Tom 'Hyena' White Information
Name: Tom White
Website: http://hyena.slipgate.org, http://hyena.kiwibonga.com
Location: Brampton, Ontario
Time Editing: Hard to say
Current Projects: Mock2, ALPHA: One Nerd And His Doom, Taalaas, Xenogenesis, many secret projects
Previous WADs/Projects: Last Day On Earth, RTC-3057, One Eternity map, A Freedoom map, some things I submitted under a fake name
Levels: Freedoom Map16
Other Links: http://www.kiwibonga.com
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Tom 'Hyena' White Interview
Hi Hyena. First of all, how are you doing?
I'm recovering nicely from the severe beating Julian gave me on Sunday. Remind me to always submit my newstuff reviews one day in advance and avoid the late penalty.
Describe your reactions to Doom the first time you played and saw it - did you think you'd be putting so much time and effort into in the future?
I'll answer the second part first. Yes. I'm way too creative for my own good. I started playing shareware Heretic first, on a 133. I wasn't exactly in the loop about the whole doom thing. This was like, back in 1996. When I found out I could make maps for it, it started a long unhealthy obsession. I played the doom demo soon enough, and I probably thought it was cooler than Heretic but not as scary. I bought doom2 pretty soon afterwards, just because there's more to work with than editing shareware.
What got you started wad editing, and why do you continue your work?
I got a stupid CD with a huge-ass book called "Tricks of the doom gurus" which was helpful at the time. Creativity and a stupid CD are a dangerous combination. I continue my work because I'm too lazy to get a computer that can run opengl and I've gotten too attached to doom editing to move on to something else even if it's possbily easier or has more features to tinker with.
How quickly did you pick up on the skills and techniques of editing? Was it a difficult beginning, or did you catch on easily? What were some of the frustrations that you went through as a novice editor?
I think I caught on easily after four damn years. I didn't really get onto the internet until '99, and so I had no ideas to bounce, nothing to inspire me except vanilla doom levels and some crappy ones that came on the CD, and no idea about what was expected in terms of detail.
It wasn't until then that I struggled with editing. I had this period of time when I knew my detail was terrible and didn't know how to fix it, and in some ways it's not completely gone.
Did you have any mentors to guide you as you began editing? Did you study other people's work or follow any editing guides?
Heh. If you count Lau and Mantra, then you could say I had mentors. They were almost as bad as I was at the time, though. I think I eventually figured it out on my own, which is how it usually works.
What tools and utilities did you use when you first began editing? How did your toolset evolve as your skills did?
I originally used Edmap. The buggiest map editor you'll ever use, but it was easy to make maps with it. If you're wondering what sort of bugs, I mean monsters would be completely unable to see me in certain parts of the map. If I knew where they were, I could shoot at a room full of monsters all day and never get hurt. Really weird.
Now this part is going to take a while because I'm defensive about it and feel I need to explain. Those with short patience should move on to the next question.
Ahem. I use deepsea now. I downloaded a demo of it once and found it a little hard to figure out, but once I did it was obscenely easy to use, no thanks to the documentation. The size limitation of the demo really gave me a hard time, though, so I ended up finishing my first-released map with a combination of WadAuthor and WinDeu, which were much more difficult for me to work with. SB Software went and got me addicted to their little editor and I ended up buying it for that. I still lament the money I spent, especially because they keep coming up with new versions and don't supply free upgrades. But I use deepsea for everything now.
Have you tried editing for other games? If so, in what ways do you find it different from Doom level editing?
I once made Duke Nukem maps. I wouldn't do that again. I tried editing Quake 2 just a few months ago. I suck at it.
I've also made some blood maps I never released. They're pretty entertaining if I may say so, but I wonder if anyone would even play them. And I'm sure I've made maps for non-FPS that I've forgotten about.
All in all, I'd say Doom has the best combination of potential and simplicity when it comes to editing. But that's just from what I've actually used.
Do you think the Doom community stands apart from other online communities? Why or why not? What are some unique characteristics about the community?
Besides the fact that it's just not dying, I'd say it's probably like most other communities. But that's a big difference. People come and go with a lot of communities, but a lot of our people seem to just hang around. Even people you think you got rid of. It's a lot easier to get to know people, then.
How come you're so sexy and manly?
I sneaked this question on here. Let's see if Bigd notices. [Bigd: I noticed heh]
You've worked on several Doom projects, one being RTC-3057. What was your involvement with the project, and are you finished with your work for it? What are your overall throughts on RTC-3057?
This is in no way a stab at the project or its people, but it's been really frustrating for me. I first started when it was called Doom 3057 and it was run by X-Blade who recruited me to make three secret maps. Then Fredrik made Forty-eight point three billion and seven textures, and being the lovable perfectionist he is, kept removing some and adding more, which meant I kept having to retexture. Then my hard drive became the target of international assassins and I lost the whole level. By this time, X-Blade had abandoned the project and handed it over to Maonth (Shaviro) who was working on a similar project, and merged them together into one story. Maonth had an older copy of my level, and I had to extract the scripts, which deACC butchered. And for the longest time I had no idea how much my level fit in with RTC-3057's story.
Shaviro contacted me recently to try to encourage me to dust it off and I may do that one day.
You submitted a map for Quasar's Eternity TC - could you describe the map and the editing work you put into it? Are you at all concerned that the project may never be finished and your map will never see the light of day?
It's probably my first map that had half-way decent detail. I think that says enough. Although it does need an overhaul because of two rooms that are ugly and buggy, it won't be a problem for me to fix up when Quasar decides to get Eternity all finished up.
And I think it will get all finished up. Quasar takes his time, but he knows what he's doing.
How have you contributed to Freedoom? What are your thoughts on the project's overall goals, and how do you feel it is progressing?
I got greedy with freedoom, meaning I tried to submit one of everything just so I'd look cool in the credits. I submitted sprites, music, sounds, a level, and one texture that was replaced because it sucked I guess. I rather liked my freedoom level though. I actually studied a couple of buildings I liked for inspiration for that one and I think that's partly why it turned out so well.
Xenogenesis: A project that is "long overdue" as you put it. First of all, could you give a quick description of it and its development history to this point?
Quick description: You fight monsters that evolve. Doom isn't really scary for seasoned players because they know exactly how the monsters act. So I thought it would be cool to have the monsters change from level to level so you never quite get used to them. I also whipped up this whole complicated story, which I won't go into.
As for the history, it started with one of the really early doom projects I made before I got internet access, which was just to replace monster sprites with crappy ones I drew with MS paint. Some provided inspiration for monsters for Xenogenesis. Another part was when I tried to make a map castlevania-ish, also way back. Then I combined several ideas, and one thing led to another. I have these two maps that I had pictured from the beginning and I keep re-making them over and over again, and they never quite give off the feeling I wanted. One of the reasons I left it for so long was because I decided to go with the Eternity engine, which has been moving along very slowly. I figured I would move on to something else just until Eternity had a windows version. And now I haven't gone back yet because of all the small projects that grew into big projects.
It's ironic really. A project about evolving monsters gets stepped on by evolving projects.
What is the current status of Xenogenesis and when do you think it might be completed? Any other comments about the project?
I made the mistake of giving it a big story. That led to my decision to make it into a megawad. A few people have offered to help here and there but I don't blame them for not hanging on for dear life if I'm not giving them anything to work with.
I have a lot of projects--not just for doom--going on, so Xenogenesis will likely be sat on until I can make sure I don't do it half-assed.
You're also currently "working" on Mock 2 - quite an original idea! Could you briefly summarize Mock 2?
I think it's funny that you say original because it's widely seen as a rip-off of Mockery. But it's not quite the same. Mockery was about making fun of bad maps and bad mappers. Mock 2 is more about making fun of everything. Among other things, we over-use features that were included in doom and zdoom that are virtually useless, and it's surprising how many funny and original ideas are being submitted all the time.
Ok, so are you guys doing Mock 2 because you're bored, or lazy, or what???
I'm not sure about lazy, but I'm sure all of our members enjoy the break from making "real" maps. We're definitely bored, though. My biggest motivation I'm sure is to make myself and others laugh. It definitely makes me laugh and I hope it does the same for everyone.
Will Mock2 be released to the public? Any other comments on the Mock series?
Yes. The reason I started Mock 2 was because I was frustrated that Mockery was not being released. A lot of people have suggested that I not release it, for irony's sake, but that would be just as cruel. Or maybe I'm just flattering myself.
As for the Mock "series", Mock 2 isn't *exactly* a sequel. I just thought Mock 2 sounds like Mach 2, and that's where the subtitle "The Speed of Stupid" comes into play. And yes, I'm well aware that gramattically speaking, it should be "The Speed of Stupidity". But I think it sounds better the way it is.
You've recently become one of the Doomworld /newstuff updaters. How did you come about this position, and how is it going so far? Any big plans for /newstuff in the future, or will it remain as-is for the most part?
I started newstuff because doomworld was in need of reviewers and I had fun reviewing old NES games and GBA games and thought it would be the same sort of thing. It's not, of course, because I could pretty much say whatever I wanted about the NES games. The doom community seems to want reviews that accurately describe all of the maps' aspects, and not just me making sarcastic remarks and pretending to be a ninja.
I've been trying to change the way I do newstuff because most of the time I'm either being too insulting, or too boring to read. As for the insulting part, I think I should say that any comments I make on doom wads are not to be taken personally because the only way I have fun reviewing is if I make fun of them or myself. Just because I might say "Map02 might as well have been two Labridor Retrievers having sex on a keyboard while SLIGE was open" it doesn't necessarily mean it was the worst wad in the world, just that I think dogs having sex on a doom editor is funny. On the really good wads, however, I try to talk about how I'm so dumbfounded by how good it is, that my pants exploded into a big heap in the middle of my mom's dinner party just five minutes after playing.
As for the boring part, I stopped comparing people's hard work to decapitated kittens that have been beaten to death with their own head and some of the people who found that funny might have been disappointed. I'll find some way to get the best of both, and maybe some day I can be insulting *and* boring.
One map you reviewed in the /newstuff Chronicles (#107) was your own, called GAMMA: One Nerd and His Doom, and it is a unique one. So, what's the story behind G-ONAHD? What were the reactions to the level and your review of it like?
Well, people were getting really upset over my reviews and I thought I should show people that I shouldn't be taken so seriously by releasing something and then calling myself an idiot. I already happened to be working on something mock2-ish, but well outside mock2's boundaries. The dehacked part alone would mean it wouldn't fit in with mock 2.
So I decided I could adapt it for my little scheme. The best way I could think of to make it fun for newstuff would be if I named the character Linguica. Frankly, Linguica is scary to me, and that's sort of what makes it such a funny idea to try to poke fun at him.
One of your in-development projects really hasn't been announced yet: Taalaas. Could you explain what Taalaas is? How far into development are you? What other Doom projects might you compare it to, if any?
The name is a work-in-progress in case you're wondering. It might change.
Anyway, Taalaas is a very unique doom TC where the main character is an alien. You might compare it to Zanzan, which is easily the most unique doom TC ever. But it differs from Zanzan greatly. First, I'm not touching ZdoomGL with a forty-two inch pole. Taalaas will be for zdoom, despite Quasar's groans. Second, the monsters are more challenging because they move and react more quickly, and to compensate, all the weapons are more powerful. It makes combat a little more manic than normal doom, and deathmatch a little deadlier. Third, there will be alternate storylines, and your actions in-game will change how the characters end up. I have a nice storyline to help this. Fourth, voice-acting, for which I actually invented my own language. It makes me sound like a dork, but I think it's more interesting when the characters sound like they know what they're talking about, than just saying "zap zaaza garza warza zappfam". I'm frowning in George Lucas's direction now, by the way. And if Tolkien can invent his own language, then I very well can too.
What source port/mods/levels do you use for Doom multiplayer? Do you consider yourself an "oldschool Doom deathmatcher"?
I don't play doom multiplayer as much as I used to, and even when I did I was never big on it. That's weird because I like the *idea* of deathmatch better than single-player. I like the idea of having an opponent with an actual brain, who I can laugh with when one of us gets hit by a rocket and falls into a nukeage pit. But I think I like console multiplayer, or LAN multiplayer much better than online, because I can actually take in all the players' reactions to the game. There's nothing more priceless than a guy yelling "CRAP!" when he runs out of ammo.
Other members of the community whose work you enjoy and respect?
That's a trap, isn't it? If there's someone who I don't mention, they're going to kill me. I'd probably put Quasar high on the list. He hasn't released much that I've seen, but I really respect what he does. Another is Fredrik because he comes up with such nutty things they rival my own. He was a shoo-in for mock 2, with his brilliantly awful midi and some of the strangest ideas you'll ever hear. Then there's Cyb. Who doesn't like Massmouth? And Doom, Damnit! used to be my favourite thing about the doom community. Lu-Wang is up there too. I beta-test all of his wads, and that makes me feel cool. And he's usually very modest about them when I tell them how great they are. Of course, you probably expected me to say Ebola and Chris Lutz and other people who worked hard on really great levelsets and megawads. I definitely respect everyone's work in the community and enjoy quite a bit of it, but it's the warped minds which create wads that I really enjoy and respect.
I should also give some honourable mentions to SoM and Deathz0r who have made several mock2 levels and never cease to run out of ideas. I haven't played much of their own stuff that they actually released, so I couldn't say I love their "work" but I like the way their minds work, in any case.
Doom 3 - yay, nay, or meh - and why? What are your thoughts on the all of the Doom 3 media that has been released?
I don't say yay, nay, or meh. Like everyone, I've felt doom 3 would have huge potential, but I decided there's no reason to get worked up about it. If you anticipate something for a long time, you're more likely to be disappointed when it's not perfect (and nothing is) so I'm just avoiding doom 3 media like a plague, a bag of bombs, and an invading Mongol army. When Doom 3 comes out, I'm just going to let myself be surprised. The hard part is going to be when it first comes out and everyone is either saying "YOU HAVE TO PLAY IT, ITS SO GOOD" or "I HATE THAT STUPID GAME, DON'T PLAY IT" when I want to just see for myself.
Your favorite Doom 1 episode, and why?
Knee Deep in the Dead. Because it's cool.
Which is better: Ultimate Doom or Doom 2, and why?
Don't make me choose! I like Ultimate Doom better because it has more atmosphere and better level design. In some places, anyway. But I've wasted more time with doom2 than I'll ever waste on Ultimate Doom because I have so much more to work with when it comes to editing. Plus, I get frustrated easily when I can't have a super-shotgun. Dependancy is terrible, isn't it?
Favorite source port and user-created Doom project?
Sigh. I like variety, so I don't like to choose one port over another. I think I should leave it at that. Favourite project is really really hard to say because I like so many. The question itself makes me draw a blank.
Your favorite book, movie, music artist?
Book: Icarus Hunt. Although I'm a big fan of the HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, and Terry Pratchett's stuff, I think I have to choose a serious book. I don't remember half of Icarus Hunt, only that when I read it, it was the coolest book ever. I'll read it again sometime.
Movie: UHF. I only say UHF because not many people know what it is and I think it deserves recognition. A very funny movie.
Music Artist: Weird Al Yankovic. Don't act surprised.
Things you enjoy doing in real life?
I don't understand the question. :p
Two quotes. Both are jokes and were intended to be funny, but I think both are good examples to live by.
"Dare to be stupid" -Weird Al Yankovic
"I hope that someday we will be able to put away our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people." -Jack Handey
If you're wondering what deep significance I could possibly derive from this, I think I should just leave that up to your imagination.
I prefer to remain an enigma.
Any other comments for the Doom community?
Is this where someone makes a generic pop-culture reference and shouts "w00t"? Well, I think I'll just say "Have fun."
What was that click noise? Are you wearing a wire?
Don't miss Hyena's gallery and see if you can pick out the Mock2 screens!