Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wolfer Q & A: Arielus

Name: Norberto Ariel Castanares
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nickname: Arielus

Q. Where did your nickname come from and why did you choose it?
A. It’s no more than a greekesque deformation of the name I go by mostly everywhere. I believe some friends may even have called me that way before I ever browsed the Internet for the first time, so when the time came that I had to decide on a nickname to go by on the Internet, it seemed like a good option to pick.

Q. When did you first play Wolfenstein 3d?
A. I wish I remembered the exact moment. It has to have been back in 1994 or maybe 1993. For quite some time I only had the shareware version of Wolf 3-D and the full version of Spear of Destiny to play with. Then I stumbled upon a few add-ons at different game stores; I remember playing very early titles such as 'Shankenstein' and the 'Enigma’s Nightmare (1,2,3)' series. It was quite a long time before I finally got a hold of a copy of the full version of Wolf 3-D.

Q. How did you come to be part of the Wolfenstein 3d Community?
A. This was back in the early months of 2002, if I recall correctly. I don’t really remember what I was looking for on Google that made me come across something called 'Spear: Resurrection'. The title certainly drew my attention, and the first thing I related it to was 'Spear of Destiny'. I felt curious to know what this 'Spear: Resurrection' actually was, so as I started investigating a bit I found that a large group of Wolfenstein 3-D and Spear of Destiny fans from all over the world had formed a mega community, and shared their passion for these games by making things called add-ons (which in the end was exactly what 'Spear: Resurrection' turned out to be). I then thought, “Hey, I’ve made some add-ons too. Maybe I can release them like all these people have done with their own creations and be part of the community, too.” I remember getting in touch with AReyeP and asking where I could get my add-ons posted, to which he responded I should contact an English gentleman by the name of Brian E. Lowe, who ran a site devoted to the games and who was always willing to make room for other people’s add-ons.

Q. What is the best part about being involved in the Wolfenstein 3d Community?
A. Seeing and trying out what others release is always fun. To this day I am still amazed at the quality of some people’s work. I also very much enjoy the international contact the community provides. Over the years I’ve had the fortune of meeting some truly excellent individuals from very distant places.

Q. Where did the idea behind your mod The Golden Episodes come from and how long did it take to make?
A. After discovering there was a large community of fans I contacted Brian and sent him for release, three mods I had finished some time (years) before. With time I saw and played many other mods that other people had released and felt the desire to do something new and, provided I was happy with the end result, release it too. I don’t remember why I decided on a 60-level total conversion as opposed to something like a pure mapset. It may have been that I had this idea for a storyline that would pick up where the original Wolf 3-D had left off, and that would speak of a sort of “plan B” devised by the Nazis to keep pursuing their objective of world domination if the original plan commanded by Hitler happened not to go right (which is precisely what happened at the end of the original Wolf 3-D). In other words, the storyline would intend to work as a sequel to the original game. I recall deciding on 'The Golden Episodes' for the mod’s name as a sort of “thank you” message to all who directly or indirectly contributed to the making of the mod, as I thought their contributions were golden (this was probably explained better in the readme file included with the mod). If memory serves, I worked on the mod on and on for eleven months - it’s crazy to think that in around two years’ time from now it will have been ten years since the mod was released!

Q. At what point during the process of making TGE did you come up with 'The Secret Scroll' and the idea to have the amount of points be the same on each episode?
A. I’m pretty certain I had this idea soon before releasing the mod. The goal was to include secret information, things which in my view seemed worth having. At the time I decided I’d share the file only with the people who turned to me for the mod’s cheat codes or for a solution to a certain problem in a certain part of the game; and also with those who simply wrote to me, as I had requested, in order to make a comment, a few lines on the game. Then, I decided to make the file public, as I thought it no longer made sense to keep the document in secrecy, and also in the hope that the document might spark some renewed interest in the mod I had put so much effort into. Having points all being the same on each episode seemed like a cool touch at the time (it still seems like a nice little thingy); I might be wrong, but I think I came up with the idea not too long before releasing the mod, as I don’t really recall having the intention of doing it from the get-go. There are other nice little thingies hidden in the mod that nobody’s made a comment on to me after all these years (never say never).

Q. You've made a lot of maps for the original version of Wolf & SoD. With all the coding advancements now available, what is the appeal to still map the original sets for you?
A. Making maps for the original games is what I first did back when I started modding them, so I guess that is part of the reason why it is mainly what I still do today. To this day making maps still remains the part of modding that I enjoy the most, and probably the only one I have a bit of ability for.

Q. You received and award for having the highest voted level in one of the DHW 'map of the Month' contests. How did that feel to have your work recognised by fellow Wolfers?
A. It was actually quite unexpected. I had participated in two previous editions of the contest and done fairly well when the results were published, but I didn’t think the third would be the charm. AReyeP was on a winning streak (and deservedly so!) and others were also turning in some ass-kicking maps, so I wasn’t expecting my entry to come in first place. I was satisfied with the map, as I had been with the other two previously submitted, so it was nice to see there were others who also liked it.

Q. Do you have any plans for another mod of your own?
A. It’s unlikely that I’ll start and release something else entirely on my own (again, never say never), but I’ll consider contributing to others’ endeavours if asked – and if time permits.

Q. What is your favorite Wolf 3d mod that you've played other than your own?
A. Out of everything I’ve played to this day, for me it’s a tie between 'Spear: End of Destiny' and 'The Orb of Dilaaria'. From the graphics to the maps and, of course, the code features, the former could have easily been an official sequel to the original Spear of Destiny, and who could say if such an official sequel would have been this good? The latter looks like a complete game altogether; the graphics, the beyond extraordinary maps, and the code features (the alternate paths addition remains my favourite code change ever implemented; the replay value it adds is awesome) make it a tall order to imagine this is in fact a modification of another, and so different, game and not an original product.

Q. I've read that you have a large collection of Wolfenstein 3d mods that you've collected over the years. Do you have an idea how many are actually in your collection?
A. It’s a bit hard to state a precise number, but the count is easily over the 1,000 mark. I stopped collecting stuff around two and a half years ago, during the course of 2008. Real life has been increasingly time consuming for some years now and my SoD/Wolf3D collection, among other things, has suffered the consequences. Someday I *might* catch up with everything released ever since.

Q. Next year is the 20th Anniversary of Wolfenstein 3d being released, why do you feel that it is still so popular this many years later?
A. Part of it may be that it is regarded as the granddaddy of all modern FPS games, and if I were asked, I would say that gamers respect the game due to that reason. To this day it still provides good entertaining without being utterly complex (in comparison to the FPS games released nowadays) and will keep providing it so long as it can be played on newer and newer machines. The community also does nothing but help preserve the game’s popularity by releasing new stuff all the time and spreading its geographical dominion more and more as time goes by. If none of this changes I find it quite hard to imagine the game falling into oblivion any time soon.

Q. Any words of wisdom you would like to leave us with?
A. As far as I am aware you only get to live once, so just in case make it count!

Arielus' Wolfenstein mods and contributions
Arielus's Spear of Destiny (2000)
Arielus's Wolfenstein 3d (2000)
Arielus's Xmas Wolfenstein 3d (2002)
The Golden Episodes (2003) - Secret Scroll
Alliance of Powers w/ Ack (2004)
Deadly Sleep w/ Schabbs (2009)

Mapset Contributions
Beyond Mutantstein SE (2002) - 2 Levels
Map Making Mania Melee (2003) - 3 Levels
DHW Map of the Month contests (2007);
- July 2007 - 1 Level (Smoothness)
- August 2007 - 1 Level (Pas Fantastique)
- September 2007 - 1 Level (Line of thought)
DHW SDL Mapset (2010) - Episode 5 - 4 Levels

Other Contributions
Operation Letzterschutz (2004) - 2 Levels
Operation Mutant Strike 2 (2005) - 1 Level

DHWTC - Mapping (3 Levels)

1 comment:

  1. These interviews are excellent Dean. Keep it up! I especially love them because I've been out of the loop for a long while w/Wolf. Nice to see someone cataloging individual's efforts and getting a peek into their heads.