|Timothy John Follin
Tim Follin is an English composer and sound designer. He is the younger brother of Geoff Follin, another popular video game musician, and Mike Follin. Tim is one of the most popular video game musicians. Some of his best known works include Ghouls 'N Ghosts, Plok, and Silver Surfer.
Tim did not have prior music training before starting his music career. He attended the Liverpool Sandown Music College, but dropped out after a year of studies. Mike gave Tim a brief tutorial on creating music on the Spectrum via machine code, and Tim later wrote the music driver and soundtrack for their first professional game, Subterranean Stryker.
Tim and Mike were then hired at Software Creations by co-founder Richard Kay. It was while working at this company where Geoff came along. Tim and Geoff composed the music to a vast majority of their video games, including all of their NES titles. During Software Creations' SNES and Genesis development, the Follins would usually compose the music to the SNES versions while Tony Williams converted their compositions to the Genesis.
Citing a declining work environment, the brothers and 2 other employees left Software Creations in 1994.
The Follins then joined Malibu Interactive. However, this only lasted 18 months due to the company filing for bankruptcy. While 3 games were made by the company, only Ultraverse Prime / Microcosm got released, with Time Trax and Firearm getting cancelled.
After Malibu's bankruptcy, Tim spent the rest of his career as a freelancer.
Tim often didn't pay attention to the games he did music for, and as a result, many of the soundtracks were unfitting to the game itself (Pictionary being a prime example). He said that if he were to do game music again, that he'd try to make the music more fitting to the game he worked on. Tim also isn't a big fan of his video game work, with the exception of Ghouls 'n Ghosts. He described his C64 work as nonsense he wasn't particularly happy with. However, he likes the SID chip, saying making music on it was "playing an instrument in its own right". Tim seemed to enjoy his music on SNES and onwards more.
Tim said that he isn't much of a gamer and just likes to compose music, his sole game programming credit (not counting music drivers) came with his fourth title, Future Games, where he created one minigame of the several featured.
Tim Follin's Game Boy / Game Boy Color music was sometimes arranged by Andy Brock.
Follin used drivers written by Stephen Ruddy for his early music on the Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, C64, Game Boy, Game Gear, Master System, NES, and ZX Spectrum. To utilize these drivers, Follin wrote the music in hexadecimal notation in assembly language. While Tim and Geoff did not program these drivers, they did get to design it.
Follin also explained in various interviews that he usually didn't get to see the game during development to get inspiration for music, so he just wrote what he wanted. In addition, Tim stated that he never composed music on instruments and solely typed in the hexadecimal notation in the sound drivers to compose his music. Tim said that this wasn't a problem for him, as he was familiar enough with the drivers to efficiently write music and sound. Tim said that this was because he could hear what the music sounded like in his head, so there was no need for an instrument.
For his Game Boy music with Software Creations, Follin would use the aforementioned method of writing music in Z80 assembly in Stephen Ruddy's sound driver which was designed by both of the Follin brothers.
According to Tim, for Time Trax, he used a sound driver written by Dean Belfield, in which he programmed the music in assembly. Unfortunately, this was the only game he ever composed on the Genesis, so the driver was never used again.
Tim also said the Genesis was his favorite console to work on because it had the right amount of limitations and sound variation, as well as the fact that he only composed one soundtrack for it.
Tim used a sound driver programmed by Stephen Ruddy, which was designed by Tim and his brother Geoff. He programmed the music in hexadecimal on MS-DOS, and then the music was burned onto an NES cart for playback.
Tim switched to a sound driver written by Mike Webb (with assistance from Ruddy). Follin used an Ensoniq ASR-10 keyboard. He also said that guitars were recorded from actual guitars, and some of the bass guitars as well. Even at this time, Tim still had to write and program the music in hexadecimal. He also wrote on his Ensoniq and converted his sequenced files to the sound engine. He later ended up creating MIDI files in Cakewalk.
Tim had this to say in regards to the Batman Forever soundtrack.
In Rock 'N' Roll Racing, he is credited as Software Creations, the developer he worked for.
- mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,56818/ - MobyGames.
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Follin - Wikipedia.
- linkedin.com/in/tim-follin-82969020/ - LinkedIn.
- vimeo.com/user21326665 - Vimeo.
- youtube.com/channel/UCOxd-q5A0YbDh0IyZu5tdHQ - YouTube.
- youtube.com/watch?v=894_PNqBkx4 - Video Interview about Solstice (NES) from 1990.
- csdb.dk/release/?id=8763 - C64 Disk Interview from December 1990.
- web.archive.org/web/20021118161113/http://www.mono211.com/follindrome/interview1.html - Interview from 1998.
- web.archive.org/web/20021223070706/http://c64audio.valuehost.co.uk/edge/czone_follin.htm - Interview from Commodore Zone in 1998.
- web.archive.org/web/20030224044627/http://www.kdvs.org/6581SID/timfollin.html - Interview from March 4, 2000.
- youtube.com/watch?v=bQkicZOG-Z4 - Video Interview from 2007.
- w.atwiki.jp/gamemusicbest100/pages/309.html - Atwiki.jp (Japanese).