Interview by Linguica
Doomworld: Why is it called "Overload?"
Ola: I really dont know :-) I was the one who came up with it, but I cant
remember when or why. I guess it has a little to do with the gameplay speed
of these levels, you simply get some mental meltdown, an overload, if you
play for too long...
Doomworld: Your textures rule. How do you make them?
Ola: I make them from scratch in the computer, mostly because I dont have a
scanner and I suck at drawing by hand. The program I mostly use is Adobe
Photoshop, it is the best image modification and creation tool I've tried,
but Fractal Design Painter is a really good one too. Since I'm a poor guy I
only have v3.0.5 of Photoshop, but one day I'll spend some money on an
Doomworld: Be honest now. How good do you think your textures are, comparatively? Name some of your texture idols and some cases you've seen where they could've really used your proficiency.
Ola: My brick walls are absolutely pro class now, I really honestly think so.
Sure, it sounds like I'm boasting, but really, I'm very proud of my latest
brick creations. My skies are also very nice I think. However, I totally
suck when it comes to some other kinds of textures. I could never ever get
hired by a gaming company to do textures, mostly because my range of
textures is very limited, and because I cant draw worth dogpoo by hand.
Look at the id lads, they do just about everything by hand and spice it up
inside the computer. Thats how the pro's do it.
And well, were could my textures have been useful... Most of TeamTNT's
products are pretty so-so texture-wise. Eternal had some ok ones, but they
were mostly ripped heretic/hexen textures, and thats a bit lame for a team
of some ten billion people. The TeamTNT DM WADs could use some good
textures. Usually, WADs with ugly custom textures are also bad
architecture-wise, and then no textures in the world helps.
Doomworld: So, how do you go about doing a level? Do you plan it out first, or just let your mind wander?
Ola: Some are completely planned, down to every texture alignment, but the
bigger ones are usually made from part sketches, part loose ideas and part
improvisation. I draw quite a lot out on paper, but only about a percent
has been constructed in an editor. I have huge piles of paper with only
DOOM level sketches...
Doomworld: But I thought you sucked at drawing :)
Ola: Haha, yes I do, but levels are just straight lines and anyone could do
that, at least on graph paper.
Doomworld: You seem to just love symmetrical levels. How anal are you about this? Is it just a DM level thing, or do you do it for SP levels too?
Ola: Well, I don't really think I enjoy playing them more than asymmetrical
levels, but they're so easy to make :-) It mostly goes for DM levels, but
take a look at Venom for example: It has a shitload of symetric areas, so
yeah, I do them in all sorts of levels.
Doomworld: Where did you find these Swedish level geniuses who are supposedly cranking out GDM2-quality stuff after only a few months?
Ola: Well, first off, there are four people on the team: me, Nicklas Linnes,
Tobias Forsberg and Martin Friberg. Tobias and Nicklas are a bunch of years
younger than I, and I introduced them to DOOM editing a few months back.
They learn so fast its scary, at least compared to how I was doing back in
94 when I took my first trembling steps towards DOOM editing. Martin is a
year older than I unlike the other two, I've never met him in real life.
Tobias and Nicklas live just nearby, and that has enabled me to help them
more with the editing. Its far easier to explain something sitting by a
computer with the editor open than to write by mail. This answer turned out
pretty messy... what was that question again? :-)
Doomworld: What do you think of other recent DM wads like GDM2 or Eternal DM?
Ola: I haven't deathmatched in any of them, so I shouldn't really comment. It
would be like doing a review of a SP level and only play with IDDQD and
IDCLIP... but from what I can see, GDM2 is the best looking wad ever
released. It's just totally awesome design-wise. It doesn't *LOOK* to be as
impressive gameplay-wise, but as I said, I haven't tried. The eternal
levels are aren't really my style, neither the full 32-level SP set nor the
DM ones, but thats just a question of personal taste.
Doomworld: Would you like to make Overload 32 levels if you had the time, or does it not really matter?
Ola: Sure, 32 would be really nice, but it all started when I made levels for
the four of us to play and thats sort of were we still are - these are
mostly for our own enjoyment. I wont push myself 'til it hurts with this
one. When I feel tired of making Overload levels (which is about now) I'll
compile the WAD and release it. Danzig isn't 32 levels, Mancer X isn't 32,
and the same goes for a lot of very popular DM WADs, so I don't see the
number of levels to be very important.
Doomworld: What level editor do you use?
Ola: Edmap 1.40 and occationally 1.31 to avoid some bugs in 1.40.
Doomworld: EdMap. Who in their right mind still uses EdMap?
Ola: Hahaha, well, it rarely does me any harm nowadays. The bugs in there are
annoying, but not hard to avoid. Now that I know what causes some of the
errors it's not a problem. Besides, I know it by heart, its fast and lets
me do everything I want.
Doomworld: Why are the levels so freaking small?
Ola: Because we want them that way, hehe.. No seriously, it started when I was
showing Nicklas, Tobias and Lars (who helps testing) how do to a level in
EdMap. I made four identical rooms and added some DM starts and some
weapons. Since they had two computers there (Tobias and Lars) for playing
Quake, I suggested we could play it in DOOM DM, and it was a total blast. I
quickly whipped up 3 more levels that same night and we played like crazy.
All the levels were really small, but only the first one has made it into
Overload. We've also played some gothic DM and some other known wads and
although these are great fun, we wanted higher pace. Since we couln't find
any good looking, small and playable levels it all turned into a full DM
Doomworld: Wait... a level you cranked out as a proof-of-concept is going into the final Overload?
Ola: Yep. It'll be map02. I've spiced up the architecture a tad and added an
exit since, but it's basically the same. It's not a mind-blowing experience
design-wise though, but plays very well.
Doomworld: We hear you're leaving Doom. When, why, and for what?
Ola: It's because I'm moving and not taking my computer with me. I'll be going
to London to live there for as long as I can afford/stand. The problem is
that I'm not getting some money I should have recieved a LOOONG time ago,
and without that money (its quite a lot) I cant afford to go.
Doomworld: What could we possibly do to keep you around?
Ola: Make sure I never get my money :-) No, seriously, there's nothing that can
convince me to choose DOOM over London really. However, I really like DOOM
and DOOM editing, so I'll probably try to do some editing sometime in the
Doomworld: Wait... you're only going to London until you have to come back home? Isn't that kind of odd? What are you going to do there?
Ola: I'll stay forever if I like it there, and if I can afford it - I have to
find a job. Its nearly impossible to get a job when sitting over here in
Sweden so I have to try to get one once I'm there. If I have no luck in
that, I'll run out of money and I will have to move back home. It's all a a
little adventure, sort of :)
Doomworld: Who is your favorite level designer and why?
Ola: I play too little to say, really. Actually, I rarely play at all, I just
design levels, textures and walk around in others levels. I don't really
play them. There are a few good ones though, like Dario Casali, Matthias
Worch, Andy Badorek, Andrei Romanov, Malcolm Sailor, Jan van Der Veken,
Adelusion (cant learn to spell his real name :) and many others. Just
because someone is not mentioned here it doesn't mean I dont think they're
really good, but those come to mind right now.
Doomworld: Do you suck at playing Doom, like certain other notable level designers?
Ola: Yes I truly do. I am absolutely crappy. We'll probably throw in some demos
in the Overload zip, so you can see the horrible truth. This is quite a
disadvantage when designing levels, too - How does a level look that playes
well? My single player levels are very linear, probably because I've played
too little to appreciate non-linear levels.
Doomworld: How much are you playtesting Overload?
Ola: Very much. We've been playing for four full days now, and we'll do more as
well. However, we have breaks for watching LMPs, watching the X-files,
Seinfeld and some soccer, so it's not non-stop playing. I usually sit and
watch and take notes as the other guys play. I do win on some levels
though, so perhaps I'm not totally beyond all hope when it comes to playing
Doomworld: Are your eyes really bleeding from playtesting Overload so much?
Ola: Not really, but they're red and swollen... honestly, they are. They itch, too.