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interviewed by Andzia9 in March 2010

Andzia9: "Can you tell us something about yourself?"

Max: "My name is Michael. I'm 22 years old and currently studying Interior Design. I live in Poland, in the city of Szczecin."

Andzia9: "How did your history start with Tomb Raider?"

Max: "When the era of Commodore64 computers had finished, the time for the first PC had come. Tomb Raider 1 was one of the first games I got :) I didn't know many facts about the game, but when I started to play – it got totally absorbed by it."

Andzia9: "Which of the official games is your favourite?"

Max: "Definitely Tomb Raider 1 – because it was the first game I played. Additionally, I like it in its entirety, for the locations in game, story, person and feelings. However, from the newer games I'd prefer TRU – because of visual feelings :)"

Andzia9: "Do you have other interests except for Tomb Raider?"

Max: "I have an interest in my current study and everything that is connected with it. Moreover, I'm interested in computer graphics, drawing and painting. Additionally, I like to listen to music and watch films and TV shows."

Andzia9: "How did your adventure with build customs start?"

Max: "When I found out the Level Editor was included with the 5th Tomb Raider Edition, I thought I could have a lot of fun. I bought the game, installed the Level Editor and created a hopeless level :) - composed of a single room. Fortunately, I didn't concede to created more and more."

Andzia9: "Why did you decide to create Tomb Raider customs? What gives you the biggest problems?"

Max: "Creating a level is as much fun as playing the game. In my oponion it's even more fun, because I'm planning everything from the story to the textures I use in the current level. I like this way of planning very much. What is the most difficult part of creating for me? I think the most difficult part is to build up the large, open locations. It's plenty of work to create them."

Andzia9: "Did you ever think to make a level by using DXTRe3D?"

Max: "As a matter of fact, I haven't thought about this. I downloaded this software, just to know what it looks like. I am accustomed to the standard LE and I felt a little lost with DXTRe3D :)"

Andzia9: "Which moments from your games do you like most?"

Max: "Probably I most enjoy the Temple of Osiris in Ancient Artifact."

Andzia9: "Are you going to build new customs? Have you got any ideas?"

Max: "Yes. When I was creating the Ancient Artifact, I decided to make a little mysterious ending. I thought the sequel will be a nice idea. The story isn't exceptionally original and the schema is similar to TR1. I hadn't thought about the story before. However, I will spend more time to create a more complex story for the sequel. The first level originates at Venice. I love this place for its beauty - more mysterious and different from any other city. It's an ideal place for the origin of journey. I also included the return to Ireland and dangerous far away islands. In the future sequel, the gameplay will be improved and the quests will become more complex. The fact, that I'm working with NGLE gives me much more possibilities to create something even more special."

Andzia9: "Continuation of Ancient Artifact? That’s wonderful. How does the work look for now? Have you already got a planned number of levels?"

Max: "At the beginning I've written the story, but it still can change. I want to make the story as perfect as possible and create an interesting ending of the journey. At this time I'm finishing the first level – Venice. Before I started creating Ancient Artifact II, I had made textures and objects to be used in some of the levels. Provisionally I've planned, which places Lara will visit. However, I don't know the number of locations."

Andzia9: "Will there be new objects, new enemies?"

Max: "Yes, I create new objects for each level. I will try to make some interesting enemies."

Andzia9: "Will Ancient Artifact II be after Pearl of Kojada, or earlier?"

Max: "Definitely later :) I've started to work on a project a while ago. I'm creating the first level at this time. I don't know how long it will take, but I really want to create a very good custom."

Andzia9: "Will there be cutscenes with dialogue in Pearl of Kojada or not? If yes, do you have already people who give their voices for the characters?"

Max: "We want to do cutscenes with dialogue. We have a few people in mind. If they agree, it will be really great."

Andzia9: "Was there any moment in your games which you did not like at all?"

Max: "A lot of these. Just think, you're imaging an outstanding location or puzzle and finally it turns out that it's not sufficiently good in the game. I had situations that something was almost done, but I had to rechange this wth something different."

Andzia9: "From what do you take your inspiration?"

Max: "From everything. From films, games, various articles, interesting photos. When I find something interesting, I start to imagine how can I use this in game and how it should works. I draw plenty of objects, localizations and think about the gameplay duration. Many ideas are appearing in the middle of creating Ancient Artifact II. I imagine, how the level should appear, but some things can change during creation. This way of planning gives much more advantages."

Andzia9: "How do you find the time to create your projects?"

Max: "I always find a a bit of time for the LE. However, it got harder recently."

Andzia9: "Is there any chance that we will able to play as Kurtis, Amanda or Doppelganger?"

Max: "I'm not sure you will be able to play as Kurtis, Amanda or Doppelganger. Lara's role is the best as a explorer."

Andzia9: "How is the work for Pearl of Kojada going? What are you working on now?"

Max: "Peet's making the lasts corrections to the first level and creating an objects pack for the second level. Matti's making corrections to the penultimate level and working on the new animations. I have to do some final corrections yet."

Andzia9: "Have your family and your friends ever play your customs?"

Max: "Yes, sometimes we grouped up with friends together and played TR, so creating in Level Editor was very involving. My first levels weren't fascinating, but in the period of time they have been better and better, becoming longer and more complicated. Later, my brother became a main tester."

Andzia9: "Do you read all opinions about your works or do you ignore them?"

Max: "I read all opinions. I think it's very important, because it helps to avoid mistakes in next levels creation. In Ancient Artifact I made a big mistake with the cameras - I didn't place them in significant places. It causes a large chaos. I feel a little ashamed, because I just wanted to make gameplay a little longer. I will try to avoid this type of mistake in Ancient Artifact II."

Andzia9: "Do you have any favourite custom from other creators?"

Max: "Sure, a lot of them. I enjoyed Psiko's custom Tomb Raider A for the incredible surrealistic atmosphere. The author spent a lot of time to create this one. Additionally, Himalayan Mysteries by Titak is a custom which you must play - with good story, perfect levels and surprising gameplay. I'm waiting for the next journey with big impatience. Moreover, I also like Underworld UB4 by Richard Lawther and friends. I spent a lot of time playing this custom. And much more, like Neon God by Horus, Jade Empire by Christoph, Sanctuary of the Souls (demo) by Piega, and many others."

Andzia9: "Is there any custom creator who you admire?"

Max: "Any person who creates a level with meta2tr or other programs creating 3D environment. There's much more to do, but it is worth to do it in this way, because levels look fantastic."

Andzia9: "Do you keep communication with another custom creators? Did you meet with someone yet?"

Max: "I've never met anybody yet, but I communicate with a few people."

Andzia9: "Did you ever think about taking part in contests like Back to Basics or Christmas levels?"

Max: "I haven't thought about participation in this type of competition actually, but the idea is really interesting. Surely, playing such levels could give a lot of fun."

Andzia9: "Will there be another part after Symbol of the World II or this is the end of the series?"

Max: "I would rather not go back to Symbol of the World. Moreover, the story was not particularly interesting. It was difficult to find an interesting solution. By the way the end of the second part is poor :)"

Andzia9: "Is there any chance to create an Easter custom?"

Max: "Maybe one day..."

Andzia9: "Thank you very much for that very interesting interview."

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