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Sad Snail Productions
- The Interview

This is a copy of an email interview Unc did for FRED Disk magazine. The questions were asked by Colin Anderton. FRED had a good sized subscription base in it's day. Unc was mainly interviewed due to setting up the first set of web pages devoted to the Sam.

Tim Paveley is a name not as well recognised as, say, Colin Anderton (cheer, cheer). However, Tim has graced us with his presence on FRED (although not enough), producing such classics as the hugely playable EGGBuM and the hugely bugged Fortress.

{coughs} It worked fine when I sent it to you Colin.

not to mention the as yet unseen memory killing (but very good, and in SAM C) menu, which nearly destroyed the chances of getting FRED 62 out before Christmas, and me getting to Uni the next day, and me having a last night out with my friends, and me slitting my wrists.

{looks innocent} Urm, yes, I must confess I'm slightly embarassed about that one. I can't believe I've brought the great name of Sad Snail Productions into shame. However, I must say that when I saw you last you'd appeared to make a very good recovery from the wrists. Besides, didn't Graham do a spiffing job as a last minute replacement.....

However, Tim has done SOMETHING right in his life, as a few years ago, Tim brought the SAM to the Information Superhighway (woo!) with the first SAM World Wide Web page. And just to go with technology, we're conducting this interview by e-mail (wow!).

Actually it was more like 11 months ago. Early Nov '94 I think.....

1) Hello Tim Paveley. How's things?

Fine thanks Colin. My wallet still hasn't fully recovered from the Show, but my Sam is a lot happier about the event. I must advise your readers not to try and carry a monitor back from Gloucester to Southampton, but at least it still works, or at least, as well as when I bought it.

2) The usual question first - do you have an interesting or informative reason for getting into SAM? If not, tell us anyway.

Well, I read about the Sam in CRASH, and thought, "WOW!". Quite simply I just had to have one. However, someone shortly afterwards offered to sell me an Atari ST at cost price, which actually worked out cheaper than the Sam at that time. To be honest, I was this close <-----> to buying the ST.

Things got delayed though, and after a while, I decided that I wanted a computer now! so I off I went to buy a Sam. This was about the middle of Feb '90, shortly after they came out, so the Sam was still very new, and unproven at that time. Even the man in the computer show tried to point out to me the many possible problems with it, and how it might completely fold two or three months later.

I'm quite surprised I bought it really, considering there was so many reasons not to at the time. I remember the man at the shop saying that I would be a pioneer, at which point my eyes lit up and there was no turning back. I'm glad I did buy it though, even if I do still get people reply 'A what?'....

3) Were your first computer programs the ones we saw on FRED?

Definatly not! I used to have a reputation for not having a life and staying in programming my Speccy when all my mates were hanging around on street corners acting hard. When I got the Sam I continued writting programs, such as the classic "Tim is Great" Version 2.04b.

I think my first 'useful' program was a Disk Utility. Basically it allowed you to do everything you could do in SamDOS, but with far less ease! I dabbled with all sorts, before I finally had the guts to send something into FRED. I was really surprised when it was published.

Since then of course, I've sent all my programs to FRED, out of some strange feeling of loyalty. Besides, I know I get maximum publicity from FRED, even if I have changed the name I write under for every program.

Occasionally I dig out my old speccy tapes, and have a good laugh, but I think everyone has some of 'those' programs lying about for sentimental reasons.

4) Where did the idea for the classic game EGGBuM (FRED 57) come from?

It's a classic, so soon? Actually the idea came from my friend Steve (Manga of Sad Snail Productions). I had just sent off the highly playable and totally bug free 'Fortress' to you, when already I had the urge to write something new. Graham Goring had been hassling me to write something with GamesMaster, so I had a brain storming session.

Eventually Steve told me about a game called 'Croco Magneto' which he'd played on his Amstrad. I thought about it for a while, and decided that the concept was going to be fairly easy to convert. (oh how naive I was then). The game basically got written by Steve telling me what he wanted things to do, and then I'd go off for a while and write them.

I was quite impressed that Steve got so involved. Dispute owning an Acorn, he quite likes the Sam, he even wrote the landscape routine I used in Fortress.

5) Is it true that you're considering writing EGGBuM 2? Perhaps in time for the X-mas or New Year issue????

Hmmm, do I detect a subtle hint in that comment?

Yes and No. We have been toying with lots of ideas for EGGBuM II. But at the moment we are not sure when we are going to write it. The thing is both of us want to do all the fun stuff like designing all the different sprites, but neither of us want to make a start on the code :-)

I must confess we have also been wondering whether to try and actually sell EGGBuM II for money, assuming we can get it to an even higher standard from what it already is. Rest assured, if we do, we'll make sure FRED gets a fully playable sample, showing off some of the new features.

Maybe for the next Show....

6) Any plans to give FRED a working SAM C menu? (The disc is in the post, by the way)

As soon as I get the disk? I will fix it, it will work, no really. The problem you see is that it was the first program I'd ever managed to complete in a day, and I was feeling really good about it, so I didn't really bother to test it fully, and made a few too many assumptions.

You should think yourself lucky that I wrote you one. I was sat there with this tune, when I suddenly thought "Hey, why not write a menu?" I wanted to do one that was different from normal, hence the fact that it has a built in game.

See, I could have lied, but no, I'm being fully honest with you. Besides I'm sure it's just you not knowing anything about anything ;-)

7) Moving along, could you explain to the simplest of people (no offence, Macdonald) what a WWW page is.

Urm, I can try!

The World Wide Web (WWW) is basically just lots of pages of text spread over lots of computers all around the world, which you can view using a fancy bit of software called a WWW Browser.

The nice thing about them, is that there is a whole load of standard 'tags' which you can add to the text to achieve certain effects.

The most useful effect, is the ability to turn sections of the text into a 'link' for another text file somewhere else. So say I was reading an article on the X-Files. Then there might be a 'link' so that I could look at an article on the wonderful Gillian Anderson, and on that page there might be another 'link' to a list of all programs she has been in.

Then there are all sorts of other things you can do. All the text is automatically justified, but you can set it up in all sorts of different styles, such as numbered lists. As well as highlighting text using bold or making it larger.

You can also insert pictures in with the text, or even use a picture as the 'paper' that the text is written on!

Waffle, Waffle, Waffle.

8) Zzzzz. Oh, you've finished. Thanks. Why did you decide to set up a SAM Web page?

For several reasons, mainly selfish I must confess. I suddenly found out that I was allowed to set up my own Web pages. However I get totally sick of the 'bog standard student Web page' which simply has a link to the X-Files page, and a couple of links to 'dodgy' picture sites. So I thought I'd try to so something useful.

It seemed to me that there wasn't actually any pages anywhere dedicated to the Sam Coupe, so I though 'why not?' and promptly wrote my own. Admittedly they started off looking rather sad. I had a couple of pages of stats about the Sam that I had pinched from the manual, and that was about it. I had this 'News & Gossip' page, except I never had anything to put on it. (hint hint)

The all of a sudden I started getting lots of reviews and things to put on it, mainly from Graham Goring, and so it began to grow into what it is today. Of course, it didn't help that I had to move then a week ago, especially since you'd just told everyone on FRED the old address, but that's life.

9) What does the Web page have on it of interest, and what does it involve, etc, etc, yawn?

The quick guided tour?

It has a whole list of questions and answers about the Sam, it's history, and where it's going.

I've tried to put in blurbs about every game, utility and piece of hardware I can think of, as well as some reviews.

I've got some 'technical' type pages, including how to build your own joystick splitter.

There is a who's who in the Sam world, as well as some business addressess, and price lists.

Finally there is a list of other people with Email addresses, who don't mind getting a message from people.

10) Wow! What can us mortals do to help?

I'm glad you asked that Colin. The main problem is that I get fairly out of date. Basically, I'd really like it if people who look at them could point out anything that's missing from them. Or even send me a review I could use. Anything really.

I guess it's a bit awkward for all those people who don't have email and the like. But I know there are a lot of students who read FRED. Just think. You could have your name in print!

11) Is it true that you don't sleep?

That is a complete lie. If I ever find out who started that rumour I'll force them to play StarShot until they can score over 1,000,000 points.

12) What are your plans for the future?

EGGBuM for the Archimedies, EGGBuM 2, a Working Menu......

I always seem to have a large collection of half finished programs. Mainly coz I tend to lose interest in them. The other thing is that a lot of the programs I do write tend to have a very specific use, so I guess they wouldn't really be that suitable for FRED.

Actually, there are a lot of SamC programs I'd like to write but I tend to feel happier writting Utilities, so I'm waiting on the DOS library to come out. (Feeling confused yet colin?)

13) Thanks Tim. Erm, one last question - how do I download onto disc from P-mail?

P-Mail? Pegasus Mail? No Idea. If your system is anything like mine, (ie running under Unix) then I find the easiest thing to do, is to save the letter to a folder all by itself, and then FTP it onto a disk. Of course, however you end up doing it, you are going to have to reformat it all to 64 columns :-p


Good Bye Colin, nice to have had the chance to talk with you again so soon.


Tim Paveley ....@/

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