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Interview with Warren Marshall


4/10/00 by Tom Smallwood
with Warren Marshall
Level Designer
Legend Entertainment-now with Epic Games

Can you tell us a little about your responsibilities while working on WoT?

Warren Marshall: Basically, I did level design. I did a little UnrealScript code for some stuff, but that was a minor slice of my time...

How did you get into the game design field?

Warren Marshall: I started working on contract for WoT, then Glen offered to make it a full time position. And that was that.

What games have you edited professionally? Nonprofessionally?

Warren Marshall: Well, before coming to Legend I had made maps for Doom2, Quake1 and Quake2 ... since coming here, it's basically been all Wheel of Time .. and just recently, a little Unreal2.

What is your favorite computer game after WoT?

Warren Marshall: Half-Life. Without question. And the excellent mission pack ... I just love the feel/mood of that game.

Do you play user created levels?

Warren Marshall: Not regularly, no. I used to run the MultiPlayer Quake website a few years back, and I would play all kinds of user maps then. But now I just don't have time...

What is the biggest problem you see in user made levels?

Warren Marshall: Lack of polish. Basically, that's it. It's important to take the time to take care of the little things.

Check your textures. Are they aligned? Do they fit the environment ... and could you maybe add some texture breaks to make things look a little less repetitive?

Check your lighting. People need to be able to see, but you also don't want it too bright ... lighting should also compliment the textures you've chosen.

And check your map for "breakage". If the player is able to reach a window/opening, can they get outside the map? If so, block that window somehow ... something as simple as an invisible collision hull would work, or maybe add a grating over the window... Don't forget about Fireball/Balefire jumping. Players get themselves into the damndest places. :)

What changes do you see coming in computer games over the next 5 years?

Warren Marshall: Of course, more realism in the environments. But there's also a movement I've seen starting to emerge for moving away from realism into more abstract kinds of rendering -- like cartoons. That looks interesting too.

What are you doing now that WoT is finished?

Warren Marshall: Working on Unreal2. What? You thought I would do something wacky like take a vacation? Actually, I went home for a week at Xmas to see the folks, so that was nice...

What did you enjoy most about working on WoT? Least?

Warren Marshall: There was a lot I enjoyed about working on WoT. Having my skills as a level
designer expanded was nice ... working with people who constantly push you to do better is an amazing environment to be in. You grow at an exponential rate and it's great to look back at your work from a year ago and see just how bad you really were. ;)

I also really enjoyed working with the team here. The people here just kick so much ass ... both personally and professionally. It's an amazing place to work.

About the only thing I didn't like was crunch time. 18+ hour days for several weeks straight isn't much fun.

Finally, how about a quick strategy tip for MP?

Warren Marshall: Shift. Shift like the wind. :)

I want to thank Warren Marshall for this interview. Look for more interviews with Legend's staff over the next few days.

Previous Interview - Mark Poesch

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