|Ty Halderman is an old-school Doomer with more than a few accomplishments under his belt. Most notable is his position as leader of TeamTNT, a massive Doom editing group which has been in existence for around 4 years. TeamTNT has, in their long history, released three (and a half, for those nitpickers out there) deathmatch megawads, two single-player megawads, and also created half of Final Doom: the episode called Evilution. Not only has TeamTNT made many notable WADs, but it is also the author of Boom, generally recognized as one of the premiere Doom source ports available. Ty's the project coordinator of the just-announced Doom source merger project known as OGRE (Open Gaming Resource Engine). To top it all off, he is the maintainer of the /idgames section of CDROM.COM -- known worldwide as the respository for anything and everything Doom. How did Ty get waist-deep in the dead? What's planned for the future? Read on!|
|Doomworld: What was the first time you ever played Doom?|
|Ty: Interestingly enough, my first game of DOOM was a coop session. We were aware of the network problems caused by the early versions of DOOM and had a small lab environment set up at work to get some benchmark of how bad the effect was (it was bad). Fortunately for me, it was addictive and we ended up testing (ahem) at lunch for a few weeks. That feeling everyone got the first time they heard the Cyberdemon stomping around was amplified into pure terror when all four of us first heard it simultaneously in a dark room.|
|When was TeamTNT formed?|
|Well, the members
of the doom-editing mailing list began talking about doing a big wad ("The
Wad" originally), in either late '94 or early '95. I show an email
from Romero in February '95 telling us how it'll never be worth doing because
Quake will be out in the fall and we'll never look at DOOM again.
There were two camps, one of which wanted to make something with the DOOM2 engine, same sprites, etc., and the second group that wanted sprite changes, Dehacked mods, etc. The first group was known as the Alpha group, the second as Beta. The Beta project never happened, and we became the Alpha project. I see references in January '95 to "TNT" but I can't find mail or memory that's clearer than that. I don't really remember at what point we became known as "TeamTNT", but we had to form The TeamTNT Trust when we needed a legal entity to deal with id Software for Final DOOM.
It was very different from projects today, where a logo, team name, web site and announcement are made first, and then the search for members and talent begins.
|Who were the original members?|
|Oh, wow. Lots of people. You're not really going to make me go look up stuff like that are you? I'll just forget someone and make someone mad... As of Feb '95 there were 104 members on the wad-team mailing list, though I think that was just cloned from the doom-editing list. We settled down to about 35-40 people.|
|As you were making TNT:Evilution, would you say that it was a "big" project? Was it hyped on newsgroups or on webpages?|
|Actually, it wasn't spoken about that much until fairly late in the project. We had a web page up at some point and there were newsgroup discussions. Toward the end people began to get quite interested, and of course there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when we announced the sale to id.|
|How were you originally contacted by id Software regarding selling Evilution as part of a new Doom product?|
|IJohn Romero, at 7:24PM on October 24, 1995 (we were planning to release about midnight) wrote to me: "Hey - release date is tomorrow, eh? Are you guys selling this, or would you like us to do it? If you didn't release this on the net it would be more valuable in retail." Members of the QCT (Quality Control Team--the Evilution leadership team) met him on IRC about an hour later.|
|If Romero had not had the wonderful timing that he had and had sent that e-mail five hours later than he did, how different do you think your consequent TeamTNT experiences would have been?|
|Not much. Frankly we've always been known on the Internet for the products, and I don't think most people were all that impressed because id chose our megawad. I mean, it didn't hurt, but it didn't last long either.|
|How did Evilution end up being paired with its Final Doom partner, The Plutonia Experiment? Was that megawad TeamTNT-related at all?|
|Well, the Casalis were TeamTNT members, and a couple of levels that weren't selected for Evilution ended up in Plutonia, but it was done in parallel and without any real knowledge by most of the team. The fact that it was a part of Final DOOM and a sale to id was a surprise to the Evilution folks.|
|How close to the original was the final boxed-and-sold Evilution? Did id Software basically accept the megawad as it was, or was it butchered?|
|Well, butchered is a bit strong. There were decisions made by id about what they wanted done, including several levels that were replaced as well as some major hacking to some. That was driven to a large extent by a preference for smaller enclosed levels, specifically Shawn Green's preference but no doubt shared by others at it. There was a lot of work involved, and it dragged out for months, unfortunately.|