1) Tell us about yourself, when did you start gaming what inspired you to become a mapper?
Well I'm just your average Joe, who dabbles in PC's and Mac's for a living. I ride a 1000cc motorcycle and live in Hertfordshire in the UK. I've been playing Thief for over 10 years and have played almost every mission (that's around 700 Fan Missions) that has been made for the game. I have always want to have a go at making my own FM but DromEd, (Thief's map editor) was too much like (hard) work and too much like an old DOS app (all black and white wireframe) which put me right off. Then TDM was announced and like others, I eagerly awaited its release, mainly because it was a much more modern engine(Doom 3) compared to Thief's Dark Engine. Before it was released I had offered to do some voices etc, but had I realized how easy DR was to use I would have joined the TDM much sooner.
2) Business as Usual was your first Dark Mod map correct? Were there other earlier attempts?
Business as Usual was my very first map ever, which I though was OK for a first try. I enjoyed making it and at the time it made doing the (horrible) help-desk contract I was on over xmas period less painful. While waiting for calls to come in I would work on BaU, which was made easier by the two 19" monitor connected to the work PC :-)
3) What is the best tip that you can offer to a mapper starting with Dark Radiant?
The best 2 suggestions I can offer to any new mapper:
1. Do a drawing of what you want to do before you even touch your mouse,
this speeds up knocking out the basic architecture of a map. For
example my second mission was based on a rough drawing of a castle I saw
online, the end result was my second mission, "Caduceus of St. Alban".
2. Allow plenty of time for beta testing as there is nothing worse than
releasing a map with bug or issue players will only complain about.
By contrast my third mission "St. Alban's Cathedral", was a complete
mish-mash . I started on the town section (this was based on a Thief 2
mission, "The Crypt of St Lucian"), then I got side tracked making a
cave... Then while browsing for yet more inspiration I came across a map
by Loren Schmidt... And with initial help of the TDM team, the
cathedral was imported and redecorated TDM style.
4) What was the hardest thing to learn and how long did it take to learn it?
Blimey! now there's a loaded question; I don't think there was any one thing that has been hard but more of a case of doing things the right way and not my way... lol. If I had to say one thing, that would be trying to design a map that both looks pretty and engaging, but can also be optimized (though visportals etc) as to keep the FPS high. And placing/choosing light sources so the lighting looks realistic and then finally choosing the right textures so it draws the player into the mission etc.
5) Saint Alban is featured in two of your maps now, are there plans to base any more maps on this theme?
Yes, all of my inspiration comes from a local town near where I live.
Said town started life in 60 BC as a medieval settlement called Verlamion, then became the Roman city of Verulamium. And it was named St Albans
after a pagan-turned-Christian martyr who was beheaded around AD 324.
So as you can see a treasure trove of rich history and plot right on my doorstep!
6) I am looking forward to your collaboration with
Melan for the re-release of the optimized and expanded "Return to the
City" are there any other mappers that you'd like to collaborate with
Well, like so many others; I really enjoyed the atmosphere and layout of RTTC and though it a shame that it ran so poorly on lower end machines. So while in the middle of making my second contest mission I took a break to try and optimize the visportal (invisible walls used to divide areas, generally helping to improve performance) layout in RTTC. With Melan's permission I added a new section to map, based on old aborted bit of mapping that Melan had done, but was abandoned and left unused in a dark corner of the RTTC map file!
In answer to second part of the question I am already collaborating with another prominent mapper!... but for now has asked me to keep mum on the details, all I will say do you remember that massive turning gear that shook the room it was in...?
7) Your polls at the forums often ask the question
"Would you like a Banana Sandwich?" So, are you hungry for a Banana
ROTFL, its just my weird sense of humour I'm afraid. During the course of a conversation I have often just said things like this to confuse and amuse. But suffice to say my most favourite sandwich of all time is a toasted bacon, mayo, cheese and banana sarny!
You start by lightly toasting the bread, while at the same time microwaving some slices of bacon. You then lightly butter the toast, then lay the bacon on and then a little mayo on that. Grate some cheese over the bacon/may mix and put under the grill until the cheese starts to melt. Then just lay on a few slices of banana. Add to that a nice cup of tea or coffee with two sugar's & milk and you're set!