An Interview with RickyT23


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

Well my real name is Richard Trowbridge, I picked RickyT23 as my pseudo name because I thought it would raise a few eyebrows. I noticed that a lot of mappers have quite interesting dark stylised aliases and figured that RickyT23 sounded like a cheap general internet chat-room bubblegum highschool name, and people would notice it (HA!). I was gonna call my self "Deathbringer".

I live in a small town in Cumbria, England called Penrith. Its a town and its really small. That's about all there is to say about that, except that I live in constant view of the Lake District mountain range, which is quite pretty. Also there is quite a lot of ye-olde architecture around here, plenty old castles and buildings. I suppose it's a wonder then that I haven't made hardly any medieval maps.

I have been active within the Quake community for about 1 year now! It started when I started my new job, in July 2007, I had been working in a factory, with lots of offal. But I got a new job working with my brain in an office. It wasn't long before I found myself looking at all of the Quake stuff on the net - Quaddicted, UWF, QuakeOne, Quake Terminus, Quake Expo website etc cause I used to play a few mods (and even tried a bit of mapping) back when I was still in high school. Also I had just received a new PC, so, yeah. The devil makes work for idle hands!!

How did you get involved in the community?

Well I started my mapping this time round in WC1.6 and set about making a "small episode", teaching myself how the editor worked as I went along. A lot of it was "reminding myself" how it worked as I used to do a bit when I was younger. As the days in the office grew longer and more surfing was carried out (I never used to map at work, still don't, just surf the net) I found some interesting stuff which I hadn't realised was there before – Quoth! I thought this was fantastic, because there were new monsters Icould put in my maps!! Pretty soon Deja-Vu was taking shape . Not knowing what to do with my maps, I emailed Kell, figuring that as the (co) creator of Quoth he might take an interest in my maps. Also I had to this point made no contact with anyone in the community, oblivious to its existence, so there were many questions I had to ask him in my email, like "how do you get a skybox to work?".

Kell was great, he sent me an email back, saying about my maps, and telling me how to get a skybox to work (!), but he also pointed me in the direction of Func_Msgboard. I have been an active member of that forum ever since!! Thanks again Kell!

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

Well I guess people like (don't bite) The Hand That Feeds You best, that one received the most acclaim. It is kinda epic. Also it was at a point where I was beginning to grow a little more comfortable with Quake, its engine limits, using my editor (I had upgraded to WC3.3 by that point), monsters, everything really.

Personally I think The Sickbase was one of my more inspired maps! I mean it has countless flaws, but it is also impressively massive and detailed. And it was a real feat to get it to compile. And I am proud of it because it took seven days to do the brushwork for it. Also I feel that the map has unique-to-Quake gameplay – it's completely open planned, and I do believe that its one of the biggest single spaces ever in Quake, Sielwolf's demo….. oh man!

What was your initial motivation to work for Quake?

The reason I started mapping for Quake was that I was between bands and found a creative outlet. Thats it! Its a beautiful game, it's accessible, and the free downloadable custom content for it on the internet makes it a very attractive pastime. I love the texturing in Quake, it has a certain feel to it which isn't matched by any other game. Also the prospect of making 3D "worlds" within a computer fascinates me! Some sort of escapism I guess!

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

At the moment the best place to download my maps is from – Spirit's complete Quake one singleplayer archive! * Deja - Vu ! * Three Towers And A Sick Base * Slave to a Machine * The Hand That Feeds You * sm141_pack It's an excellent website, run by a diligent and warm member of the Quake community. Thanks Spirit! There is another map which has been completed, part of the RMX Mapping Challenge – my version of e4m1. Hopefully it's publicly available by the time you're reading this, because currently the project's status is a mystery to me, but the map has been long completed!

What are your best memories about this community?

Difficult as I haven't been around for very long. I suppose watching Sielwolf totally own The Sickbase was quite a thing for me. That guy is frighteningly good at Quake! I remember almost crying when I saw that demo. Also just getting to know some of the guys from func_. Genuine enthusiasts who have given me support, and helped me learn how to map better. I remember that email conversations I have had with AguirRe (legend) were extremely helpful to me, and you don't forget that stuff easy.

Also I would say that when I posted DejaVu as a news thread, and people started posting responses – that was a big surprise! I wont forget how surprised I felt to discover that people would actually play maps I made, let alone post comments back about them! Thanks everyone!

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

I play Quake fairly regularly – I try to play each new map when they come out, it's always interesting to see what stuff other people are making. As for trying out new mods, maps and engines – well I generally stick to FitzQuake, although I like to use JoeQuake for demo playback, just for the extra eye-candy. QMB is also cool for the same reasons. AguirRe's engine is very good too – if there's no .lit file with a map I am often inclined to use that engine because it adds some cool effects (NehQuake that is), and obviously its a must have for the bigger maps which break standard engine limits.

Darkplaces and DPMod – I have played around with this and Rygels texture pack. The bump mapping is cool when it's working – I have a new PC with a good graphics card, and it was interesting to see such high-resolution textures in Quake. The problem I have with DP at the moment is that water always appears as system textures (?!?!), so yeah – DP = buggy for me. But when its working its very cool!

As for maps – I think that there are loads of other mappers out there who really deserve a mention here. New mappers – Simulacrum, Spy, both of their maps were excellent and I spent a fair bit of time playing them both. Older mappers – Distrans new Doom3 style map was a good challenge, if a tad infuriating in places, but its difficulty adds to the replayability for me. Trinca's maps always have kick-ass gameplay! God I'd be here all day…..

Have there been other games you have been playing a lot?

Crysis was the first game I played with my new PC – love the graphics/engine. The gameplay was certainly fun for me the first time round. I have been playing Doom3 through again, and Quake4, and Stalker. I actually bought a copy of Prey the other day, and evejn though I have already completed that game on the Xbox360 I will take great pleasure in playing through it again on my new machine! I feel I'm still waiting for "the next massive shooter".

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

Well another hard question for me to answer because of the lack of time I have spent in the community. Certainly WARPSPASM was a bit of a slap to the face, and I am really looking forwards to Ijeds next release :P As for the community, well I don't know much about the broader community, but on Func_Msgboard it amuses me that we can spend so much time winding eachother up! Its a good laugh. Certain members really crack me up. I do sense a rift between certain members. Or perhaps several rifts separating the community's members by opinion. There are some people who are "Quake Purists" who prefer the classic feel and design attributes of Quake, and also who believe that Quake should not be over-glorified by modern hardware. And then there are others who believe the opposite, try new things etc. Both sides have good arguments. And we all seem to love a good argument!

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?

Well I still see people mapping for Quake in ten years time – sure! Its one of the easiest and most fun games to map for, I believe it will be for some time to come! You don't have to be a genius to map for Quake, but at the same time there is loads of scope for excellence. As for the amount of maps which are being released – well its not showing any sign of slowing since I joined the community. If anything it may even be increasing which is not bad for a 12 year old game! As long as people keep creating descent custom content for Quake, the community will remain. Mods like Qonquer, TransloQuake and Quoth are all good reasons for people to keep playing and mapping for Quake!

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

It is really important I think to give a map an interesting multi-tiered layout. My first few maps were very linear in flow. But my later maps all center round a sort of "hub". A mapper should try and create an interesting layout where the player can see places which they have already been through, or see places that they cant get to yet. If you can create such a "hub", you may well find that they rest of the map is easier to conceive because you are trying to find ways of linking the various entrances/exits of the central area together.

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?

Blimey – well first of all I will answer the last part of the question – I'm not pissed off with you. Er…, crikey, I don't know! How about "which single player Quake release are you most looking forwards to?"

The singleplayer Quake release (s) which I am most looking forwards to are:

Well I already mentioned Ijed's new project. He has kept it no secret that he is working on a RMX project, and that there will be custom progs and effects and stuff, and after WARPSPASM, well – we just know it's going to be excellent!! Also Than has shown some screenshots of a base map which looks to be very exciting. JPL's map is also one to watch! He has been making it the entire time I have been in this community, and in that time I have made 5-6 releases. Now JPL's early shots looked cool, so after such a large amount of time, and with his past record of excellent maps this one should be tremendous!!

Thanks for reading!