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Quake Expo 2008 - Hosted by Tastyspleen.net
Celebrating 12 years of Quake!
Exclusive Interviews


An interview with Distrans with special guest Scragbait stepping in to flesh out the details.

Travail is a mission pack for Quake released in 2007 after several years of development. It was the largest in several years and had well over a thousand downloads in the first 3 days.

Distrans and Scragbait started the Travail project and made some time available for some questions.

[*Note that links in the interview where words themselves are hyperlinks were arbitrarily, capriciously and inconsistently inserted by myself as a best attempt and good faith effort to try to give the reader context of a reference to an author, a map, etc. as best I could.

 -- Baker]


Baker: I'm here with Distrans, mapper extraordinaire and mastermind behind Travail and otherwise all around pleasant guy, here to conduct an interview for Quake Expo 2008.

For starters, could you tell about you became involved in mapping for Quake? In particular, at what point did you get into mapping and how did you end up involved with others in the mapping community

Distrans: Hey Baker, I came to Quake very late...and never actually got involved in Wolfenstein, DooM or DooM2 prior. Sure, some friends had tried to get me involved, but Wolf seemed artistically naive and childish compared to the Mac games I was playing, and DooM(1/2) was too cartoonish and the keyboard movement system too limited to be interesting. So I walked away from FPS into SIM-ing and 4D puzzling on the Mac. As it turned out, my favourite part of SIM-ing became building "worlds" and challenging mates to succeed in "my" environments. When I changed employment to a DOS only regime I ditched my beloved Mac and picked up a fully compatible system, thus I was looking around for something to replace my favourite games (OMG Fool's Errand was sooooo good) and after stumbling through a couple of the Underworld series I came across a "silver" or "platinum" (or some such) copy of Quake. I'd heard some buzz about this replacement for DooM but wasn't really convinced, still the side of the box indicated my already surpassed system could run it and promised full 3D so...

OH, MY!!!

It was awesome...the enemy had sides and rears. The mouse was important. One could (had too) look up down and all around. The "stuff" of this game was not sprite driven but rather brush and model driven. However, for me the biggest improvement, the thing that drew me into the game, the thing that drove me to map for the game was the lighting. Sure, unlike a basic stage setup, there was no color...but one could still do a lot with limits, placement, architecture and (thank goodness) info_notnulls. "dis_sp6: Ruined Nation" via the spider caves at the end of qte2m1 is probably the ultimate expression of my fascination with lighting in Quake. This fascination is firmly founded in the anteroom of the entrance to the second episode of Quake.

So, in 1999 I played Quake and, like more than would admit, I did it at full tilt on God mode. It wasn't till late in 2001 did I finish it legitimately on EASY (something Speedy and I mutually celebrated years later on #tf). However, the "God" cheat was not the only cheat available...and this is the important thing. When one typed "noclip" into that console in a pre GL version of Quake one became the "wraith" and travelled cleanly both inside and outside the "world", for a philosopher and stage tech this perspective was inspiring. Imagine how inspired I was when I picked up "Definitive Quake (or some such)" CD from a PC mag and (after working out how the hell I could get them loaded and run) played other peoples' levels. I was hooked, I HAD to start making worlds! On this same CD was "Alkado" by the author eventually known as [kona], and this was my first inkling that Quake could be modded, but more importantly the CD contained a freeware version of Worldcraft and a list of sites that included QMap. In early 2000 I loaded up WC and started haunting QMap, later that year (and after twenty or so unfinished experiments on my part) Aardappel announced the first Quake 100 brush competition. One of my projects had evolved into something that might eventually fulfill Shambler's criteria for review, but I thought it a good idea to take part in the comp. The rest is history...I entered a level in the comp (8th place) and in the process went public at QMap as palldjon. I built the (slightly controversial) start level for the pack, and met scragbait, aard and edgecrusher (now ionous). Scraggy, ionous and I tested each others levels, and aard mentored me through the construction of the start level. This too was a real eye opener: the care these peeps took in offering detailed constructive criticism was mind-blowing. This interaction during the later part of level
construction is still my favourite part of the process.

Baker: I recall somewhere it being mentioned you are a a philosophy professor -- or if my memory is off -- Ph.D student. If this is the case, how has this background influenced your mapping? And in addition, who is your favorite obscure philosopher and why? Furthermore, what well of stamina did you and the others tap into to see this long and drawn-out project through to completion?

Distrans: Thanks for the promotion :) Professors in Australia are few and far between, some departments might not have one of them for several years at a time. They are the academic equivalent of the more administration focussed 'Dean'. I had a teaching fellowship with La Trobe University from 2005 to 2007 at the Wodonga Campus. I now work as a casual tutor at the same campus, but probably won't beyond the end of this year. My Masters project has stalled in the face of my shift of energy towards the establishment of a local Academy of Music. Almost two years into things and some of our bands are starting to make waves. Several of the artists we've assisted along the way are spreading the good news about us, and the community (with a few annoying exceptions) are very supportive of our ongoing existence.

My background in philosophy hasn't really influenced my mapping. Certainly, it allowed me to very quickly comprehend that when I was mapping I wasn't building solids but rather restricting and painting the inside of volumes...and that the interaction of these volumes was what drove things like r_speeds. None of my episode two levels took more than three hours to vis. aguirRe once commented favourably on my occlusion skills :) I think my musical training and stage experience had more influence artistically. As to my favourite 'obscure' philosopher, some of the early skeptics like Clitomachus (don't laugh) were pretty gutsy in the face of substantial opposition. Quite inspirational!

With respect to stamina, it was really only Jack and myself who were there for the whole thing. We'd formed a mutual trust early on, and even if it was many months between contacts we always had some news regarding progress. It was enough that the project was moving forward...no matter how slowly. In amongst it there was a understanding that side projects like hhouse, rubicondom or Dismembered Crates would take time away from Travail, but this time was never begrudged. Rather, it was recognised that any release by the 'team' would eventually benefit the project. When we hit the final run with the final team in place it was all about fluidity, each member had their specialty and little sub teams would form to nail particular components then dissolve after success. One key moment was the bolting together of the two episodes via the start level, that required someone to step up and actually do some 'management'. Another was when the thing enter quality control, this required that everyone suddenly NOT have an ego, but with aguirRe's caring hands in the gloves everyone just calmly handed over their work. Brilliant! One doesn't need stamina when the 'working' environment is this varied and trusting.


Baker: Travail had a booth at Quake Expo 2005 and it was implied that the Travail project had been underway for quite some time (i.e. "A long list of people have come and gone."). When was Travail started, who were the original participants and at the time of the 2005 booth how close was Travail to completion?

Distrans: The Travail project began early in 2001, prior to the release of 'pdbq_sp1: Recurrent Rumours'. Jack 'scragbait' Meacher and I had been in contact during Aard's 100 brush competition and afterwards discussed the possibility of a new Quake mission. I'd sent a few early .BSPs through and we'd agreed on a basic premise for the mission. This basic premise was the only thing to remain constant through the whole development process. The premise was that Azoth (yes, an actual part of the Lovecraftian universe) had penetrated several dimensions, including our own, and twisted each toward an effort to construct the ultimate minion. 'Recurrent Rumours' saw an ancient place of worship twisted into a collection point for undead bio-matter, 'dis_sp2: Grendel's Keep' will see a proud warrior sronghold converted into a processing plant for this same bio-matter. The whole Travail mission (except for those very, very ancient places still resistant to Azoth) was about two dimensions that had been subverted for the eventual production of the perfect minion. The end of the second episode sees Azoth's ultimate failure, as the perfect minion turns out to be a exceedingly brutal but awesomely stupid Jugger. One supposes Azoth preferred 'control' over deadliness...it is too bad ;)

Notice that at the end of Jack's 'hhouse.bsp' of October 2003 one travels down a darkened corridor with the face of Azoth in the distance.

As to the original crew, Jack and I approached some of the people we'd met via Quake. We didn't make a post at QMap asking for help but rather approached individuals we'd had positive contact with during our time as level makers. Jack was at that time highly valued as a beta tester, his name popped up in all the big releases around then :) So, he got [Kona] and XeNoN on board, and I secured nightbringer. Ionous got wind of the project and made himself available. Others were approached but most seemed either committed to speed mapping or already involved in larger scale projects. Jack was always going to produce a small episode himself, and it would be the task of the rest of us to get the other ep of the ground. People seemed OK about the notion of another "hunt through time" episode, so we split things up Egyptian, Mayan, Medieval and Future. Nightbringer had to beg off very early after that. XeNoN produced some awesome circular concept arenas (in Mayan texz) but had to go and fulfill commitments to SOE before leaving the community for a while. [Kona] gave us an almost complete (rather disturbing) future-world, which later became Nihilore. He then presented us with the makings of a Medieval-world, which later became Autumn Haunting. We were just too slow for this mapping machine :) So while he was retiring from Quake mapping with a huge portfolio of levels and mods, we were still plodding along. Ionous left the project only to return every now and then, his enthusiasm and good will were always welcome. That was the initial crew, others came and went later with little impact except of course 'necros' who gave us our first glimpses of what a bitch the Uberscrag might be. After necros bowed out Jack and I decided to just work as a duo until the need for coding and testing expertise became too important to ignore, we wanted a solid set of .bsps to encourage commitment in the final stages.

At QExpo2005, even with Preach on board, almost all the coding changes still needed doing: we were down one mini boss and an end boss, incorporation of the archenid, Lun's new enforcers and the riot-controller still had to happen, the list was long and getting longer. Add to that all the testing yet undone, plus apparently simple things like ensuring the same teleport texture was used across all the levels and more importantly that the same clip and trigger textures were used. After four years we were still a long way from home, so we used QExpo2005 as a platform for recruitment and sure enough Asaki put his hand up, and after some time aguirRe consented to be called a member of the team. Negke came onboard to push out a secret level for episode two and ended up producing a two level masterpiece. The two yeara following QExpo2005, this last 30% of the journey, contained at least as much work as the first four or so years of the project (and saw input by the Travail irregulars, a much loved bunch of scally wags).

Baker: Roughly half the maps were designed by you and roughly half designed by Scragbait, with 2 of the second episode maps designed by neg!ke.

Could you describe the process and duration for the design of one of the maps you invested the most time in and describe any unforeseen obstacles that challenged the project?

Distrans: By mid 2003 it was clear to Jack and I that as far as brush pushers were concerned, we were it. I bit the bullet and committed to an entire episode, using [Kona]'s Autumn Haunting as initial inspiration. Episode two was going to have to be different though because of the basic premise of the mission, so whereas Episode One follows the usual order of things in as much as the tech aspects of the universe recede in the face of Elder magic as the episode progresses...Episode Two had to run contrary to the usual order and finish firmly in a base of some sort. Always in the back of my mind that year was that I wanted the player to exit the second episode thinking, "Hey, the Strogg might have started here...maybe I just stopped them." I had no idea how I might achieve this :(

Later in 2003 Jack released hhouse as an All Hallows gift to the community, and signalled to me that he was still working on what then was still tentatively called QTOO: Quake the Other Operation by, as I pointed out earlier, having the player exit towards an image of Azoth. So, in November 2003 Jack and I had a couple of mostly finished levels, some unfinished .bsp sketches, ideas about how we might proceed, and a strong friendship. On December 3rd 2003 I had my first and most massive myocardial infarction. Thankfully the best cardiologist in the state was, after a long lunch, on his way back to that particular hospital where my ambulance was docking. I hit ER and within 20 minutes my clothes had been cut away and a life saving titanium stent had been inserted into my heart via the femoral artery (yes, quite a journey). So with that obstacle out of the way, we plodded on...

While I was recovering from the incident I had one of those perfect fugue moments...inspired by the use of Oblivion textures in OUM I sought them out and began mapping with them. Stuff just built itself. I'd decided on a particular set of angles as a theme and away it went! Mappers know this moment, it is blistering and brilliant, one can do no wrong. The particular theme finds itself over and over again, reinforced, reproduced at the largest and smallest scales. All fugues must finish, and by the end of this one I felt sure I had that elusive final episode 2 level cornered. I tentatively named what I'd produced thus far 'disrythmia' in honour of the incident which allowed me to expend production time on it. However, the level languished. Each time I returned to it (over a period of 28 months) I walked through it asking, "How the hell do I finish this?" and "How do I make this relevant?" The answer came when I got close to finishing qte2m2. I needed a reason why the undying one was guarding that particular doorway, and of course as the transition point between the realm of learned knights and that of Azoth's more high tech minions it MUST be important. Thus I installed the exit to the water treatment facility, which became a whole section of it's own sitting underneath but connected to the existing brush work of qte2m3. Thank goodness for World Craft's visgrouping! Eagle eyed people will notice that the positon of the air vent and lift at the exit of qte2m2 are exactly where they should be in relation to the same objects in the start of qte2m3. An eye for detail or anally retentive...you decide :)

With the transition in place, all I needed to do was complete the two loops leading away from and back to the large atrium, then put in the place for the final showdown. This was made easier when I decided one loop would contain the communication centre, the mine entrance and the hanger (barred); the other the control centre, barracks (barred) and planetary shield. Once the function of the areas was decided on they almost made themselves. Along the way I ported the design of the communication array over from the start level, thus putting to bed all questions about whether that rusted base was a human artifact or not. The end area became problematic when I began hitting all sorts of engine (FitzQuake) limits. I finally had to hive it off as a separate .bsp then go through a process of simplifying, clipping and tie to entity before I got qte2m3 under control.

I'm very fond of qte2m3, it received high praise from Vondur, and recommend everyone play it out of sequence just once. It's quite a different level when on starts with only the boomstick, 25 shells and no armour. You mentioned negke and his two level mini episode. It is unfortunate that this ep has yet to be reviewed, and I regret not releasing the .bsp names sooner than I did. I stand by my decision to keep it as a secret, and hope that most people got to play through it eventually. In qte2m5 negke maps like a reincarnated [Kona] and qte2m6...well, it's just beautifully twisted.

Travail Participants and Monsters

Baker: I am not familiar with Ionius but according to the Travail page he was involved early on. Could you tell us more about him and his role in Travail?

Distrans: Ionous is the heavy metal dude who (as Edgecrusher) gave us the insanely huge blue level 'Periwinkle Paranoia' in Aard's 100 brush comp. He, Jack and I formed a testing trio during that competition. As it turns out, Noel's heart is as big as his first level :) His main role in Travail was to step back in unannounced every so often and offer enthusiastic encouragement and offers of assistance exactly when Jack and I needed him to. It didn't matter if he followed through or not, he believed in us and the project. Guardian angels could learn a great deal from this man.

Baker: I have always been mystified by aguirRe. Developer of map compilers, lighting tools, engine enhancements, patches and other talents so numerous. What was it like working with him?

Distrans: My experience of aguirRe is all about finesse and subtlty. If manners do maketh the being, then aguirRe is complete. I detected a growing enthusiasm when it became clear that we were serious about delivering a fully tested, better than professional (no patches required) mission. I also detected a wickedly dry sense of humour. I don't know if AguirRe was underwhelmed by the lack of comments regarding the project's polish but it is now harder than ever to garner involvement :(

Baker: Could you tell us some about the later team members? It is my understanding that Preach and neg!ke got involved later in the project. Who was the inspiration behind Azoth?

Distrans: I'd rather have Preach and negke speak for themselves...they deserve as much. The concept 'Azoth' is a Lovecraftian one, his image in several dimensions is (one of the original Quake textures) that horned head featured in Recurrent Rumours, the final hallway of hhouse...and which features throughout the Travail levels in both lit and unlit forms. I'm pretty sure I can still find the email to Jack where I outline this horned, goat legged behemoth, that breathed fire and lobbed the tormented souls of dead foes at threatening enemies...but once again, the idea is one thing - execution another. Jack responded with a tale of how Azoth might store and draw power from the warrior souls trapped by this demon. When Preach came on board he suggested he had a proto model that might fit the bill. After that it was pretty much he and Jack who developed the entity, with excellent input at testing time from aguirRe, Asaki and negke. You might be interested to know that before the 'flaming skull' skin was incorporated the 'test' Azoth threw dead marine heads. I actually thought it was more unnerving :)

Baker: The Uberscrag. Your idea or Scragbait's?

Distrans: Initially mine, but very soon Jack and necros were honing the concept. Finally, Preach gave it form, then he and Jack made her angry. I stepped back in at the end and gave her a voice.

I had other ideas for bosses along the way, indeed the e2 end boss was initially to be a cousin of Chthon, born of slime, glowing green, throwing tracking slime balls and killable by ammunition...then Vondur released 'Koohoo'. I then developed the idea of the 'Twins', ogre torsos grafted to hover pads with one twin having an SNG for long range and a shock rod for melee, the other a homing RL and a buzz saw, they were to work together to always try and keep the player in crossfire...then Quake 4 was released and early shots of Eddy started to appear. Ces't la vie!

Enter Scragbait

Scragbait is the long-time mapper whose works include the spooky Halloween map "Fall Cleaning" whose style of mapping I would describe as involving intricate maps where the surface appearance leads to a false sense of  security and ease. A prime example is the map "Scragbait's Estate".

Scragbait is the author of the Travail Episode 1 maps.

Baker: The first episode of Travail was very water-oriented: the exits, the waterfalls, the rivers, the underwater challenges and bridges. How and when did that theme originate?

Scragbait: Somewhere in a box are some very rough hand sketches that laid out the world that eventually became the first 3 maps of Travail. It was originally going to be one map but grew out of control and I had to break it up into three maps joined without slipgates. The influence for the first three maps was predominantly Tronyn followed by Unreal. What I was striving for was a sense of journey and continuity in a bigger world then Quake usually offers. Both Tronyn and Unreal are excellent examples of that lone connected journey to somewhere important and dangerous. I thought the mix of rock and water worked well and also set a pace since you couldn't just sprint the whole thing - having to swim for some of the progression adds to the sense of toil along with the battles. Plus, I like bridges and they need to go over something so bring on the H2O. I've had a thing for bridges ever since seeing a steel truss bridge as a kid so Quake gave me a place to build bridges of my own - hence the variety in Episode 1.

As in Scragbait's Estate, I wanted the maps to have a 3D feel with winding interlaced pathways and a good sense of verticality. The second map probably captured verticality the best while the third was reasonably twisty. By making the player climb, swim and run on the flats, I hopefully made Episode 1 feel like a hard fought, tortuous journey with hopefully few boring sections. I strived for variety in both visuals and gameplay. I wanted to promote sightseeing and exploration as much as combat.

Baker: Travail broke from the established formula of maps following a single theme. Whether consciously, intentionally or by design, Travail broke from the "pack" of historically what had been the norm of a series of similarly themed maps and instead was a succession of very different places with little or no transition.

Yes ... a question is coming smile ...

Were there maps in progress that led to the Travail project or did the Travail project lead to the maps?

Another way of phrasing it, did you know there were a few different types of maps you wanted to make and as a result this culminated in the idea of Travail or did the idea of the Travail project lead to thinking about different types of maps to map.

Scragbait: For Episode 1, the maps were made for Travail and were mostly planned in advance.

I wanted episode one to be a continuous journey from taking the portable slipgate entry into the underground staging facility through to the source of evil within the Episode 1 realm. The explanation for the maps is given in the map descriptions at the Travail site (http://www.quakeone.com/travail/journey.html) but from a mapping perspective; this is how it unfolded. I wanted a mix of medieval and technology in both an indoor and outdoor section to start as I liked that style (in a Tronyn sort of way). What was supposed to be one and then two maps finally ended up as three so the rivers, valleys and small building complexes dominated Episode 1 due to the amount of content that I happened to create to wrap things up. My intent was to justify the first three maps as a tortuous path that protected a gateway to a much more otherworldly realm that would make a better lair for the Uberscrag. The Uberscrag would have felt much less fearsome in a non-horror setting. I also wanted Episode 1 to transition to a horror setting that reflected the scary vibe that is Quake but with that Zerstorer blood and gore extension. The big thematic switch felt right using a big runic slipgate that had been 'discovered' by the hostile forces in the first 3 maps.

For the two Finale maps I made, I had some idea of what I wanted for the final map but the idea for the second to last map was sort of spawned on the fly after dabbling with the idea of some great tower.

QTFin 2, the map before the end was more of a random idea that started with me building a tall tower surrounded by a deep void. It then seemed like a good place to introduce Azoth but not a great spot to finish him off in - hence his flight before death. The Azoth interactions in the last two maps were also worked out with Preach who brought in his own ideas for enemy AI and the awesome death sequence. I did make adjustments to the maps to work with Azoth's functions. The story in the link above was written after the map was made to explain what would otherwise seem like a loss of thematic consistency. The final map with the underground crypts was actually derived from a plan made with distrans early on to have a sequence of releasing trapped souls (Khats) from containers as a precursor to Azoth's rising. While I didn't follow the original plan precisely (and there never was a precise plan) I went for the zombie gibbing as a method of soul releasing before the player is able to bait Azoth back. The return to the tower closes the loop and the end text once again explains what went on. I do admit that I lack creativity in complex mechanisms or use of progs features to make a gameplay sequence more sophisticated - as such, the last map underwhelms until you duke it out with the big guy. The zom gibbing and blood dip are really too simple.

The first 3 maps and the last in Episode 1 of Travail were the longest and hardest to build because I didn't want to repeat geometry patterns across the broad level. This made construction very slow. I wanted the player to always wonder what things would look like around the next corner thus the high level of variance in both texturing and construction and layout, For map 4 in Episode 1 and the last two maps of the finale, I resorted to more patterning and reuse of features to complete the build more quickly. That said, I still strived to throw in details or complementary sections of non-repetitive brushwork such as the plank walk in QTFin2 or the hanging steel plates in Map 4 Episode 1 to make it still seem adequately organic.

Baker: Now to Episode 2. Episode 2 was quite the journey and appeared to pay homage and have references to other maps and authors. Could you tell us about some of these?

Distrans: The skill selection section of 'start' was always going to be an homage to Vondur & ZedII, but following my momentary lapse of heart beat I was keen to make Travail not only a high quality Quake experience but also a celebration of all things Quake - that which had given me so much joy. The episode selection section of 'start' contains an obvious reference to Quernel's 'rfactory' (the moving crates), which in turn is a reference to a particular Quake 2 level :) The blood below and bloody sky above are a reference to Zer as is the inclusion of the Riot Controller in e2. To access nightmare level one has to free and kill a shambler (an obvious reference to one of the great Quake personalities & sites) and by the way, to access nightmare you had to demonstrate that you had the skills required to complete the mission at that level...I always thought that was a novel way of setting things up but, meh! On the way to the nightmare portal you side step DooM3 runes pushing their way through the rock and eventually face a red skull teleport that instantly evokes another Quake driven game. The whole of qte2m1 is dedicated to Asurfael from the early days of QMap and #tf and, as such, all those diehard players and enthusiasts whom for however long got/get caught up in the game and by doing do make it greater. qte2m2 contains part of a CZG scrap map, a rebuild of DM2 (yay, American McGee), a rebuild of part of Q3TA House of Decay, and a scrap of my own from a Knave themed Turtle Mapping project left incomplete by Speedy...this way I got to include references to some of my favourite level designers. Kell gets a reference in as much as I included a DM demo as demo1.dem, which he did (on DM2) as part of Contract Revoked. The choice of the Unreal rock texture and variants, predominant in e2, is no chance thing. qte2m3 evokes Q2, pingu, RPG, all things John Fitzgibbons, and Lunaran of course. The oppressive, monolithic and almost sterile qte2m4 is another tribute to Q2, but also the AOP team (which contained a very young Fingers). The caged Shamblers are self reflexive, ooh err Travail is so postmodern! qtfin1 is a coagula map, thus ELEK gets a level wide reference but also a specific one for himself and his favourite pet in the level's Easter Egg. Please go and play Tim's work if you have not done so already, replay it if you have already experienced it. qtfin1 also has two sideways references; one to blackpope and one to scampie...but no-one will be able to work them out so they are potentially useless. I'm surprised about two things regarding the response to qtfin1. The first was that it did not "fit" somehow...well, der - it's a way station on the edge of the known space/time continuum. One should not expect it to look anything like the departure point or the destination. The second was that along with necros' 'The Emptiness Without' it is excellent example of a compartmentalised space map that does not detract from the feeling of a cohesive open whole, and I thought this might elicit some discussion. But, I guess it was all said after necros gave us that awesome level.

[ post-interview addendum by Distrans: forgot to mention that the names of the episodes and all the levels are in bastard Spanish as an homage to the Spanish Weirds.]


Baker: Every project worth doing encounters problems. What was the greatest setback during making Travail? Were any maps abandoned or ideas cut? Issues with things not working with certain Quake clients?

Distrans: In terms of the mapping and modding, the greatest setback per se was always present. No single thing as such, except perhaps it was...to just keep going however slowly or intermitantly. If I'd been working in a vacuum, without that ever pleasant stalwart Jack Meacher standing by my virtual shoulder I probably would've tossed it in at several points. I really hope to be able shout him cold bevvy one day soon. XeNoN abandoned a map when he left, but made sure we had the .map and .bsp file of what had been finished. Ionous abandoned a couple of attempts, but as I've said, he was crucial in other aspects :) Other than that, there were none abandoned on my part. Some ideas were cut, and I've already mentioned those I believe (e.g. the bosses).

As to clients, Fitz was always the target. Of course if it worked in that then bjp wouldn't be a problem, but we wouldn't be making changes to suit differing lighting tech etc. Bengt's engine is a superb mappers tool, but Fitz brings me back home every time I fire it up. We were strongly encouraged by negke to get the thing running under DP, and Lord Havoc did make some changes to the engine so the mission was playable (thanks again). However, at the back end DP does some things very differently to either Fitz or gl, and to fix some of the problems caused by this would require rebuilding some sections in Jacks levels. With compile times running into the incredible, we decided to go with what we had. It is still playable in DP, even if some of the enemy stalk the void ;)

Scragbait: That's a great question and Travail was fraught with challenges. distrans may be the better one to explain how the project was originally envisioned (from a set of planned maps for the project called QTOO (Quake, The Other Operation) at the time to the loss of mappers to the rescaling of the project to it's renewal as Travail with a much smaller team to it's expansion with coders and modelers to it's final form that hit the community.) Travail was a great success and exceeded our initial vision but it challenged us all the way.

Travail took over 4 years to make with me being an ultra slow mapper and bashing just about every engine limit I could with the size and complexity of my maps. Our objective was to have Travail compatible with FitzQuake and aguirRe's enhanced GLQuake as a baseline. Not surprisingly, aguirRe's GLQuake was a life saver in finding what was wrong so that maps could be fixed to run in FitzQuake. On Map 2, Episode 1, I hit the maximum number of displayable surfaces so if something needed to get added, something else had to go. In Map 4, Episode 1, I exceeded the maximum number of clipnodes so the player would fall through sections of the map. I had to add in a bunch of clip brushes to block non-player movement space and get the number of clipnodes down just enough to make it work - barely at that. But for me, the worst problem was level 4 vising. Excluding the last map of Episode 1, the maps took weeks to compile and my favorite, Map 4, took over 700 hours to vis if I remember correctly. The not-so-great elevator 'teleports' were needed to separate the two large areas of map 4 since tortuous-path vis blocking techniques would not have sufficed to control the rendering overhead in that map. The project was actually delayed because of vis times.for Episode 1 maps. Let's just say that looking through the maps after vising was a nail biter as I truly wanted changes and fixes to require -onlyents only. Quite stressful actually. The waits were brutal and my machine ran day and night.

As mentioned in the credits, aguirRe saved my map asses so many times with his technical knowledge and advice. I never would have made Episode 1 without his help and the support and encouragement of distrans and my own ridiculous level of stubbornness and determination that my work would not rot on my hard disk - it was meant to be freed upon the Quake loving masses whether they liked my work or not. Travail got through it's problems because of team skill and chemistry rather then lone heroes. Near the end of Travail, there was a push to make fixes to deal with problems exclusive to the DarkPlaces engine. I fixed some things but didn't fix other things as I was pretty much spent by then and the DP issues resulted in a few bad artifacts but didn't stop my maps from working well enough to get through. I was grumpy and felt that these issues were DP bugs rather then me doing faulty entity placement. The lessons learned from Episode 1 were used to keep my Finale maps under control and they had long but manageable vis times. They required debugging to work with Azoth but that never became too troublesome. I never threw away any real meaty maps or map chunks but I did throw away some sections that weren't going anywhere or were unappealing. These throw aways were in early enough stages that I was okay cutting them out.

The End

Scragbait: I hope that covers it. Thanks a lot for your interest.

Baker: It does! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

The Travail homepage is at http://www.quakeone.com/travail

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