Revenge of the Giggle

Mike 'Giggler' Wardwell is one of the fine level designers over at Ritual Entertainment. He's know for his appropriately named 'Giggler' series of Quake maps, his stint as a mapper for 'Unreal', and most recently, his maps in the Quake Mission Pack. For the past year he's been working like most everyone else at Ritual on SiN. Mike was cool enough to get this interview back to me in record time, so without any further ado, here's Mike.

Mike, you're one of the old school Ritual employees who's been around since the Quake Mission Pack. How have things changed at Ritual since you've been there?

Wow, lemme think. Starting with my arrival, Ritual added new developers to the company one at a time, just recently completing what is now the Sin team and our second development team. Ritual is a small company, so every addition to the group gives us a new bit of personality, and moves us a little in a different direction. There have been no drastic changes here at Ritual, although we worked in 2 different offices before we were able to find the right place and have it built to our needs.

We have also quickly gone from an engine licensee company to a future engine licencer, thanks to the talented Gary and Charlie's UberEngine. On another aspect, our skill as game developers has really blossomed over the making of Sin. Many of us started with no more knowledge than of how to 'make cool stuff'. Now I feel that our design sense is not only heightened, but its of our own brand.

Since development of SiN began, the public's only had small glimpses at what you've been working on for the past year. Are you looking forward to SiN's release as much as the rest of us?

When in the final stages of development, new things get put in the game every day. Just like everyone else out there, I don't know exactly what its going to be like to play the complete game, start to finish. I may not be anticipating this as much as those that haven't laid their eyes on it, but believe me, I can't wait!

How many maps/environments have you personally created for SiN? How many deathmatch maps?

I've created 12 single player maps, and 3 deathmatch specific maps. Many of the single player maps will come with a deathmatch version of the map as well. We don't believe in creating a single player map with deathmatch in mind, so often we'll totally separate the 2 into different .bsp's. Of the 12 maps I've created, 3 of them have been totally redone, and one of them was redone twice. Tom and I once did a quick count of the number of brushes from discarded maps, and it totaled something like 30,000.

Will there be a stream of releases of deathmatch maps and mods from Ritual after SiN's release, or will all the big parts be in the box?

We have considered doing certain deathmatch related modifications for release after the game has shipped, but all big parts will be in the box.

What's next for you after SiN? SiN2, or another new game?

I'm working on 'the other game'. Woo. :-)

Speaking about SiN2, will it use Uber Engine or the Quake2 engine? Answer this one if you want..

Hmm, I'm not sure if this info has been released yet. If it hasn't, then I'm not at liberty to say. :)

What's your favorite Quake/Quake2 deathmatch mod?

The only thing I play between the two of them is Clan Arena for Quake1. It has a light element of teamplay, its competitive but not cut-throat like 1on1, and it seems to attract a very talented crowd.

Are you still involved with the CyberAthletes? Do you think that the PGL has stolen some of their thunder?

Yep, I'm still on the board of directors and also run all CPL tournaments. I don't think the PGL has had much effect on our organization, other than the fact that we must compete for press. Online events are not about to replace LAN play. There is clearly a reason for both, so the Cyberathlete Organization is not threatened. I enjoy the fact that the PGL is doing well, its all part of the betterment of competitive gaming. Our first event was very successful, and we are going to host our next one this July. The PGL has more press, because they are tied to a large PR firm. Although that is nice, our only motivation for press is to attain sponsors, so that we can run bigger events for the gamers, and afford to fly more of them there courtesy of our organization. For those of you unfamiliar with Cyberathletes, check out cyberathete.com.

What other single game, besides SiN, are you most awaiting the release of?

Half-Life, baby. That game looks fun.

And finally, who's would win at a Quake1 deathmatch on DM6 with alt-death rules, you or sCary?

Well. :( you see.. one of us goes to work every day, and other one goes to 'work' every day. You know what I'm tryin' to say? Steve is a pimp-daddy grandmaster funky-d "I'm your father" muther f'ing talented quaker. In my day, I could own his white ass on 6. (check out scary's demo section) but I just can't keep up with his "If I wait in this corner with my one frag lead for just another 18 minutes this match is mine" type of play. haha, ok just kidding. DOOOD SCARY, YOU OWN!

That's it! Again, many thanks to Mike, keep it real bro!