Today, I'm posting an interview I did with Mor.Evil-1 and Load"*",8,1. You may know them for their Derez maps, and as senior members of the LDSO clan: who founded the LDSO web site and have great skill at Derez in Multiplayer.
FAQ: Can you tell us a bit about yourselves? Where do you come from, and what are your interests/hobbies (aside from TRON)?
Mor: Okay, let's see . . . I live in a creepy old crypt, located in a dark, damp, quiet place in the middle of L.A. Hmm, hobbies . . . well, I have an extensive background in special effects make-up (even have a college degree in it) and it has been a life-long goal of mine to work on a mainstream feature film, as one of the key make-up artists. Up until now, it's been independent and student films. I enjoy Designing, Creating, and Performing in haunted houses, and have created many since I was like 10 years old. In my spare time I like to paint high-end models; draw and paint; play console and PC games; go to the Disneyland resort with my pals; collect rare Haunted Mansion, Nightmare Before Christmas, Star Wars, Sci-Fi, etc. movie collectables; but most of all, hang out with my niece and nephew!
Load: I grew up and have lived in the sunny parts of Los Angeles. I like playing video games (of course), building computers, going to Disneyland, playing softball, and watching sports.
FAQ: How did you two meet, and become friends?
Mor: Let's see, how did Load and I meet. Over 10 years ago, Load and I worked at Universal Studios. Through mutual friends, we would hang out on our breaks and after work, and chat about many Sci-Fi/Movie/Comic related things. And, well . . . the rest is history, as they say.
Load: Same story as Mor's. We worked at Universal Studios together, and would talk about Sci-Fi, video games, you name it . . .
FAQ: When was the first time each of you heard about, or saw, TRON? Did you see the movie, or play the arcade game, first? Did you own any of the Atari or Intellivision TRON games?
Mor: Ahh, I like this question. For myself, TRON has been a part of my life since its early creation. Growing up, I had a pal that lived across the street from me, who had a family friend that worked on TRON. So, from time to time, he would bring home some dailies for us to check out. At the time, we thought it was dumb -- because there were no real effects yet, and it just looked like dudes in tights throwing frisbees. But as time went on, the dailies got better and . . . well, the film grew on all of us. So, guess I should say that I saw the film first.
I did have Deadly Discs of TRON on my Atari Heavy-Sixer-2600. But a couple of years ago we moved, and my lovely sister decided to take my Atari out of my room: and sell it at a garage sale they had -- without me -- while I was at work, for 20 bucks. So I don't have that any more. =(
I used to love playing the TRON arcade machine (still do in fact), and I really liked the booth-style upright Discs of TRON arcade game. That was awesome!
Load: I never saw TRON in the theater. It was always that cool movie my friends and I would see on TV, on a Saturday afternoon. Our local arcade never had the game. The only place that had it where I could play, was Disneyland. So I played it about once a year, when my family would go there. I had an Intellivision but never had the TRON game, so sad.
FAQ: When did you guys first find out about TRON 2.0? Was it one of the demos? If you played one of the demos, what was it like back then? Was it really popular? And what did you think of the finished game, when you finally bought it?
Mor: Let's see . . . Load was actually the one that found out, shared with me that BVG was going to release a new version of the TRON game, and sent me the Disc Arena demo the first day it was released. Ahhh, the demo days. Now those were some good times! At first, there was only the Corrupted DA level. And from what I can remember, there were a fair amount of players back then. In fact, there were times you were looking for a free server: if you can believe that. So yes, the demo was rather popular for a fair amount of time. Many of the people that played the demos were pretty cool. In fact, Xistence was just one of the many people that Load and I used to play under our original names, back then.
As for the finished game. Well, Load and I didn't get the game until around December, the year it was released. We were pretty hard-core demo players up to that point. When we did get the game . . . all I can say is "wow". TRON 2.0 is still, in my opinion, a very eye-candy friendly game. I flew through the game, in like 3 days. That's how much I liked it. And I played the Single Player again after I finished it, immediately the next day. When I have free time -- it's sad I know -- I still start a new game and hack through it for fun, just to see all the great levels.
Load: I found out about TRON 2.0 from TRON-Sector. I was looking to see if a sequel was being made, and learned about the game coming out soon. The day the demo came out, I downloaded it and passed it on to Mor. I guess that changed our lives, LOL. The demo was popular. I actually remember seeing double-digit servers. The finished game was great. Mor bought it first, so I copied it and played the game. I eventually bought the game to play online with him.
FAQ: When did you form the original LD? What made you decide to form a TRON game clan? Have you been part of any game clans before that? Who were the first members of LD, aside from yourselves?
Mor: Living Dead started, back with the release of the first DA demo. Living so close to the BVG servers, I would host games and list the server as: Living Dead. When BVG released the Derez update (DM), Load and I were all over it. By that point, we were so tired of Light Cycles (LC) and Disc Arena (DA), that we really needed the new gameplay. With the -- at time -- popularity of the DM grid, there started to rise TRON based teams/clans. TRON clans existed since the first day of the demos, but Load and I never gave it much thought. Due to the fact there were a few not so nice players out there.
Load and I had played together for so long though, that I decided to one day just add a tag to my name -- like so: Mor.Evil-1 [LD] -- mainly to advertise my little Living Dead Server. And it stuck. The very same day, CPU created their clan and I had a run-in with them. But not the type you may be thinking. Okay, pay attention, because here is a very little known fact that I have never shared . . .
So I started to play the day away, and CPU came on the grid. They saw me with the LD tag, and asked what it meant. So I shared the info with them. They then told me what their tag stood for, and were asking players to join up on their team. My tag really meant nothing at that point, so they asked if I would join CPU. In fact, I later had a brief meeting with CPU's co-leader Diabolical-NYC. He proceeded to tell me in our meeting, that he had hoped to catch me before I had a tag, because he wanted me to be the co-leader of CPU. I, of course, thanked him for the offer: but was well on the way of creating my own team, and turned him down.
Another little known fact about CPU, is I actually had -- and for most part, still have -- a decent rapport with Diabolic, and we always remained informed to a certain degree on the grid happenings.
Now don't get me wrong here. CPU and LD were, and by most accounts are, still bitter rivals. I had no foreknowledge of the crap they pulled. Just that between NYC and myself, we had a mutual respect for one another. And from time to time we could meet in private, and discuss things leader to leader regarding each other's players, if any stepped out of line. I guess you could say it was both a blessing and a curse.
So after I turned down CPU, I called Load and asked if he wanted to co-lead and be in LD. He was like "cool", and that was that.
Regarding previous clans. For myself, nope. First online clan ever.
The first members . . . well, the first official member was Mero. Man, back in the day we used to beat the shit out of each other. And there is just no other way to put it. After many a fragfest, we started to chat a bit and got to know each other a bit better. We decided to ask him to join, and that was that. The next members were: Darkfader, then you FAQ, and then Commander X. Comm X was a player that Mero knew and he seemed okay. However he was the youngest player on the team, and after a short amount of time he just seemed to de-rezz off the grid, and that was the end of him.
So to break it down, the original "fab five" of the team were: Mor, Load, Mero, Dark, FAQ, and Comm X.
Load: Mor started LD one day to promote the Living Dead server. It's what he called the server on his computer, since he likes zombies so much. There were all these clans, so we thought: what the hell, why not make our own. I remember Mero being the next member, and then FAQ and Darkfader.
FAQ: How did the merger of the LD and DSO clans come about? What prompted the decision? And what made you decide to go ahead with opening the LDSO web site?
Mor: Well, Load and I had played with X forever. His clan shared all the same ideals we did. To be honest, the merger was just a long time coming. I had taken an interest in DEdit, and X has many of the best looking maps around. We had been chatting on and off the grid about map making, and he liked many of the ideas I had. So, after getting to know one another better -- and during many the late night DEdit tutorial chats -- X brought up merging the teams. It sounded like a great idea, and we both agreed to put it to a team vote on both sides. There were no objections, so we merged and became LDSO.
Many of the things were a natural fit. LD had a red team color, DSO was blue: mix the two colors and you get purple. Clan tags, LD and DSO merge together to become LDSO. And so on. It's just been a great fit, and many great friendships have come out of it!
As for the web site. The site, in many respects, has always been there. We had decided early on, to open a free forum so the team could have a place to hang out, chat, and do whatever. The original forums were not so great: but they were free, so we used them. When Load and I opened our shirt biz, we needed a place to host a web site for us, to be able to sell our stuff. So Load split some stuff up, and then we were able to also open a more "real" team based site. In time, it has grown to what it is today: with a nice phpBB board, the ability to make maps available for download, and so on.
Load: Same answer as Mor. =)
FAQ: What TRON 2.0 maps have you guys made? What was the reception to them like, when they were released?
Mor: Well I will let Load talk about his maps, I have a few under my disc:
DM-1,2,3 Ladder maps
To Be Released: CityGrid
How were they received? For the most part, players seemed to like them. MorsMap, TankGrid, PartyGrid, and the soon-to-be-released City map, are my original works. Some people gave me a hard time, regarding my re-workings of the retail maps. I never tried to pass them off as my own work, only that I used them to learn how to work with the DEdit program. I tested many new effects on them, as well as textures, and opened many new areas to explore on them that I had always wanted to reach and look at. I passed the reworked DM maps to persons on the team, and we had so much fun with them -- and with their encouragement -- I decided to release them to the general public, for play.
Take them as you will. They did take time to make, and people just take for granted that they don't, sometimes. Which in actuality is a nice compliment, because it means the map looks retail enough for them to not think anything of it. There are not a lot of DM maps out there, so even a retextured retail map adds some new flavor to the abandoned grid.
I am very proud of MorsMap, Tank Grid, PartyGrid, and especially my upcoming City map. My only regret is that I got into the map making a bit too late, as TRON 2.0 really started to vapor out, just as I got the hang of things.
Load: Load's Prankster Bit (PBit) Alley. People liked it. Of course, it falls under the "it's cool for about a week" category. That's about the lifespan of a map in TRON 2.0, after the boom died off.
FAQ: Both of you went to the El Capitan showing of TRON in L.A., a couple of years ago. What was it like, seeing TRON on the big screen again? Was the film print in good condition? And what did you think of the event itself? Was it well done, or could it have been better?
Mor: TRON at the El Cap was fun. Disney tends to throw up their older films in-between the new blockbusters, so you can even catch Roger Rabbit on an off day, if you're lucky. TRON tends to make a regular rotation, from time to time. You just have to keep up on the listings. The last time we went, it was for the 20th Anniversary: and they were promoting the new game, merchandise, and had some minor props from the film. They did release an all new digitally restored print, just like what you get on the DVD. So the film looked fantastic for its age. We went on a Wednesday for a matinee, so there really were not that many people there. Which is nice, when you're going down to Hollywood.
As with all things, yes there could have been more. You always want more to look at. TRON is one of those films that does tend to fall in the "forgotten bin" timeline of filmmaking, and there is just not a lot of stuff about it floating out there any more. Today when films are made, much more thought does seem to go into what a studio does with the props and costumes, compared to back then. So Load and I agreed, that we were happy they had anything to show. And what helps is the die-hard fans out there, that help contribute props and memorabilia, so there are more things to see.
They did have an extra cool display downstairs with 4 linked TRON 2.0 Light Cycle computers. They consisted of an LC fiberglass body, with extra cool super-huge flat screens, and a decent keyboard and mouse, to try out the game. We decided to take a chance, and see if they were hooked up for LAN capability . . . and lo-and-behold, they were! Up until we got in there, it was dead. All of the PCs were hooked up to demo the SP game. But by the time we were done with the LAN set-up: all the PCs had people playing, and we were getting our daily TRON fix in no time at all.
In all, the event was fun. And any time you can see TRON on the big screen, is worth it.
Load: The El Capitan was cool. I finally got to see TRON on the big screen. It was awesome. There had to be 12 people in the theater, not bad for a Wednesday afternoon. The memorabilia displays were okay. They had the dress Yori wore in the deleted scene. The big display had a bunch of old 80's items, as well as new stuff. It looked like someone's home collection of TRON stuff. Downstairs, they had 4 Light Cycle computers hooked up. It was fun putting them in LAN mode, and playing DM. A couple of other dudes got on there, but we kicked their asses! There was also a big statue of Mercury, with a rope guarding it. We went behind the rope.
FAQ: What do you think of the current state of affairs, on the TRON 2.0 scene? How do you feel about BVG's lack of support?
Mor: The state of TRON 2.0 . . . well it's no surprise, that the grids are dead nowadays. Even in TRON 2.0's heyday, there really were only about 20-30 main players on, most of the day. It's sad to see the game in such dire straits, when it has such potential to be more than it currently is. I feel that if things continue to remain unchanged, that TRON will find its place amongst the vaporware bin all too soon. In many respects, it seems to already have. Also, it seems that the apparent lack of players on the grid: is from the fact that many of the new and old TRON players are creating new maps. (Which is a very true and sad statement. Custom maps driving away players? Sad, sad, sad. - FAQ) Hopefully new materials will all be released around the same time, and TRON will explode again. One can hope, right?
There are many things I could say about BVG. It's sad, but true, that they squeaked their few bucks out of the game and have moved on. In their eyes, they feel the game did what was needed: and that was to help cross-promote the 20th Anniversary release of the TRON DVD, which it did. At least they were able to get solid voice talent from the original film for the game. What's really sad, is the game sets things up for a sequel. One that looks like it will never happen. Your petition is going in the right direction. I have some ideas of my own, and soon I will share them. Aside from making a sign and standing in front of the studio every day, I'm not sure BVG will ever take notice of our efforts. But again, one can hope!
Load: I think TRON is now a cult classic, that only a handful of players really cherish. Obviously, compared to mainstream games, we have no players. But the few that still play, make the game special. BVG really dropped the ball. I think that TRON 2.0 was BVG's way of testing game-making. They got to make a game, see what it was like, and now can move on to something else. Too bad TRON was Disney's video game guinea pig.
FAQ: Tell us about Fraglesstees.
Mor and Load: Back in late 2002, early 2003, we came up with an idea to print a design we had drawn together. We called around, and found a place that could print the designs for us: which we wore around town as a joke between us.
Well, pretty much everywhere we went, people would ask: "Hey, where did you get that? It's cool." This happened so much, that after many talks -- and with a little help from some previous schooling -- we created Fraglesstees.com: Gaming Tees for the masses.
It's been doing well so far, but neither of us are able to retire from the profits. It's proven to be a nice side biz, and great fun as well. We have sold our shirts all over, from computer shows to street fairs. In fact, many of our customers are overseas, so you can say Fraglesstees are seen world wide. We also make screen-printing available to the public, which has shown to be equally profitable. Anyone who is interested, just needs to send an e-mail, and we will reply with a free quote.
Someday we hope to be able to distribute our designs to stores worldwide, but right now we're happy to start small and work our way up.
I'd like to thank Mor and Load for agreeing to do this interview. Please take the opportunity to visit the LDSO and Fraglesstees sites, to find out more about the clan and about Mor and Load's clothing line for gamers.
Next time: TheReelTodd.