2, Issue 1
November 8, 1999
the Looking Glass
interview by Russell "RadPipe"
like myself remember American McGee for his beautiful words of
wisdom concerning llamas (and their care), but it was at id Software
that he really earned a name for himself. His mapping work can
be found on some of the all-time great First Person Shooters including
Doom2, Quake, and Quake2. Some of his best levels are still routinely
played on DM servers across the Net.
McGee left id Software in the spring of 1998 with a cryptic message
about a plan to start an online gambling adventure. But clearly
gaming was in his blood, for not long after McGee was back in
the game and working for Maxis. But he wasn't there long. An opportunity
arose at Electronic Arts to work on a game, a new game following
the most unlikely of children's stories, "Alice in Wonderland".
you to leave id Software?
id Software after finishing Quake II. I think that after so many
years it was just time, and I'm actually very thankful to the
id guys for the chance they gave me and for the time I spent there.
it true you did a stint at Maxis before settling into EA? What
did you work on there?
start out with EA at Maxis. I spent some time there while
deciding what I wanted to work on. The opportunity to work
on Alice came up at EA and I grabbed it. One project I spent
some time on at Maxis is still in development so I can't talk
you do any level designing in your spare time, or was it purely
a dry period after your departure from id?
my departure from id I've worked on a number of DM maps purely
for fun and exercise. Just recently I completed a Quake III map
called "The Gibhole". I'll release that to the net as soon as
Quake III is out.
you left, you mentioned that you were going to go work for an
online gambling company. What happened there? Is this something
you'd like to return to someday, or are your plans for the future
purely in video games?
is a pretty long story. The short of it was that I thought I wanted
to get away from the gaming industry and try something new. A
few friends and I took a stab at starting a company based on online
and on location based gambling. After a while I realized that
I was missing video games. I looked around at where the industry
was, saw an opportunity to work with some really great people
inside EA and took it.
Alice? Is this an idea you've been working on for awhile?
was conceived during the course of work last summer. It came out
of discussions with friends and separate game ideas that I was
working on at the time. A lot of credit goes to the brilliant
people I was surrounded by at the time.
sort of liberties are you taking with the source material?
a lot actually. A person could create many different types of
games using the characters and spaces in Wonderland. Anything
from a children's game to a full-on death and destruction fest.
The real challenge is to stylize Alice in such a way that the
existing 1st/3rd person market really gets into it. I'm trying
to go for more of a 'Nightmare Before Christmas' type feeling
with my version of Alice and so far it's working out really well.
Alice ever conceived as purely a first person game, or was third
person the idea from the start?
been wanting to work on a 3rd person game for some time now. Alice
has lent itself beautifully to being in 3rd person. First person
is great, and it will be available in multiplayer, but single
player is going to be 3rd person only. I think that the Alice
design called for 1st person for about a week. Then I realized
that the Alice character and the Wonderland environment were much
better served by a 3rd person perspective.