~What made you start mapping in the first place?
I always enjoyed creating things. I didn't have a computer as a child but I saved up my money and bought an X-Box. There were a few games that had map editors, and I tended to spend more time playing with the editors than I spent in game. This didn't really stop at maps though, my brother had a number of WWF/WWE games, and I spent ages messing around with the create-a-character options in these. I also borrowed Driver 3 from my friend, and would spend hours using the video editor to make car chase scenes.
I got a laptop for Christmas one year, and while it was relatively low end I didn't really figure out what that meant at the time. I bought Prey and Just Cause, and neither of them ran at all. This was the end of my laptop gaming for a few months.
Eventually, however, I got talking with one of my school friends about map creation. He said that he had a copy of Half-Life, and that came with a program called WorldCraft, which one could use to create maps. He apparently found it around the time he first got the game, and while he messed around with it for a while, he didn't much understand it, so it lay forgotten until now. He burned me a copy of the disk (something which I felt somewhat guilty about, but I reasoned that if I ever saw the game in a shop I would buy it, so it wasn't piracy)
We spent the next few weeks messing around with it. I remember going to his house with my laptop, we would both sit in the same room and mess around with WorldCraft on our computers. At the time we were incredibly noobish. RAD was turned off by default, and we hadn't figured it out, so all our maps were fullbright. The fact that we didn't have any lighting anyway stopped us from realising the importance of sealing maps from the void. In fact, I actually made a map in which you have to fight and climb your way from one end of the map to the other, on the outside surface.
We figured out how to use entities, but not how to do much else. We tried to get the lighting to work, to no avail. We tried to make transparent glass, without success. I remember my stroke of brilliance, to try func_illusionary, see if that worked.
Eventually, during on of these trips to my friend's house, he compiled a map, and it came out pitch black. Not good for gameplay, but it showed that he had managed to get the lighting to kick in. He showed me how he had been messing with those little check boxes in the compile window.
Neither of us had internet connections at home, so we used to go onto the computers at the town library and look up mapping tutorials. I stumbled across TWHL, and I took it for just another mapping site, and so soon forgot about it. However my friend saw it, and joined up, and became this guy
A few days later, he told me to join, and so I did. At some point later, he stopped mapping. I haven't seen or spoken to him in ages, so for all I know he has completely forgotten about it, however I haven't. And here I am.~What was your first map?
Depends how you define map. There were a number of test maps I made. A single door, a vending machine, things like that. I remember making a massive vault door, a func_door_rotating. Unfortunately I didn't know about flags, and it rotated the wrong way. I hastily changed the surroundings to make it look like it was supposed to open that way.
My first actual map was a godawful abomination. Two rooms, with a vent underneath going from a raised section in the middle of the floor in one room to the opposite wall of the other room. I didn't have any idea how big the player was, so the vent was about the size of a corridor. I didn't have a clue how to do anything. I made steps up to the raised platform by making a wedge shaped block, then using the carve command with another block to cut out step shapes. The clipping spazzed out when I tried walking up these steps (not surprising), so I just placed a few crates to climb up.
I wanted to make a ladder from the vent to the other room, something I didn't know how to do. There was a func_pushable stepladder prefab, which I placed in the vent and stretched to fit. Every time I tried climbing it it just moved away, so I jammed it in a wall to stop it moving.
I can only say it's a good thing I abandoned the map at this point, and it was likely lost when the old laptop succumbed to a ridiculous amount of viruses and stopped working. I did burn a few things onto CD's to save them, it may be on one of those. If I find it maybe I will upload it someday.~Where did you get inspiration for your first map?
From anything and everything. I find my level of mapping inspiration is inversely proportional to the amount of skill I have. Back then I had millions of ideas but I couldn't do anything with them. Now I have no ideas.
Although whenever I am unable to map for a long time this inspiration comes back. Since my HDD failed I've had loads of ideas, which I've written down for later.~To who did you show it & how did they react?
Anyone I could. MY friend, TrooperDX3117, who thought the whole thing was brilliant. My other friends, who didn't really get the idea. Anyone who I sat beside in school classes, I would show them the floor plans and such I'd drawn. Some thought it was cool, some didn't care.
My parents, my mother didn't really get it, but my dad thought it was an excellent hobby, and encouraged me to continue.~Your advace to future mappers/current mappers?
Try hard, don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be embarrased, most mappers were bad when they started. Save your earliest efforts so you can laugh when you see them in a few years time. If you're stuck for ideas then don't allow yourself to touch Hammer for a few days or weeks. If you enjoy mapping as much as I do you'll be itching to start using it again, and your head will be full of ideas.
Don't eat yellow snow.