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Hellbent

old Sandy Petersen Interview

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dunno if anyone's seen this, but I thought it was pretty neat!

http://www.mono211.com/gamegeekpeeks/sandyp.html

some excerpts.

h0l: One of the key things that made "Doom" genre-defining and so revolutionary was its atmosphere and the extent the player could become immersed in the world. How did you go about designing for that, or was it something that just 'happened'?

SP: "Doom" was a team project, and one of the reasons it had such perfect atmosphere & immersion was because _everyone_ was on the same wavelength. Whenever one of us would have an idea, the rest would say "yeah, cool!" and run with it, or make modifications that improved it. In the end, we had a game that absolutely perfectly matched our goals & personalities, and it showed. We loved the game, and the love showed through.

h0l: Can we mine you for a cool "Doom"-related anecdote?

SP: We've all heard of companies that banned "Doom"-playing because it was delaying projects. Well, id Software had to ban "Doom"-playing ourselves because it was interfering with the completion of _"Doom"_! Well, we didn't have to ban it completely, but you get the picture. It also delayed "Doom II".

h0l: People seem to agree that designing sequels is one of the hardest things you can do. Why do you think it worked so well for "Doom 2"?

SP: Because "Doom 2" wasn't a true sequel. It was exactly the same game except with more stuff. It also came out just about when players were through with "Doom", but not yet jaded, and so looking for more of the same.

h0l: You seem to have kept a lower profile than many of the more efficient self-publicists at (or formerly at) ID. Does it bother you that others may sometimes cheekily try to take all the credit?

SP: The people I care about know who I am.

h0l: Finally, what's your idea of a perfect weekend?

SP: Sleep in. Get up and take my kids to the zoo/museum/park/whatever for the afternoon. Go out with my wife to a movie & nice Thai restaurant. Hot sex until midnight. Read a few chapters in a Tony Hillerman novel. Go to sleep

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Reading this interview, I've come to the conclusion that maybe I've made this overweight Quaker out to be a villain when in reality, he just couldn't make very good maps.

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Sandy Petersen said:

Well, id Software had to ban "Doom"-playing ourselves because it was interfering with the completion of _"Doom"_! Well, we didn't have to ban it completely, but you get the picture.

sandy, that's called playtesting... the thing e2+e3 lacked. D:

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I don't think Episode 2 and Episode 3's design was necessarily bad for the time they were made. I think it is just easy to make them look bad if you compare them to Romero's superb design. Of course, there were some obvious flaws like the body hanging from the sky which is an eyebrow raiser.

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Technician said:
this overweight Quaker

I guess you could call him that for being involved with Quake but I dare say you meant something else!

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dew said:

sandy, that's called playtesting... the thing e2+e3 lacked. D:


I'm pretty sure he meant DM'ing...

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myk said:

I guess you could call him that for being involved with Quake but I dare say you meant something else!

What? I though Masters of Doom said he was apart of the 'Religious Society of Friends'. Or was he Mormon?

Someone, fill me in. Wikipedia says nothing.

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Technician said:

What? I though Masters of Doom said he was apart of the 'Religious Society of Friends'. Or was he Mormon?

Someone, fill me in. Wikipedia says nothing.

I'm pretty sure he's a Mormon. In fact, it says he is in the interview.

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Partition36 said:

I'm pretty sure he's a Mormon. In fact, it says he is in the interview.

Are you telling me I've read it twice and I was still oblivious.

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The parts Hellbent quoted here don't say it but one of the questions in the whole interview does refer to his religion. From Masters of Doom:

But Romero had a concern about Sandy. At the bottom of Sandy's resume, he noted that he was Mormon. "Dude," Romero told Kevin, "I don't want anyone who's religious here. We're fucking writing a game about demons and hell and shit, and the last thing we need is someone who's going to be against it."

"Nah," Kevin said. "Let's just meet him, he might be really cool."

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Map 9 is my favorite map in Doom 2. There, I said it. :p

Honestly, I think people give Sandy a lot of shit for how ugly his maps are but ignore how they play. Most of them have great gameplay and interesting layouts, that x-factor that is missing from a lot of modern maps. Romero, McGee and Hall were all better mappers, don't get me wrong, but when I think of Doom 2, I think of Entryway, The Pit, or even Downtown.

Map 21, Nirvana, is a shit pile though. Probably Sandy's worst map.

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Yeah, his Doom 2 levels are mostly excellent and aged pretty well -- including Nirvana. What's wrong with short, flawed maps if they're at least fun and you've already played them and moved on to something else? The (inexistent) aesthetics and novelty go away, the fun factor doesn't. They really give Doom 2 a replay value much higher and more apparent than any other game...

Yeah, I like Nirvana:

- a very good occasion to use 2 shells on 3 unsuspecting imps
- I like the torrent of sergeants beyond the first portal and the inevitable painful compulsory SSG->SG switch.
- weird blocky architecture in that yard and revenant ambush
- weird arrow stair and some mancubi expecting you angrily
- hellish cesspool full of projectile monsters and muck travelling
- if you just want to go to the exit quicker, you can do that too!
- oh yeah, the music!

Even if the Chris Wright maps tend to imitate it, I like going through Nirvana when I feel like Doom 2-ing quickly.

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Based on my own experiences with Sandy Petersen's maps and what I've read about him, his mapping often features different gameplay styles that are much different than how John Romero portrayed Doom's gameplay. My first and most played version of Doom was the shareware episode. I was used to blowing away demons as they approached me and always having sufficient resources.

Sandy Petersen created maps such as MAP18: The Courtyard, where unless you know where the secrets are, you have to lead monsters into fighting each other to the death. Or MAP13: Downtown, requiring the player to run away and evade monster contact until sufficient ammo and weapons are acquired. Or Map23: Barrels of Fun, where the player has to correctly blow up barrels at the right time to reach the maximum amount of damage done to each monster.

This was a problem to me as a player of Doom 2 because I was more interested in the gameplay John Romero made in his maps. Fortunately, the first few maps are very generous in ammo so that if you play the game with saving instead of pistol starts, you are more likely to get that same experience. However if you pistol start at any one point later in the game, you're forced to make strategic decisions on how you complete the map.

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myk said:

The parts Hellbent quoted here doesn't say it but one of the questions in the whole interview does refer to his religion. From Masters of Doom:

My personal favorite excerpt from Masters of Doom is this:

Romero couldn't agree more, adding how, in addition to all that, there would be tons of blood flying out from the beasts. They had a good laugh. Romero decided to probe the religious issues. "So," he said, "you're Mormon?"

"Yep," Sandy replied.

"Well," Romero said with a chuckle, "at least you're not a Mormon that keeps pumping out tons of kids and stuff."

Sandy stopped typing. "Actually, I've got five kids."

"Oh, okay," Romero stammered. "But that's not like ten or anything. But you know five's a lot but, um, at least you're not really a hard-core card-carrying Mormon."

"Oh, I got my Mormon card right here!" Sandy pulled it out.

"Well, at least you don't wear those garments and stuff, right?"

Sandy lifted his shirt. "Got my garments on right here!"

"Okay, okay," Romero said, "I'm going to shut up."

"Look," Sandy said, "don't worry. I have no problems with the demons in the game. They're just cartoons. And, anyway," he added, smiling, "they're the bad guys."


On page 144 for those who have the book.

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Danarchy said:

My personal favorite excerpt from Masters of Doom is this:


I had half a mind to quote that but I didn't wanna be the one filling this thread up with Sandy Petersen related information from Masters of Doom. I like that part too.

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I'm always baffled by the hatred so many people express for Sandy Petersen's maps. He made a lot of great maps, more or less pioneering the "wide-open space" approach. Many of the best pwads follow his overall aethos of mapping just as much as the Romero approach - probably more so, unless you're talking of Romero's map29, E4M2 and E4M6 style. After all, how many E1-style maps can you play before it starts to become monotonous?

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Grazza said:

I'm always baffled by the hatred so many people express for Sandy Petersen's maps.


You won't hear me say that, I love sandymaps. He was my biggest inspiration when I started mapping.

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What is this some kinda come-out-of-the-closet thread? How come you guys never said anything in the other threads that talk about how shitty Sandy Petersen's level design is? Or a better question, why aren't all the people who hate Sandy Petersen's level design in here?

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I like his E2 maps, though spawning vats was my favourite as a kid and it has Tom Hall written all over it.

I just looked and I noticed my who made the best maps feels all over the place for me. Sandy Peterson and John Romero made some of the coolest and some of the worst. American McGee made a couple of maps I like a lot.

How is it Sandy designed close to 20 maps for DOOM in ten weeks, compared to seven for Romero over six months?

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