You want fast-paced deathmatch action? You want tight, great-looking maps with no place to run and no place to hide? Then you've come to the right place! Get ready to Overload!


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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 upgrade.

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 level project.

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 future again.

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 skills...

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.