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The Last Stand

Interviewer: Emambu
Subject: Merlinus

[Emambu] Let's start off with something basic. In general, tell us who you are and what got you into SW and editing.

[Merlinus] I'm Steve (aka Merlinus). I was first introduced to Star Wars when I was about 7. Since then, I've been a fan ever since. When I bought Dark Forces (about '96), I discovered that there were hundreds of custom made levels on the net for download. I've probably played about half of the ones in existence. Finally, I downloaded WDFUSE and decided to make my own level. I loved the add on mission Mt. Kurek and wanted to make a level on par with that mission. And so that's what led me to editing.



[Emambu] On the project page at DF-21 you mentioned that this would be your first DF level. However, do you have any previous editing experience with other games?

[Merlinus] Obviously, I haven't had any experience making DF levels. However, I have had some experience in making missions for Command and Conquer: Red Alert. While those missions never became a true reality, it gave me the experience I needed to make triggers do things that the original engine never allowed for.



[Emambu] Although it's always nice to see new levels being developed for DF, I still find myself having to ask: Why choose the DF engine? With so many extra features offered in the JK and MotS engines, why choose the oldest one of the three?

[Merlinus] The primary reason is that I don't own JK or MotS. And even if I did, I feel that the older graphics of DF are easier to edit.



[Emambu] Getting into the level itself, can you tell us a little more about the plot or is everything that we need to know already up on the projects page at DF-21?

[Merlinus] Pretty much, everything is up at DF-21. However, I'll divulge a little bit more information. There will be a space walk sequence similar to the one in Condition Red, except this one is gonna be a lot harder. I don't want to give away too much, because I don't want to ruin the experience of playing the level and figuring out what's going on.



[Emambu] With so many choices for a setting, why did you settle on something like this?

[Merlinus] I chose a Star Destroyer because it seemed like the easiest way to start this series. It made the perfect introduction level, just as Secbase made the perfect intro level to DF. However, this is gonna be a whole lot longer than SecBase.



[Emambu] What about the design of the level? How do plan on creating the architecture? Will there be any preliminary sketches or is this a "build as you go" type of design?

[Merlinus] I have a lot of preliminary mapwork drawn on notebook paper, but I am doing a lot of it as I go to add more variety to the level.



[Emambu] Will there be any new enhancements or features that you want to divulge? Any new BM's, FME's, 3DO's, WAX's, VOC's, VUE's, etc?

[Merlinus] You can expect new WAX's, including one that has never been seen before in a level. There should also be some new music and 3dos. And tons of new VOC's. There maybe some new BM's, but I'm not sure yet. As for VUE's, maybe, maybe not.



[Emambu] What type of atmosphere are you trying to create, and what type of mood do you want to put the player in?

[Merlinus] Panic and the feeling that you're running out of time. If every thing works, you'll hold your breath till the end.



[Emambu] Any thoughts as to the length of this level?

[Merlinus] Not as long as Discovery at Ironfort, but it will be fairly long. Maybe around the size of Assassinate Darth Vader, but bigger.



[Emambu] Will there be any puzzles, challeneges, or obstacles that will require the player to think?

[Merlinus] There will be puzzles, but they won't be the pattern type (like in level 4 of DF). They will mostly be trying to circumvent locked doors. A lot of the puzzles will have multiple solutions, such as this scenario: you come across a locked door. You can either find the switch to open it, or use the air ducts and blast your way into the room.



[Emambu] Do you have a set release date or will it be done when it's done?

Merlinus] - It will be done when it's done, but I'm shooting for a release sometime in October.



[Emambu] What do you think has been the hardest thing so far about making this level?

[Merlinus] Making the space scene because I keep running across lots of bugs if I make the sector to big with a horizon.



[Emambu] On the projects page, most of your entries talked about the various bugs and glitches that you've encountered. Have they been solved or are you still working on them?

[Merlinus] I think I have gotten past most of the bugs. However, I still have trouble occasionally when a sector gets to big and suddenly you can walk through walls.



[Emambu] Do you have any future plans for editing after this level is done?

[Merlinus] Definitely. There will be at least 2 more installments for The Last Stand. However, I may not continue the series right after I finish with the first one. I am in the process of making plans for a level based on the Battle of Endor (from RotJ). I know most editors will tell you it's probably impossible, but I have a few ideas. And with a little help, you may see the first realistic Endor level made with the DF engine.



[Emambu] Any final thoughts, comments, criticisms, or reflections that you wish to add?

[Merlinus] Uh, May the Force be with you...always.



[Emambu] I want to thank you for taking the time out to do this interview. I wish you the best of luck with your level. As a note to all who read this, you can check out the progress of this level, and any other DF level, at DF-21 (http://www.df-21.net).

[Merlinus] Thanx for allowing me to do this.

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