Tim Of TBL - A Scener Reaching His Goals|
Most probably, a lot sceners have at one point or another - through their hectic activities such as pixelling, composing or coding - dreamt about working on their very own game. I clearly remember the bitter-sweet days just before joining the scene in '94: Together with a close friend, I continiously thought out game-ideas, and for the the ideas that seemed to be of a prominent nature, we even made all of the required graphics and music. Unfortuantly, we lacked a coder to assemble our loose visions, so the games never left the drawing-board. Ever since, I've had a secret fantasy about earing a living by making games, and ever since, I've always looked up to game-developers.
Whilst some of us are left with the fantasy of making games, others are actually making money out of it. People with ambitions, and with the talent, or should I say gift, to code, pixel or compose fantastic pieces of electronic art. These people were few years ago thought of as anti-social nerds, but today they have proved their superiority to others, and the kingdom of games are theirs to reign.
One of these pioneers, perhaps once thought of as a outcast, is Tim of The Black Lotus. Much like us, the present underground amigascene, Tim was once a faithful scener, with coding as his special ability. However, Tim was of such a caliber that he stood out in the crowd, and when news about a big electronic fair in London reached him, he decided to act. Through the scene he had met a guy working at Core Design, and through active persuasion he had been promised a job interview. Living in Holland, and travelling to Great Britain under the perhaps false pretence of meeting software-developers on common ground, Tim must be said to have been quite a resourceful young man. He is now in his mid 20's, but when he first travelled to the electronic fair - ECTS, or the "European Computer Trade Show" - he had just become 20. Having set up his amiga, Tim was unlucky, not meeting any Core Design-workers, but after bumping into a scener working for Domark - more specifically Data of Anthrox - which was in need of 3d-assistance, Tim showed him what he was capable of. Two weeks later, he had dropped out of university, and was coding games for Domark in the UK.
Although Tim hasn't been on the gamescene for a long time, he's already managed to work for several big companies like for example Domark, Eidos and Core Design, where he now - ironically enough - is hired. His most famous acchievement must be, according to himself, "Deathtrap Dungeon" on the Playstation, which he did a conversion of for Eidos Interactive. Danny, Nix and Lowlife - all members of TBL - are also working at Eidos. Tim tells us a bit about that project and the gamesindustry in general:
"Being in the gameindustry isn't as cool as everybody thinks it is; During the end of developing "Deathtrap Dungeon" for the PSX, I had to work for 8 months without any free time in the weekends. But on the other hand; wages aren't all that bad here, and generally, people in the gamesindustry are really nice. Right now I'm working on a slow-moving project, so I'm surrounded by a pretty relaxed atmosphere these days... I usually go to work 9:30 and return home at 5:30. I can't complain."
Before Tim started doing games, he was on the scene in his homecountry Holland, where he amongst others, got to know both the famous editor Sane and the organizer of Nah-Kolor Magic. Infact, the three of them were involved on a diskmag project together called Trinity; Sane and Magic were main editors, whilst Tim coded the whole thing...
"Trinity issue one was coded at the SIH party ages ago, and it really sucked, being very small and without charm. After the first issue, I was supposed to do a full magazine, with cliparts, colors and the usual... However, I didn't have the motivation to finish it, so issue 2 was never released. Magic asked me a million times (at least!) if he could use the magazine code for another project, but I left for the UK soon after, and was too busy coding PSX games to sort out the unfinished Trinity code..."
Whilst being on the scene, Tim was a member of amongst other Spaceballs, and he tells me that he'd like to meet the guys from that time again... "Those were the times", he says quietly in a moment filled with nostalgia. Whilst on the scene, Tim also coded others things except Trinity... One of these things was the demo "Dogmatic" for the group "Motive". According to Tim, that was 5 years ago, so when I tell him that Essence is dead - one of the few groups I mention that Tim has heard about, I don't blame him for being a bit uninformed.
"You know what?", Tim suddenly asks me. "I should actually start picking up amiga-coding again, since it's such a nice machine to code on... But I haven't done it for ages, so my stuff probably wouldn't be as good as the stuff produced nowadays. Actually, I haven't seen any demos for a long time either, so I don't even know what the standard is!"
For a few seconds, Tim thinks about joining the scene once again - after all, we are always in need of new (or old) talents, aren't we? - before continuing:
"If I want to do amiga-coding again however, I would need to get a 68060 card and a decent amiga, since mine is broken. I have a lot of very old scene productions on my harddisk, but the way I see it, that's not doing me any good as long as I haven't got a working Amiga. The one I have now is an Amiga 1200, and before I lent my 030-card to Michael of Anathema at a party - and never got it back - it used to be a lot quicker than it is now!"
Tim grins, well knowing that the mighty TBL-posse will one day strike down on Michael of Anathema, the 030-card stealer. Most probably, he won't see sunlight again after being kicked in the balls by Azazel...
Tim continues to tell about his exciting life in the gamesindustry, and mentioning some rather interested paralells between the amigascene and the gamescene;
"I remember I worked for Eidos Interactive. When I was there, I met some previous sceners, and if my memory doesn't fail me, the last thing Eidos published on the amiga, was Championship Manager 2, which actually featured music by Spaceman of Anarchy! Anyway, the only reason why they published it, was because they were sure it would make them money: English guys like football games, and because it's a limited game of such a small size, it hardly costed them anything to produce..."
As I leave Tim, he is thinking about his days on the scene, and I hear him whispering the words "Those were the days..."