Martin Galway

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Martin Galway
Martin Galway.jpg
Born 1966-01-03
Birth Place Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality American   USA.svg
Aliases M. Galway

Martin Galway is a British-American composer, known for his Commodore 64 music.

Martin Galway was born on January 3rd, 1966 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. At the age of five his family moved to Manchester, England. Because his father was a music teacher, Galway was introduced to music at an early age. His father gave him lessons on the flute, violin, clarinet and piano, but he wasn't interested in them at the time, something he regrets. He grew up listening to rock'n'roll, gaining a strength with fiddly guitar solos, and to electronic music. As influences, he would cite Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Depeche Mode, Thomas Dolby (especially The Flat Earth), and Cocteau Twins, and for guitar, David Gilmour, Ry Cooder, Brian May, and Arlo Guthrie.

At age 16, Galway became involved with his high school's computer lab, which was only a single room with a few home computers like the Commodore VIC-20, Commodore PET, Sinclair ZX81, and TRS-80. Only a year later, Galway was hired by Optima Software (owned by Database Publications, who published "The Micro User" magazine), and at 17, his very first professional music was published on a BBC Micro. From the money he made he was able to buy his own computer and teach himself how to program.

While pitching one of his friend's computer games to Ocean Software, Galway also tried selling his BBC music. Ocean, realizing that there wasn't a market for the BBC Micro, only wanted Commodore 64 music. Ocean lent Galway a Commodore 64, an assembler and the source code to someone else's driver to learn from at home. After he did, Galway began working as a freelance musician. In early 1985, he quit college and joined Ocean as a full-time game programmer. He was only secondarily a musician, since Ocean was not comfortable to hire a full-time musician. However, the multi-tasking didn't work well, so they made him a full-time musician after all. From that point on Galway wrote music for a large number of Commodore 64 games and is one of the most popular SID artists to date. His work with the SID chip and assembly music is one of the most complex and profound.

After having to deal with the terrible working conditions and low pay of Ocean Software for too long, Galway quit and moved to Austin, Texas, USA to work for Origin Systems. He worked at Origin Systems composing music, and doing some minor design and programming work. When Origin Systems was acquired by Electronic Arts, he left with the main programming staff to form Digital Anvil.

Audio Development

Commodore 64

For his first C64 game, Ocean gave Galway an unidentified "dreadful" driver. Afterwards, Galway developed his own driver. He always entered the music into the assembly source code. He felt hassled by bugs in the ADSR and the filter.

In February 1987, Galway became the first SID arranger to use 4 voices. He had discovered an American synthesizer package called Digi-Drums which played samples on a 4th voice. He admits he did not understand the actual sample data and just made up numbers (he kept calling "farts and burps"), possibly inspired by the ZX Spectrum. By July 1987, he added a bass drum sample and a snare drum sample from Rockmonitor II.

His favorites are Rob Hubbard, especially One Man and His Droid (C64), the cool bouncy melodies of Fred Gray, and among his own, Title - Wizball (C64), Arkanoid (C64), and Rambo: First Blood Part II (C64). His least favorites include Title - Green Beret (C64), The Great Escape, and Top Gun.

Commodore Plus/4

Galway ported his Commodore 64 driver.


Galway's only NES game was Ultima: Warriors of Destiny, which he did for Origin Systems. Galway programmed his own sound driver and wrote in the traditional way by inputting the note data through 6502 assembly.


Galway programmed a driver for the SNES, which was used in only four games. However, it is unknown how Galway created music or where he sampled his instruments from.

ZX Spectrum

Galway used a driver called Plip Plop programming by Jonathan Smith.


Released Title Sample Notes
1984-??-?? Daley Thompson's Decathlon (C64) Loading music
1984-1?-?? Hunchback II (C64)
1984-??-?? Kong Strikes Back! (C64)
1984-??-?? Swag (C64)
1985-0?-?? Hyper Sports (C64)
1985-0?-?? Roland's Ratrace (C64)
1985-1?-?? Rambo: First Blood Part II (C64)
1985-??-?? Comic Bakery (C64)
1985-??-?? Daley Thompson's Star Events (CP4)
1985-??-?? The NeverEnding Story (C64)
1985-12-?? Yie Ar Kung-Fu (C64)
1986-0?-?? Green Beret (C64)
1986-0?-?? Helikopter Jagd (C64)
1986-0?-?? Match Day (C64)
1986-0?-?? Miami Vice (C64)
1986-0?-?? Parallax (C64)
1986-0?-?? Ping Pong (C64)
1986-??-?? Cobra (ZXS)
1986-??-?? Highlander (C64)
Arranger of Roger Taylor, also composer of Ocean Loader 2
1986-??-?? Mikie (C64)
1986-??-?? Short Circuit (C64)
1986-??-?? Terra Cresta (C64)
1986-??-?? Terra Cresta (ZXS)
1986-??-?? Yie Ar Kung-Fu II (C64)
1987-0?-?? Arkanoid (C64)
Composer, also arranger of Hisayoshi Ogura
1987-0?-?? Game Over (C64)
1987-0?-?? Slap Fight (C64)
1987-0?-?? Wizball (C64)
Also Ocean Loader 1
1987-??-?? Athena (C64)
1987-??-?? Athena (ZXS)
1987-??-?? Boot Camp (C64)
1987-??-?? Double Take (C64)
Reused Ocean Loader 2
1988-0?-?? Rastan (C64)
1988-??-?? MicroProse Soccer (C64)
1988-12-?? Times of Lore (C64)
1989-01-?? Times of Lore (AST)
Arranged by Nigel Pritchard
1989-02-?? Times of Lore (AMI) Arranged by Nigel Pritchard
1989-02-?? Times of Lore (DOS)
Arranged by Herman Miller
1989-06-?? Times of Lore (ZXS) Arranged by Nigel Pritchard.
1989-07-?? Times of Lore (CPC) Arranged by Nigel Pritchard.
1989-??-?? Insects In Space (C64)
1990-12-07 Times of Lore (NES)
Arranged by Katsuhiro Hayashi.
1992-04-16 Ultima VII: The Black Gate (DOS)
Audio Director and includes Prince Thrakhath's Theme.
1993-01-?? Ultima: Warriors of Destiny (NES)
1993-11-19 Ultima: Runes of Virtue II (GB) (ウルティマ 〜失われたルーン2〜) Music Composition with Marc Schaefgen, Raymond Benson, and Dana Glover.
Music and Sound Effect Driver.
1994-06-17 Ultima: Runes of Virtue II (SNES) (ウルティマ外伝 黒騎士の陰謀) Music Composition with Raymond Benson, Randy Buck, Dana Glover, and Marc Schaefgen.
Music and Sound Effect Driver.
1994-11-18 Ultima: The Black Gate (SNES) With Dana Glover and Kirk Winterrowd.
1994-12-?? Metal Morph (SNES) Audio Programming with Gary Scott Smith.
Musical Arrangement with Marc Schaefgen.
Musical Composition with Alistair Hirst and Jeff van Dyck.
1995-07-28 Ultima: Kyouryuu Teikoku - The Savage Empire (SFC) (ウルティマ 恐竜帝国) Sound Driver

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