|Sverre Kvernmo stunned the gaming world recently when he and upwards of seven cohorts seemingly spontaneously resigned from ION Storm, where he had been working on Daikatana for over a year and a half. Sverre, however, is no stranger to change: years ago, he would have never expected to be working under contract for id Software. Before working with Romero and crew, not counting a brief stint with Xatrix making Redneck Rampage, Sverre was a prominent Doomer, creating numerous levels for id's Doom 2 add-on product "The Master Levels," as well as three for the much-revered Doom megawad Eternal Doom.
|Doomworld: What was your first Doom experience?
|Sverre: Hmm, that was back in the spring of 94. I was still a loyal Amiga user (hey, it was huge in Europe!) and was calling all my friends who were turning to the PC traitors. One particularily traitorous friend called me one day and told me he'd got a new game that was absolutely unbelievable. I'd seen Wolfenstein, so when he told me it was the same guys that made this Doom game I was more than a little interested. To make that long story short I later saw that game and it pretty much took my breath away. My first battle-memory is me in e1m1 (Ultra Violence), strafing back and forth like a moron trying to take out the two Shotgun-dudes up on the balcony in the first room. I thought the faster I moved the harder it would be for them to hit me... heh.
|How long did it take you to start making levels?
|That same friend
who introduced me to Doom told me there was such a thing as an editor for
it. Now, I figured I knew a thing or two about editing games already. Ever
since Lode Runner my favourite games had always been the kind that that
allowed you to somehow modify them. If there wasn't an editor for the games
my hacker friend would sometimes throw one together. The games I had previously
"edited" were Lode Runner, Boulder Dash, Spelunker, Racing Destruction
Kit, Wizards of "Something", Graphic Adventure Creator, Dungeon Master
and a couple of other I don't remember the names of. If those titles don't
look familiar its because you didn't have a C=64/Amiga. :)
Anyways, my friend told me there was an editor for Doom. I flat out didn't believe him at first, since in my experience the more complex games' never allowed you to change much of the original content, much less allow you to create whole new levels. Since Doom was the most complex game I had laid my eyes on I could not conceive of the fact there was an editor that gave you "full access" to it. I figured I'd be able to change the location of items, monsters, etc. Big deal. After getting my hands on a buggy beta of "DoomED, The Real Thing" (nope, I didn't start with DEU) I had to concede. I instantly threw my old Amiga out, and put in an order for a Dx-2 66.
Here's a bit of info that is kinda funny (to me anyways). I only had the Shareware version of Doom at first, which doesn't allow for add-on maps. While waiting for the full version to arrive I couldn't contain myself, so I started drawing out maps in the editor, having no idea what they'd really look like in the game. By the time I got the full version of Doom I had a humongous level ready to go. Of course, it wouldn't compile, being a huge mess of overlaping lines and sectors. I did manage to salvage one part of that level, which is the initial room of barrels & curving staircase of "Cabal5, Temple of Death". It took me two days to figure out how to align the texture on that secret door! That area will awlays be special to me. <sniff>
|Is it true that you actually turned in a Doom level of your university campus for a project?
|Eh, yes. I was spending all my free time in DEU by this point, so that was the only way I was going to be able to hand in any project that semester. :)
|I suppose you deleted that WAD long ago...?
|I haven't seen them (2 levels) in years, but I think it is on a hard-disk that got screwed up about 2 years back. I've been wanting to try and restore that HD since it has a lot of old Doom & other maps I started but never finished... (including an Eternal map with an effect I believe hasn't been done before, called "Starscraper"...) Problem is it'll cost me a four-figured number to have it repaired and I'm not in the Ferrari-league of game-people... :/
|Your name is mentioned on the splash screen for DETH. What did you do to help with this level editor?
|Anthony Burden and I got in touch after I asked for a couple of changes to DETH, and he kept me on as a sort of "beta-tester with whistles". Basically I got to ask for any feature I wanted and he got to implement them. I don't remember all the suggestions of mine that went in, but one was the "Doom Map view" which shows you what the level is going to look like in Doom's auto-map. That caame in handy for maps like "Cabal7, The Face of Evil". We later found out that he drove by my house every day to work(!). We didn't even know we were on the same continent until that happened. Obviously he started coming by, mainly to see how I used the editor and we even started on a Hexen project together where he did the scripting and I the level editing. Although I made a few maps for it it never got released/completed.
|How were you selected for the Master Levels?
|I bugged id until they realised the only way they were going to get any work done was by hiring me.
|Could you be a little more specific in what exactly happened? :P
|Actually its a really long story that probably would make this interview completely unreadable. I did give Henrik Larsen over at The Master Levels FAQ the whole story, so if you wanna know, check it out over there...
|How many levels did you create for consideration?
|I already had about six levels or so that were complete, but not on the net (therefore valid for consideration). I handed in a total of 12 maps, from which five were selected.