Interview with Kami

I got to interview Kami from This is the first interview that he has done
[13 July 2003 - 16:05 PDT GMT-8] Tell us a bit about yourself.

Kami: I'm Ed, I'm 20 and I live between Cowfold and Horsham. Very rural - 56k only, no hope of adsl till 2120. Did my alevels about 2 years back, failed miserably at computing because i made a map for my coursework. Since then I’ve been non-stop mapping. How long have you been mapping for Half-Life?

Kami: since it came out and then i moved onto TFC a released some hideous CTF maps. After that i did some equally bad CS maps and finally found my place within the skills community Which editor(s) do you use?

Kami: WC/Hammer, HLCC1.4, Wally, Goldwave, Photoshop 5.5, and sometimes Milkshape. Do you do work on mods as well?

Kami: I've had offers, but never really taken them up. I would love to be part of a mod, but I’d have to dictate the storyline that would probably be too crazy for most people. I basically see hl2 as my "savior" in that I’m going to get into serious modding when it comes out and hopefully create my own modding team. That is if they'll put up with my strange ideas... What is your favorite HL mod and why?

Kami: TFC by far because it is quite tongue-in-cheek and has a great atmosphere. TFC was the initial mod that hooked me to online game play and I’ll never forget that. I suppose i also like the cartoon aspect of it in that the characters don't have to look realistic or have realistic attributes, everyone's just there to have fun. i also love the team-based game play of TFC... i haven't found anything quite like it in any other mod I’ve come across How do you come up with these ideas for such great maps?

Kami: Films, books, other games, TV, dreams... absolutely anything. For example, aliens (one of the best trilogies ever) were a big influence for colonyx and planet3c and tomb raider was an influence for artifact. Obviously as a mapper I like to add my own twists to the theme and surprise people. I get inspiration from absolutely anything and try to incorporate real-world structures/ideas and my own imagination into the maps I make. Can you give us more on your upcoming map?

Kami: well, unfortunately I’m experiencing a little "mapper's block" at the moment ( it seems to come in 6 month cycles ) so the screenshots of my latest map on my website are screenshots of a dead map. I am sort of working on a new civilian map at the moment, which will probably encompass several maps giving me the freedom to create a hugely interactive environment and plenty of innovative team-based obstacles/puzzles/etc. If the map actually gets anywhere i can tell you that it is based around your average business man being thrown into a hostile situation and having to contact someone for help/rescue. The map will use a lot of "cinematic" footage (like planet3c only more extensive) to enhance the storyline but the main focus, as always, will be on game play. This is, of course, if the map actually gets completed before hl2. As I said earlier, I’m experiencing a severe lack of inspiration at the moment, but I’m expecting it to pass soon What was your first map?

Kami: my first ever map was for the shareware version of gold digger for the Mac ( when i was about 8-9 ). Unfortunately you couldn't save them because it was shareware. The 1st ever released map was kamikaze_an - kamikaze Arabian nights. It was a simple and awful CTF map that had a terrible layout but a pretty environment. What is the hardest thing about mapping?

Kami: The hardest thing about mapping is getting through the "mapper's block" ( mentioned earlier ). When you have an idea, you can make huge amounts in a single day, but when you have a block you have to put up with weeks or months of trying to come up with ideas. Getting entity setups to work is nothing compared to "mapper's block". How do you keep your maps so huge but fairly low-ping at the same time?

Kami: Well, my maps often exceed r_speeds of 1000 in large areas, but most people are on an ADSL connection these days so i can get away with it. However, I’ve found that with the style of maps i create, large r_speeds don't seem to slow down game play too much (probably due to lack of grenades). Anyway, I normally try to keep r_speeds below 1500 and to do that you need to use several mapping methods, which i won't bore you with here. Basically, so long as my 56k can handle it online, I’ll release it. What is your favorite thing about mapping?

Kami: The pure satisfaction of seeing people playing one of my maps and having fun. That’s really what got me hooked on mapping for TFC... the feeling of appreciation is hard to beat.