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Doomworld: Speaking of which, is it true that you were approached by Dreamworks Interactive and offered a position on the team creating the game "Trespasser?"  If so, why did you turn it down?
 
Justin: I got quite a few offers from various companies, most of which I turned down because I wanted to finish my degree, but there was also a conflict between my not wishing to relocate across the world to somewhere where I know no-one, and my wishing to be more than a little cog in a big machine - to have at least reasonable creative input. The problem with this is that unlike a lot of assigned tasks, creatively working with others requires a lot of contact and communication. Which in turn works 
best when youíre in the same room as the people youíre brainstorming (or whatever) with. 
Anyway, back to Dreamworks, I donít remember the offer, but I read an article where they mentioned that the reason I declined was that I wanted to finish my degree, which I guess confirms that they did ask me :-)  
(However, for the record, I donít think they mentioned "Trespasser", or a definite game concept. That would probably have been mentioned later.)
 
Has anything ever happened to you in Real Life due to Aliens-TC?
 
The main thing would be the job offers I got from game companies, and perhaps the odd situation when someone recognised my name and isnít quite sure how to react :-). I did some writing for Doom editing books, and a graphics library of sprites, textures, flats, etc. for one (another way of getting some unused ideas out of my system).  
After finishing my degree last year, I got in contact again with a company that had recently offered a job, and it looked to be just what I wanted; allowing me to work without relocating, creative input, and so on. So I now work for Mad Genius Software, (and itís a great job with fantastic people :-)  
I came in on the tail end of the game "Gunmetal", which was released a while back. (Unfortunately, the game seems to have been knocked down by its demo, which was apparently incredibly buggy (no key config, 3d accel, buggy mouse, bad levelsÖ) For the record as someone who has played the proper game, itís actually good :-) though some of the innovations can take a while with which to get familiar enough to exploit).  
Anyway, to sum it all up, a few months after creating Aliens-TC, I thought it was almost a crazy thing to have done - half a year of my life on something for people I didnít even know. Now however, I tend to see it as one of the best things I ever did with my time.
 
How often have you been subject to name-recognition due to Aliens-TC?  What sort of reaction did the surprised party display?
 
Not often. Usually my name would preceed me. Eg at a LAN gathering or whatever, people who hadn't met me would be usually aware via mutually known gamers who I was or that I was there. The Doom core of our city all spent a lot (euphimism) of time on a BBS (because it was the first to allow four way Doom locally via modem), so most gamers knew me before they met me.
As to the reactions; usually a sort of indecision on how to react, usually opting for polite, safe, compliments about ATC :) Probably the worst bit (for me) is when someone would like me to look at a level they've made and give comment. This is bad because frequently, it's quite obvious that no matter what I say, or how I qualify it, my
words are going to be taken way of of proportion, especially anything that might be interpretable as a criticism...
 
Is it one of the "best things you've ever done" because of the fame and fortune, or for other reasons?
 
Mainly because it not only got me into the game industry, but got me more or less where I wanted to go. Without it, getting a job would not have been a problem, but I would have been highly unlikely to have gotten a job that I enjoy. Having a job that I enjoy is worth almost anything :-)
 
What was one of the strangest pieces of mail you ever received pertaining to Aliens-TC?
 
Before I had released A-TC, I had released some screenshots and announced it, but was having difficulty getting it uploaded to a FTP site. (I was also sick of the whole thing, and so not putting much time and effort into overcoming this). Anyway, this resulted in someone sending me mail just to let me know that he could see that Aliens-TC was a hoax, and I was a loser and should get lost (or words to that effect).  
Apparently the screenshots really did look too good to be true, which was a good feeling. (I didnít reply incidentally. Perhaps it would have been fun to have replied with an ambiguous admission of crime a few hours after uploading itÖ) 
I know there have been some classics, but I donít think I have any saved anywhere and canít really remember them. Pity.  
There was a guy who described the slapstick events of his first game - the aliens attacked, and he fell off his chair, tried to grab the desk, only succeeding in knocking his beer over the keyboard, and on from thereÖ That was good reading :-) 
ObTriv: out of the thousands of emails I have received about Aliens-TC, the number of messages from people who didnít think it was very good and didnít like it, sits at, strangely, exactly one. (Though, due to an installation bug which fails to implement the dehacked patch, I did receive a lot of messages about how itís good, but I should have spent more attention on fixing the bugs :-) 
I did wonder sometimes if I would someday get an email informing me that A-TC had given someone a heart attack, but fortunately, that message seems to have been lost to one of my changes of email address. (Which were not by choice I should add).
 
Are there any particularly interesting stories about the making of Aliens-TC you'd like to share?
 
Your intensive research might have uncovered this one already, as I think Iíve mentioned it before, but I had trouble getting Aliens-TC beta tested. It was at a stage where I was aware that a few of the technical things I was doing were unique to A-TC, so I didnít want them getting out until the release. Hence I didnít want too many people to be playing it. My brother and sister (I was living at home at the time) were prime 
candidates because they were already in the same building, and they loved/liked (respectively) Doom. The trouble was they were very reluctant to playtest for me. I didnít know why - I thought my doom conversion worked quite well, looked good, and so on. So I just bugged and badgered them into testing for me. One day, nearing the end of the six months, Richardís wad (for the secret level) was ready to playtest. 
So I sat down to play it.  
And it scared the hell out of meÖ 
I was killed long before getting even halfway through the level, and needed to calm my nerves. 
Of course, my Evil Siblings were standing behind me watching this, and thought it was great fun! A taste of my own medicineÖ  
A few months before that happened, I demonstrated Aliens-TC (in much cruder form) at a local sci-fi convention. That was a lot of fun. 
(Death-match also tends to run in your favour when you are the only player who knows exactly where _not_ to go in levels that are unfamiliar to the other players :-) 
Terry Pratchett managed to find enough time between other activities to get killed, and a good time was had by all. As interesting stories go, this is very much in the "you had to be there" category :-) 
Hmm, I think I watched "Aliens" over 20 times during the making of Aliens-TC. Thatís worrying in itself - thatís almost a full working weekÖ
 
At the sci-fi convention, did anybody there have any idea what you were talking about or what you were doing? :)
 
Sort of. The concept of Doom editing had begun to crop up here and there, so while not many people had tried it, a fair few knew about it or had heard of it (editing, not ATC).
There was enough working that the people who had played Doom thought it was great. People who had never seen Doom before probably didn't notice the difference :-)
 
Have you kept up with Dooming news in any way after you removed yourself from the Doom scene?
 
Not really. Every now and then I poke around a few newsgroups or websites, (usually as a result of coming across something about Aliens-TC) but not enough to be up with it.
 
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