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.
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.
Other Locomotive projects of the time included firmware for Amstrad's Spectrum models (after the company had acquired Sinclair), the
+2, +2A and +3; BASIC 2, for the Digital Research GEM windowing system used by Amstrad's PCs; and LocoScript PC, a PC port of the word-processor which found great favour with PCW upgraders but failed to make much headway elsewhere.
Locomotive was invited to pitch to write the software for the [[PCW16]], Amstrad's last 8-bit machine, but declined because they thought the deadline was unachievable. (Creative Technology's failure to complete by the specified date only proved that Locomotive had been correct.)
* [http://www.locomotive.com/ old Locomotive Software domain]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomotive_Software Information at Wikipedia]
&a=16 Interview with Richard Clayton] * [http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rnc1/talks/040309-TwentyYears.pdf History of Locomotive presentation] (PDF) * [http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rnc1/index.html Richard Clayton's homepage] [[Category:CPC related companies]] [[Category:CPC History]]