.: DooMster Unveiled: Inside the BossBrain
Spotlight on LilWhiteMouse: May 24, 2012
LilWHiteMouse has been an active member of the DooM community for nigh on ten years, and has contributed some innovative and clever mods for our playing enjoyment. Although she has been a prolific modder, much of her work is little-publicized; she is notoriously paparazzi-shy and prefers to release her work without any fanfare. In 2004 she was honored in Doomworld's 11th Cacowards for her Egyptian-themed Chosen, which was labeled as "one of the shining stars released". She is clearly a big fan of the Star Wars franchise, having produced several mods based on that theme, most notable of which is the critically-acclaimed Chibi Rebellion. Read on, and discover what makes this Doomer tick:
DN: When did you first experience DooM, and what were your early impressions?
LWM: Not until '95/'96 I think. Didn't try Doom shareware until it came buried on a game demo CD. My very first impression: "This thing is hard." It wasn't really like anything else I'd played to that point. Just trying to navigate E1M1 was difficult. Once I got used to it, was quite impressed.
DN: What made you originally want to mod for DooM, and what keeps you at it?
LWM: It was a new toy. If it can be modded, I usually try. I stick with ZDoom because I find it to be a versatile engine.
DN: Have you been inspired by any recent DooM projects? What makes you sit up and take notice?
LWM: I thought Pirate Doom! was cute. It's hard for me to keep up in the YouTube age with dial-up however. Anything that goes out of it's way to be different, and anything that drops the archetype male hero will peak my interest. Always looking for a female lead.
DN: How often do you actually play DooM or DooM mods?
LWM: Doom? Almost never. Once I completed the original iwads initially, I've never really gone back. Not counting my own works, I'll occasionally try something out in between projects out of curiosity.
DN: Virtually all your recent work has been for ZDooM. Have you considered development for other source ports or Vanilla DooM?
LWM: ZDoom has the best collection of features that I want. It allows me to work outside the box, and not be constrained to Doom itself. I see no reason to work with another source port when I'm happy where I am.
DN: Chibi Rebellion is clearly your magnum opus (even though it continues to grow and evolve). What prompted you to start the project and for how long do you think you'll continue with it?
LWM: I ripped some graphics from Yoda Stories, put them in vanilla Doom for giggles. Then I experimented with random levels using a batch file, then it moved to ZDoom to use hubs. Just kinda snow balled from there. I think Chibi Rebellion has since reached it's apex. I'm sure I'll dabble here and there, but for the most part I consider it done. My once lengthy To-Do list is almost completely crossed off. Anything more and I fear the project will become feature bloated, if it isn't already.
DN: Aside from Chibi, you have released many nuggets that show an innovative and imaginative mind. Where do your ideas come from?
LWM: I'm a free thinker. My mother raised me to be my own person. If something crosses my mind, I don't ask if it's possible, I try to find out for myself. Or if I'm told it can't be done with no reasonable explanation, I often feel the need to find out for myself. Along the way I tend to discover other unexpected things.
DN: Your work shows a strong understanding of scripting logic. Have you had training in any computer programming languages?
LWM: No. I tried to take a C++ class once, but the teaching style and my learning style were incompatible. I learn by trial and error. I take something that works, tear it apart to see what makes it tic, and experiment with bits here and there.
DN: In an Internet age where everyone is clamoring for their 15 minutes of fame, you are different in that you seem to shun recognition or accolades. How would you feel about having the spotlight turned to you?
LWM: Power corrupts. Fame is just another form of power. Once you're put on a pedestal, the only direction is down. Recognition leads to nepotism, and I want my work to stand on it's own, or fail on it's own.
DN: Which of your releases are you most proud of, and why?
LWM: Chibi Rebellion naturally. It's the most robust and playable of my projects. I learned a lot during it's development. It's also one of my oldest projects. Over the years it's really solidified as a TC, IMO. Other projects hold significance to me though. Pretty Sammy vs Sailor Moon was my very first TC. Excessive Force was my first native ZDoom project, and the first project where I began using my own sprites.
DN: You are one of the few women DooMers (or at least those that appear on the forums). Do you ever feel like you're playing in a sand box that the boys have (implicitly) claimed for their own?
LWM: No, there's no claim to be made. It'd be like advertising a container of milk as orange juice free. Though the community often does feel like a sandbox unfortunately, but for different reasons.
DN: At this point feel free to go hog-wild and add anything you'd like your two adoring fans to know about.
LWM: I collect unicorns. [Editor's Note: And everybody knows that unicorns are just narwhals with legs. Heh.]
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