VeNgEaNcE's House Of Horrors
single player and deathmatch level reviews for half-life

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An Interview with Peter Manson

Interview by VeNgEaNcE

Peter Manson is thought of by many to be one the most promising mappers in the community. One of the reasons his maps are so popular is their variety. When you add Peter's own editing skills and five "Level of the week" awards into the mix, you can't really go wrong. I took a bit of time out this week to find out more about him and what he thinks about the mapping community.

VeNgEaNcE: Most visitors to this site will be familiar with your maps, so why don't
you start by telling us a bit about yourself?

Peter Manson: I'm 21 year's old and live in Scotland. I have been mapping for about one and a half years. I got into Half-Life not long after it first came out and it's the first game I have released maps for.

VeNgEaNcE: With five LOTW awards at Planet Half-Life you obviously seem to know your stuff when it comes to mapping. What elements do you think are important to consider when creating a deathmatch map?

Peter Manson: The most important aspects of any map intended for Death-Match have to be weapon placement and connectivity. Also, now with so many death-match maps out there, your level has to have something unique about it to grab people's attention. I spend most of my time trying to think of new things that haven't already been done in other levels while also considering the basic elements such as good, clean fun!

VeNgEaNcE: Compared to a lot of your mapping peers, you seem to have quite a high release rate, which suggests that you must enjoy what you do. What do you think it was that appealed to you about level design and what do you think was the hardest thing about getting started?

Peter Manson: Half-life was the first game I played online, and I was completely amazed by the multiplayer side of it. I started mapping because the thought of people playing online in a map I had created really appealed to me. I didn't fully understand how Worldcraft worked until I had finished my third or fourth map, but now that I am fairly confident with it, I can spend more time planning a level out on paper, and less time actually at the computer. Getting started at mapping with Worldcraft was fairly easy due to all the help available on the Internet. There are a lot of people who have been mapping since Quake 2 who have passed their knowledge on through tutorials.

VeNgEaNcE: Most of your maps have been for Half-Life DM, do you have any plans to try making single player levels?

Peter Manson: I dont intend to make any single player levels in the near future, although I do have a few ideas for storylines and one or two incomplete maps which i may go back to someday. I think in order to make a half decent single player level you either need lots of time, or a couple of people to help. At the moment I am dividing my time evenly between deathmatch maps, and mapping for one or two mods.

VeNgEaNcE: Out of all the levels you've ever played, for any FPS, which ones have left the biggest impression on you and what was it about them that made them so memorable?

Peter Manson: The opening levels from Duke Nukem 3d, I liked the not-too-serious feel to the game, and all the secrets that featured in the levels. These fairly basic levels also showed how important textures are in bringing a map to life.

VeNgEaNcE: Getting started in level design is probably one of the hardest things about it. Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring level designers out there?

Peter Manson: Words of wisdom? Visit and look at popular levels and try to figure out why they are popular. Also, don't release a map until you are completely happy with it. Try not to rush just because you want to get a map 'out there', I feel I have done this with a few of my earlier maps which I now regret.

VeNgEaNcE: Out of all of your levels, which are you most proud of any why?

Peter Manson: I dont really have a favourite, but I learnt the most from making the level twin. There were a lot of bugs and errors whilst making this level, which left me with a much better understanding of how far I can push the game's engine.

VeNgEaNcE: Inspiration is one of the most important factors in any creative process. What things do you usually draw your inspiration from. Also are there any other level designers who have influenced you?

Peter Manson: I try not to let other designers influence my levels, I usually draw inspiration from buildings around me. I find myself more and more these days looking at things when I'm out and about, thinking 'would that look good in a level?'. The map Plateau came about because I drove through a village which had an old mill with a water wheel on it, and I thought that would work work well in a level.

VeNgEaNcE: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Peter Manson: Thanks for the interview and keep up the good work with the site. If anyone would like to have a look at my maps, please visit my homepage at:

Regards Peter

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and good luck with your next maps! Below are a few pics from Peter's latest level which is nearly finished which he was kind enough to send. If you want to see what b-nutz and myself thought of Peter's most recent levels then hop on over to the reviews section and take a peek.