The Devil Is In Detail
An Interview with Tormentor667
Arguably the most anticipated project in the Doom Community at the
moment is “Knee Deep in Zdoom,” a recreation of Doom’s Episode 1 using
Zdoom’s advanced features, and at the helm is Daniel “Tormentor667”
Gimmer. “Torm” took the time to sit down with me and discuss the
upcoming project, the stigma surrounding it and his love of clumsy
acronyms. Oh, and he very kindly provided me with some exclusive shots
from KDiZD's E1M1!!
So first, the standard question: What got you into Doom?
Well, first time I played Doom was shortly after
its release when I got my hands on the 2-disc shareware version. And
about 5 years later I got into editing after I bought one of these
nifty compilation CDs with pwads, tools and editors.
Do you remember what that compilation was?
Well, its title was "BooM - Karten & Programme
für Doom" (maps and programs for doom), and to be honest, about 99% of
the content was total crap; Maybe that was the reason why I started
creating my own maps (which were apparently also crap in the very
beginning, but don't tell anyone).
Well, I don’t think anyone would believe you these
days! You once said it took you 5 years of practice to get to the
level of quality maps you produce these days.
Yeah, that's actually true, but only the last 2
years were the real important ones in the development and evolution of
my very own unique style (thx to TNT part 1 for which I got a lot of
good and bad criticism).
The wad that won you Newdoom's "Wad in a Week" contest. Did it surprise you to take home that T-shirt?
Well, or sure I was very surprised to win that
contest, especially having not known what my competitors might come up
with (and there are a lot of talented people over at NewDoom!), but I
was very glad to win that contest because it really helped me to
develop a certain reputation in the community, a base for successors of
my first popular work.
So, what sort of negative criticism did you receive for that wad?
Well, there were different kinds of negative
criticism for TNT1: Some dormers hated me for using just Quake textures
and making it look like it has nothing to do with Doom after all;
others hated the dark and brown style (worst problem of TNT2); and some
people hated the lack of detail and similar things, all concerning
Is it true you wanted to call it "Wad in a Weekend?" Did you really push TNT1 out in such a short amount of time?
Hehe, yeah that's actually true. You did a good
job in research, I have to admit that. There had been several
obscurities regarding the rules over at NewDoom for this contest and it
took almost the whole week until everything was clarified for me, so I
started Friday evening and finished it Sunday evening... And yes, I
worked 20 hours per day on this piece to finish it up in such a short
amount of time. My eyes hurt badly the following week.
That's impressive. What's the favorite personal project you've worked on so far?
Well, I think it is tied between TNT3 and The
ZDoom Community Map Project Take 1. I loved the way TNT3 developed
while working on it: I didn't need breaks to think about new solutions
or how to continue the path through the map, and it just "flowed" while
creating it. And for sure I loved the ZDCMP1 (Zdoom Community Map
Project 1), because it was the first successful community project lead
by me. It was an incredible experience and shows what can be achieved
if several talented mappers and artists work together on one single map.
You quite obviously established yourself as a strong
project leader. What qualities do you think helped you achieve such
high quality results in such a short time in regards to ZDCMP1?
Phew.. That's a good question, and not that easy to answer.
I think one of my good qualities is the way I can keep mappers &
artists attracted to a project. I often had the problem for KDiZD (Knee
Deep in Zdoom), that motivation and interest lacked and progress
heavily slowed down, but somehow, I got everything back up running, but
don't ask me how. And that was very similar to the development of
ZDCMP1 (although it took us just 2 months), all members worked on the
map without any break the whole day and it was worth the effort we put
in I think.
Absolutely. Was the ZDCMP1 a precursor to KDiZD? Did you have KDiZD in mind when you were developing ZDCMP1?
Yes, in some way, you can see ZDCMP1 as a
precursor to KDiZD. With ZDCMP1 I discovered several talented artists
over at ZDoom.org and I discovered what can be achieved with the
powerful words "community project." When I took a look at the results
of the first released work we did, that was the ignition for another
So what inspired you to make KDIZD the next project? Or are you simply a fan of unpronounceable acronyms?
Hehe. Actually it just seems to be easy to
pronounce for Germans. Well, to be serious, the inspiration came over
night. While I was lying in my bed and thinking about the development
of the infamous ZDCMP2, some association to "Doom Episode 1 with ZDoom
Features NOW!" came to my mind and I liked the idea. So I brainstormed
a bit more around this idea and the result is the first post in the
"[Project] Knee-Deep In ZDoom" thread over at ZDoom.org.
So, when you say "Episode 1 with ZDoom features,"
exactly how have you and your team built upon the original E1 to make
it “the way it was supposed to be?
Well, the whole development of each E1 map is very
complicated and wasn't even supposed to be the way it turned out now
when I first asked for volunteers in the forums 5 months ago. Which
doesn't mean that I am not pleased with it, quite the contrary. In the
very beginning, the maps where used as base to add detail, ZDoom
features and several additional rooms. Now at the end, the maps have
been reinterpreted in many aspects, new areas have been incorporated in
the original structure instead of just adding them to some free space,
ZDoom features have not only been added to spice areas up, the have
been used to enhance the whole (new) atmosphere of the old Episode 1
For sure, you will still recognize the originals, though it will be a
totally new experience for you as a player and that was our goal.
Is there a lot of heavy scripting, or will the gaming experience still be very similar to the original Doom E1 style?
Well, let's say it's something between heavy
scripting and plain doom style. We added puzzles with new pickups, we
added puzzles with powercores and force fields (and concerning
scripting, we even added this amazing intermission system) but in the
end, the classical style of playing will remain very close to the
original. No senseless and boring quests like in Hexen, no countless
hours full of puzzles like in system shock.
Actually, there are still 3 different kinds of keycards.
Well that's certainly true to the original Doom! Did the storyline get an overhaul as well?
No, KDiZD is as story-intense as Episode 1 was.
We thought it wouldn't make any sense to force some kind of story in a
setting which didn't have any special story before. So it's still UAC,
still demons and you are still the lonely DoomGuy on Phobos.
How do you feel about criticism you’ve received
regarding your attempts at generating hype for the project? Do you
believe it was really necessary? There seemed to be a huge amount of
anticipation for this project regardless of your “hype” efforts.
Now, as I have seen what actually happened with
all the hype I tried to generate, I know that it was a big, big
mistake. When doing this hype with all the posters, wallpapers and the
trailer, I thought I could create more interest in KDiZD (just as Scuba
achieved it with Action Doom), but still I don't really understand why
some doomers behaved the way they did. For sure, the majority of the
community still likes our work but I have the feeling that some others
still don't know that why we are all still working for a 11 year old
game. Nevertheless, it is always the same: Some will hate it, others
will love it and in the end, everyone has to play it on their own to
consider if it is crap or if it is the best thing since the invention
Do you believe it will live up to people's expectations?
I hope so. A "D:RE"-like fiasco doesn't come to
mind if you are working together with persons like Nightmare, NMN,
Risen and some others you might know. For sure, first of all we’re
creating KDiZD because it is fun for us and we love what we are doing
but - although some persons might be surprised by this - we try to get
any constructive and helpful criticism incorporated in our project and
that's at least all we can do please people's expectations.
If you were asked which part of the wad is your favourite so far, what would it be?
Well, I can't tell you any favorites concerning
the maps, because that changes from week to week as the overall look of
the maps still changes. Right now my favorite is E1M4 but tomorrow it
could already be E1M1 or E1M7. But what I really do love are the new
sprites from NMN and Vader, they look insanely good and for sure I love
the intermission system from Risen which displays the whole Phobos 2D
map in a beautiful 3D environment with more info and statistics than
ever before in a doom wad.
Roughly, how many people do you think have contributed to this project, from mappers to bug-testers?
I think about 30-35 persons from the ZDoom
community, although the core team - persons which work on KDiZD from
the beginning till now - just consists of 5-6 persons.
Any hints as to some surprises we can expect? Anything to keep an eye out for?
Hints would be too obvious, so just don't ask for
them. But you can be sure you will get your surprises... Just two
Barons of Hell at the gate to Deimos? That might be too simple.
What projects are you going to be developing in the future? Can we expect “The Shores of Zdoom?”
This issue has already been discussed some weeks
ago, and the answer is: "no!" No "Shores of ZDoom", at least not from
me as a team-leader. I will concentrate again on my personal projects
after the release of KDiZD: Torment & Torture 4 is already under
development; Netherworld is paused but I will continue with that very
soon; and well, yeah, Perforated Entrails: Renaissance needs some work,
now that the latest Skulltag is finally out. Damn it's so cool.
Agreed. Any final words of advice to mappers and project leaders out there?
"Always Needs More Detail!", and for the project
leaders: "Listen to criticism always but only implement it if it
doesn't cut with your concepts. You are the leader, not any doomguy7382
over at http://www.doomworld.com/vb !"
Beatles or Elvis?
How many sugars would you like?
Zero, I am sweet enough.
If there was any fictional character you could Deathmatch, who would it be?
Teletubbies as deathmatch opponents might be interesting and if I win, the world would love me for it.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
Pickle what?! ... Damn... my tongue hurts!
At some point, you will be stranded on a deserted
island with only a single can of tinned fruit. What fruit would you
like it to be?
Can't I get stranded on a deserted island with only single female natives?
TOTAL SCORE: 3 / 5