With the ferocious Quake II Single Player 9 level frag fest "Back At The Front", Rick Troppman appears to be at the top of his game. So what's next from this master of mayhem?
Real Life
I come from a point in the universe, which is located within a small galaxy known to us as the Milky Way. Within one of the Milky Way's outer spiral arms is an average star named Sol. The third planet of the Solar system is the planet known as Earth. On Earth is a continent named North America where the country USA is located. In the Northwest region of the USA is the state of Washington where I live with my lovely wife Shirley and my cat Boots. We live in a small town about 15 miles north of Seattle called Mukilteo. Also in Mukilteo is my place of employment which is Rane Corporation. At Rane Corporation, we manufacture all sorts of pro audio gear which includes: equalizers, crossovers, amps, compressors, limiters, noise gates, splitters, mixers and more. Some of them are digital computer controlled devices and some are analog. We develop and publish software specific to our products as well. I work in the Service repair department as the Service repair manager in charge of all repairs either under warranty or not.

Best Work
 Hopefully, with time, my work improves and my latest release therefore becomes my best work. That makes "Back at the Front!" my best work to date. I would have to agree with this scenario in this particular case mainly since I spent at least ten times the effort getting B.A.T.F. completed. Whew! Was I was glad to get that one done, or what?. It is actually great fun when a level is nearing completion because a lot of time is spent play-testing. 

That is when I get to play the game a lot. I have a good time placing monsters and trying to build play situations that are difficult but not impossible. I was definitely living and breathing Quake II for quite some time trying to get everything to work together in B.A.T.F. As for Quake, I would have to say "The Comm Center" was my best effort. Just for the record, my level "The Comm Center" was released by me under that name well before id released the first Quake II demo q2test, which contained a level with the same name. In my mind, I like to think someone at id Software saw my level and liked the concept so much that they decided to use the name for one of their great creations. But of course, who really knows? I'm sure this occurred only in my mind and no where else. Actually for that matter, I released a level for Doom II with that same name in a 3 level release called "Destroy NAZI Headquarters". That was actually my first release ever. It contained "The Comm Center", "The Nuke Plant" and "Nazi Headquarters".


Believe it or not, I got a lot of inspiration from the great "Alien(s)" movie series. What is probably painfully obvious to everyone reading this is, I get the bulk of my inspiration right out of the original quake II levels as well as the mission packs "Ground Zero" and particularly "The Reckoning". I try to make my levels an extension of the original game as much as possible. TC and new graphics are nice but I feel that most people are interested in playing Quake II.

Other Authors

I know I will sound like a broken record (for you kids, a record is a black disk with grooves and a hole in the center which old codgers used to listen to music recordings on a contraption called a "record player"), but in my opinion, Matt Sefton captured the essence of Quake II in his I::S::E. I really wish he would release more of his fine work. James Parkman. . .I absolutely loved "The Azure Mines". I think Brian Griffith is definitely a super kid and the world is definitely his oyster. There really is a lot of good authors out there and I can appreciate pretty much all their efforts. I appreciate the fact that they took the time and were motivated enough to figure out how to build levels in the first place. Then they were motivated enough to see a work through completion. Pretty much all of them have something of their own to offer us.

Quake II

Quake II is still, in my mind the absolute best pure shooter out there. Half-Life is an absolutely awesome enhancement to the great Quake II engine but somehow lacks the monsters that Quake II has to offer. I am not saying that they are not great because they are. But for me, there's nothing like walking around a corner and hearing a Gladiator yell, "A traitor!!" or a pesky Berserker yell "Trespasser!". Or how about hearing the moaning of an Iron Maiden when you are making your way through a level, knowing exactly what she has in store for you. I've tried the Quake III Arena test release and found it to be very impressive. But for me, the jury is still out. As of this writing, to me Q2 single player is still the best play mode. We will have to wait to see how the talented id Software guys deal with this, and as we all know, they have come through for us every time in the past. There is no reason to think they will not dazzle us again with Q3a.

Other Games

Some of my other favorites are as follows. Half-Life got me sidetracked for some time. It is an absolutely great enhancement on the Quake II engine. When I first played Half-Life I thought I was in gaming heaven. I screamed "Somebody! Call Art Bell! I'm having an OBE!". Other excellent releases are SiN and Heretic II which, both of course use the Quake II engine. I also enjoy Thief, Unreal and a couple of RPGs, Balders Gate and Might and Magic Series. Looks like Kingpin is going to be a fun one and lets not forget about Mr. Duke Nukem. Should see some fun stuff come out over the summer and early fall months.
I have found Worldcraft to be the easiest for me to use. I think what got me hooked on Worldcraft in the first place was the similarity to WadAuthor by John Williston, which I used to create Doom, Doom II, Heretic and Hexen levels with. I have also found QeRadient, developed by Patrick Duffy to be quite excellent and would probably use it if I was not already accustomed to Worldcraft. For those of you thinking of getting into level editing I would recommend you try all of them out there to see which one works well for you. There are a lot of good editors out there besides Worldcraft and QeRadient.

Free Time

I don't have a whole hella lot of spare time, but when I am not working or building levels (which takes up most of my spare time) I might check the amateur radio bands for activity. I hold a general class amateur radio ticket, my radio call sign is N7BXL. My wife and I like to go out camping in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. I usually drag along my telescope to do a little astro-photography. I have an 8" Schmitt-Cassegrain scope for those of you who care. The other thing I like to do is play my guitar. I was a pro musician for several years & have a couple vinyl releases (that record thing again) & one video release. I rattled a lot of boards loose in a lot of nightclubs in the Western States playing my bass loud & hard.


I like to surf all the different review sites to see whats going on. I will not try to list them all here since I would be sure to leave someone out. I pretty much appreciate all of them for their efforts in keeping us informed be it SP or MP levels. I also like to check into a lot of the gaming news sites such as Blues News or Shuga Shack.


I haven't jumped into anything just yet but, I expect my next release will be something for Half-Life or Quake III Arena. Another possibility is maybe a deathmatch for Quake II. I do have quite a bit of stuff on the cutting room floor, which was left over from B.A.T.F. There may be something useful there but I doubt it. I would like to do something for Heretic II but I don't particularly care for the editor that ships with that one and Worldcraft does not currently support it. Really though, The most likely next release you will see from me will probably be a level or unit for Half-Life. You can pretty much bet on it.

Final Words

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you, who has participated in the constant stream of great comments via email, regarding Back at the Front these past few weeks. Since it's release, It has truly been amazing some of the nice comments I've been receiving. It's that kind of thing that really makes the whole process worthwhile. Also I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to download all of my levels and at least give them a chance. Thanks to all of you for your interest. Maybe I'll catch some of you on the back-scatter. Like I've always said, the whole point is to have fun.

Rick Troppman - June 8, 1999

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