Rohan Map Mod Isengard

The following is a question and answer interview with Rob38 (the creator of Helm's Deep Last Hope). Please give a special thanks to Radspakr for conducting the interview.

So Rob, explain what is your role here at T3A?

I have many different roles here on T3A. First, I am the division leader. This means I am in charge of managing and reorganizing the T3A forums, setting up and maintaining hostee accounts, maintaining the quality and organization of the T3A site, addressing any issues brought up by members, posting many of the weekly newsposts, updating the BFME section of the Revora bar, and probably several other things that I can't think of at the moment. :p Essentially, I try to keep things running smoothly and try to keep T3A moving forward. Second, I am a contributor to the forums and site. I try to answer as many questions as I can in the forums and provide feedback to those who desire it. I also have written many tutorials on the main site and helped develop the T3A skins for the forums. Finally, I am a modder who is currently working on two projects: Helm's Deep Last Hope and The Elven Alliance: Community Edition. To say the least, all these roles keep me rather busy. :)

How did you get into modding and how did you first come across T3A?

I first became interested in modding during summer break before my first year of college. I was playing BFME2 at the time and was disappointed by the lack of Helm's Deep singleplayer maps. While searching around for maps on sites like Middle Earth Vault, I learned that people made their own maps using a program called Worldbuilder (WB). I went on EA's site and downloaded all of their tutorials and information on WB. I started to make my own scripted version of Helm's Deep but got frustrated by some of its limitations. I also had questions that I did not know the answers to. So, while searching around google for answers, I came across the T3A forums. My first ever post on the forums can be found here. I guess the rest is history.

The Elven Alliance was recently relaunched as a community project (which you are now leading). What's this experience like when compared to your own project?

The experience is much different than my own project. I'm much more limited in what I can do as it is not my mod, and I do not want to stray too far from Celeglin's intentions. Also, Celeglin's coding work is pretty jumbled up and quite a mess. I really like all my stuff to be neatly organized so that's been a rather challenging aspect of this project. Other than that, this project requires more involvement with the community and members helping with the project. With Helm's Deep Last Hope (HDLH), I have the final say and can develop it however I choose.

If Celeglin were to return, what do you think he would think about the TEA's new life?

I think he would be quite surprised at how many people are still interested in his mod and are joining together to finish the loose ends. I have nothing but respect for his hard work on TEA and I hope he would not be upset or angry at the community for modifying TEA. Many of us just felt that TEA was incomplete in its current stage and we wanted to have a finished product for all to enjoy. Nevertheless, If Celeglin does return and does not approve of TEA:CE, we would stop production immediately and remove all download links for the mod. Seeing the success of the project though and the utmost attempt to not modify the mod too much, I hope Celeglin would not be angry if he ever does return.

So tell me, how did the idea for Helms Deep Last Hope come about?

Well, it probably started back in my senior year of high school when I did not even know the word modding. I became really interested in clay sculpting and decided to make a model version of Helm's Deep from scratch. I really enjoyed the whole HD battle in the movies and it really stuck with me so I decided to make a model of it for one of my art classes. I spent over 100 hours working on the project and while I can do much better today, it truly was an amazing and worthwhile experience. I have so many good memories from creating that piece and other pieces in high school. When summer break came along, I found myself looking for another art project to work on, and it all came together while playing Helm's Deep on BFME2. I decided to make a map that would be both challenging and accurately portray the events in the movie. Over time, this seemingly simple map continue to evolve into a more complex project as I continued to learn new things and get better with all aspects of BFME modding. Eventually, I decided to make it a complete mod so that I could do everything I dreamed of for the map and mission.

How much time do you estimate it will take to finish a game for HDLH?

It will take at least an hour to complete. You will also not be able to beat it on your first try as it will be very challenging and there will be many new things in the map and factions.

What is your favorite feature for HDLH so far?

That's a tough one as there are many things that I like about it. The Hornburg gate is really cool as its very interactive and has many unique features. Probably my favorite though would be the White Mountains. It completely changes the feel and look of the map and is such a massive model (perhaps the largest ever implemented in BFME). That model alone took me over three months to complete.

If you were to define HDLH in one sentence, what would you say?

Helm's Deep Last Hope is all about the evolution of an artist who transformed into something that was thought not to be possible.

What are your work practices when modding?

I am a very disciplined and dedicated person. I make sure that everything in my mod is at the highest of standards and I take no shortcuts or easy ways out. If I do not like how something turns out, I'm not afraid to redo it over and over until I get something I like. I also like to keep things very organized and clean. In some ways, my work practices are rather strict and professional. I put an enormous amount of energy into all my modding work, and that is why I have been so successful with the mod so far.

If there's one thing you could change about T3A, what would it be?

Well, considering I am the division leader of T3A, if I want something changed, I will address it. The only change I can think of is having EA make us the official place for BFME and give us all the art and coding assets for BFME. One can always dream I suppose.

Most modders listen to music or multitask with movies or TV Series. What do you use to help pass the time?

Actually, when modding, I'm rather focused and do not like distractions. If a movie was on, I would have a hard time focusing and getting any work done. So I do not multitask when it comes to modding. Usually my modding work is so complex anyways that I cannot afford any distractions. I do like listening to music though during my free time and when I'm relaxing. I listen to a variety of artists but some I like the most are the following: The Veronicas, Linkin Park, Michelle Branch, Lady Gaga, Bruce Faulconer, Nobuo Uematsua(creator of Final Fantasy Music), and Howard Shore (LotR music) to name a few.

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