An Interview with Scragbait


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

Normal people my age aren't playing much video games let alone oldies like Q1 or making maps. I was born in 1964 (you do the math) and live in Ontario, Canada. I work, pay taxes and generally do boring stuff that you have to do as part of Real Life.

Aside from the passive website loitering I've done since the release of the Quake public test pak, I actually did something meaningful in 1998 or 1999 or sometime around then.

How did you get involved in the community?

I did my share of visiting early Quake sites (Blue's News, Only the Best Quake Levels, QuakeLab, etc.) when Quake was a baby but my first real involvement was volunteering to test Tim Elek's first map, Golgotha. From then on, I became a staple tester for his work and also managed to hook up with other well known mappers including [Kona], Tronyn, Glassman, Fat Controller and the OUM team, distrans, JPL and more. So I'm named in a fair share of .txt files and as such felt that I had an active place in the community. I always wanted to try mapping and after a very long time, I made and released Scragbait's Estate to the Team Shambler's Quake Level Review site. I released a few micro-maps between SBE and my last project - Travail.

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

I don't know if I'm that well known so I can't speak for the Quake loving masses but some know me as a useful tester and others may have played my first full and real map Scragbait's Estate. Those who are current with their SPQ maps and mods may be aware that I did the mapping for Episode 1 in Travail as well as the final two maps in its finale.

Even though it's not my greatest map, I simply love the progression, layout and gameplay balance of Scragbait's Estate. SBE is plain looking and has some obvious new-mapper blights but it really came together nicely, is lit with style and also includes a nice variety of marked secrets. I still feel proud of it even if the natural terrain is ultra-yuck.

Second to that is the forth map in Episode 1 of Travail. I'm really pleased with the look, progression and gameplay of that map. I wanted something atmospheric, original and massive. I am pleased with how it came out and it's my fave Travail map that I created.

What was your initial motivation to work for Quake?

I got totally sucked into the Quake vibe since playing a low-res pixelated public tech demo/test released by id. I explored the empty MP maps with no sound but felt that it really could replace DooM in my life. I wanted to build Quake worlds and poked around the QuakeLab but never touched an editor since I lacked adequate hardware. A few years and a P100 later, I started playing around with mapping and enjoyed the creative aspect of it.

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

I don't have any sites of my own but Underworld Fan has reviews of Fall Cleaning and Travail with download links. Your site, The Quaddicted Single Player Map Archive, has links to both 100 brush competitions which have entries by me as well as Scragbait's Estate.

What are your best memories about this community?

I have many but I think I really enjoyed conversing by email back and forth with mappers whose work I was testing. I really got to know them and the ways they approached their fine work. It was a privilege and very satisfying. Next to that was receiving frank and sometime good and sometimes critical feedback on my maps through func_msgboard and review sites.

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

I still am. I only look for new releases through func_msgboard as I figure that's the only go-to place to check for new releases although Underworld Fan's site is good too. I grab all new maps and mods and usually play them within a few weeks. I still love Quake and appreciate the level of creativity and quality found in current releases. I have also replayed many old maps and mods from my personal collection. I don't try out new engines other then updates to my two engines of choice; FitzQuake and GLQuake as modified by aguirRe.

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

I'm in technical stasis and my machine is about 6 years old. I haven't been playing many games other then Quake but titles I have replayed and enjoyed include Unreal, Unreal Tournament SP Mods via Oldskool, Quake 2, Diablo 2, Unreal 2, Aliens vs Predator, Half-Life and Return to Castle Wolfenstein. I have a stack of titles awaiting an eventual upgrade that includes DooM3 and RoE, Stalker, Prey, Thief 3, FEAR, Far Cry, Half-Life 2, Bio-Shock and others in a similar vein that I haven't mentioned.

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

It is small, fairly tight and has a convection current of new names appearing as well as some oldies that have been around a long time. It has it's own vibe; sometimes enthusiastic and inviting and other times a bit prickly but like the kernels popping in a bag of Orville Reddenboker's microwave popcorn; just when you think it's done and going to smoke, a sound or two lets you know the goodness is still coming - just not with the same intensity as the peak time.

I've been really impressed by the Quoth mod and maps made for it as well as the mega Warp Spasm mod and the Travail maps, enemies and effects made by my other team members. Mike Woodham released some great stuff and Marcher Fortress was amazing.

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?

That's a tough question but people still map for Duke 3D as well. I think it will asymptotically head to zero and eventual death but it may not be for a few years yet. As long as people pick up the editor and get into Quake's very accessible world of creativity and as long as there is somewhere central to say 'Look; here's my map, play it!' I think it will continue to live in a torpid but not dead state. Unlike other games - Quake is easy to make content for, offers a wide variety of creative themes, has a discriminating community of outspoken participants and plays on just about any machine that boots up.

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

Mood, mood, mood!!! Quake is all about feeling like you're no longer in your study, bedroom, workplace, dorm or wherever you keep your machine. Instead, you are way beyond our galaxy and somewhere stuck in an evil pocket of the multiverse. A moody map doesn't mean you have to explode any engine limits - it means that architecture, texture choices, ambient sound and most important - lighting - is done in a way to make you worry your whole way through to the exit slipgate. I think back to Elek's Golagotha map which was not complex but very rich in atmosphere and nailed the Quake vibe spot on. If you want to map and either haven't played through Quake or haven't played it in awhile - go back and finish all 4 episodes and soak in what it is to be Quake. Then go make more of it in your own special way. And put secrets in; I like secrets.

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?

Why do you map and who do you map for?

I map because I like to be creative and it's fun and challenging to make worlds to rip you out of Earthly banality. I map for me first but I also listen to my beta testers and ultimately hope that some players out there have similar tastes such that they enjoy my maps. I make maps in a style that I would enjoy playing myself. I also accept that not everyone will like my work.

I'm not pissed at all - I'm a super chilled person until a Fiend jumps on my back and starts chewing my yellow armour.