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The Trap - Interview with Reaktor
Interview by muddasheep, January 08th 2009, 21:06:07
Looking for a challenge? The Trap, released in July 2008, may just be what you seek! Filled with dozens of tough puzzles coupled with neat leveldesign, this Half-Life modification will surely test your limits and entertain you along the way! Reaktor, the creator of The Trap, was kind enough to spend some time answering a few questions about the mod and himself in general.

First of all, what can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Oleg, I live in Russia, Tula, and I'm 22 years old. Currently I'm studying at a lyceum for "operator of PC". Sometimes I write stories, music and... make mods for HL.

How would you describe The Trap?

It is a mod based on logic with some elements of action in which the player is being tested in dexterity and ingenuity. As I found out, not everybody can pass these tests.
During the creation of the puzzles I tried to make the player think hard instead of acting randomly. I'm always irritated when in other games all you ever have to do is press one button which opens a door in the following area.

Next to Portal, what else inspired you to create The Trap?

Heavy Metal Fakk 2 game and the "Saw" movie, the latter of which has given me the idea to make the final scene.

With which trap did you have the most troubles? Were you ever forced to change a trap due to limitations of the Half-Life engine?

The first serious problems have appeared somewhere in the 4th section. It took a few weeks to solve a problem of inexplicable desktop-crashes in 4a. And I struggled with further restrictions and problems. I haven't corrected some glitches till now because I do not know how. Most complex map is 5c and the battle with the first boss. To come up with puzzles is hard too.
But, that is interesting; I almost always managed to realize my ideas. I only had to cut one chamber from section 7, I have had the idea with huge pushables in the size of a house, but it's technically impossible without coding.
You can watch some concept-arts with systems of triggers on the site of the mod. After several months I do not remember how they work.

Which feature of Spirit of Half-Life do you like the most?

Certainly "moves with"! And I like the additional attribute fields in the standard entities.

Have you thought about a multiplayer level for The Trap?

No. One of the reasons is the problem with beta-testing. Usually there are rigid requirements to testing which ultimately are not carried out, and it is necessary to be content with that.

Any plans for a sequel or an entirely different project?

No, I have decided not to work on Trap anymore. Though, there was one excellent idea to make a HL2 mod with a good story, but it seemed too difficult for me to implement.

Were you forced to reduce the difficulty of any traps because of feedback from beta testers?

Yes, some elements had to be removed, for example, at level 5a originally the player got on the top crossbeam not by means of an exploding box, but rather by means of a ledge on the big door.

What is your favourite moment of The Trap?

Personally most of the puzzles in the maps 4c and 6c are very precious to me, they're very complex, everything is interconnected.
Starting with the 6th section I began to spend more time on design, and I very much like the atmosphere of the "alternative zone".
My favorite moment is the crash of the alien ship in 7b.

Have you done voice work before? Are you happy with how the English voice by Phillip Marlowe turned out?

Yes, I've used my voice when writing music on the computer before. I am pleased with the work by Phillip Marlowe. He's a good partner; I was very happy to work with him.

What do you think about the positive responses and reviews The Trap is receiving? What did you expect initially after the release?

Some comments amaze me. Everyone admires my mod, even if the people only pass the first three sections. But in the first day of release everything was awful, players complained about low FPS (I tried to fix it with a patch) and criticized the design. Good comments arrived only after a few days. Ever since then merely one or two persons have told me that the mod is bad. But overall it seems that the mod is not popular enough.

Players are unable to use noclip and godmode in The Trap, what is the general reaction to that? Why did you decide to prohibit these cheats?

I'll tell you a secret: In some episodes it is possible to turn on "noclip" and godmode without any bad consequences, so this protection is imperfect. I think that people would not be able to resist the temptation to fly through the walls to the main portal if I had not added this protection. And it's working, people spend hours trying to solve puzzles, on the other hand there are some people who aren't patient enough and read the solution, or ask questions in forums.

If you weren't the creator of The Trap, do you think you would play it?

Yes, because I love puzzles combined with the First Person Shooter genre. That combination is very rare.

Why did you decide to create The Trap for the Half-Life engine?

a) I love this game.
b) This game is perfect for the realization of the majority of ideas.
c) I found a great tutorial for HL-mapping on a Russian site.

When and how did you become interested in mapping for Half-Life?

In November, 2006 when I wanted to realize a childhood dream - to create a game.

What other hobbies/interests do you have besides mapping?

I'm going crazy with music, it's playing non-stop in my spare time. Favourite styles - Trance, Drum'n'bass, Hardcore. By the way, this hobby has helped me pick up music for the mod. Just during the creation of Trap I have become interested in Ambient, EBM, IDM.
And I like movies, I watch them every night.

What was one of the first games you have ever played that still inspires you to this day?

In my childhood I played games on the Nintendo and Sega, and on PC the first game was Heavy Metal Fakk 2. Back then I already constructed mods to the grown fond games and drew figures on sheets of paper. I didn't even know that it was called "modding".
Now I'm a fan of Half-Life, Doom, Unreal, Serious Sam and Dead Space.

Do you believe games in general are too easy nowadays?

On the contrary. It is quite a paradox though: I am terrified of the unreal complexity of some games which are quite difficultly to learn, and still I make difficult mods.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I'm going to become the usual person who's making a living from doing routine work. If there will be an opportunity it's even possible I'll marry someone.

Anything else you want to say?

I think I sometimes speak too much)))

Thank you very much for your time!

See ya!
The easy part at the beginning...

Some nice level design!

Curvy!

Section 3, Chamber A.

Standing in front of a massive trap.

Links:
>Official Website
>Mod DB Entry
>Concept Art
>Download The Trap
How readers rate this Interview: 9.62/10 (8 votes)
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