Monika aka Miss Kroft did buy TR Chronicles jointly with her brother and they actually own all TR games in a Playstation and a PC version. It was also jointly with her brother that they created a first level which was basically the result of working their way through the manual: Tomb Survivor. After that Monika was hooked and actually bought her first PC because of the editor and during a month of vacation and a month of being sick at home came up with her first very own level series – a three level adventure called Alexander's Tomb. She still remembers it as if it were today when in the German Eidos Forum her level received the highest 'rating' of five smilies by pagode.
In her levels, Monika focuses on objects, atmosphere and playability and aims to create that underlying feeling of danger that makes you pull your weapons in anticipation. You will, however, never find any well-camouflaged movable blocks in her levels, as she considers this to be unfair to the player. Monika does occasionally play levels, but restricted to people she knows or when she is asked to test a level. Similar to the other designers, Monika thinks it is difficult to jointly create a level, but sharing objects and textures and other custom work makes a lot of sense. She does read reviews and does it rather selectively, as some of the criticism shows that players are not aware of existing limitations of the editor, but it is always interesting to see what people do differently in her levels than intended. As a memorable example, she quotes Chicken, who found a walkthrough wall in her next three level adventure and who also walked around with Lara in her intro as she had forgotten to disable her. Assuan
Tomb Raider has also influenced Monika's private life, as she met Hendrik at the second German TR meeting and the two are a couple since. She works as a call center agent/office assistant and really enjoys her work, living near the city of Cologne, while originally born in Kattowitz/Poland. She only started traveling recently, together with Hendrik, and they have been to the Canary Islands and the North Sea, but in October they will be spending their 'Dream-come-true'-holiday with a trip to Egypt. Monika's credo in life is 'live and let live', i.e. it is important to her that people do not force their opinion on others. Currently we can enjoy her next three level series, but this time as three individual levels, of which the first two Ynys Witrin - Episode 1 and Ynys Witrin - Episode 2 have been released and we should be expecting Episode 3 any time soon.
(editor's note: Ynys Witrin - Episode 3 was released one month after the interview was held.)
Hendrik Kunzeused to be a classical Playstation gamer, started his 'Lara experience' back in 1996 with TR1 and near every Chistmas got the next versions year by year. He then heard about the editor in the PC version and began playing TR5 on the PC and had a lot of trouble getting the moves right on the keyboard. The printed editor manual was too complex and thus he immediately stopped his level-building plans. Actually he did not bother with the editor until June 2001 and this changed because he met Monika at the 2nd German TR Meeting and she convinced him that this is easier than he thought it would be. Several, often late night calls with the Pawlus family later and including a great moment when he could have Lara jump into his first self-created water pool, he was on his way. Finally he could translate all the ideas he had always had into 'reality' with the help of the know-how of Miss Kroft and Uzi and almost six months later his three level series Treasure and Grave was released, featuring a maze where the 'keep your hand on the right wall' trick does not work, as he was challenged at the TR meeting that any maze can be solved like that. These levels were still built on standard WADs and today, another five months later, he has stepped up to the next stage and just released his second work – a two-part level based on custom WADs – Prison of the Lost Souls/On forbidden Path. Actually, in this level he has remodeled some of his working life reality, as Hendrik in his role as law officer and craftsman manages a group of prisoners.
He lives in Bielefeld and he does not like people who only think about themselves at the expense of others. He does like people that demonstrate a certain happiness with their own life. And yes, Hendrik does read the reviews about his levels and in fact considers constructive criticism. For example, he had comments that there were far too many medipacks in his first levels, so he corrected that in his second work. The funniest email he ever got was from the USA – a guy stated that Treasure and Grave was the best set of levels he had ever played. Hendrik had a good laugh about that email ;-).
What is important for him in his levels is the classical Tomb Raiding with atmosphere created through textures, sound and light, with the possibility to die in the level and without being overly linear. What he strives to avoid is 'enforced damage' to Lara (for example, when you need to set her on fire to get something and then run for water) and uttely illogical things (for example the small scorpion that drops a big medipack or bats under water or flying sharks).
In terms of playing other custom levels, Hendrik does that on occasion and most of the times on weekends jointly with Monika. They have enjoyed the works of Hokolo, Palopique, piega, Webknight, Justin, JediMaster and others. At the end, Hendrik gave me that typical level designer look in which you can see that his mind is already full of ideas for his next level and while it will be a while before we get it I am sure it will come.
(editor's note: Hendrik's latest level is The Quick and the Dead.)