Teme9 is a new name in the Tomb Raider Customlevel community, a level builder, who has released his debut, The House on a Hill. level just last year. But well, he is not any new level builder, no more unknown at all. Yet after his first level project players became aware of him, for an impressing debut with the LE. Meanwhile teme9 has created 3 levels for us, and his fourth project is already in development. And after playing two of his projects with being so much impressed I thought it would be time to get in contact with him, for asking some questions and working out a preview article for the current project. But of course there were also questions beyond this new level. Here is what I could get known from teme9: Annotation: All screenshots have been taken from The Mystery.
Lara for ever: You are still one of the new level builders, as you released your debut level in 2006. And yet it was very successful. How did you get in contact with the level editor, and what made the decision to start level building on your own?
Teme9: Well I remember seeing an article of TR Chronicles in one game magazine, where was told that it would include the level editor. I got very jumpy, I was so happy to know that the Tomb Raider fans are going to be able to create their own levels. So I had to get TR Chronicles, but I got it about in year 2003 or 2004. Since then I have been working at levels. I was so inspired to create something with the LE then, but I didn't know how to use it, so Jun from tratlantis.com helped me to get start in level building world. I owe him a thank.
Rendershot 2 – The Serpent Stone
Lara for ever: Creating your first level, The House on a Hill, was it difficult to get your visions true, for the level editor is very limited? Are you satisfied with the result, or were did you have to lower your sights?
teme9: I remember some big issues while creating that level. Sometimes I had no idea how get something done. I might have even spent hours to try to figure out the problems, but I’m happy the way it turned to be. I first was planning to create a bigger level, but I ran out of ideas.
Lara for ever: Do you use TREP and/or the NGLE, and what do you think about those tools?
teme9 : I think TREP is a very wonderful tool, which you couldn't be using. Especially I like how you can customize your own level with it. I can't live without it. NGLE is also very wonderful tool. Here I especially like the static of it. It hasn't even crashed once while making levels with it.
Lara for ever: Your second level was one for the South Pacific Contest, The lost Stone of Puna, in 2007. There are further limits for such Contests, of what can be used in levels like that. Can you tell us about your experiences to build this level?
teme9: I'd like to see something rarely used in the trle world, in those competitions like underwater levels, or maybe something like huge forests or so. Well, I had really fun building this level. It was very different to build with something what somebody else has put together, meaning the textures and wads. So I got partly inspired by this competition to create the The Treasure of the Lost Spanish Galleon level.
Lara for ever: Only one and a half month after your second level we already got your third one, “The Treasure of the Lost Spanish Galleon”. I have just played this level, and it was a wonderful experience. As I think your biggest success so far. So I am wondering, how you could finish this level in this short time, or did you work on it before the SPC level yet? How long was the creation time? ?
teme9: Well, I was doing this while the SPC competition was on, but I can't remember if I had already finished the SPC level though. I could say that I started creating this new level at the start of June. And it took my whole summer vacation, about 70 days.
Lara for ever: The environments and graphic details in this new level are amazing. Can you tell us how it was possible to create all those details?
teme9: I was inspired by this exotic environment to create all those details. I wanted to have very realistic trees, wildlife and so on. It was possible create those with: Photoshop, Scanner, Meta, Stripx and last, but not least Wadmerger. Some textures were from my own plants though.
Lara for ever: As we know your next project, The Mystery, is already in development. And as it seems it will get even bigger than your so far projects. The so far screenshots are very impressing, and we all look forward to this next level. So, let’s talk about some further details, if possible. Can you tell us about the extent, how much levels will it contain?
teme9: Originally I was going to do about 7 seven levels, but now its about 4-5. Some of the levels are big areas which are something very free by their gameplay and some others are bit more like "tubes".
Lara for ever: What about the degree of difficulty? The levels I played of you so far, The House on the Hill and The Treasure of the Lost Spanish Galleon were not so easy to succeed, at least for beginning players. What can we expect from The Mystery then?
teme9: Well, some parts of the levels are easier than others, but I would say that the difficulty is hanging about somewhere from medium to hard. I will also try to create two .exe files make a more easier or harder gameplay possible by wish.
Lara for ever: Can you tell us something about the story yet, and will there perhaps be any cut scenes or FMV’s?
teme9: The story goes something like this: "Lara gets a call from an old friend. She is asked to solve a little mystery which includes reversing a curse in Russia. During Lara is on her way to Russia her old friend informs her about a stone which is called a “Doom Stone”. This Doom Stone originated from Egypt, and it had another name there, the “Serpent Stone”. The stone was called Doom Stone because of its evil power. A stone which kept Heaven and Hell in balance, but now, as the stone is out of its place, Hell is taking over. Lara’s job is now to find the stone and destroy it, before things get worse. Her friend tells her about weird ruins which had been found in a Russian forest, and so she should start to investigate from there..."
There will also be some cut scenes which include Greenkey2's beautiful voice.
Lara for ever: Are you satisfied with the so far result, so all your imaginations can come true? Or do you have to compromise in any way?
teme9: I’m quite satisfied, but I’m also updating the levels. I have to compromise many times in some places like: "Will I build the waterfall there to get there the temple". Most of the compromise are about of the vital places of the game or cut scenes.
Level 4 or 5:
Lara for ever: Can you tell us about the release yet?
teme9: Nothing for sure yet. I would guess about 2008 or more.
Level 4 or 5:
Lara for ever: Of course we all hope you believe in the future of the Customlevels and will continue with level building. So, are there further plans beyond your current project? Perhaps you have any ideas in mind about your next level project?
teme9: I’m going to continue building levels after this.
I had planned to do sequel for The House on a Hill but now I can say it's cancelled. Don't worry though there's going to be an adventure which takes its place, containing a large open forest with many twists in the story, and it's a bit basing on the movie The Hills have Eyes. I’m also going to work in "this" group project, but no details about it yet.
Lara for ever: Thank you for this interview, teme9!