This time with user Zpqrei 1. What was the first map you made? What errors encored on it? Most of all, what did you learn from it? My first map. Haha. I don't like to think about that sort of thing! Uhm. My first map? My first TF2 map? My first released map? I started playing around in HL2DM, making brushes and what-not. Never releasing anything, before moving over to TF2 in mid 2008. Yeah, compared to some, I'm relatively new to TF2 mapping! So, my first TF2 map was just 3 rooms, I didn't understand props, nor brush entities. That was abandoned once I'd understood Hammer well. Next? A small 3 cp push map. cp_vital_link. Please don't look for it, it's terrible, but it's my first released map, and it's prepared me for my subsequent releases. 2. What inspired you to first make the swamp project? Do you believe it was successful? The swamp was formed from something I'd always wanted to do, but never had the chance. At the time I was thinking about it I got a steam message from DrPepper asking me if I wanted to be a moderator. I wanted to make a mark, do something big to show I could handle the responsibility of being a moderator. I guess the two things just fitted. I approached DrPepper about it and he told me to go for it. I contacted a few people, a few friends, it was a very close team. The swamp project started with everyone having different ideas as to what we should do. First our thoughts were an underwater theme (this was VERY early, before most of the team were in), but it soon appeared that this was infeasible, both in game play, and in the amount of resources we'd need to make, remembering we were totally voluntary. Once Shmitz set us straight and recommended a swamp, we were all for it. So that's the history of it. Second part of the question time! Successful? Sure, I think it was. We may have handled it...not as well as we could have, but after release, we were very happy with what we had made, and we're just about to release the Swamp Expansion, with 20MB (at the moment) of wonderful new swampy content. Valve definitely helped us with that, and I have hundreds of thanks to Robin Walker for getting us featured on the blog. 3. When you were trying to create an alternative to the payload, what other ideas did you have? Why did you prefer the idea you posted about over the other ones? What would you tell other mappers who are trying to do similar things? Wow, we're going back a bit now, to the time of pl_pardox. We (Owlruler and I) wanted something original. All of the information about it's in the thread, but if you're making a map and you want something original I recommend that you understand the concept of what you're basing it off first, before you make a lot of stuff that doesn't work! 4. What were the key focal points which you had in mind when you were creating Blackwood Valley? Now that it is in RC status, do you think you hit said targets? Blackwood Valley was, at first, an idea I had whilst drawing at the table, eating lunch. Most of my greatest ideas come whilst I'm not at my computer! That was at 2pm. I had my first alpha out 4 hours later, and after 2 hours of testing, I got my second alpha out that day, too. I wanted to make a small arena map, which was designed for small matches on unpopulated servers and LAN parties, as well as being scalable up to 8v8, and not a total spamfest, I'd like to think I achieved that. 5. What made you disband some of your previous works? Will you pick them up again and continue working on them or not? I've disbanded a lot of projects, I'll admit to that. Most of them are dead, for various reasons, too long for me to go into here, or I'd be up until 3am! I might pick up Smokyhill again, but if I do, it'll be completely remade, from the ground up. 6. You have worked on a previous project with several different people, how did you find doing a project like that? Would you recommend doing a project like this for beginner mappers? Personally, I see two different sides for this. First of all, I see that an experienced mapper working with a newer mapper can be great for the newer mapper. I know, at the possibility of sounding a little pompous and what-not, that I've helped a few mappers how weren't as good as me. I've helped out Blob, RichT and Midget31394, and I feel as though they've definitely improved as I've taught them things. On the other hand, whilst this may be very beneficial to the mappers, it doesn't usually make a good map. Unless the two mappers or content makers are close, the map will usually not be great. Two examples of pairs of people that work well together are Youme and Nineaxis, as well as Mangy Carface and Acegikmo. These two examples are people who can work really well together, and have a good idea of what the other is thinking. Personally? I'm not sure it's a great idea, unless you're like the above examples. 7. How were you first inspired to map? How did you learn how to use hammer? What would you suggest to new people who still have yet to learn all of hammer’s functions? I learnt by myself. It took me 3 attempts at mapping to get props working. Yeah, take a little time to laugh at that. … Done? Good. I really wouldn't recommend it. You should read tutorials, both on the VDC (Valve Developer Community) and here on TF2Maps.net, those combined can teach you everything you need to know. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, don't be afraid to map badly. Make mistakes, accept them, learn from them, move on. 8. What is your least favourite part of mapping? How do you overcome the difficulties faced with this part of mapping? What would you suggest to others also struggling in this area? Brush entities. Can't stand 'em. 9. What would you recommend to fellow mappers who are struggling to release their first map, due to lack of motivation? Go outside. Do something. Take you're mind of mapping for a while. The motivation will come. 10. Being one of the people who suggested putting forth the standard A/D CTF HUD, how did you find communicating to VALVe and putting forth your suggestion? Communicating was easy. I've been talking to Robin Walker for a while, so when I suggested it, and he put me onto Eric Smith, it all seemed normal. 11. Which game mode would you like to map for next? What has held you back from this game mode before? (If you have not already mapped for it), If you have already mapped for it, what has drawn you back to mapping for it? I've got a few ideas. I'm liking KoTH, but everyone's doing one. I also like the look of CTF and 5CP. 12. What do you do when you reach a mapping block? When I get mapper's block, I just go outside, you learn so much about architecture and get loads of great ideas. I doodle a lot to, scribble map ideas at any chance. 13. Have you ever worked on other source games? If not are you going to move onto other games to work on at a later date? Have you ever mapped for anything outside of source? I've mapped for a few things, including HL2DM. At the moment I'm on TF2. I've tried a little single player mapping, and enjoyed it, so I may do a little big of that later on, but at the moment it's TF2 for me. 14. While developing previous maps, what were the biggest changes you had to do, due to broken game play, or other issues? I've made a few big changes to Blackwood Valley, including removing the centre cap, making it bigger, and opening it out. On previous maps, I've reworked points completely. Cap A and B on Smokyhill are totally different than they were in Alpha 1. 15. What do you feel there is left to do with Blackwood Valley now it is in RC status? Do you have any ideas when you will feel happy enough to put it into final status? I have a few graphical things to fix and a little more gameplay testing before I'm ready to put my baby into the big wide world. 16. When coming up with the ideas for the swamp theme; how hard did you find it to keep stylised in tf2’s art style? What ideas did you reject if any? The Swamp team had a fairly good idea of what they were doing, and very little needed to be fixed up. A few things did need to be fixed up, but I'm not going to put any of the team on the spot. 17. What inspired you to make the lighting prefab? Do you think it was successful? Will you be making other prefabs in the near future? Lighting prefab? Oh I remember. I don't even use that any more. It's seriously bad, I wouldn't recommend using it unless you really need help lighting. There are better lighting prefabs out there. 18. What would you recommend for those who want to do a similar sort of thing to the Swamp Theme? I'd recommend you get a good team together. A good, tight team can make or break a project. Lucky for us, we all know what we wanted, and in the end we got it, and we also benefited the whole community! Win-win situation. You can have the best idea in the world, but without the people to achieve it, it'll be hard to achieve. 19. Do you have anything else you’d like to add? I have noticed my answer's have got a lot shorter toward the end. I blame that on me being tired. Also, if something is misspelt, my bad. If you have any questions PM me, talk to me on steam, or email me at tom.pritchard[at]tf2maps[dot]net. ----------------------------- Latest issue, hope you enjoy.