with Peter Manson
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.
Most visitors to this site will be familiar with
your maps, so why don't
you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
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.
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
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,
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?
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
Most of your maps have been for Half-Life DM, do
you have any plans to try making single player
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.
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
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.
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
Manson: Words of wisdom? Visit
gamesdesign.net http://halflife.gamedesign.net/ 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.
Out of all of your levels, which are you most
proud of any why?
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
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
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.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
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: http://www.kbhse.demon.co.uk/maps/
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.