Today somebody's here we know rather well, as much from the forum life as from two solid releases. While the third one is in progress, we will hear even more from her. Hi, Mytly! You have been Chosen for an interview.
DJF: Could You tell us who You are and what You do when far away from the forums?
Mytly: My name is Mitali, I'm 36 years old. My job in the real world involves making English learning material for grad students.
DJF: I already know You're from Mumbai - I was plainly amazed by the contrast between the crowdy city You live in and mild, calm mood overfilling Your debut level. Those are completely different environments, yet You still manage them separately. Does living in big city affect Your levelbuilding at all?
Mytly: Technically, I do live in a big, crowded city? but mostly, I live inside my head. ;) My day-to-day life doesn't really inspire my level building, but my real-life travels have inspired me to build certain locations in my levels. There's nothing that's a one-to-one correspondence to a real location - mostly, I just try to capture a certain architectural style or ambience.
DJF: Starting with a question which ended the last interview: what defines Tomb Raider for You? The shorter said, the better :)
Mytly: TR for me is about exploration and adventure... a sense of wonder about what's behind the next corner, the next door, the next level. I love it when a game can surprise me and make me want to keep seeing what's next.
DJF: Instead, what in TR do You dislike the most? Repetitivity? Unfair enemies? Underwater mazes? Painful shimmying? Something else? :D
Mytly: On the flip side, I heartily dislike a repetitive game - if I know that what's next is just more of the same, it kills my interest. I'm also not fond of combat, so I dislike too many enemies as well.
DJF: This is Your debut level Chosen - Part 1 which combined several classic wads (including my favourite Karnak) with carefully selected and totally modern oriental soundtrack, what kept familiar mood but also gave it a new accent. Why did You leave the visuals and change the music, not the other way around? Do You think what we hear is more important than what we see?
Mytly: I'm a primarily visual person. For me, the looks of a level are of prime importance. When building a level, I focus mainly on the kind of look I want to achieve. With my debut level, I wanted to create something with the beautiful textures and objects which I had admired in TR4. But I don't really notice much about the music in a game unless it's particularly good or particularly bad. The music in the first three TRs was really great, but in TR4, it wasn't all that memorable. So I chose to add music that I liked from other games that I had played (mainly the Prince of Persia and Assassin's Creed series), and which suited the setting.
DJF: Will the sequel keep the same pattern?
Mytly: The sequel will have new textures. The soundtrack is something I haven't really given any thought to so far, to be honest. Music is something I add much later in the building stage.
DJF: On the contrary, The Lost City of Varaldun utilized a whole completely new package, but that wasn't enough for You, and the outfit was also updated. I haven't expected that. When do You find customization necessary?
Mytly: I had intended to stick only to the BtB Steampunk package while building Varaldun - because I knew that once I started customizing the wad/textures, I wouldn't be able to stop (a problem that I'm now facing with Chosen - Part 2 ;) ). However, Horus-Goddess released a superb Steampunk outfit at just around the same time, and I couldn't resist using it - it was so perfect for the level!
DJF: What do You think can always stay untouched in a Tomb Raider level?
Mytly: I don't think that there's anything that cannot or should not be customized. As long as a builder can still make us feel we're playing TR, they should feel free to change anything and everything.
DJF: Eventually You got two completely different games, one of them peaceful and easy-going, the other one challenging and action-packed.
Mytly: Hmmm... I don't know if my two main levels were all that different. In fact, I'm not even sure which one you consider "easy-going" and which one "action-packed"!
DJF: By easy-going I mean mummies which don't tend to haste, relaxing fountain loops and patient cameras of high accuracy. By action-packed I meant jumping ninjas, buzzing cogbeetles, evil thumpers and timed runs as precise as the cameras in Chosen. What are Your tactics for this versatility? Because I don't believe just the package characteristics determine it.
Mytly: The package does determine what I build, to a large extent. In case of Varaldun, for example, I spent a lot of time studying the wad and textures, asking myself what kind of locations and puzzles I could build from them. I felt that the texture set could be divided into 3 distinct styles: factory, caves and city. So that's the kind of locations I wound up building.
DJF: Sorting by function... Makes sense. I usually just stick to dividing into floor, wall and ceiling :D
Varaldun also contains a Greek bonus minilevel which, despite of little size, also differs from its two precedessors, as it shines with antique mystery instead.
Mytly: The Greek bonus level was meant just as a showcase for objects for the TR Forge Advent Calendar, so it wasn't meant to have any gameplay. I build my levels around gameplay - architecture and level design come second. So in a level with no gameplay, I could feel free to indulge in pretty architecture. I don't think I will expand this Greek level, but I might include such a mini bonus level in Chosen - Part 2 as well. It was a lot of fun building a level without worrying about gameplay.
DJF: Often You get the best gameplay when You don't worry.
Mytly: If I don't make myself worry about something, I don't accomplish it at all. This applies to everything in life, not just level building.
DJF: We definitely should build something together and each other for procrastination.
DJF: Not many know there was another BtB attempt. You participated in the 2014 Khmer Empire edition. Is this project still running?
Mytly: I'm planning to rework this unfinished BtB 2014 level and include it in Chosen - Part 2.
DJF: So was it the first ever Khmer Ankh? :) Or will we go to Egypt this time as well?
Mytly: No Egypt. It will be set in Cambodia and China. Cambodia will probably be first. I had initially planned that one to be set in India, but since the same ideas work quite well in a Khmer setting as well, I merged the India and Khmer levels. The China level will be totally different, of course.
DJF: When can we expect it to be released?
Mytly: No release date so far for the sequel to Chosen, I'm afraid.
DJF: And the sequel of the Steampunk level?
Mytly: No, definitely no sequel to Varaldun. Lara achieved everything she wanted to in that one.
DJF: Considering the majority of what You built so far originates in BtB, are You going to take part this year?
Mytly: If I participate, it will only be as a player. I love the BtB, but as I have proven to myself twice now, I simply cannot build a level in such a short time.
DJF: The upcoming package will be much more stable, what means much more time. Just saying :-) yet I'm waiting patiently for whatever You decide to contrapt. Thank You for raising the curtain and revealing something more of the upcoming. See You soon in the GTSS game!