An Interview with Kona


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

27 years old, from New Zealand. Love music, movies, games. Just like every other guy! These days don't have time for game playing unfortunately, and instead put all my time into website design running my own little web design company.

How did you get involved in the community?

Started out playing Doom2 & Wolfenstein 3D. Eventually got hooked on Duke 3D blasted pigs and spending a lot of time telling strippers to "shake it baby". The Hexen and Heretic titles were also great. Then my cousin gave me a copy of Quake in early 1997, and I absolutely loved it! I'd never seen a game like it before - it was pure fantasy horror - and more of an 'experience' than any other game. The atmosphere was just perfect, with gameplay that was straight-forward, pure action-oriented fun. After playing through the game I started downloading custom levels on the library computers at high school. I didn't have any editing software then, but I did manage to get some for Doom2, so made a couple Doom2 levels in the meantime - just to get used to level editing for Quake. By mid-1998 I finally got Worldcraft and there began my mapping obsession. Funny enough, after making a crappy short episode for Quake in 1998, I found a new love - Quake2, and moved on to mapping for that and Half-Life for all of 1999. Q2 releases from guys like J F Gustafsson, Jonas NP Lindstrom (both great Q1 mappers aswell), SPOG and The Powersphere Quest were more inspiring than any of the Quake levels at the time. Then in 2000 I finished school and went crazy making maps for various games - a dozen deathmatch levels for Quake3, which is funny because I hardly ever played deathmatch. A bit of a waste of time all those were. Then in 2001 returned to Quake and released around 12 or so levels (most level packs, even) between 2001-2002. By 2003 I had decided I was spending way too much time in Quake and decided to leave the community with Carved In Flesh and Autumn Haunting to leave my mark - probably my best and final releases. I think I once went back into Worldcraft a year or so later and couldn't even remember how to use it.

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

Best known for, I have no idea. Maybe Rapture with Tronyn was the most downloaded. And Grindmill, a Quake3 map I made. My personal favourites are between Necrobrood and Carved In Flesh. Necrobrood because I loved the metal theme and large scale architecture. But Carved In Flesh was my most detailed and best looking work. I also loved Autumn Haunting, but it was too short. Permutations Of The Rotten (for Nehahra) I also really loved for gameplay, but the design was a little more repetitive. I also liked all my Quake2 releases, although they wouldn't have worked in Quake.

What was your initial motivation to work for Quake?

I just loved creatings "worlds". Running through that fantasy-horror environment that Quake had and admiring the design. Which is interesting, because I hated other 3D programs like 3DSMax, Maya, Lightwave. Which is why I won't ever map for any modern games.

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

I've just redesigned my website for Qexpo 2008 and put it up at a new location:

What are your best memories about this community?

Definitely designing my levels, and playing custom levels. Probably Nehahra was my favourite experience.

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

Sure am. The last couple of years I haven't been, but just this year I'm slowly catching up on all the brilliant releases for the last few years.

Have there been other games you have been playing a lot since you left the community?

I've got a huge amount of FPS games downloaded ready to play, almost 100gb worth - but really don't have time anymore. I bought a new computer so I could play Crysis, but don't think I'll ever get around to playing it! Doom3 was the most recent game I enjoyed - but even that has too many custom releases to get through (1gb worth)! The last few games I actually played were Undying (great!), Wheel Of Time (nice but some of it was rather amateur and bland) and Soldier of Fortune 2 (much better than I was expecting).

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

Most of the recent stuff I haven't played. I loved Contract Revoked, Warp Spasm by Ijed. There looks to be some pretty good new mappers around.

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?

People are stilling modding/mapping for Doom2 - so I see no reason why not. Games of today seem to be much harder to map for. Quake and Worldcraft was brilliant in it's simplicity. It's the kind of game that will last the test of time. It has such great replayability and a dedicated community.

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

Having a second monitor with porn constantly playing. No lesbian porn though, that's gay. Seriously, there is no secret ingredient. You've got to put in the time, don't rush it. Paint the design and architecture with passion and detail. When it comes to gameplay, make it a hectic challenge full of action - something which is lacking in recent games.

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?

What are my favourite maps!!!? Okay, my memory is pretty poor so I'll miss tonnes of brilliant work, and anything from the last year or two I haven't played. Firstly, anything by Tronyn, Mexx, CZG, Than, Damaul, Necro, Kell…
Best ever release was Nehahra. Full stop. I also enjoyed Bestial Devastation, Insomnia, OUM, Numb Nimbus, Penumbra of Domination, Contract Revoked & The Lost Chapters, Day of the Lords, Warp Spasm, The Marcher Fortress… I always thought Prodigy, Beyond Belief, Zerstorer were great in terms of gameplay, but the level design was a little plain for me. Alright thanks for the interview! Happy to know people still remember and enjoy my contribution to Quake. My memories of sitting in my dark bedroom mapping away for hours and hours with music playing, sure were friggin enjoyable (as sad as it sounds).