Daily Telefrag: Goblin’s Interview with Levelord
|Goblin: Hallo, Levelord! Must admit you are quite famous among gaming people in Russia. That’s not any kind of joke, that-s really so. However, for those who are just starting in The World Of Games, tell us please who you really are and what do you do?|
Levelord: It is so cool to be famous in Mother Russia. There is rumor that I have Russian blood (grandfather) in my veins. For those who do not know me, I am known as the Levelord. I design levels for 1st and 3rd-person shooters. You may have seen my work in Duke Nukem 3D, the Scourge of Armagon add-on for Quake, or SiN. You will definitely see my work in Heavy Metal Fakk2 because you will be buying it in the stores this week comrades ;)
|Goblin: What is the location of your company and why namely there?|
Levelord: We are in Dallas, Texas, in the USA. We sort of fell here because most of us started at other game companies that were in the area. I think most game companies are here because of 3D Realms/Apogee and id Software. Now, Dallas is sort of the headquarters for game development.
|Goblin: Why is the company called Ritual? Any reason for that?|
Levelord: We just liked the name. We try to run the company like a tribe in which everybody is a member and everyone can contribute. This system has its troubles, but we think it is better than the pyramid-shaped management system of most other companies. The name Ritual just sounded cool.
|Goblin: There are many many people who love First Person Shooters, and myself among them. Quite some time ago I ran across a copy of Scourge of Armagon – a mission pack for Quake. Honestly, in some places I liked it more that Quake itself. Very balanced, beautifully designed levels. What levels did you personally make? How do you like your work on this mission pack yourself?|
Levelord: I loved working on that project. It was our first for Ritual, and it was the funniest. I made “The Lost Mine”, “Research Facility”, “The Crypt”, “Tur Torment”, and “The Edge of Oblivion (HIPDM1) that started all the platform deathmatch levels of late.
|Goblin: When I upgraded my rig with PIII + GeForce + 256 megs of RAM, the first thing I put in was SiN, which did not run well on my old machine. Uhh, what can I say? SiN – a kickass game, with good single, deathmatch and very interesting CTF. Anyway, anything happened there at Ritual, why was the game initially released, umm, half-baked?|
Levelord: As happens in this industry, deadlines are not met. We were pushed out of the door because commitments had been made that could not be cancelled. I wish we could have had 2 more weeks to playtest the game ourselves, but we didn-t. It was a lesson learned, though, and one that won-t happen again ;)
|Goblin: We all know that you also participated in creating one of the greatest titles ever, Duke Nukem 3D. Duke – cool guy, such MACHO-MAN, real badass. And, main enemy-hero in SiN was a WOMAN. And, again, in FAKK2 – a WOMAN? Tell us – why?|
Levelord: Obviously, I really want to be a woman in real life! -oh, sorry ;) We make games for mostly a male audience. This audience wants to see the female body. That simple ;)
|Goblin: Who was acting a model for Julia?|
Levelord: Our animators did the game from their evil, twisted minds. The game, and movie, are based on Julie Strain, – an incredibly beautiful woman and the wife of Kevin Eastman who owns Heavy Metal.
|Goblin: Speaking about yourself, what kind of women do YOU personally like? I’ve heard – BLONDES HAVE MORE FUN ;)|
Levelord: I prefer blonde and young. I have noticed lately how beautiful the Russian woman are, the gorgeous angled faces and bodies that would stop a truck. Then there’s the wonderful Russian accent, makes me melt! I need to come to Russia and have some real vodka and see the women in person ;)
|Goblin: As already said, we in Russia all like FPS games. What was the reason of making FAKK2 with third-person view? Do you think it is more attractive/interesting for gamers, or maybe it is easier to create, or – maybe some smart commercial trick?|
Levelord: It was harder to create a 3rd-person game, at least for me. The framerate is worse because of the player’s character and the levels were harder to control because more was seen in any given view. We went for the 3rd-person, though, so the player could see how gorgeous they were ;) We wanted everyone to see Julie Strain!
|Goblin: Tell us something about FAKK2 – what will it be about? What will be happening there and why?|
Levelord: I am sooo tired right now. We just finished the game and I am now sleeping 18-20 hours a day instead of working ;) Can I simply re-direct the question to all the reviews and run-throughs that are on the internet?
|Goblin: Did your coders just use plain Q3 engine, or was it tweaked in most cases? If yes, then what exactly has been changed? Did you think that this engine suits all your needs, or you wanted something else?|
Levelord: I can’t think of all the stuff we did, but anyone who remembers SiN, as compared to Quake 2, will know that we don-t leave anything untouched ;) You will find tremendous upgrades to the engine. So much so that we have actually licensed the tech to other game companies.
|Goblin: Will there also be multiplayer mode in FAKK2, including deathmatch?|
Levelord: …no multiplayer because we wanted to focus on the singleplayer game. I think you will be glad that we did ;) The code for multiplayer is there, this is a Quake 3 engine game. We expect a lot of mods and such to fill the multiplayer needs.
|Goblin: Now the tough question, which requires your most honest answer: the release date ?|
Levelord: …done! ;) sorry, comrades, that this interview was so late, but the game is done!
|Goblin: When in the office, doing your tasks, do you listen to some music, if yes, what kind of music do you like?|
Levelord: I like all music. I like classical, rock, almost everything. Coincidentally, I have been listening to Tchaikovsky and Mussourgsky a lot lately. Something about “A Night on Bald Mountain” that makes a level turn out mean and cool!
|Goblin: It’s commonly well known that all really cool guys luv Led Zeppelin, including you and me… Have you ever seen em live? Maybe you even met Robert Plant or Jimmy Page personally? We know you like them really alot, what is your favorite LZ song? Did the idea of bringing them to make some music for your games ever strike your mind?.. Well, for us seems to be a problem, we in Russia are waiting and waiting for them, but they never come…|
Levelord: I have never seen them in concert, and I don-t think they would ever consider doing game music ;( I could never pick my favorite Led Zeppelin song, it would like picking a favorite color or food or position ;)
|Goblin: In some of the interview you mentioned that you actually have some Russian blood in your veins – something like your grandpa been Russian, or so. Is it something you feel? Willing to visit Mother Russia one perfect day? On your website you BTW say that you like very much Russian Potato Juice (RPJ) vodka. Must admit that REAL Russian vodka is being made of highest grade grains, wheat or rye, and has nothing to do with any potatoes. Only a small correction, please do not make yourself fooled on any German or Polish potato stuff !|
Levelord: …yes, yes, I have learned this now about Vodka! I want to visit Russia soon because I have so many friends and fans there. We are now hearing many good things about Russia and it sounds like a cool place. I am not much for the “romantic” languages like Italian, French, or Spanish. I like them, but they are not so romantic for me. I prefer Russian and German. When I hear a woman speak either language, my heart melts ;) It must be in my blood somewhere!
|Goblin: Our best wishes to all at Ritual, and from me personally – to Tom “Paradox” Mustaine (that were his Quake demos which made me start using mouse when playing). Desperately looking forward to seeing FAKK2 released !!!|
Levelord: …and our best to the great gamers of Russia! -you people rule!