Interview by Covaro
Doomworld: How was the Parallel Team formed?
Parallel Team: Pennywise: We formed our team a year and a half ago, when we decided to do the Parallel Dimension. It was a project I had had in my mind for a half a year before we formed the team, but before our foundation I didn't know even how to use any level editors, and the project was done only on paper, back then. We learned the level editing together, and in the summer '97 everything started. We didn't use the levels I had planned on paper, but started everything from scratch. The only thing we kept from my project was its name, the Parallel Dimension.
Doomworld: How was the name, Parallel, decided upon?
Parallel Team: Both: Our team had been together almost a year, before we even invented that name. It was the time we were planning to put our project on the net, and we had to invent ourselves some kind of a name. We were going to get a page from Geocities :-), but then nitro discovered Doomworld, thank God for that! We had seen all these teams on Doomworld, which used as their team name their projects name, with the word 'team' added in it, so we did that too. Our project was the Parallel Dimension, so we were the Parallel Team.
Doomworld: Where did the idea to start FFi come from?
Parallel Team: Pennywise: It all started, when I made a DM level during the final stages of PD (sometime in April '98)...I thought it would be fun to have an own DM level to play inside the team (like Doom Legacy guys' HIPAFRAG.WAD).
The level I made was Dark Hallways, FragFest Beta's first level. I shoved it to nitro,
nitro: ...and I came instantly excited, and said 'Hey! Let's do some more!' And so we started working on four DM levels, which later became the beta release of Ffi, so there.
Doomworld: FFi is an excellent level set, that has loads of detail, and plenty of surprises to it. Has your goal with it been to simply create a great DM set, or maybe to take some time off the old SP design road and try your hands at something new?
Parallel Team: nitro: Probably both, when PD was released we had been doing the SP-levels for a little over a year, so we wanted to do something a bit different. And like I said in the last question, I thought that it would be cool to do some DM-levels for a change, and when FFi is released, it feels really good to go back in to making SP-levels in PD2. I think that doing SP-levels is what we're best at.
Doomworld: Why have you guys been so strong with the usage of the military base theme? What attracted you to it, and what makes you stick with it?
Parallel Team: nitro: That's mainly because there's so many Gothic style levels out there, that we just got sick of them, and wanted to stand out from the rest. Sure most of the Gothic levels look great and play well, but who in their right mind wants to play the same thing over and over again? We like to think that the whole military and futuristic theme is much more interesting as well.
Pennywise: I think that the military base theme, or the futuristic theme in general fits Doom more than the gothic themes, because Doom was originally designed to be futuristic. And I simply have more ideas when designing futuristic levels, than I would have with a gothic theme. I just like it. Simple as that.
Doomworld: Would you consider FFi a good estimator of what we have to look forward to in Parallel Dimension 2?
Parallel Team: Both: Yes, definitely. The style will be similar, and we are convinced, that PD2's levels will be something really unique.
Doomworld: How do you feel the recent quitting of Buckazoid will effect the future of the Parallel Team?
Parallel Team: Both: To be honest, not that much. He was really involved in the making of Parallel Dimension, but when FragFest was started, and the levels got more complicated and bigger, his computer (486/66) couldn't handle them anymore! Because of this, he just couldn't make them anymore, so he just lost his interest in it. Although he doesn't belong in the team anymore, he will help us in designing levels for PD2, as a so-called "freelancer".
Doomworld: What did the various members of the team do before they became members of the Parallel Team?
Parallel Team: nitro: We have always been good friends; we all live near each other, so it's always been really easy to collaborate. It's good for the productivity, that we can all sit down in the same room, and really plan and discuss, although sometimes it can get pretty ugly...!
Pennywise: "If the other guy doesn't like your idea, just punch him!"
Doomworld: How different are the two versions of FFi going to be from each other? And have you considered doing a ZDoom version of it as well?
Parallel Team: Pennywise: Well, unfortunately the Legacy version will be a cut-down of the Boom version. Legacy has its limitations, and the only thing that will be better in Legacy is the water. And what comes to the ZDoom version, well, when you have the Boom version, you automatically have the ZDoom version as well. We recommend, that you use the Boom version with ZDoom; it has the best multiplayer possibilities, and it is fun to frag people with a railgun!
Doomworld: What is the current status of Parallel Dimension 2? When do you guys figure we are going to have it sitting on our hard drives?
Parallel Team: Both: The storyline still has a few questions to be solved, and some of the missions aren't planned yet. We have 3 levels ready, and as you probably know, we aren't the world's fastest level builders, so we really can't say anything yet. We believe (this is just guessing), that we'll have a DEMO of it ready in the next 6 months or so. For the final product, well, it all depends on how many level designers we'll find in our team for this project. *hint hint*
Doomworld: How are you guys testing FFi? Are you using modems, a LAN, or internet play?
Parallel Team: Both: We use modems and internet play. Currently we're testing it with the internet, using ICQ. We haven't managed to get ZDoom to work with the modem, but Boom works with it. We've also been trying to get LAN working properly, but "higher forces" have prevented us from succeeding :-)
Doomworld: How much would you say that your work has been inspired by Quake2?
Parallel Team: Pennywise: I would say quite a lot. I can still start Quake2, and fall in love with its stunningly cool-looking architecture and detail. Every time I play it, I say to myself "yeah, this is really cool-looking stuff; the stuff I wanna do". I exactly don't copy anything from it, but it has had an enormous influence on the evolving of my style.
Doomworld: What are some of the features you plan to have in Parallel Dimension 2 that will allow it to stand out from other projects?
Parallel Team: Both: We could write a novel about this answer, but we'll try to keep it short.
The story will play a big part in the game; it won't be just level after level, like in Parallel Dimension. We first wrote the storyline, and then planned the levels around it, and not vice versa like it's done usually. The story reveals itself to the player as he progresses, and we'll use ZDoom's features to their fullest potential. It will create a really intense and exciting game experience, just like Half-Life. (Okay, maybe not QUITE as intense, but as close as you can get with Doom).
Doomworld: Is there anything you would have liked to have done differently with the original Parallel Dimension, or are you perfectly happy with what you created?
Parallel Team: Pennywise: Personally, I have had this feeling that I could have done more for PD, but every time I play it, I get a satisfying feeling. It's a great episode as it is, but maybe when I think about it, I feel a little remorse, because my standard for a "good Doom level" is now so much higher. We're perfectionists in our level designing, and our own worst critics. What would probably do for the rest of the world, won't do for us.
nitro: When we started making PD, Doom's source code wasn't released yet, and we had to design the levels to fit them inside the original Doom-engine's limitations.
When Boom was released, PD was almost finished, and we just started adding all the Boom effects to the levels, and I think in some places you can see that some Boom effect were thrown in later. With Boom, our possibilities in level design grew enormously, and you see the results in the recent FragFest Initialized levels.
Doomworld: What is the Parallel Engine going to be based on code-wise? What features will you be adding into it? Will we see something along the lines of the newest version of ZDoom?
Parallel Team: Both: Originally, Jaakko Kanto (our programmer) was supposed to code effects such as high resolutions, hi-color modes, and all that kind of stuff, but before he was finished, we discovered ZDoom, and it had all we ever wanted. And it had full Boom support! What more could you ask for? ZDoom also gives endless possibilities for the level designers with SP-levels...the story can be told in such a great way.
The Parallel Engine will of course be based on ZDoom, and because this port is almost perfect for us, the changes will be minimal. The data-computer that tells you your missions that we've been talking about will be the most significant change.
Doomworld: What would be some of the Parallel Team's favorite Doom levels of all time?
Parallel Team: Pennywise: I like Doom more than Doom2, in term of levels. Of Knee-Deep my favorites are E1M2, E1M4, and E1M9. Then I like the Shores Of Hell episode. I really admire the capability that id has in making great SP levels that rock in DM, too. They even did it in Quake2, and that's really something. Of the add-on levels, I haven't seen anything impressive lately. The Darkening's new level screenies look really awesome, and I liked Doom Resurrection, too. I really looked forward to see it, and considered it a great rival to PD2, but then the project died, which is a pity.
nitro: Well, I like our own levels, of course! I can't really say which I like best, Doom or Doom2. One of my favorites are Monster Condo & Barrels 'O Fun in Doom2, and the whole Knee-Deep In The Dead-episode of Doom. I like some of Ola Bjorling's levels such as Overload and the Tantrum series.
Doomworld: Any plans of moving into the field of Half-Life or Quake2 editing in the future?
Parallel Team: Both: Ehm, we have talked about it, but nothing really serious. PD2 will be such a big effort, that we don't know in what mental condition we will be after that :-) Who knows, perhaps we'll retire after PD2...
Doomworld: Where do you see the Parallel Team in one years time?
Parallel Team: Pennywise: I'd like to see myself on a beach in Malibu surrounded by beautiful women, but the truth probably is that I will be sitting in front of my computer, building PD2's level 26.
nitro: I'll be sitting and beta-testing PD2, and hopefully not having a brain-tumor from staring at the monitor too much. Probably doing as lousy in school as I have done before. :-)
Doomworld: What CD gets the most play time while you are making levels for the various Parallel Team projects?
Parallel Team: Both: Metallica, a lot of Metallica. The CD player got overheated last summer by Load and Re-Load. Oh, and we're big fans of the Backstreet Boys... Yeah, right.
Doomworld: Who does the textures for the team, and what program is used to do the textures?
Parallel Team: Pennywise: I don't do them, I rip them from anonymous sources! No, seriously, I am responsable of the new textures in our levels. I use Wintex 4.3 (of course), and Paintshop Pro.