Founded in February 1983, Locomotive Software was the software house which developed the CPC's BASIC and operating system, and played a pivotal role in other Amstrad home computers of the time. The company was founded by [[Richard Clayton]] and Chris Hall.
Their first contract was to write a Z80 BASIC for Acorn's abortive ABC business computer project. This BASIC would prove pivotal in their future history, gaining them the 'in' for Amstrad's first computer.
== CPC ==
Most pieces of the CPC's system software were written by Locomotive: [[Locomotive BASIC]], the [[CP/M]] ports, the operating system [[firmware]], and [[AMSDOS]]. All were acclaimed for their stability and design, particularly the BASIC. The main operating system development started in September 1983 and, for the 464, was complete by 14th January 1984. (Locomotive then worked on the documentation, both the free BASIC manual and the [[
Soft 158]] firmware manual.)
== PCW, PC and Spectrum ==
Locomotive's association with Amstrad continued with the next range of computers to be launched by the firm - the [[PCW]] word-processors.
Here, as well as porting CP/M, Locomotive was to write LocoScript - a powerful and (generally) user-friendly word-processing package that would be the sole user experience for 90% of the unit's purchasers. The vast success of the PCW can therefore largely be attributed to Locomotive. Locomotive BASIC, meanwhile, made a reappearance on the PCW, this time as Mallard BASIC. Mallard had no graphics or sound functionality, but the excellent file handling from Locomotive's original Acorn BASIC made a reappearance.
LocoScript was the only program for the PCW that did not have to be booted from CP/M, as it contained its own firmware (though many supposedly 'CP/M' programs, such as Flipper and RoutePlanner, were in fact very much PCW-specific). The original version was followed by a greatly improved LocoScript 2 and a set of add-on programs (LocoMail, LocoSpell etc.). The program continued to be improved up to LocoScript 4, with better printed output as the main focus of the revisions.