Developer Journal: Conflict in the Fatherland
In the 1990s I sporadically kept a journal, and upon recent review of some of its entries, I discovered the occasional remark about how development on Conflict in the Fatherland was going. Collected below is a chronology of the notes I kept on the project, sparse as they are.
November 14, 1994
November 21, 1994
I seem to be having a Wolfenstein level design "writer's block". Over the course of the weekend, I have ravenously generated seven of the best Wolfenstein levels I have ever designed. I got started on an eighth and supposedly finished it, but it's very small and I was simply too lazy to make a full-fledged level out of it; instead I just hid both keys and the elevator behind separate hidden doors to make the level seem like it takes more time to complete.
I'll probably end up leaving it like it is, but if I don't, I'll place that floor in the level 1 slot for another episode, as its almost nonexistent difficulty really warrants such a position and only such a position. Anyway, the point is, with the "completion" of this level I just spoke of, I have been unable to think of any level ideas good enough to meet the calibur of the rest I have designed for my so-called "Wolfenstein Renaissance" episode 1.
December 25, 1994
I've been working furiously on Wolfenstein. I simply must get at least 30 levels done for Carlton Griffin. I'd like to keep designing until I have to turn them in, even if I get 60 finished, because he needs 186 total, and 60 just barely dents that.
January 16, 1995
I got lots of Wolfenstein designing done today, with more to come tomorrow. I have un-playtested Wolfenstein levels coming out of my friggin' ears, and exactly 30 left to design to make my 60-level goal.
January 29, 1995
I'm thinking about working on the Wolfenstein Revolution Episode 4, "Subterranean Terror", level 2. That's one of the ones with the blue ceiling.
March 17, 1995
Two days ago MapEdit 8.3 came out. It now edits six games: Wolf3D, Spear, both Blake Stone games, Corridor 7 (both disk and CD-ROM), and Operation Body Count. Isn't that great? I just had to send a message of praise to Warren Buss...
April 13, 1995
Tonight's plan: work on the next level in Wolfenstein's Revolution. That's episode 4, level 7. I have a few rooms already drawn out on a sheet of graph paper.
August 18, 1995
Worked on E5L3 this afternoon.
October 28, 1995
I've been reading some old journal updates and got some good Wolfenstein ideas out of them. Speaking of which, I did some serious fine-tuning of the new Wolfy BJW60II sound effects tonight. I got rid of all those annoying popping noises after some of the effects. Plus I added the "whump" of bodies hitting the floor to the officer & SS death, and one of the SA deaths. I also put the "Schutzstaffel!" from Doom II as the SS "wake up" sound effect, and the "Achtung!" from a military sfx CD for the SA "wake up" sound (because the one I recorded sounded ridiculous when a bunch of them were set off at once).
So anyway all the Wolfy sounds are sounding great. And I just refreshed my level creation ideas by reading the inspirations I wrote down when I was designing episode 1. What better time to get back to work on the 6th and final episode in The Revolution, "The Command Bunker"?
April 13, 1996
I was reading the Wolfenstein hint book a couple hours ago, trying to get some ideas for that goddamned episode 2 of The Revolution. Just a little while ago I "condemned" four of those levels — they're now clearly marked as such and the start positions taken out — most of which are the ones left over from the first try at that episode. I plan to redo those four again. I just didn't feel I'd accomplished the magnitude of atmosphere that episode 2 is meant to contain.
I was thinking earlier, after loading up my old Renovation level set from Wolfmaster, that those levels really suck! All except for episode 2, that is, which rocks ass! I thought that was funny, because episode 2 is the one episode I can't seem to get right this time around. Oh well. Funny things happen to us level designers.
Also, the name of my new 60-level package has been changed from the boring old "Revolution" to the snappier-sounding "Conflict in the Fatherland". I just came up with that name a few days ago while I was writing up the docs for it. I found out I can post the modified VSWAP on CompuServe. My message to the Sysop was read but not answered (don't these guys do their jobs?), but I figured out the answer myself: I found a file uploaded by somebody that had the VSWAP.WL6 in it with modified graphics, so that's all the approval I need. And if Action will accept it, the Apogee forum should be no problemo. And then there's Quodtegitur BBS, where anything goes. So these levels are really gonna get around. That is, as soon as I finish 'em...
April 21, 1996
I'm only interested in one thing tonight: working on my Wolfenstein levels. Episode 2 is all done, now there are just 4 more levels in episode 6 to go before The Revolution is finished.
June 6, 1996
Speaking of Conflict in the Fatherland, all the levels, graphics, and sounds are done. All I need to do now is finish the hintbook, which is more than half done. I was just gonna post the game first and then the hintbook when I finished it, but I figured that most Wolfenstein players would have all the levels beaten by the time I got the hintbook up, and no one would bother downloading it. So I'm holding the levels back until I can make everything available at once.
June 7, 1996
This weekend I'll be working on my Conflict in the Fatherland hint book and redesigning E6L8 if I'm in the mood (I redid E3L6 today)...
June 10, 1996
I'm sick of working on that Wolfenstein hintbook. If it weren't for that, I'd just post the damn levels right now. And I really don't feel like making any Wolfenstein levels...that much. (I say "that much" because I'm currently listening to an album that was always inspirational in that regard...so who knows...)