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Robert Yang

3 months ago

Feature: And what does fy_ stand for?

Who made fy_iceworld? A forensic investigation

I frequent a Counter-Strike level design forum called Mapcore. There, a Dutch teenager who goes by “RD” (“RealDespair”) has long claimed to have been the original author of fy_iceworld. His now defunct portfolio site went on a lengthy rant about it:“Yes, you read it right. I am the creator of this unholy monster. When i created this map i had absolutely no idea how popular…

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Feature: According to designers at Valve, Digital Extremes and more

The legacy of fy_iceworld, Counter-Strike’s divisive and hugely popular custom map

I remember playing a Counter-Strike map in 2001 called fy_iceworld. It was a small simple grey killbox of a map that virtually anyone could’ve made within the first few hours of downloading the editor tools.fy_iceworld quickly became one of the most popular and divisive CS maps at my school. I was, of course, one of the haters. I tried to convince my friends to vote…

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1 year ago

Feature: Is it getting hot in here?

How ‘climate crisis games’ could better model our problems and our future

In Vectorpark’s Sandcastles, you build fantastic towers and watch the waves erase your work every 10 seconds. It’s a very direct metaphor for the global climate crisis that threatens to flood coastal cities and exacerbate natural disasters. Sandcastles confronts us with our totally predictable watery doom, but we also find fun and expression in our totally foreseeable destruction. When the planet dies, at least we’ll…

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7 years ago

Feature: an interactive interview

Level With Me: Play Cohort 2 Now

Level With Me was a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they designed part of a small first person game. You can now download and play the final resulting game!...

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Feature: Fear Responses

Level With Me, Thomas Grip

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.Thomas Grip is creative director of Frictional Games, based in Helsingborg, Sweden. They're known mostly for the Penumbra (a first…

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Feature: A Level Renaissance

Level With Me, Liz Ryerson

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.Liz Ryerson is a game developer and composer based in Oakland, California. She did music for Dys4ia, Crypt Worlds, and…

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Feature: Home again

Level With Me, Steve Gaynor

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.Six years ago, Steve Gaynor started as a level designer at Timegate Studios on the F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate expansion pack.…

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Feature: A Cryptic Interview

Level With Me, Alex Austin

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.Alex Austin, an indie developer based in Berkeley, CA, has steadily pumped out physics sim games since his original Bridge…

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Feature: Sound And Solidity

Level With Me, Richard Flanagan

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.Richard Flanagan is the main designer on FRACT, a first person exploration puzzle game and/or electronic music studio. He collaborates…

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Feature: It is Your Destiny

Level With Me, Andrew Weldon

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.Andrew Weldon started as a Half-Life 1 modder and made the notorious ns_eclipse and ns_veil maps for Natural Selection, then…

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Feature: "it's surrounded by woods"

Level With Me, Auriea Harvey

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn make provocative games and game-like artworks as Tale of Tales, based in Ghent, Belgium. Together,…

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8 years ago

Feature: GLaDOS To Be Here

Specially Level With Me, Adam Foster – Part Two

In this very special installment of "Level With Me", Robert Yang speaks with former celebrity modder / current Valve level designer Adam Foster about his work and process. In Part 2, we cover his work on Portal 2, game architecture, and how to design for players.Robert Yang: Let's talk Portal 2. It didn't have any health-kits or power-ups, so how did you go about guiding…

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Feature: Digging Deeper

Specially Level With Me, Adam Foster – Part One

In this very special installment of "Level With Me", Robert Yang speaks with former celebrity modder / current Valve level designer Adam Foster about his work and process. In part 1, we cover his early Half-Life 1 mods, Valve's / his approach to storytelling, and his work on the Portal 2 announcement ARG.Robert Yang: I want to talk about your first mod, Someplace Else. It's…

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Feature: "the modder-industry relationship"

A People’s History Of The FPS, Part 2: The Mod

"A People's History" is a three part essay series that argues for a long-standing but suppressed tradition of amateur involvement in the first person genre. This is part two. Here's part one."Amateur" may mean unprofessional or of lower quality, but it's also French for "lover." Even if it's difficult and time-consuming, even if you're 15 years old and you have to figure out this complex…

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Feature: Press "Use" On Every Wall

A People’s History Of The FPS, Part 1: The WAD

"A People's History" is a three part essay series by Robert Yang. He told us that he wanted to write an alternate view of the traditionally accepted history of the FPS genre as entirely dominated and driven by the mainstream, commercial industry, and to "argue for a long-standing but suppressed tradition of non-industry involvement in the first-person genre". This is part one.In 1994, the New…

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9 years ago

Feature: A niche game

Level With Me, Richard Perrin.

“Level with Me” is a series of conversations about level design between modder Robert Yang and a level designer of a first person game. At the end of each interview, they collaborate on a Portal 2 level shared across all the sessions – and at the very end of the series, you’ll get to download and play this “roundtable level.” This is Part 7 of…

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Feature: Too afraid to touch Terry

Level With Me, Ed Key

“Level with Me” is a series of conversations about level design between modder Robert Yang and a level designer of a first person game. At the end of each interview, they collaborate on a Portal 2 level shared across all the sessions – and at the very end of the series, you’ll get to download and play this “roundtable level.” This is Part 6 of…

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Feature: discrete binary branches

Level with Me, Davey Wreden.

“Level with Me” is a series of conversations about level design between modder Robert Yang and a level designer of a first person game. At the end of each interview, they collaborate on a Portal 2 level shared across all the sessions – and at the very end of the series, you’ll get to download and play this “roundtable level.” This is Part 5 of…

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