The Sunday N
The Daily Rundown
June 3rd to June 9th
I would like to party with this map.
Tough but cool!
Like something out of a dream. Speaking of which, I had a dream last night that I was Harry Potter, and I was forced to fire my friend's brother from the Hogwarts staff. I woke up in tears, banging against the wall.
This is a fast map.
Man, mazes are groovy.
I'm pleased 'killi's making maps again. Traditional and fun stuff.
I don't know, eh, I didn't really see this as episodic, but it's a great map nonetheless.
Reminiscent of that map from June 8th, but great in its own right.
Maps of the Week
- Cheespuffs - What the thwump?
- Green_Ghost - Valhallan Hall
- ska - don't forget to wall-slide johnny
- AMomentLikeThis - MAESTRO AND ARACHNID STILL HAVEN'T REPLIED TO MY EMAIL!!!
- AMomentLikeThis - Paincake
- Green_Ghost - Time Shift
- yahoozy_Guacamole - Serpent Maven's Sake, The Snake
- astheoceansblue - par(ty)
- jeffkillian - Maggianos
The Songs I Listened To, As I Wrote This
Dream Theater - A Mind Beside Itself I: Erotomania, from the 2001 album
Live Scenes from New York
Dream Theater - A Mind Beside Itself II: Voices, from the 2001 album Live Scenes from New York
Dream Theater - A Mind Beside Itself III: The Silent Man, from the 2001 album Live Scenes from New York
Dream Theater - Learning to Live, from the 2001 album Live Scenes from New York
Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons, from the 2001 album Live Scenes from New York
Artist Commentary of the Third Kind
This week we have with us one of my favourite mappers, as you will see in the next article, lord_day.
I've chosen ten maps that I thought stood out for me as a map maker or that I just really liked. I've listed them in chronological order:
Flought - In my opinion, this was my first good map! I really made an effort here to mix aesthetics with the central theme of flying. Looking back on it, there are things I would change, but I am mainly hapy with it. I was so proud of this map when I first made it, and still enjoy playing it. I really think it was the map that set me in motion.
09-1: Plant - This map was my favourite I made from the orgingal Echo pack, and another of my good early maps. Unfortunately, alot of people don't like this map as much as I do, but I never really minded. It is tricky, yet looks visually pleasing and mixes puzzle elements with race elements. It's the first move up into the key that really made this level for me. From there I just built outwards trying to keep the circular theme going, and giving the map grace and flow, in a way which I had never achieved before that point in time.
Outside - The idea for this map just hit me once, and as soon as I could I started building it. I had it planned all in my mind, but it took alot of work to get the difficulty gradient right. In all my maps I make, I start in one place and build out from there. I never build a tileset first then add objects, and this map is a prime example, as I started in the bottom left corner and snaked my way around the map. It gave me the first taste of the power of oneways, like no other map I had made/played before did. After I made this map, I saw a whole bunch of oneway glitch maps, and I would like to think that I was the cause/blame for that. ^_^
The Death of Suspense - While on my oneway high, I played stepself's fantastic Sandstone (Hopewell) for about the bajillion'th time, and thought about making a similar map but with layers. At the same I had sketched out ideas for a map that zigzaged up and down the map from one side to the other. Turn the latter on it's side, fuse the two ideas together and spend about 5 hours mapping one sleepless night,and you end with The Death of Suspense. To get this to work, I first made the map out of E tiles, one ways and enemies, stretched it to fit the whole screen, then finally carved and moulded the rest of the map to give it the right feel, while placing the rest of the objects to perfection... Phewww, it took more effort than some of my DDA's. :0
00-3: Meet the Thwump - And so began the completed column. 50 maps later and this one is still my joint favourite from the pack. I rarely make simple levels that are good, but this is one of those times where I think that I really succeeded. It all kind of gels together, bringing an easy level for beginners in with two nifty ways of completing a little puzzle.
08-2: Scarlet Starlet - My other favourite from the completed column, and the complete oppisite end of the thwump puzzle spectrum. A tricky puzzle with complex mechanics. My favourite type of map! This one was not easy to get working, but the end result is awesome.
Pull the level. Make a move. - Another level that just gels. I've always found seeker drones hard as hell to control, and this map is my best efforts at controlling drones, with good gameplay to boot. Levels with good seeker drone paths have always impressed me, and I was hoping to do the same to others with this map. The idea for the left side was to make an area that wasn't hard to get out of, but might be tricky to find a real speedy route. Some people found that boring.
Warning Chimpanzees FTW! - This map came from my guest episode in Borealis' awesome 'Ved Buens Ende'.
Not only does this map make me laugh, it is actually really fun. The rocket dodging action is pretty extreme here if you are going for a fast all gold demo, and I really like the look that this map portrays. This map may not be one of my best, but I really smile everytime I play it.
Thousand Million - Simple idea, cool looking and extremely fun.
I really like this one.
No more to be said.
08:Tarantula - As a map from the most recent project I helped work on, Session 4, I thought that this one really stood out from my maps.
I spent along time testing different ideas, spent along time messing around with tiny details of the map, and you would not believe how many different forms this map went through. It's supposed to be a little scary and very tense.
I think it works really well.
Those chainguns are gonna get ya'!
Big hand for the man. I'll have someone new for you next week.
Top Ten NUMA Authors
Alright, I remember promising this for you guys a while ago, and I never really bothered to get down to it. I've got quite a bit of time now, so I thought I'd hit you up with another list. I'm guessing some of all of these will be pretty obvious, but I'm just trying to provide a bit of reading. Have fun!
#10 - yahoozy_Guacamole
As I'm sure most of you know, I used to be a real hater of yahoozy's maps. From his very beginning to about the middle of his mapmaking career, frankly, I hated him. He made about twenty million maps a week, and they all had the exact same qualities. That irked me to no end. After that phase, he went on to make what some people will label as 'abstract maps', but which I see as piled of junk. That phase was no good either. However, following this phase, he finally grew up as a mapmaker, and made lots of lovely linear maps, which you've seen in the last five or ten Sunday Ns. His mapmaking has increased in quality generously, and therefore, I award him number ten.
#9 - astheoceansblue
atob detractors tend to focus on the fact that, really, his style hasn't changed in years. I mainly counter this with the fact that although he's made a ton of maps, all of which incorporate his famous style, the quality of his maps has not fallen at all in this time. He still finds new and innovative ways to use his tilesets, even though they might look similar, and have the same feel. I also suppose that the fact that I really like the style he has helped him to get number nine.
#8 - Barabajagal
Everyone knows Baraba as one of the mapmaking mainstays of the Metanet community. His consistent approach to good mapmaking, and introduction of fantastic innovations allowed me to offer him a place in The Camisade Collection, which I consider the apex of his and my mapmaking careers. Even though he did delete all his maps at one point, most (if not all) were recovered, and people continue to enjoy his maps since. He still posts the odd map occasionally, and they're just as good as he ever was. Round of applause for our number eight, everyone.
#7 - 9400
Well, 9400's been a friend of mine ever since he joined the community; some might say he's joined my upper eschelon. Even so, my enjoyment of his mapmaking is not biased based on our friendship at all. His mapmaking career has been (relatively) short, but his output fantastic. His almost cubist approach to mapmaking brings a new style into the spectrum, and his use of linearity is something I admire greatly.And so I hand over to him number seven.
#6 - Sendy
I find it slightly incongruous that one of the mapmakers on NUMA with such a high total output could continue to come up with new, complex, and insanely difficult ideas, even to this day. Sendy has somehow pulled it off. She's notorious for her use of what some might call over-the-top difficulty, but I just consider another aspect to her maps. It really makes them a challenge to play, and again for some, maybe even a challenge to enjoy. That said, it's not a challenge for me, and Sendy's brilliant use of all aspects of the N editor gets her number six.
#5 - krusch
Again, another fantastic friend of mine, indeed my best friend on this fine Earth, whose mapmaking ability is absolutely phenomenal; on a level some also might call 'abstract', but I call 'krusch'. There's definitely a good reason krusch had a link to his maps on the NUMA sidebar for a day, and it doesn't involve buttsex. Much. His entirely innovative and smooth style lends his maps an air of superiority, which I will gladly accept as the truth. So that's why he's the first of the top five.
#4 - AMomentLikeThis
I thought about including MasterJmd in this as well, but really, AMLT's earlier maps under that alias weren't nearly as good as his output with this one. Another fine mapmaker with a huge number of submissions, some short, some long, some middling, AMLT is definitely one of the most innovative authors around. He makes maps the likes of which I've never seen before, and probably won't see again. And then he makes another five maps that day. I just don't understand how that's possible, but obviously it is, and that clinches number four.
#3 - blue_tetris
Mr Tetris. The puzzle author of a new millenium. Seriously, Dave'll be around when 3000 rolls around. You just wait, fools. Discoverer (and exploiter) of more thwumps tricks than is humanly possible, Dave's one of the most consistently brilliant mappers around. I'd that that. Number three.
#2 - lord_day
I remember when I first played one of lord_day's maps in a little map pack whose name I can't recall, and it blew me off my feet. It was nothing I'd ever seen before. And it wasn't even in the style he carries on these days. I knew he was destined for greatness, and I even told krusch so. Lo and behold, here we are today with one of the best mapmakers of all time creating masterpieces out of thin air. Unfortunately, all his mapmaking at the moment is going towards a pack, so he hasn't done much on NUMA recently, but what he has done in the past is absolutely exemplary. Absolute exemplariness will get you number two.
#1 - LittleViking
What can I say? Kevin's a god. His very first map ever is absolutely fun to play, and every single map he's made since has been absolutely fun to play. His maps mightn't look too flashy, but the gameplay is better than Metanet. I have no qualms with saying that. If he were recruited to create new episodes for 1.5, the game could not be any better. Not only are his maps brilliant, he has pioneered both teleporters andthe idea of user episodes. The LV Chronicles are famously the very first of their kind, and are, in my eyes, some of the finest creations ever to come out of Ned. So with that, everyone send your hearty congratulations to the big man, 'cause he fucking deserves them. Number one.
I hope y'all enjoyed that little trip through my mind. It's fun in here, i'nnit?
I might do another top ten some time soon, so keep your eyes out!
By Tanner Rogalsky
"I try to be candid in interviews...but I've learned that whenever you try and make a point about anything, you always end up sounding like a douchebag." - Owen Pallett
nevermore has been around a lot longer than most people but you'd hardly know it from talking with him. It's hard to imagine that such a laid back guy could have made as frantic a map as Tattletale. He's a moderator on the forums and a half-op on the IRC. I once read on the forums that his favourites were a good representation of NUMA without the crap. His thoughts on maps and the like are VERY LARGE! Oonce.
Linus, you are counted among the original ranks of the Legacy Team.
How were you approached to join this most prestigious of organisations?
Linus: It was all very understated, really. Back when maximo was more of a presence on NUMA and the forums, he caught me on IRC. "You're cool," he told me. He explained the project. I was confused. "Do you want me in, or do you just want me to watch?" I asked. I was insecure because of emotional scarring. ;_.
Tanner: What's it like working with in a group with maximo,
Linus: It's very touchy-feely. We say "man" a lot after sentences. It's cool, though. We feel good about ourselves. Most of the guys are totally cool dudes, man. And awesome map makers, I learn a lot from them. Pretty mature for the most part as well. Interesting group, really. Everyone has their own little touches that they add to the group. We're all pretty eccentric, as well. Most people don't understand us. We're tortured souls, actually.
Tanner: You spend a lot of time on NUMA. What's your
philosophy when it comes to rating maps?
Linus: I don't like modern maps, for the most part. They're so boring. Very hip, following little style affectations that don't do it for me at all. But give me a stepself map, an LV map, and I go wild. So really, in general I ignore looks. I'm much more drawn to simpler looks, though, so that might affect which maps I play in the first place. I rate almost entirely on how much fun I have playing a map. I guess it varies depending on mood, but that's not my problem. ^.^
Tanner: Do you think the functionality of NUMA has
improved since maestro and sweep took control of
Linus: Sure, it improved. Bitesized NUMA is brilliant. They're great at weeding out multi-accounters. And for at least a brief period of time, people were really critiquing and rating maps the way they should be. Then again, there was something innocent about NUMA in the early Arachnid years. I was recently going through a thread in which people rated metanet maps, and the ratings were horrible. Which I didn't really understand - how can our standards for maps be so different from the creators of the game? I came to the conclusion that we're silly to look for anything but what is fun. But short answer, in some ways yes, in some ways no. We're always going to have foolish people, and that's fine. I hate to be one of those complainers about NUMA. Sweep and maestro did a great job.
Tanner: How does playing every NUMA map affect how you
make your own maps?
Linus: Aha, funny question. I don't do that anymore. But I used to, at least until my computer stopped working with NUMA maps. In any case, having that experience gives me a nice perspective, I think. I try so hard not to latch onto little stylistic constructs and affectations that make maps old and unoriginal. I may not be so successful at shaving off all of that, but at least I have that awareness. Being aware of something is good. I like to be self-aware, especially about my emotional scarring. ;_.
Tanner: Enlighten is such an interesting and
unique map. What was the thought process behind it?
Linus: In retrospect, it was TOTALLY PRETENTIOUS. But it was fun to make it. I liked mocking existentialism. Looking at the world through a peephole, was the idea behind the map. I guess subconsciously I wanted to go on an experimental flight of fancy with the style in the map, and not have to suffer gameplay repercussions. Stupid, I know. Same with the second map like that, Isaac. I was just tired of worrying about so many things while making levels. So I just had fun with design. I still like the way Enlighten looks, and it actually doesn't play too badly. Too bad I probably can't resubmit it. How unhip of me that would be! And everyone knows I like to be a hip cat.
Tanner: What is a map to you? Is it art, a level in a
ninja game, or something in between?
Linus: I guess somewhere in between. Originality is important to me, just like it is in art, but as I've said earlier gameplay is the be all end all. The WORST thing for me is seeing people copying astheoceansblue and Unconditional and the sort. They have a cool style, but it's interesting because it's their own. The design of a level is nothing more than a mode of reaching a certain level of fun to me.
It's like if you were in a playground and instead of slides there were long paintings. And you slid down them. Except it would be fun, and it wouldn't be bumpy. That's just like N. The design is simply for fun, but one can put as much as they'd like artistically into it. I try not to take myself too seriously, though. That's pretty bad, too. When people attempt to be hip, end up with a pretty stupid map, and then act totally pretentious about it. I guess I'm just describing myself while making Enlighten. But... Well, damn. I am. That's a new life goal of mine, though. To never take myself too seriously.
Tanner: Which is your favourite art-form? Music,
visual or dramatic?
Linus: Eh, that's tough. Musical experiences seem to be more spiritual than visual art. Making music with other people is an experience of harmony and working together, and I love that. But visual art is more interesting of a form of expression for me. It's more reliant on someone's perception of the world. People can absorb everything they experience, process it, and put their own entirely unique spin on things. That's a great thing, to be able to exaggerate and warp things in the world according to perception. I also love films - great movies can really transplant into you a certain feeling. It's almost like the overall product of movies represent the art of emotions. They can take you on real roller coaster rides of emotion in a way that nothing else really can. I suppose music can come close, but not as dramatically so for me. They all have their upsides, I guess. I'm into a whirlwind of the three, a whimsical, flight of fancy world of art in which people follow whatever they'd like to do that day. These days, though, I'm focusing on creating more visual art than anything else.
Tanner: Do you have a particular artist or group of
artists who inspire you the most?
Linus: Not exactly. I like Cubism's approach to things, and the artists' idea that nothing is static. That interests me, as well as the idea that the perspective we see may not be universal. How much of perspective is defined by knowledge of the world around us? I also like Matthew Barney's Cremaster series. Interesting stuff, I think. I love Kate Winslet, I think she's beautiful. But really, I'm just naming people and things off the top of my head. I don't have any particular favorite.
Tanner: Awesome. Thanks for your time, Linus.