With the release of id Software’s Quake 3, and the creation of Urban Terror by Silicon Ice, gamers are taking to realism mods faster than ever these days. Here at The 6th Floor, we would like to give some background information on some of those people who have chosen to work on this project.
dotEXE is the latest addition to the Silicon Ice Development team and comes to us with some great ideas and a wealth of talent. Áskell, like a few before him, was asked to join the development team, after seeing the potential in his initial Urban Terror level, 101 and screen shots of his 202 level he was designing, before renaming it to Riyadh.
Oswald: You started out as a community mapper with a level called 101 and 202. Did you ever think that you would catch the eyes of SID and be asked to join in the development of Urban Terror?
dotEXE: I never had the aim of getting recruited by a mod team, rather I started mapping because it seemed to be a good hobby. I have no ambitions for making it in the gaming industry so getting the offer from SID served no promotional purposes for me, rather the reason why I decided to give it a try was the support it involved in terms of access to the teams talented modelers, texture artists, and map reviewers. Of course it was a plus that the SID team gave a very good impression.
Oswald: Talk about 101 for a moment. Did the community rally around it and enjoy it? Also, what suggestions and feedback did they give you on it?
dotEXE: 101 was my first map and was built without proper planning. The map initially was a replica of my own apartment, but as I continued building, it ended up being a whole neighborhood. From what I heard the community really liked the map, especially the more tactical players that liked the non-restricted layout which gave endless possibilities on routes between places. Of course the main complaint was the lack of furniture inside the apartments, but everybody who really know about mapping limitations knows you can’t make a map that is open like that and still very detailed. I think there are enough mappers making maps that are more closed and detailed, and that my maps will be a good addition being so open and instead low in detail.
Oswald: So the level 202 eventually became what was known as ut_riyadh. Did you originally plan this level as a terrain/CTF level or did the design of the map sort of come about as you were mapping?
dotEXE: I’m still not experienced enough to make a detailed plan that I can stick to through the whole mapping process, but with 202 the basic idea was a two base terrain CTF map. The only problem was I didn’t know how to make a proper terrain, so I started out using brushes and patch meshes and did two versions of the map like that when I realized that was just plain ugly. Then I started to experiment with the new terrain feature and from those experiments ut_riyadh became what it is today.
Oswald: Speaking of mapping, how do you develop your level ideas? Are you the type to sit down in from of your editor and start mapping? Or do you need to plan out your level and possibly flow patterns and decide how the level is going to work?
dotEXE: For me it’s about getting a very crude basic idea and then just start mapping. During the process I usually do a few complete layout remakes to reflect the ideas that pop up in my mind while mapping. My main thought is game flow, and the easiest way to make it good in my opinion is to have the map very open and thus with many different routes between places. Of course this way of mapping isn’t very effective, but as I lack the amount of experience that some mappers might have I can’t efficiently plan a head yet.
Oswald: How do the community levels compare to the levels developed by the Silicon Ice Development guys? Are there anything that stands out from any of the community level designers or any of the current levels you have seen?
dotEXE: We have a bunch of technically very good mappers in the community, but still there seems like something is missing in many of the maps. I personally download all the community maps, even the beta versions and check them out because often I learn something new from the mappers behind them. The maps with the greatest potential (game play + looks) are EXCALIBUR’s Museum and DICK DASTARDLY’s Golgotha.
Oswald: What has really changed in your mapping since joining Silicon Ice Development?
dotEXE: The greatest change involves access to the experienced team members for reviews and comments on my work in progress. Also the availability of modelers really makes my life simple because there are some things GTK just can’t do. Otherwise the biggest impact on my mapping right now is school that get’s in my way 🙂
Oswald: What is in store for dotEXE and his level designing? Anything coming soon that we can plan on playing for Urban Terror?
dotEXE: Right now I’m working on a total remake of 101. I decided to remake it because of many requests from the community, and because I really liked the previous version. I’m not going to announce a release date, but I’m pretty sure that if all goes well it will be ready for next update of Urban Terror.
Oswald: If you could change one thing in Urban Terror, what would it be? And the follow up, how do you think the community would respond to those changes?
dotEXE: I would like to see the feature of being able to lie flat on your stomach. As it can be a very advantageous position there have to be some drawbacks of using it such as very slow movement, not being able to shoot while moving in that position, and very slow to get up from that position. I think most people would like this to be a option, but I already see the limitations when people decide to lie because they would always be horizontal even if the ground they are on slopes by 45° 🙂
Oswald: That is all I have. Any shout outs you wanna give or got anything to p1mp?
dotEXE: The only thing I pimp is Urban Terror itself, and I hope the community continues to spread the word and recruit more players to the game so we can be steady on the top as the most played Q3 game type on the Gamespy.com stats.