An Interview with Daz


Could you briefly introduce yourself (age, location…) and tell us when you were most active in the Q1 community?

I am Darren "Daz" Weekes, 24 years young and currently residing in the rain soaked nightmare that is south east England. I was most active in the Quake community between 2000 and 2005.

How did you get involved in the community?

I think the most direct influence was magazine cover cd's, I would go out and buy a new pc zone or pc gamer mag and every month there would be these new levels and sometimes mods for Quake. I would always find myself wondering just how they were made, the architecture, lighting and things like that. I had no internet connection at this point so I was essentially cut off from my source of answers, but eventually a pc zone magazine included a copy of the BSP level editor and some example maps, and thats when I really got into level design.

What Q1 contributions are you best-known for? Which of your works is your personal favorite?

I think the community generally ranks Dazsp2 - Arabian Nights as my most accomplished work. I had a real blast making that pack and I think it shows in the end experience. There are a few mistakes in there that I probably would not have made now but im still very proud of it! As for my deathmatch levels, most of which are very forgettable I might add, I think Crdm2 - Mechanical Tears is my favourite of the lot, and seemed to get some good feedback from the community also.

What was your initial motivation to work for Quake?

I think it was the first game I had played where I felt grounded in a real place, the graphics were at a level I had never experienced before and it just sucked me into it. There was always this sense of dread I had while I was playing and it was irresistable! :)

Do you still have a website/links where we could check out/rediscover your stuff?

Well you of all people should know ;)

What are your best memories about this community?

Thats a tough question, there are so many little things that make this little community a great place to be… * The Nehahra release and subsequent hysteria on Quake boards everywhere :) * The helpfulness and honesty of the guys at Func_. No Bullshit, when people post their work on that site they always get honest opinions and they don't hold back :) If your stuff stinks you will hear about it! I think this has really helped the "new" people that have started contributing in the last few years, I mean if you look at the leap in quality of levels being released by new authors it is just huge, and some authors first released map is of a very high quality by itself. I guess I can carry on this answer in point C… * The people involved in the community now are the die hard fans of the game, and they really want to push themselves to create the best things they can. For many of them there is no personal gain from making these things, but it is a very enjoyable experience and that is all that matters to them.

Are you still playing Quake? Are you still trying out mods, maps and engines?

I still download everything that is posted on Func_Msgboard religiously, im always looking for new maps to play on or simply look at :) I'm not really much of a mod person to be honest, I enjoy the classics like Zerstörer, Nehahra, Quoth etc but I don't really go out of my way to find new mods. As for engines this is a touchy subject for mappers! :) On one hand you have some great things like the animation smoothing, raised map limits and things like that which really make the game look better and makes the mappers life a lot easier, I feel there are some things which take away from what makes Quake "Quakey". I guess I am kind of a purist here and not everyone agree's!

Have there been other games you have been playing a lot since you left the community (if you did)?

I have fallen into the "WoW trap" sadly, and have been playing that game for about 2 years on and off now. As for fps titles I really loved "Stalker : Shadow of Chernobyl" and "Bioshock". I don't think I will ever be able to play a game as much as I've played Quake however!

How would you describe the Q1 community right now? Is there any contribution that really impressed you in the last couple of years?

Its great right now, there is no bullshit and people just want to make good quality additions to the game. I think the thing that stands out the most for me in the last few years is Kinn's Marcher Fortress, I mean jesus I never thought I would see anything like that running on the Quake engine! It really is a masterpiece and I can only imagine the kinds of technical problems that poor man had to deal with to get it to compile properly :) Special mention must go to Quoth also, its a fantastic pack in its own right and a mappers wet dream at the same time!

How do you picture the future of the community? Do you (objectively) think that people will still be modding/mapping for it in, say, 10 years from now?

It's hard to say really, if you had asked me this question a few months ago I would have said that I thought mapping for Quake was in decline, but recently there has been just a ton of good quality releases for Quake that shows that there is still life in the old dog! Honestly in 10 years time who knows, the Doom community is still going strong and so far there is no evidence that the Quake community should be any different.

Your #1 secret special ingredient to a good map (imagine a newbie asking for your advice)?

Make the world feel bigger than it actually is! Bridges the player cannot reach, houses on the other side of a river they cannot cross, etc etc, it makes the world feel so much more alive!

What is the question you would have like to be asked (but weren't), how would you have answered it and how pissed are you for me not thinking about it?

A question that always kinda bugged me was "Why the hell don't the coder/engine guys work with the level design guys more often?" Again its a tough one to answer, but they way I see it is that we have our camp (func_) and they have theirs (Inside3d, or wherever it is these days!) and there really isn't that much communication between the two. Occasionally there is a post on func_ from Cocot that I notice but really that is it. I am guilty of this myself and I can't remember the last time I looked at the inside3d forums! I guess for me I think its a shame as we have many examples of what can be achieved when the two camps do work together, you just need to look at Nehahra to understand that, there is no way that game would have been created to the standard that it was if both the "camps" had not worked together. I suppose it depends a lot on the people involved also, I know that Mindcrime (the head guy on Nehahra) was a very good leader and seemed to "rally the troops" in a very effective manner, and maybe that is the key!