Warhawk (Proteus)
Warhawk (aka Proteus) by Firebird
Rob's music is structured. The way he explained it made his system sound rather like Forth. One command branching to another, which, in turn, calls another and so-on. When writing the tune, he works in 'chunks', rather than voices. He says that if you complete one sound channel, or 'voice' it's very hard to make sure that other channels are in time. If you do it piece by piece, perfecting each couple of seconds of music at a time, with all three channels going at once, it's easier to handle.

A word familiar to BBC users will be 'procedure'. This is how the 'Forth' idea works. It's really quite simple. If your music is going to play the same set of notes more than once, write a procedure. It's easier to call it twice than to store the data twice. The more notes you fit into a procedure, the more space you save.

What with conversions, rushed deadlines and out-of-the-blue requests for certain items, it sounds like a full-time job.

"Well, I play in a band as well. Doing cover versions of other groups' records. I play keyboards. Doing clubs and that."

Which presumably helps to forget the computer for a while?

"Yeh. For a few hours I'm in a completely different place with different people. It's a break to get on stage and play with the band."

Rob works on at least a couple of projects at a time. When I was there, he had just about finished the theme for International Karate for System 3, and Proteus, for a company of the same name, in Norwich.

After searching through his disgustingly orderly box of discs, he loaded one - "You have to wait ages for this." - and gave me a demo. A fairly tame 'ching' started the tune, and then mixed with a 'woooo', a 'tcheee' and some others I can't spell, until the poor old Commodore 64 was busting a gut and sounding eerily like a soundtrack for a rather up-market martial arts movie. It's frighteningly good. How long did it take to do this one?

"Oh, I spent quite a long time on this, er, a couple of weeks."

With ideas for computer games being used up at a ferocious rate, I sat on the train home, wondering how long it will be before people start writing games around Rob's soundtracks.


Favourite Food: Steak & Kidney pie / Lasagne ("a decent one...")

Favourite Drink: Coffee

Most Disliked TV show: "Anything with Terry Wogan in..."

Favourite TV show: Fawlty Towers

Favourite Music: Chick Corea

Favourite Movie: Never Ending Story. "It was quite good..."

Countries Visited: Belgium / Austria / Italy / Denmark / Norway / Sweden / Jersey

Pet Hate: Baseless, "my computer is better than yours", debates

Terry Wogan - BBC Radio
Terry Wogan

Rob's not a fan
but with eight million listeners to his BBC Radio 2 show,
Terry Wogan is the undisputed king of morning British radio.

Article reproduced from Computer & Video Games (C+VG) Magazine June 1986 edition.
Although all text appears unchanged, some photographs or images have been added or modified for aesthetic purposes.

Thank you to the following websites which were used for sourcing some images that appear in this article:
Amazon.com, Commodore64.hu, Wikipedia.