Jochen Hippel & Michael Raasch


The interview was done by Charon & Blowtorch of the N.A.T.O. in October/ November 1990.

Thalion Software became more and more important in the software scene, what are the reasons?
Perhaps they're good, that's it already...
I don't know. I don't understand why the games are so famous, because... well, I don't want to...

Yes, hash them!
They would never forgive me! But there are many ST-freaks...

How many employees are working at Thalion at the moment?
Err... one!
Two? Who else?
There's Chrisse, too.
Ah, Chrisse is there, too! There are two, but Chrisse will leave in February. So there's only one left (2-1=1).

But in some games many people were credited?!
That used to be...
No, no... There are many freelancers, ST and Amiga programmers. Recently there are more programmers for the Amiga.

Does the result of the work deteriorate, when the game has to be finished on short notice? Do you think deadlines are important?
Many things change then...
You're making more mistakes. The company demands, that the game has to be finished on that day. When you don't have any time left at end, it doesn't make sense to code all night, because you don't gain anything.
There also are some companies which impose contractual penalties.

How many hours per day do you have to work in order to code on time?
That depends on you being a sound programmer or a normal programmer. It also depends on how big the game is supposed to be. If a normal sized game is in development, the programmer has to work at least eight hours per day. You should do eight hours, but you don't have to. The sound programmer is a different matter. If he has to be finished in half a year, he wouldn't need to work that hard - if he wasn't regularly working on five or six projects simultaniously.

You're also composing your own songs - how many of them per year?
I don't know. I never thought about it, but it could add up to 20 per year, perhaps even more.

How long does it take you to compose a 2-4 minutes long tune?
That varies quite a bit. There are moments my head is totally empty and it takes quite a long time. Otherwise it doesn't take long - 2-4 hours maximum.

What has been the longest time to work on a tune? Which one was it?
Certainly the Atari ST theme of Wings of Death. Including the sound routine, composing, conversion to the ST it took at least one week!

Are there days, you want to scroll your computer out of the (closed) window?
(Where have I heard that before?) Normally I wouldn't. One time at Thalion five people were getting on my nerves with everyone deeming his matter the most important. I thought it had to stop. I didn't want to care about it!

Who are your idols?
Rob Hubbard, of course...
The Eygon, because he made a lot of money!
Programmers who are talented but not conceited - Eygon, for example. The "Maniacs of Noise" on the other hand are also talented but, well, are extremely conceited!

Who is the second best sound programmer (after yourself)?
I don't know if I'm really the best.
Whittaker. Who's the guy, who...?
Ah, this one - well, what was his name? I don't remember his name at the moment, but it's the one who made "Incredible Shrinking Sphere".
Well, it was a very long routine, but... really was very good!

What do you think about lamers limiting themselves to buying and playing games in front of their sets?
What do you mean by that? The guys who like to play, well, just do that! It pays our rent. It's great that people are playing our games!

What's your opinion on why there are no female coders?
There are female graphic artists... Monika Krawinkel is one of them.

What about coding?
There was one you wanted to employ!
I never heard of her again.

Why are there only few?
Well, I guess women are not interested in coding, they're frightened of it!

What's your experience with female coders?
I've never seen a female programmer programming! Never!

Who do you think is the best ST-coder?
I'd say that Neil is still the best.
Yes, but he's mad... he's simply mad!
The one from TCB...

Have you ever had problems with a virus?
Oh, yes.
Yes. At a time when I yet owned a hard disk, all of my disks were infected. This changed after I got a hard disk - I don't have any problems with viruses anymore.

What do you think about the programmers of viruses?
Let me say it this way: If it's a virus, that doesn't do damage, its programmer should be aware that he is doing wrong. But if it's a virus that destroys data, the guy should be deprived of computers for a lifetime!
I know somebody who programmed a virus only for his own security. The disk was stored in one of his cupboards and when the police arrived one day, they also got the virus disk. Their floppies and computers got damaged which made him happy.

Of course there will be a follower of the ST, STE and Amiga sometime in the future. How do you think it should look like?
Super VGA resolution, a 68040 processor at least, 4096 colours,...
... at the same time from a palette of 16 million colours, eight voices digi-sound - but we're also pleased with a 68030 processor...

Thanks to Michael Raasch and Jochen Hippel for this interview and to Mrs. Hippel (Jochen's mother) for the good tea.

Ledgers Vol. 5

Aufgrund von Verständigungs-/ Verständnisproblemen musste das Interview durch Charon & Blowtorch gekürzt werden. Sprachliche Anpassungen wurden vom Webmaster vorgenommen.