To Social Game Giant Zynga
Turbine Taking Full Control of Lord Of The Rings Online In Europe
Portal 2 Scores Valve First Ever Top Spot In UK Sales Charts
Minecraft Passes 2 Million Sales Mark
Opinion: In-Game Advertising's Big New Play
Iwata: 3DS Selling Below Expectations, Company Recommitting To Promotion
Interview: Final Fantasy XIII Composer On Creating, Performing The Series' Classic Tunes
Gamasutra Member Blogs: From Industry Trends To Benefits Of Turn-Based Strategy

[04.25.11]

James Cameron: Games Will Drive 3D Display Sales
Obituary: Sony Computer Entertainment Father Norio Ohga
Crytek To Release Free CryEngine 3 SDK In August
Sims Creator Will Wright Honored With Randy Pausch Prize
Iwata: Wii Successor Not Coming Before April 2012, Stereoscopic 3D Not A Focus
Report: EA Sports Planning DLC-Centered Subscription Service
SOCOM 4 Lead Designer Departs Zipper For New Startup
Analyst Forecasts Over 1M Star Wars: Old Republic Subs, Year-One
Nintendo Confirms Wii Successor For 2012, Posts 66% Profit Decline
Brink Creative Director Ham: We Want To 'Just Leave The Good Stuff' Of Multiplayer
Tales from the GDC Vault: On Betamax, Black & White, A Talk Under Siege
Release This: Darkspore, Outland Debut Stateside
Analysis: Is the Dance Genre Set For A Fall?
Gearbox's Pitchford On Gaming's Grown-Up World: There's No 'Line' To Cross

[04.24.11]

'External Intrusion' Cause Of PSN Outage, Hacker Group Denies Involvement


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September 26, 2005

Playing Catch-Up: Tim Follin

Today’s Playing Catch-Up, a weekly column that dares to speak to notable video game industry figures about their celebrated pasts and promising futures, sits down with video game composer Tim Follin.

Follin is perhaps most notorious for his early work, starting at the age of 15 at Insight Studios, where he scored games such as Agent X, Chronos, and Bubble Bobble for the ZX Spectrum home computer. After a year or so he moved on to Software Creations, making a name for himself with scores for the home computer versions of Bionic Commando and Ghouls and Ghosts (both the Commodore 64 and Amiga variations), Silver Surfer and Solstice for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and – along with his brother Geoff – Super Nintendo scores for Thomas the Tank Engine, Equinox, and Spider-Man and the X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge.

"For me, Software Creations at the start was a very enjoyable place to work," Follin told us via email. "We had a lot of fun!" But, as many of us know all too well, the ideal work environment can only last so long. Co-workers left, politics ran high, and the office environment - and indeed, the office itself - took on major changes. "The new offices seemed built specifically to divide us up and choke any enthusiasm for the job we might have had," he said. "They were I think four floors high, and each floor was designed with three isolated rooms, just big enough for one or two people, and one main room, just big enough for about three." Follin and his co-workers lost trust in the management. "We were being paid peanuts compared to the money the company was making," he said. So in 1993 Follin moved on to greener - much greener - pastures.

"Malibu Interactive had started advertising for staff to work in either their U.S. or Derby offices, offering a much higher salary, so a number of people from Software Creations had already left to go and work for them," he said. "I called them and told them I had a small team of people – two programmers, a graphic artist and me – wanting to leave SC and work for Malibu, provided we had a local office to work in." Surprisingly, Malibu conceded, and in a matter of weeks Follin and his team found an office in nearby Warrington. Geoff Follin would join them shortly thereafter; he was taking a trip around Africa at the time.

Not many will remember Malibu, the startup comic book company who tried to build an empire with their line of copycat superheroes. "The problem with Malibu was that it was a comics company, and the management had little knowledge of video games or the games industry, so it was inevitable that they soon ran into big problems," said Follin. "Although the programmers and artist in our team did a fair amount of work, the company was badly managed, and Geoff and I found ourselves doing very little for the best part of a year." Unsurprisingly, Malibu collapsed within a year, with only one shipped title - the universally-shunned Prime for the Sega CD, based on a comic book about a young schoolboy who can turn into a lump of anatomically-embarrassing lump of muscle mass at will. "The music we did was suitably cheesy," he said, referring both to the above and the unreleased Firearm.

After Malibu, Follin found himself as a freelancer by default, a role he's played ever since. "I like the free time," he said, "but I don't like worrying half the year whether I'm going to get any work or not." Initially Follin and his brother Geoff worked together, doing MIDI music for London-based Probe. "We soon realised that there wasn’t going to be enough work for both of us," he said. "Also, Geoff had started moving towards other areas (he’s now a teacher), so we went separate ways." Follin has only been involved in a handful of titles since then, most notably Batman and Robin for the PlayStation, Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future for the Dreamcast (and, eventually, PlayStation 2), and the multi-platform Starsky and Hutch. "I’ve also done a few Game Boy projects and some completely unrelated work for the local education authority, designing video teaching aids," he said. "Writing for Ecco was quite enjoyable, but I was constantly frustrated by a lack of equipment and resources – such as a string orchestra and choir!"

Follin went on to detail his frustration. "My self-imposed curse is that I love the sound of real instruments and have a deep resistance to synthesised music. It’s possibly because I’ve never had a decent synthesiser, but whatever the reason it’s led me down the dreaded path of simulation and samples, which as every composer knows can only end in tears!" Despite his extensive (and expensive!) GigaStudio library of simulated orchestra sounds, Follin remains frustrated. "And of course game music budgets never stretch to hiring real musicians," he said. "I think I’m really a band member working alone. It’s getting to the point now where I’d rather be doing anything other than writing music – anything that pays as much for the same amount of work, that is! But the stress of worrying whether I’m going to get any work each year is getting too much for me these days, so I’m now looking for a permanent job. Which is probably not going to be music related."

Follin has experimented outside of music, particularly with a couple of interesting short films, viewable on his website. "Film has always been something I’ve been interested in," he said. "I used to harbour desires to write film music, until I realised that the chances of writing for a really decent film - let alone any film at all - were so remote that I lost interest in pursuing it. But in recent years I’ve written and directed (and produced and done the music for etc, etc) two short films, made on tiny budgets, which have led so far to some work as a director of photography on a documentary shoot in Egypt, and may possibly lead a directing job, which I can’t say anything about right at the moment in case it doesn’t happen. If it does, the films will have been worth making!" Of his shift to film, Follin commented: "I suppose it’s like music. If you get an idea, and you can see how to make it work, you have to follow it through just to satisfy your own curiosity. I think I have the same enthusiasm now for film making that I had for game music when I started back at Software Creations in 1987. We all change I suppose!"

Follin is still involved in games, to some capacity. "I’m just finishing the music for Lemmings on the PSP," he said. "It’s been a pretty tight deadline and I’ve never done as much music in as little time before. I’ve also had to do the sound effects and lemming speech, which was fun!" Follin has no other game projects lined up for the future, and it's entirely possible that Lemmings might be his video game swan song, so to speak. "It looks as though I might be heading for a change of career," he said. "I’ll just have to wait and see!"

[Frank Cifaldi is a Las Vegas-based freelance author whose credits include work for Nintendo Official Magazine UK, Wired, and his own Lost Levels website.]

POSTED: 09/26/05 - Frank Cifaldi - LINK



Related news:
Playing Catch-Up: Thief's Randy Smith
Playing Catch-Up: Bill 'The Game Doctor' Kunkel Lets Loose
Playing Catch-Up: 'A Boy And His Job: Activision's David Crane'

[09.23.05]  [Next Column]  [View All...]  [View Other Playing Catch-Up Columns]


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