Interview with Matthias "Langsuyar" Worch

First of all please tell us who you are and what you do. :-)

Well, my name is Matthias Worch and I'm a level designer for Ritual. Did ya hear me? Le-vel de-sig-ner. Not "Gamespace Engineer", "Enviromentalist", "Man in Black" or "Lead Guinea Pig Breeder", just level designer. Unlike some other companies we don't believe that changing this title will show how friggin different our levels are from the old and simple FPS shooters ;)

Whats it take to become a level maker like you? And to work in the gaming industry.

Just download a map editor and start playing around with it - tada, you're a level designer :) That should answer the 2nd question, I just downloaded some DooM2 editors when I got my first modem and tried and tried and tried until I had some cool stuff to release to the net. Obviously ppl like my style, ideas, dedication etc. that I put into the maps so that they became quite popular. Most of it is just a lot of work: aligning textures, getting the lightning right and tweaking the gameplay. But I don't know if you can really learn that last little bit that sets your levels apart from mass of "competition" out there...and I think that becomes more and more important today. You see a lot of levels on the internet with good architecture and a lot of eye candy, and they are also fun to play, but only a few get remembered even after a few months because they were a blast to play, were so much fun.

How does a normal day at Ritual go on?

I won't bore you with that "Well, the great thing is that no day is the same!" crap, we're just sitting here and cranking out levels most of the time, of course. I usually arrive at 9.30, check email and webpages, start working on the crap that made me leave the previous day, try to convince the ppl not to go to a mexican restaurant, end up in a mexican restaurant, "eat", go back to the office - and do mapping until evening. Sometimes there's a meeting, discussing the game etc.

How long does it take you to complete a whole level for Sin?

I can't really answer the question - DM maps take about 2 weeks until completly finished, but I haven't done any full SP levels for SiN.
SiN is very interactive and the gameflow can change completly if you change a part of the story or a whole ABO, so no map is finished till the very end of development.

What about compile times?

They can be take long now that 6 mappers share one compile machine - but detail brushes have reduced the vis time considerably and you usually do the full compiles during the night, so that it never really prevents you from working. And we'll get a second compile computer "soon".

Do you think Sin will come with CTF? And if so, will it be just regular CTF such as Dave Kirsch's Quake 2 CTF?

There will most probably (=99%) be CTF support by Ritual, we just can't say if it'll make it into the box or be released later...I'd say the chances right now are about 50/50. There will definitly be regular ThreeWave CTF rules, why reinvent the wheel if you got a set of rules that everybody knows and that works great. We're also playing around with some additional ideas, I'm not sure if they will actually be in the game though, and even if all changes to regular CTF will be optional.

Was working at Ritual what you expected it to be?

Yes, I guess I can say that :) I've been here before and seen what the atmosphere was like. Of course it's not always fun to build levels, if you just can't be creative and have to work on the map anyway for example. But that wasn't really different when I was doing free mapping, so it's not really a change. And it's a good thing that you can just go and ask a programmer if something odd happens instead of having to guess and try around a long time.

Just out of curiosity, do you ever visit those websites out there dedicated to Sin and Ritual? Such as RitNews.com and Ritualistic.com.

Yes, far too often :) Whenever you have to wait a few minutes for a compile to finish I usually start Netscape and browse around a bit, just to find that nobody has updated in the 2 hours since my last visit ;)

Well, that's all folks! Many thanks to Matthias Worch for taking the time to answer my questions..