The Ashen Age Part 1

    The First Project

Sliptip, author of 'The Ashen Age, Part 1' & the upcoming 'The First Project'

Can you remember the first Thief FM you played?
I think one of the first FM's I played was "Crom's Blade" by Schwaa (the first one I remember anyway). That mission blew me away and really got me excited about doing my own FM's - of course that was 5 years ago and I've only just now released my own.

What made you start creating Thief FMs rather than playing them?
I always love it when games come with an editor. The day I poked through the Thief CD's and discovered Dromed, I thought I died and went to heaven. Dromed is a tremendous tool for exploring one's creative side. I can't think of any medium that covers the same range possibilities. You can write your own music (something I didn't do for Ashen Age P1 - but am hoping to do for part 2), you can do your own voice acting, design homes/cities (or whatever really), model new objects, write a story, photograph new textures, and some simplified programming. It's unbelievable that from this one little piece of software you can combine any or all of those elements. The best part is, is that after seven years there's still hundreds of people who'll be there to play it.

How did you become initially interested in the thief universe as a whole?
I remember a week off school, between semesters I bought Thief 1 Gold. As with many things in life before it, I became totally obsessed with it. It taught me to look at life differently. It taught me to observe my classmates patrol routes or scan for pick pocket opportunities - those sorts of things. Actually, what really got me was the audio and the cut scenes. I thought the style was pulled together very well in Thief 1, less so in Thief 2, but still quite good. Sneaking through the city in the "Haunted Cathedral" listening to the wind and the ambient music was one of my all time favorite moments in video games. I felt lonely as I ducked from shadow to shadow, patiently waiting for zombies to pass, I thought: "Life should be more like this".

How did you discover the large community of thief players and huge FM databases out there?
I can't remember exactly how, but I do remember when I found the TTLG forums. I had no idea how popular Thief was - I thought maybe me and a handful of others had played it let alone messed with the editor. Boy was I wrong!

Have you got any other projects running alongside 'The Ashen Age'?
Yes, a story I call "The First Project". It's about Karras's first attempt at artificial intelligence, his first attempt a creating something in the likeness of the Builder. If I can pull it off, I think it'll be something pretty cool and unique. Classic sci-fi!

What do you draw your inspiration from mainly? do you sit quietly and think up ideas, or do you look at a building and think: "how can I make that with the six DromEd primitives?"
I would say mostly from looking around the city or looking up images online. I have to say that all this Dromeding has given me a much deeper appreciation for architecture, particularly the older buildings. The care and detail that went into them really astonishes me sometimes, and makes me sad to realize that that time is gone.

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