When did you first start making maps?
I started making maps for Quake 3 in late 2009 and released my first real level in May 2010.
What inspired/continues to inspire you to create maps?
I started playing Quake with the QL open beta in febuary 2009. What inspired me to make maps was mostly the QL exclusive levels (Asylum and Trinity by Yan ‘method’ Ostretsov – those maps were really fascinating for me back then) combined with the idea of playing in an environment I designed together with other people.
Nowadays, those factors still inspire me and over the past years I tried to widen my view on every day life and my preception of things. School has started to play a big role in that, teaching me to not just see things around me but to perceive them. This applys to anything from a book, song or movie to a building in the street or a quake map and much more. I only just finished my first year at university (subject architecture) so I’m obviously still learning but I think that one can be inspired by everything in his close or distant environment and that’s what I am trying to acomplish.
What is the greatest challenge in creating a new map?
The greatest challenge in creating a new map, for me, is probably pushing a level from „good“ to „great“. I think coming up with a map layout that offers decent playability is pretty easy – the challenge is to get the all around package right and find those spots that mess up the balance, those clips and corners that destroy or help the flow, the parts of the geometry that make movement feel fishy or just getting the spawns right.
Furthermore the all around package involves pushing the map to production quality in terms of visuals as you are always targeting two audiences, the casuals and the competetive players and both of them have different expectations. In close relation to that stands the technical optimization to allow everyone to play the map at a decent framerate.
A map can play very well, or look awesome but it does not come with ALL of the aspects fine tuned close to perfection it will be rejected in the quake community.
What is the process like for having your maps included into Quake Live? How does id choose maps?
My levels got to the attention of id after the second Maverickservers mapping competition in 2010. Back then I had placed 3rd with Left Behind (which is now in QL) and had eventually gotten in touch with Syncerror.
In my eyes, the community has a good chance of getting their maps into the game nowadays, as GTKradiant officially supports QuakeLive mapping as of recently and the QL forum added a dedicated section for map making where people can show off their work.
My tip for anyone trying to get their map into the game: be active, be present, show off on the forums or in mapping competitions, get community backup and involvement
I can not speak much about the actual process of the maps getting included into the game – id software obtains a co-ownership of the level through a contract. The map will go through internal testing and polishing and will eventually be published.
What do you do to test out a map? Are there certain players you have that give certain feedback?
I usually consult players and other mappers before a map release. For instance, in the early stages of cure, I discussed it a lot with Pukka (the author of Toxicity) and we went through a lot of different approaches for the general layout.
When the map was in internal testing for being released I played on it a few times myself and asked a few people for gameplay input and things like clipping, sound (for example baksteen and GEKKO).
I used to send my early map files to noctis; he usually provides good feedback but is a bit of a wanker when it comes to testing duel maps.
What is your whole mindset on spawning. What is considered a good amount of # of spawns in a map?
Spawns can be a very difficult topic and it depends a lot on the map layout how many spawns you have and how they are spread out. Of course you would not want too few spawns to prevent too many conversion frags or make the spawners position too predictable but you would as well not want too many spawn points as that would end up in randomness and potentially make it harder to fix certain occasions of a player spawning close to the opponent.
Regarding the amount of spawns, I think 8-14 is a good range. Cure has 12 spawns since the most recent update if I remember correctly and I’m very happy with how it turned out. However, it involved quite a bit of brain storming and different spawn setups to get it right.
Generally, except for a few occasions, I think respawns and initial spawns tend to be treated a bit over dramatically by the community. I like to think that, the smaller the map is, the more good spawns matter – hence aerowalk can be a complete disaster with a bad pair of initial spawns while blood run and lost world also have majorly messed up initial spawns but can still provide fun matches almost every time.
This map does have a CS kind of look to it. With the crates and the windows, it kind of adds a CS_Italy look to it. What inspired you to give cure this look? Were you surprised to see Cure getting this much praise? Even getting on the Quakecon Map Pool?
I heard a few people comparing cure to cs_italy, however, I never played cs_italy or CS in general and I don’t think I have ever seen a picture of cs_italy to this date.
For cure, I took inspiration from German sanatoriums of the 20th century (browsing online galleries like opacity.us, dubtown.de) and quite obviously, I copied the windows from Asylum. For the layout I did not take inspiration from any other quake map I think, which I usually do when making a map so it is kind of special.
About the reception of the map, I would not say I was surprised but I never build up expectations when one of my maps gets released – hence I would say I did not certainly expect it and had a neutral feeling.
Why haven’t you changed the green color? This was the main reason why players dislike Silence.
I tried a few different color schemes and discussed them with SyncError but I did not come up with a result that fully pleased me or him. So yeah, the reason is certainly my own obstinacy about not wanting to publish a project I am not really happy with.
On a different note, in my opinion this is more of an issue with the game allowing too much customization than with the map. The color is only problematic if you use a certain combination of r_mapoverbrightbits and vertexlight. A lot of people probably don’t agree with this but for me the only reason why quake players rely on config settings like that is placebo or habbit.
Since this was originally a Xonotic Map, how was it chosen to be licensed for Quakelive? There is no LG in Xonotic, how much of an impact does the LG have on Fuse since it was created for a game without a weapon similar to the LG?
I converted Fuse upon request by SyncError because he liked the map – however, Fuse was not licensed like other maps because I released it under the creative commons license which frees it for commercial use.
The addition of LG changed fuse quite a bit as well as the different physics compared to Xonotic (Xonotic physics are simular to CPM or PQL). LG can be quite dominant on the map as well as the rail, that’s just due to the scale of the areas and the layout.
Out of All 3 maps (Fuse, Silence, Cure), which was the most fun to create?
I can’t really choose which of the maps was the most fun to create – each map has its own cool features that made it fun to work them. When I made Fuse for Xonotic last year, it was really fun because Xonotic was a new game for me with fun physics running on the very pretty Darkplaces engine.
Silence was awesome because making it went by itself. I remember it was during high school holidays 2011; I just sat down 2 weeks and built that map. After those 2 weeks of work time it was practically finished and I had to just do the technical things. Finishing a map quickly like that is a great motivational boost and feels good in general.
Cure I made shortly after silence, also in 2011. For some reason, I don’t remember too much about the development process except that it took me 4 or 5 weeks to get the map to a pretty much finished state.
Regarding difficulity, I can’t really make a statement. They all were kind of equal in that regard, just some turned out better than others..
What 7 Map pool would you promote right now, if you were a tournament organizer?
Sinister, Delirium, Cure, Blood Run, Hektik/Silence (not sure), Furious Heights, Toxicity
Just not Aerowalk.
Are there any future projects in the works for Quake Live Duel Maps?
I have 2 more unfinished duel maps in my secret repositories but I don’t know how soon I will be able to finish them due to school, life and work. Top priority for now is finishing the tdm map I am working on with frs!
Thank you for answering the questions! Do you have anything else to add? Any shoutouts?
Thank you for the interview and good luck with the DuelCraft project! Greetings to Phantazm11, Qball, Ttimo, Maverick, Quake Is Potat, Chumbo, Team SQUAD, sauer, House Of Quake and nsx although he sucks.
Last but not least cheers to clan chill, especially to deflax who was very eager to get a shoutout in this interview.