Interview with Allister
In this interview, Red Phoenix interviews
Allister Brimble, who is responsible for the sound and music in
RCT and its add-ons.
Whatís your background as a musician (ie: did you study music in
Allister Brimble: I come from
a musical family and I had piano lesson from an early age which
gave me start. Appart from music O level at school, I have not studied
music at all, but I have have recently taken up my piano lessons
I started to play around with music
on the sinclair spectrums 1 channel beeper. I soon upgraded to the
spectrum 128 which had better sound and was amazed by the music
in the game GlideRider by David Whittaker. From this point on I
also wanted to write music for games.
In the 80's I wrote a music tracks
for the Amiga using the Aegis Sonix package. I sent the tunes to
17 bit software (now team 17 Ltd !), a PD company and they liked
them so much that they published the tunes for me. This was the
start of it all and I managed to get a lot of work on the strength
of those early tunes.
What types of equipment and software do you typically use to produce
sound and music?
Allister Brimble: I have a PC
at the heart of my studio running a Creamware Pulsar 2 soundcard.
Connected to this, I have all my external synth equipment such as
the Kurzweil K2000 & Korg Z1. I also have a separate PC running
Gigstudio which allows me to write music with huge samples. SoundForge
is used as a sample editor and I use the Sound Ideas sample CD's
for source material along with some material recorded live.
What was the first game you produced sound or music for?
Allister Brimble: It was a game
called Italia 1990 (which I wrote in 1988!) for Codemasters Software
on the Amiga. Other games that followed included the big Team 17
titles such as "Full Contract", "Alienbreed" & "Project X".
How far into development was RollerCoaster Tycoon when you heard
from Chris Sawyer about working on RCT?
Allister Brimble: Something
like 6 months.
Can you describe the process you had to go through to obtain and
produce the sound and music we get to enjoy in RCT?
Allister Brimble: For the title
tune we listenned to the music on the film Rollercoaster and wanted
to do something similar. It actually ended up quite differently
because nothing I did in that style seemed quite the same. Not many
people know this, but the bassline from the title tune is actually
a Chopin piano waltz playing at double speed. I then improvised
my own tune own the top!
The sound effects mostly come from
my set of 100 + sample CD's. These included several rollercoaster
sounds which I had to turn into small loops.
Chris Sawyer also obtained some material
from real theme parks, such as a splash sound on one of the water
Out of all of the music and sounds that you made, how much of it
was never used in RCT?
Allister Brimble: Pretty much
all of it was used as I waiting for Chris to ask me what to write
before doing it. I had a few attempts at the title tune but didn't
keep the old versions.
Was there a particular piece of music that you were especially proud
of for whatever reason?
Allister Brimble: I was quite
pleased with the martian theme. I was trying to do something similar
to the Mars Attacks film title theme which I thought was great.
Has Chris Sawyer approached you in regards to working on a sequel
Allister Brimble: If there is
one, then hopefully I will be doing it.
Freelance media producers donít often get rich off the material
they produce due to the lack of royalties. Did you fare well with
RCT, which is still on the top 10 in the sales charts three years
after its release?
Allister Brimble: There were
no royalties so I didn't get particularly rich. Chris Sawyer did
pay me a bonus though because it had sold so well. Hopefully I will
be able to get royalties on future productions!
Do you play RCT anymore?
Allister Brimble: No, but my
girlfriend has started playing the addon packs. RCT is her favourite
Can you tell us anything about the project(s) you're currently working
Allister Brimble: I'm doing
a lot of work for the Gameboy Advance. My most recent projects on
other format are "The Italian Job" and "Driver 2", both for Playstation.
You can see my full portfolio at www.gameboyaudio.com
For those of our visitors who are interested in doing music and
sound effects in games, do you have any free advice for them?
Allister Brimble: I'm not really
sure how you get into it these days. Really you would have to get
hold of some good music equipments (synths etc) and a good sequencer
and sample editor + some sfx sample CD's and start knocking up some
good demo's which could be sent round to software companies.
One piece of advice would be not to
underestimate the importance of sound effects! Music is often overused
Would you like to get in a free plug for anything?
Allister Brimble: I have a CD
album available for purchase. You can read about it at www.allisterbrimble.com.
There are some other tracks at www.mp3.com/AllisterBrimble