Andy Brock

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Andrew P. Brock
Andy Brock - 2.jpg
Born
Birth Place
Nationality English   England.svg
Aliases A. Brock

Andy Brock is an English composer and sound designer who has been creating music and sound for video games ever since the 90's. Andy attended Plymouth University and Croydon College. His video game music career started in the December of 1992, when he worked for Probe Software as a composer and sound effects designer. A little over a year later, he left Probe Software and joined Acclaim Studios London in 1994. He also wrote music and sound for their games until October 1999, where he moved to the USA in Austin, Texas and started working for their Austin division. He stayed there until September 2004. That same time, he opened up his own studio to be a freelance composer. He closed it up four months later in December. In January 2005, he joined NCSoft. He stayed there for three years until he left in October 2008. He then worked at Vigil Games since then until June 2012. Ever since July 2012, he has been working at Blizzard Entertainment as a senior sound designer.

Music Composition

Game Boy

Andy said this about creating music for the Game Boy:

I created music and sound for the Gameboy at Probe using their proprietary 8/16 bit multi-format audio engine, IMED. It supported SNES, Genesis, Gameboy and Gamegear. Carl Muller had written the original single format SNES one, but a programmer called Ed (I forget his surname) wrote the multi-format IMED tool (hence 'I'm Ed'). I don't remember if any code was shared between the two engines. IMED was developed further by a programmer called David Shea after Ed left Probe.

IMED had a clean, intuitive windows-based interface and the tools were fun to use and experiment with. You programmed your own instrument sounds on Genesis and on the 8 bit formats. It worked exclusively with MIDI data, but was limited in what it could read or handle. There was no support for midi volume pedal data, for example. If you wanted vibrato or a portamento note bend, you'd have to create a separate sound with that pitch curve applied to it, not read from MIDI. It was also inefficient in terms of the size of that MIDI data in a sound bank on the target game cartridge. On Gameboy especially there was only room for a few music tracks and sound effects. Sound effects were effectively simple sequences of a few MIDI notes.

I found out later from David Shea that there were actually timing errors in the code, which explained why the note timing and tempo never seemed to be as tight as other game sound tracks of the time.

Andy also said this regarding his arrangement of Tim Follin's songs:

So the games I collaborated on with Tim Follin were Batman Forever (SNES, Genesis, Gamegear, Gameboy), WWF Warzone (Gameboy), Bust-a-move 3 DX (Gameboy), Maya the Bee and Her Friends (Gameboy), Bust-a-move 4 (Gameboy) and Batman & Robin (PSX). The IMED engine I mentioned above was used for all those titles except Batman & Robin. Basically Tim would write the music and send the MIDI data, along with a recording of how they sound sound, and I'd do the rest. It's bad form to blame tools, but IMED was nowhere near as powerful as the amazing engine he was used to at Software Creations. Still, Tim's incredible talent allowed him to write great music under those limitations. I had the thankless task of converting it to the various formats using IMED. I remember on the WWF game having to remove 0-volume notes in the MIDI data, because of the MIDI size restrictions. (Tim would add these silent notes to stop a note, and get precise note lengths on the Gameboy, preventing them from taking more than one channel.)

SNES

Andy had this to say about his T2: Arcade Game SNES music:

I had to learn it by ear, there were no midi files or sheet music available. I had a DAT tape of every piece of music and sound effect from the arcade machine sound memory. This was in the days before PC-based sample editor programs of course... Nowadays I'd recommend time stretching out difficult sections of the original music out so you can follow what's happening better. T2 Arcade had a lot of 8-op FM type sounds basically imitating a kind of pseudo guitar rock type soundtrack.

As far as the instrument samples for T2... We had a Yamaha SY77 in the studio, and I think I sampled some sounds from that, and probably got the rest from the Roland W30 sampler we had in-house too. They were not from the arcade machine itself directly, but I tried to get as close as possible to it.

The music software I used was prorietary-written by a Probe inhouse programmer. It used MIDI data and basically triggered samples stored in the game sound data banks. I think I had 120 KB for T2. Seems ridiculous now, but the music data, sound effects and instrument samples all had to fit into it.

Gameography

Released Title Sample Notes
1993-05-?? Alien³ (SNES) (エイリアン3) Sound Effects
1993-09-?? Bram Stoker's Dracula (SNES) With Steve Collett.
1993-??-?? T2: The Arcade Game (SNES) (T2ザ・アーケードゲーム)
Arranged Chris Granner's music.
1994-??-?? Hurricanes (SNES)
1994-03-18 Virtual Soccer (SNES) (Jリーグ スーパー・サッカー)
1994-05-26 Mortal Kombat (SCD) (モータルコンバット: 完全版)
1994-08-?? The Incredible Hulk (SNES) Sound Effects
1994-09-?? Obitus (SNES)
1995-??-?? Batman Forever (GEN) (バットマン·フォーエヴァー) Arranged Tim Follin's music.
1995-??-?? Batman Forever (GG)
1995-??-?? Batman Forever (SNES) Arranged Tim and Geoff Follin's music.
1995-??-?? F1 World Championship Edition (SNES)
1995-??-?? FIFA Soccer 96 (32X)
1995-??-?? FIFA Soccer 96 (GG)
1995-??-?? FIFA Soccer 96 (SNES)
1995-??-?? Judge Dredd (GEN) (ジャッジ・ドレッド)
1995-??-?? Judge Dredd (GG)
1995-??-?? Judge Dredd (SNES)
1995-??-?? Primal Rage (32X)
1995-??-?? Primal Rage (GEN)
1995-??-?? Primal Rage (GG)
1995-??-?? Stargate (SNES)
1995-06-?? Judge Dredd (GB)
1995-07-?? Primal Rage (GB)
1995-08-?? Batman Returns (GB)
1995-08-?? Batman Forever (GB)
1995-10-?? NFL Quarterback Club 96 (GB)
1995-12-?? FIFA '96 (GB)
1995-12-?? Kawasaki Superbike Challenge (SNES)
1996-??-?? Batman Forever (PC)
1996-??-?? Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble (GEN)
1996-??-?? Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble (GG)
1997-??-?? Judge Dredd (W16)
1998-??-?? Bust-A-Move 2 Arcade Edition (GB) (パズルボブルGB)
1998-??-?? Bust-A-Move 3 DX (GB)
1998-04-30 Forsaken 64 (N64)
1998-04-30 Forsaken (PS1)
1998-07-31 Batman & Robin (PS)
1999-03-09 Re-Volt (N64) (リボルト) Sound Effects
1999-11-30 Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M. (PS)
2012-08-13 Darksiders II (W32)
2012-08-14 Darksiders II (PS3)
2012-08-14 Darksiders II (X360)
2012-11-18 Darksiders II (WIIU)
Unreleased South Park (GBC) Arranged Tim Follin's music.

Picture Gallery

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