Touché, Ben Daglish, Jacques Offenbach and Clipper Software
Ben Daglisch, a composer and programmer, was a member of the team that created Touché. As programmer he asisted Graham Lilley (Clipper Software).1
However, he is also credited under a different name and he played a much bigger part in the production of the game.
Daglish was originally only doing the music for Touché. Lilley wasnt very happy with the script though. So Daglish and his partner Sarah Bradnock became involved, and they rewrote most of the plot, script and puzzles, though much of the work had already been done. In the game they are credited for their work under the pseudonym "Susan de Nimes" (Sue-de-nym).2
One of the themes in Ben Daglish's score for Touché is a quote from a well-known piece of classical music. When the player arrives at the Paris market, the player may think that he or she has just entered the Folies Bergère. Can-can music is playing, so the player expects to see any moment a chorus line of female dancers, wearing petticoats and black stockings. Instead he or she is confronted with a female seller who is yelling "Fried rat on a stick ... nice and spicy".
The familiar music is a slower version of the Galop Infernal from Jacques Offenbach's operetta Orpheus in the Underworld, known as the Can-Can.
The funny association between the dancing hall and the Paris market is one of the various examples in Daglish's score that mimics events and scenes in the game, starting with the heralding credits-theme and the sneaky bandits-theme in the intro.
Touché was developed by "Clipper Software" (UK). The name was probably based on the name of a programming langage called "Clipper", as its owner Graham Lilley was a developer and programmer.
According the Lilley, Clipper Software was easier to use than "Clipper Computer Products Ltd", particularly for a website. The company was registered March 1983.3
However, the company was mainly only Lilley, who lived at that time in Birmingham (UK). Among various jobs, he had been the lead programmer at Adventure International. The main team existed of Paul Cockburn as co-writer and by Teoman Irmak as graphic artist (with whom he had worked before at Adventure International).
"When the Atari 8 bit machines came out", according to Lilley, "he wanted more memory. At that time he worked for a computer aided design firm so he designed and laid out a new memory board, and it was licensed to a small firm in Birmingham. This was an odd start as I was a software engineer. At that time software for micoprocessors was very close to the hardware. This was the case with most games until Microsoft came up with DirectX - to stop game guys from trashing the OS."
Touché wasn't the only game for which Lilley is credited. He was already working on games in the mid-eighties, and was credited for instance for "Gauntlet" (1987) and "Heroes of the Lance (1988) amongst various other games.4
Lilley's house had an outside office attached where all the work for Touché was done, with the exception of the days spent with the writers (several) and the "test department". The previous owner, who worked at the university, had it built and his hideaway became the one of Lilley.
Touché was a DOS game and was originally restricted to 2 megs of memory and one CD-Rom, and it was running 256 color SVGA.
It had some huge scrolling (at that time) artwork loaded, so it was very tight. Lilley used a DOS extender and a 32 bit compiler from Watcom.
This memory issue restricted the number of characters that could be loaded, and in fact some were painted on the backdrop and just their heads and arms were animated.
The game was released after October 95 by U.S. Gold. Besides the DOS version, U.S. Gold also published a Windows '95 compatible version of the game.
Lilley got only one production copy from the distributors, probably a casualty of U.S. Gold's demise that happened as it was released. Only a CD-Rom, no paperwork.5
1. Ben Daglish is a composer and programmer (born on 31 July 1966 in Chiswick UK, departed 1 October 2018). During his school years he was a principal percussionist for a number of orchestras (such as City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra). After an abortive attempt at a math degree at Essex University he
started to write music for computer games. He worked a number of years as freelance and afterwards for Gremlin as their in-house composer. He produced music for many classic C64 games. He also played (flute, whistles, guitar, percussion, vocals etc.) with a couple of folky/rocky type groups, Loscoe State Opera, Tomorrows Ancestor and also with Ensamble VIII.
2. After Touché was well received, the game's financer and publisher U.S. Gold asked for more, and they wrote two other scripts for comedy point-and-click adventures, called "Alien Zoo" and "Gadzooks." But then U.S. Gold was brought out and asset stripped by Eidos.
3. GN couldn't locate the company in DueDil or Company Check (UK). The url http://clippersoftware.co.uk/ results in a "403 forbidden error".
4. List of games supplied to GN by Lilley:
- Dragons of Flame - licensed D&D action game
- Shadow Sorcerer - licensed D&D action game
- Kingmaker - licensed strategy game
- Touché - Original CD-Rom adventure
- Alien Zoo - Original CD-Rom adventure
- Planet Fall - Original networked strategy game using DirectX
- 3D Chess - Head First Productions using DirectX
- Crime Killer - 3D arcade game using DirectX. Conversion of Play Station game
Atari ST and Amiga
- Gauntlet - Conversion of an arcade game
- Heroes of the Lance - licensed Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) action game
- Dragons of Flame - licensed Dungeons and Dragons action game
- Shadow Sorcerer - licensed Dungeons and Dragons action game
- Kingmaker - licensed strategy game
- Legends of Valor - 3D action game. Conversion of PC game
- Black Tiger - conversion of an arcade game
8 bit machines
- Kayleth - adventure
- Masters of the Universe - adventure
- Masters of the Universe - arcade
5. U.S. Gold was mainly a publishing company - though the company developed a few games too - from the early eighties till the mid nineties. In April 1996 Eidos Interactive acquired CentreGold plc, which included included Centresoft and U.S. Gold Ltd.
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(c) All artwork copyright Clipper Software/Teoman Irmak
(c) Text game-nostalgia.com 2020