Welcome to the Arena, where high-ranking warriors are transformed into spineless mush. Abandoning every ounce of common sense and any trace of doubt, you lunge onto a stage of harrowing landscapes and veiled abysses. Your new environment rejects you with lava pits and atmospheric hazards as legions of foes surround you, testing the gut reaction that brought you here in the first place. Your new mantra: Fight or be finished.
Despair and martinheterjag took some time to give me an interview about their mapping techniques and themselves. Registration's closed. New mappers joined.
Posted by Bliccer on Jun 24th, 2012
As the summary states, Despair and martinheterjag answered me a couple of questions, how they came to mapping, their first projects and many more. Since the interviews became longer than expected, I won't combine them as actually planned but released them as two different news articles. So, don't forget to come by in two days or just click on this nice eye button to watch this group.
However first of all thanks to Kot-in-action (http://www.kot-in-action.com/content/), who donated ten copies of their game Steel Storm: Burning Retribution (also check out their latest game, Tomes of Mephistopheles), and to Wacom (http://www.wacom.com ), who wrote an e-mail that they want to sponsor a wireless Intuos5 Medium tablet. Awesome!
Before the registration had been closed yesterday, PyroGXPilot, Neuro, AiO.wiz, on-X and Sprony van Johnson, corsair and Fjoggs positioned themselves on the scrach line. A warm welcome and good luck to you guys!
Just some shots from the progress in week #3 without comment (in their order: dONKEY, noruen, kaffeewunder):
And now, we come to my personal highlight (since it was my first interview :D), have fun reading it, and of course comment and as I said before, the next one is already done!
Bliccer (B): Hello Despair, please present yourself first. Where are you from? How old are you? What do you do professionally? Is there any website of yours?
Despair (D): Well, I'm from Canada, I'm 29, I work in retail, just a job tho, not a profession, and I have no site :)
B: Why have you started to make maps?
D: Honestly don't remember why I started it exactly, (was many years ago in q3), I suppose it was something along the lines of wanting to make some fun maps for my clan mates at the time.
B: Do you remember when you've started? What was your age? Or do you have some specific memory about this day? How did you feel starting with it?
D: I'd guess it was somewhere around 10 years ago, give or take a year. I wouldn't say there was anything special about it. It was just a way to supplement my quake 3 hobby.
It was tricky at first, but it was fun. So I kept at it, messing around while learning, despite failing to produce anything worthwhile or complete for a long time :)
B: Ah, that's of course the moment, every amateur mapper has to go through. I guess my first map was runbliccer for Defrag or something. Are there any old mapfiles from these days or some very old screenshots?
D: heh.. not that i would ever show :)
B: Maybe we could put them on the page?
D: Heh, nah.. they were baaaaad. tbh, I doubt I even have any anymore. Very small chance I have a few on some backup cdr somewhere, but i doubt it
B: Ah c'mon you just say that, now :D
D: Nah really, before "Overgrowth", it was all crap :)
B: So, let's just go back some lines.
There wasn't something elevated about this day, when you started with your first tutorial? Or well, how did you start? Do you remember the page, where the tutorial was on?
D: Actually I think I do remember which tutorials I started with.
May even still have the link: 1upclan.info
That's not the only one I used, but it was the main one for the beginning, iirc.
B: Ah nice, I used this page as well for some ideas/tuts.
D: It covers all the basics, however crude it may be.
B: You just rushed through every tutorial? Or did you test some stuff in between yourself?
Also, on which tutorial occured the most problems?
D: I skimmed most of them initially I think, but I didn't really read each specifically until I needed to use something covered in them. I don't recall having any problems specifically.
B: So it was more or less self-learned and only when you had a specific question you came back to the site?
D: Basically, I learned pretty quick
B: That's interesting to hear, since a lot of people I know, also including me, did the first tutorials really step by step before creating something own.
D: Well no, I did do that. I just picked and chose which tutorials I needed at the time.
B: I see... still. I did go to tutorial 2, then 3 etc.
D: More or less. I'm sure I read each one at least once.
B: Why do you love mapping? Have you already tried other engines as well?
D: Well, I suppose it's an artistic outlet. I've always been an artistic/creative person, but I haven't done much in that regard since high school. I dabbled a bit in mapping for idtech 4 with Quake 4, but that isn't a far leap from idtech 3.
B: What's the name of the Q4 map?
D: Oh, I didn't release anything for q4. Just more messing around/learning :)
B: Any tests in forms of screenshots?
D: No, afraid not. :) I was more into actually playing during the quake 4 period, so I really didn't spend much time mapping. The game died before I got very far learning the new stuff.
B: Yes, it sadly did. Still it was fun or IS fun to play some ctf in there, if you have good teams.
Maybe we can play a match some time =)
D: It was, I do miss those days.
B: Would you have left Q3 behind if Q4 wouldn't have died?
D: Well, I did leave. I haven't played q3 itself since 2004-5 (outside of testing my maps). If it weren't for QuakeLive, I'm not sure what I'd be playing. I may well have gone back to q3, but who knows.
B: So QuakeLive is still "your" game. What's so cool about it?
D: Heh, yeah. I may not be as active in playing now, but I can safely say it's my favorite game. Anyone that plays quake knows the answer to the second question. :)
B: Yeah maybe I will just scratch out that question hehe :D
D: haha, maybe :)
B: You said you always were/are creative. What did you do?
D: The art I did was just typical things from a high school art class.. nothing special.
B: Who is your favourite artist?
D: Well, I'm not really into art, per se, I just have that ability, so I couldn't name a favourite.
B: Do you get inspired by drawn pictures for mapping?
D: Anything can inspire an idea really.
B: Why did you sign up for this competition? When was the first time you heard about this competition?
D: Well, I've lurked on q3w forums for years now, watching what others do, while playing with my own ideas. That's where I first heard about it. I think during the 2nd competition.
B: And when did you say to yourself: okay, let's do it? What were your reasons to join?
D: Well, I hadn't done any mapping in many months, perhaps even a year. I had taken a long break because "Overgrowth" had taken me so long to finish, I was burnt-out. But, I was starting to get the itch to map again.
Then a couple days later I saw the announcement. It occured to me, due to the start dates, I would be able to force myself to break the cycle of getting an idea and just jumping straight into the editor without a real plan and ending up with a mess of a map, which is what caused "Overgrowth" to take so long.
Instead I could properly and fully plan out the level ahead of time on paper and establish a proper workflow. So I went for it, and it's worked very well so far. I always thought the competitions would be fun, the previous ones just didn't work for me to actually enter. The prizes didn't hurt either :D
B: You already started to talk about it, so let's go into greater detail
What's your theme of the current map for the competition?
D: It's mostly inspired by Angkor Wat and other cambodian ruins.
B: By dONKEY's map?
D: No, the actual Angkor Wat :). I actually never saw his map until just last week. Not sure how i missed it, it's very nice.
B: I actually never heard about this place which is really called Angkor.
D: You've probably seen it in pics, just didn't know the name.
B: So you mostly took google pictures of this place as reference?
D: More or less yea
B: How did you come up with the idea?
D: I just happened across a few images and I thought the architechture style could make a nice map. May have been in some article, I'm not sure.
B: How did you start your map layout? Scribbled it?
D: I sketched it out yea. Though it's not that decipherable anymore, save for me ofc. :)
B: ...just started in the editor?
D: No, it was a few weeks before the start date, so I couldn't go in editor. Which was good, as I would've ruined it. :)
B: Already did sketches on the details?
D: No I didn't sketch any details really. I just worked on textures beforehand, let the detail ideas stew in my head. The layout is what was planned, the details are more off the cuff.
B: Could you give me a small workflow description from the paper to the current state?
D: On paper was just a floorplan. Just kinda picked at it, adding, removing, or changing routes in the couple weeks before the start date.
B: So items were already included?
D: Only very roughly. I had ideas of locations, but nothing solid. Even now they aren't 100%.
B: While doing the floorplan, you also had the gametype in your head? Which one did you pick and why?
D: Yea, I knew it'd be ctf from the start. I am/was a ctf player, it's what I know.
B: What came next?
D: I was satisfied with my layout at that point, so I just started creating/assembling my textures.
B: And in the next state, when the editor phase had been launched?
D: Well, I had the layout, so it was just a matter of building.
B: Blocking first, like a lot of people do it?
D: Yea, no point in adding details before you know if the map flows well. If it doesn't, you'd just have to go back and redo the details anyway. Gameplay is king. A map can be beautiful, but if it doesn't get played, no one will remember it.
B: Word :D
So, since you've already mentioned it: You are using custom textures?
B: What's your workflow of texture creation?
D: Most were sourced from cgtextures.com, (which conveniently now has a cambodian section :D), which I then edited slightly to my needs. Most of them were just cropped/resized/made tileable and color matched. A couple I created from scratch in photoshop, and the plants and most terrain textures are sock's.
B: Which one of the other's maps/themes/ideas is your favourit so far?
D: I think it's too early to say tbh. Most aren't even out of alpha stage. Of course I'm excited to see what the well known guys will come up with though.
B: Maybe name some?
D: Well, cityy, phant, fjoggs, noruen, among others, but everyone really. Lots of ppl in it this time.
B: So no favour for any theme?
A. Nah, I wouldn't favour a theme over another. Theme is just aesthetics after all.
B: I guess that's the neutral judging gene. How was it to judge the third comp's maps?
D: It was fun. Mav's (Maverick) scoring system is a very good setup. Made things easy.
B: Did you have any talks with the other judges or some contact?
D: That would've been good, but no, didn't get that chance.
B: Last question to you: Is there anything you want to say to Maverick or the other competitors?
D: Just, thanks to Mav for keeping mapping scene going (and getting the sweet prizes :D) and good luck to the rest of the competitors.... And i have dibs on that Intuos :D
Okay, thank you a lot for this interview, Despair, and good luck in the competition!
D: You're welcome, and thanks. :)