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interviewed by Cory & Ian Smith aka Marksdad in August 2009

Cory: "So Cain, tell us; what made you want to introduce TRLE to a new era of custom levels?"

Cain: "To put it simply, I thought the level editing bar needed to be raised. At the time I had been making custom levels for my own personal enjoyment and I believed the rest of the level editing community could gain a great deal from the extraordinary experience found in my games."

Cory: "We all want to know the background of trle's level building prodigy, so could you tell us about yourself? And does your background influence the sheer genius of your levels?"

Cain: "Yes, my background does have a strong influence on my level design. My name's Cain, and I'm generally considered a 'big fat man' who spends most of his time eating and viewing quality television, therefore this perfect life reflects onto my levels and thus I am able to produce perfect games in this ideal environment. I draw allot of my inspiration from my own experiences, for example the 'Tomb Raider Cain' story line contains aspects drawn from my own adventures. A specific example of this was when I once went down to my local KFC to order the Family bucket, however they had run out, so I had to buy 2 individual meals, as you see this story translates almost word for word into the story for 'Search for the lost Cain', so yes my background does influence my levels as a whole."

Marksdad: "How long does it take you to come up with ideas for your levels?"

Cain: "The story usually comes about when I am putting together a readme before sending it off to trle.net. The one exception is 'Cain on the Bus' which I already had the story all worked out and the level was carefully crafted around it."

Cory: "As one of a select group of builders to get 'All 10s' in a review (Ruben's review of the wonderful 'Cainís Home' if I remember correctly), could you tell us your version of the perfect mix in a level?"

Cain: "I personally think (and I am sure many of you agree) that the perfect level is one which involves killing loads of enemies. My favourite enemies are eels and nothing is more fun than blowing them up with the grenade launcher; but by some amazing coincidence they also add 5 minutes of game play each, when shot with the pistols which are an area I have been looking at more recently. However good levels are that just consist of killing huge enemies, I also think it is important to include other things, like long underwater mazes, hard bike jumping and traps that kill Lara instantly, all these things mix together to make perfect levels. So to answer your question the perfect level requires a large variety of activities for Lara to do, but generally you canít go wrong including lots of enemies in well crafted rooms."

Marksdad: "Your textures are beautifully stretched (almost to the point of being impossible to recognise) and are always applied like wallpaper. Some people claim this is sloppiness; but surely it is an attempt to reflect the absurdity of everyday life; enmeshed, as it is, within the nightmare surreality of our dreams?"

Cain: "Actually my texturing was never intended to reflect anything (except the fact I would rather be filling the room up with enemies than texturing it). Careful texturing is regarded too highly, IMO; and I personally think a level should contain more than just well textured rooms, for example hard traps and T-Rex's. Another reason why my rooms contain stretched textures us this method takes less time, so I can produce a greater quantity of levels per week."

Cory: "You are, of course, world renowned for your idiosyncratic enemies, which are crafted to perfection. Could you tell us how you managed to come up with such realistic and scary creatures?"

Cain: "I feel that to make an enemy look really realistic it requires to be scaled up several times to its real counterpart. Also on many custom enemies (except the eels) the heads are far too small for the bodies so they need special scaling to look really effective. Also replacing the heads with suitable objects, see 'Bear with a boulder for a head' in Cainís Home, makes a great looking individual enemy."

Marksdad: "What is it about huge and impossibly aggravating mazes that attracts you?"

Cain: "Personally I enjoy mazes a lot and would be happy to explore my fun underwater mazes for hours; and judging by the reviews, a lot of people agree. Other factors include making the level last longer and giving people more time to appreciate the aforementioned textures. Possibly the most important reason is that they are really quick and easy to make and can easily be copied to be reused later in the level, all of this adding to the time it takes to complete."

Marksdad: "I tried to play all of your levels, in order to ask you about each one individually - but I found myself losing the will to live. Which one is your favourite,and why?"

Cain: "Now that is a hard question! Personally I enjoy all of my levels and it is very hard to choose a favourite one, there are similarities in all my levels that I always try to include, however there are also different things added to each level that I especially enjoy:
In Tomb Raider Cain I love the long tunnels with poison mutants in which use up medipacks you havenít got and the decision not to include a finish trigger adds to the open ended gameplay allowing infinite fun.
In The Break In I love blowing up the eels in a well crafted house environment.
In Cainís Home I love the way I successfully portrayed my home in a realistic manner in a level, plus the style of gameplay really added to the enjoyment.
In Cainís Caves Remake I love blowing up eels in a well crafted caves level.
In Cain Tower I love the large variety of enemies to kill.
In all my other levels I love blowing up eels, mazes, killing eels with the pistols, not including finish triggers and key hunts therefore my favourite level should include all of these things so is probably 'The Break In'."

Cory: "The reviews for your levels generally seem to be slightly less than congratulatory, how do the criticisms help you to build your next level?"

Cain: "I generally like to focus on the bright side of life (when it comes to my levels) so any criticisms are, as a rule, completely ignored. I prefer to focus on the good comments and feedback I receive. Also many reviews seem to focus on things that I consider generally unimportant; they seem to almost judge my level and give scores based on insignificant things like, 'quality of the level' and 'game play'. I make my games to show different things, like how fun it is to kill an eel with the pistols, or how fun it is to run over T-Rex's in a Pizza Hut van - I believe these things should be recognised by reviewers, and if they were, my levels would receive no criticisms."

Marksdad: "Well, here are a few extracts from OrbitDream's reviews for your levels (helpfully compiled by George Maciver):
'Why do I continue to torture myself with Cain's masterpieces? Why?!' - Orbit Dream
'Why am I such a glutton for punishment?!' - Orbit Dream
'Pure drivel (and that's being generous!)' - Orbit Dream
Would you say these comments are justified?"

Cain: "Personally, I donít think these comments are justified and I think Orbit Dream is just a little bit jealous of my level building ability."

Marksdad: "Now that Michael Prager has inconsiderately decided not to upload any more of your levels, into which field of endeavour will your genius lead you next?"

Cain: "Rest assured, I am still working on making plenty of levels and plan on continuing to make levels regardless if they get uploaded or not! I have 7 ready to go as we speak including: Palace to Worship Cain In, Realm of the Ancient Cains, Cain Arena, Cain City, Cain's House, Tomb of the Undead Cain, Search for the Lost Cain 2 and Magic Land 2. Once Michael Prager has had time to forget that he said I wasn't allowed to upload any more levels, I plan to send them off for uploading. If he still does not allow me, I will try to upload them under a different name, probably 'Coin'; (but donít tell him this.) In the meantime I will sit in front of the TV eating KFC or possibly Burger King."

Marksdad: "Well Cain, it's not been even remotely a pleasure talking to you; and neither Cory nor I have any intention of wasting our time further. All the best!"

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