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The Lost Episodes of Doom: Interview

A Page of Doom exclusive interview with Chris Klie, co-author of The Lost Episodes of Doom April 18, 2002

How did you get the job?

I was approached by Sybex over e-mail. They had downloaded my levels from Compuserve, and decided they wanted to create a book around them.

How did this book effected your career?

The book helped my career insofar as it attracted attention from LucasArts and other developers who were just beginning to hire level designers at the time. It was really good exposure.

Do you have any stories about the making of the Lost Episodes of Doom?

Nothing entirely interesting. The levels had already been created before the book was proposed, so my role was simply to create walk-throughs, and to edit some of Bob Carter's stuff.

Why was it called the Lost Episodes of Doom?
You'd need to ask Sybex marketing, but I imagine they wanted to position the book as a near-official-but-still-unofficial add-on.

Why was the game sold with a strategy guide?

Why not? :-)

How well did the Lost Episodes of Doom sell?

I'm not sure. The last time I asked Gary, which was many years ago (and only months after the book was published), the book had sold around 30,000 copies [?]. Really, Iím just guessing.

Who came up with the plot for the Lost Episodes of Doom?

Gary Masters, the publisher.

Why was the plot and level theme similar to the Doom's plot?

The level theme was similar because, as I was creating the levels, I wanted them to fit doom's theme closely. Just a personal preference, really. As for the plot expressed in the book, I think it naturally grew from the fact that my levels already followed doom's plot.

In the book some level guides had short stories about that happened before the game began. Were these stories used as inspiration for making your levels?

No, the stories were sort of written around the already-existing Levels.

What role did you and Robert Carter play in writing the book?

We both submitted walk-throughs - rough copy - which was cleaned up by Jonathan Mendoza.

What role did Jonathan Mendoza play in the creation of the levels?

Jonathan didn't create any levels. He was an already-established Sybex author, and he was brought in to clean up my writing and Bob's.

What role did Gary Masters, development editor, play in the creation of the levels and the book?

Gary didn't create any levels, but he created the story around them. Also, he oversaw the product's development.

How did you chose which levels to include in the wad?
I included pretty much all the freeware I had created up until that time, and I invited Bob Carter to participate because he was prolific, and his levels were fun.

How was it decided who's levels would come in which order? Were there any upset that Robert Carter had fewer levels in the game?

The level order seemed to fit the story Gary wanted to create. And, no, I don't think Bob has any hard feelings at all. You'd need to ask him, I guess. :-)

The last level was a modification to the first level, which was one of yours, would you like to comment on that?

Wow, I had almost forgotten about that. I think it was an attempt to show "hell creeping in" and taking over "the world as we know it." Does that make sense? ;-)

Would you like to add any comments about some of your levels?
I was especially impressed with E2M5 : Io Training Camp, do you have any comments on the various parts of that level?

This is going to sound bad, but I haven't looked at the book or the levels in a very long time. I don't really remember what happens in that level. Sorry. :-(

At the time was there anything that the limitations of Doom stopped you from adding to a level? Can you give examples in relations to your level?

At the time, I remember wanting to create much more complex environments, but that would have meant catering only to gamers who owned higher-end machines. I think I was running a 486/33 (or was it a 66?), And I figured if the levels were running fast on my machine, then they'd run fast on most others.

What games did you play before Doom?

Before Doom? Umm... Wolfenstein 3D, Jill of the Jungle, lots of "Golden Age of Shareware" stuff. Jazz Jackrabbit... stuff like that. Lots of console games: Mario; Sonic; lots of TurboGrafx games.

What was the On-line Doom community like when the Lost Episodes of Doom were made? How has the Doom community changed?

I remember doom feeling fresh and new, and there was sort of this grass-roots excitement among aspiring wad authors who were beginning to recognize the potential and the legitimacy of level design as a career option. Moreover, I think wad development gave people a new way to express their creativity, and to receive attention and feedback from a large audience. As for the current state of the doom community, it's hard to say. I haven't been a part of things in a long time, but, based on what I've seen, Iím amazed that the community has pushed the game so far - both technically and in terms of level content. I'm glad to see there are still a lot of hardcore doomers out there keeping the excitement alive.

Are there any IWADs by other people from back then that you would like to talk about?

I always enjoyed Mal Blackwell's D9 levels (Mal works for id now) and Dr. Sleep's stuff.

When did you stop making levels for Doom?

I stopped making doom levels in 1995, when I was hired to work at Lucasarts.

What game have you moved on to?

I've worked on a variety of games since, including Outlaws, SW: Mysteries of the Sith, and Rogue Squadron for the N64. Regrettably, I am not at liberty to discuss my current projects.

What have you learned from Doom?

Doom taught me some cool spatial-relationship concepts (I mean, just the idea of a door existing as a room where the floor and ceiling meet); it taught me -through trial and error - the fundamentals of good gameplay mechanics; and it taught me the importance of decent architecture, texturing and lighting, and how all three relate to enhance (or sometimes detract from) the overall gameplay experience - in any 3-D game, not just an FPS.

Thank you.

And thank you. :-) hope this helps.

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