Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wolfer Q&A: Ian Summerfield (Metalor/ Little Cherub)

Name: Ian Summerfield

Location: Somewhere within the United States.

Wolf 3d Nickname: Little Cherub / Metalor

Q. Where did your nickname come from and why did you choose it?

A. Well, I first chose the name “Little Cherub” because I had a fondness of Doom 3 when it came out. I had originally considered going with something having to do with the Mancubus, my all-time favourite Doom monster, but I wound up not doing so. Looking back, maybe I should’ve. So now I go by Metalor, just cause, Metal’s a cool substance and to be made out of it would either be very sleek and cool, or at the very least, very stiff and rigid.

Q. When did you first play Wolfenstein 3d?

A. I recall first playing maybe when I was about ten years old. I remember that I first saw my older brother playing episode 3 one or two times on this old computer we had. Seeing him do it, I guess I wanted a shot at it too (heh heh, sorry about that), and well, that’s pretty much that.

Q. How did you come to be a part of the Wolfenstein 3d Community?

A. After about 3 to 4 years, I found myself playing Doom (I know it’s rated M, but I was advanced for my age, or I at least like to think so), anyways having fun with that, I decided to start trying to look for ways to make my own stuff with Doom. I think I succeeded and found Deepsea, but soon found out that Doom modding could take huge amounts of time. Then after buying a new copy of Wolf 3D at the store and loading it on our computer, a simple modding interest from there lead me to Floedit, and from there I decided to seek out further modding utilities and wound up finding The Wolfenstein 3D Dome. After that, well I guess I just started modding what I could and made Monkeystein sometime afterwards. Then of course, I sent it into the Dome and just went on from there.

Q. What is the best part about being involved in the Wolf 3d Community?

A. There are several things. First and foremost: The People. The people in the Wolfenstein community are just so great and friendly. I mean, when you look at the Doom community, you find thousands of people, much more than the Wolf Community, but they’re either really rugged or have very little tolerance for Newcomers. In the Wolf Community there’s a bit more leeway with how everything goes. It just feels so nice to have all these people to talk to, seek help, and get some encouragement and some critical analysis on what you’re working on. On the Doom community, anyone having trouble is likely to get berated simply because the people there have had to deal with it so much that they have little to no empathy towards newcomers. So yeah, the People and then the Projects are a close second.

Q. You’ve been part of the Wolf 3d Community for nearing 10 years now, what has kept your interest to stick around for so long and keep releasing mods?

A. Well, I’ve often considered moving on to the Doom community and perhaps other game types altogether, but then I recall the overall experience that I’ve observed from the Doom community and I just decided that I had a good place to continue with, and I wouldn’t want to trade what I’m doing now with anything else. I have made some stuff for Doom and even did some stuff for RPG Maker (though I’ve never released any of this content), but I always prefer my work with Wolfenstein over everything else.

Q. You have released both animated and non –animated mods, do you have a preference as to what style you like to work on and what has attracted you to such differing styles?

A. I like both. Believe it or not, I just sorta switch depending on how I’m feeling when I’m starting another new project. I actually take lots of thought into what I’m going to do for my next project during my current project. I have like 5 ideas for follow-up mods to my current mod at the moment and whichever one I pick will be what I end up with. But Cartoon mods are fun because I can let loose with my creativity (even if most are based off of other people’s characters, the levels themselves can be original at least), but the realistic mods are more challenging. So it all depends on just what’s going on in my life at the moment and what I feel like I want to move onto afterwards.

Q. I read that you ran into some copyright issues with your mod SpongeBobStein, can you tell us about what happened there?

A. Oh that. Well, that’s all because I was new to the community and my parents were freaked about being sued by the creators of Spongebob if I used their characters. But nothing ever came up, so I just decided to release it for real. But yeah, anyone who ever got annoyed at that should be angry with my parents. I would’ve released it like any other mod otherwise. I may even remake it someday now that I’ve had enough time and that scare is gone.

Q. I believe you have a new mod nearing completion, can you tell us a bit about it?

A. Well, my current mod is called Guns and Glory 0.5 The Story Retold. It was originally going to be a sequel to my original Guns and Glory mod, but I decided to make it a prequel instead. It’s basically going to be another generic re-telling of the classic Wolfenstein 3D (the first 3 episodes) with my own twists and turns thrown in. This mod will basically be what Guns and Glory 1 was originally going to be like (but with a lot of changes overall) Also, I’ve stuffed the game with tons of bonus content. Most of which is just to look at, but a lot of which has never been seen in a Wolfenstein Mod before. For those still curious: I’ve officially used up all 512 object definitions in the mapdata file. There’s a lot to play with and a lot to be afraid of.

Q. Do you have any plans for an SDL update of any of your older mods?

A. I have considered some remakes for SDL, such as Schabbs, an Evil Lunatic (which actually has a Doosday port for Doom), and Spongebobstein. As for the others, I either simply don’t have interest in them, or I’d more likely consider just having a sequel. But Spongebobstein and Schabbs, an Evil Lunatic are certainly buzzing about in my mind for remakes. Speaking of SDL updates, there was an unfinished Mod that I was working on sometime before I completed Crash Bandicoot that I may remake for SDL as well.

Q. What has been the most rewarding thing that’s come from Wolf 3d and your mods?

A. Just seeing what I can make and how I can go about it. Also I look forward to getting awards for my mods. It’s nice to get recognition for seeing something through, but it’s also nice to just make something and know that others will be able to enjoy it as well. It was also really enjoyable when someone actually emailed me just to ask how to use Medkits in Guns and Glory. I thought that was very fun. Someone wanted to play something I made so badly that they came right to me to ask how to do it. That really made my day.

Q. What advice can you impart to others that you’ve learnt over the years about modding?

A. Well, first things is that you want to develop a niche. Find out what kind of mods you’d like or want to make and just stick with it. There are actually a lot of mods I’ve never finished that I’ve released, that I wish I had. But my ideas just kept switching around because I had all these grand ideas for what I’d go and do and it just became overwhelming. So yeah, get a good idea of your style, stick with it and try to keep to just one mod at a time. Also, play test often, be fair in level design and reconsider filling the room with about 50+ SS or Officers. Don’t punish the player. I’ve done that too many times in my mods, and that’s a huge turn-off for most players. Also, give credit where credit is due. And finally, learn ChaosEdit or one of the modern map editors. Floedit was great, but ChaosEdit will see you through so much more if you let it.

Q. What are some of your favourite Wolf 3d mods that you’ve played other than your own?

A. Well, let’s see, there’s WolfenDoom, Spear Resurrection, End of Destiny (alot of Areyep mods, I know), Halls of Stonehenge, Unsung, Orb of Dilaaria, SOD: Reloaded, The DieHard Wolfers’ TC and several others. I usually like to stick with the big mods with all the coding changes to them. I’m a feature fanatic and I live for variety. I also like Trench Warfare, but damn that level 4, other than that I love that mod too.

Q. Why do you feel that Wolf 3d has such a long lasting legacy being it was released so long ago?

A. Because id Software is the best-damn videogame company ever. ‘Nuff said. (But I’ll say more anyways), because it’s a much milder and simpler starting point than Doom. Even considering source content, Wolfenstein just feels like, in all of the mods, the telling of a classic story of good versus evil (unless you don’t think of one party as necessarily evil over the other). But man versus man or men just feels more down to Earth and a lot of this stuff can in some ways, actually feel feasible. Plus, everything can garner a fanbase. It’s really the fans that make a game what it is. Without them, it could not exist. So thank the fans, it’s all because of them. Also, thank id Software. God-bless their source-code distribution policy!

Q. Any words of wisdom you would like to leave us on?

A. If I may quote: “Never eat Raspberries.” Damn good advice. Also, if you can, try not to make any mods that are basically polished turds. I’ve made too many of those in my modding career. Also, when in doubt in mapmaking, drawing out crazy floorplans can sometimes give you good ideas for actual ones (I’m just glad the Wolf Modders are so willing to overlook all the maps I’ve “borrowed” over the years). And also, give credit where credit is due. Just do it, you’ll be better off for it.

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