Interview with Level Designer “Fletch”

It’s been less than 10 days since the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan; but within the first week that followed, a map surfaced for Counter-Strike called […]

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It’s been less than 10 days since the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan; but within the first week that followed, a map surfaced for Counter-Strike called fy_abbottabad that began to draw national (and international) attention.  As usual, bloggers chimed in from all over the Interweb to express their opininons – and in more than one instance, misinformation.  Here at Steam Addicts, we decided it was time to talk to the man himself – to find out who he is, and to set the record straight.  So without further ado, here is our interview with Matthew “Fletch” Fletcher:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself Fletch? Where do you hail from?
I’m a 20 year old Games Development student from Australia.

How long have you been playing Counter-Strike and what other games do you play?
I don’t really recall how long I’ve been playing CS. I remember playing it with friends around 2004-2005 and started playing Source in 2006. Recently I’ve been playing some of the larger titles such as Portal 2 and Crysis 2, but other than that I’ll play anything that I can get my hands on!

When did you start mapping, and what other works have you done?
I think my earliest mapping experience was with Unreal Tournament and Morrowind. Other than that I can’t remember doing much else until I got into the Source SDK. I’ve created a fair few maps for competitions. The majority of those are small ‘Aim’ maps, the most notable being the levels I created for a SteelSeries competition here in Australia. In recent years I’ve worked with a great guy on a number of maps. The best would have to be de_harvest. It never really got out there, and unfortunately after the major update to CS:S it crashes at certain points in the map.
A project I was working on before I disappeared for a few months was codenamed VM (Vehicle Maps). I created a complex system that allowed players to jump into the map and drive around vehicles. These include, but are not limited to cars, helicopters, jets, boats or spaceships. No plugins. No scripts. Here is a quick video of me and the friend I mentioned earlier testing out some helicopters:

So this is this not just a hobby then…
It started out as a hobby but I definitely have a much greater passion for it now. I dream of working as a level designer where I can do what I love!

What was the inspiration for doing the “Abbottabad” series, and how did you get it done so quickly?
Like I mentioned earlier, I had been on a break of sorts for a few months. I guess mapping just pulled me back in though. When I saw some people wondering when a map would be created, I decided to give it a shot! I think it’s just experience with the Hammer Editor and the source engine. It would probably have been completed a day earlier if it wasn’t for my computer acting up. Almost lost the whole level at one point, but luckily found an update from the night before!

Are you aware of the national attention this has been getting, and what’s your reaction?
I am most definitely aware of the attention! My inbox has been full of requests for interviews. I think I was most shocked when I was asked if I’d be willing to conduct radio interviews. I never expected this. Can’t say I’m not happy with the exposure it has provided though!

Anything you’d like to set the record straight as far as some of the opinions that have been flying around?
There seem to be alot of articles out there that appear to have been written after looking at a couple of the screenshots I took from the game. I’ve even read in places that I created the game, which I found amusing. This map is a recreation of the compound, not the events that took place there.

There seems to be an enormous amount of interest regarding a 1.6 version of this map. Do you have a sense of if/when you might release one?

I haven’t worked on a 1.6 map in years, but I suppose I could try get it done within the next week. I did notice a version someone else created, although I may still create my version similar to the Sourcemap. Here is a link.

You can find a pictorial development log (of sorts) at http://fletchm.imgur.com/

 

Thanks to “Fletch” for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview.  I’m sure we’ll be hearing plenty more from him in the future!

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