December 23rd, 2001
Zone Interview: Arethusa on The Barbegazian Alps
A new zone burst upon the scene recently in Medievia - The Berbegzian
Alps. Many adventurers have braved its snowy climes and some have even
returned to tell the tale. Just for the reading and playing public, we
at the Mudslinger tracked down Arethusa in her comfortable office and
barraged her with questions until she answered them. If you ever wanted
to know more about the process of zone design and the background to
this zone then read on for a behind the scenes look.
Q: The Barbegazian Alps - your newly opened zone - is themed around a
snowy range of mountains. What gave you the idea to build this zone?
What are the creative steps that gave you the inspiration?
A: I started the zone in November 2000, I lived in California at the
time (I'm originally from Canada), and really missed winter. I also
really wanted to see a blizzard storm in Medievia. Most of my zones are
based on short stories I have written over the years. Once I have the
idea, everything else just comes together naturally.
Q: What elements are there to building a zone and how long did each
take you for the Alps, approximately?
A: The rooms always take the longest. Every single room is different,
not even a single repeated sentence. I have a bad habit
of logging on med and playing, rather than writing.
Q: So when you did write, how long a session did you do on average?
How many rooms could you manage in that time?
A: I can spend literally a whole day writing just a few rooms, or an
hour writing several. The hardest part of writing is doing large areas
that are essentially the same. A field, a long hallway, areas of the same
forest are some examples. Rooms such as a bedroom when there is only one,
an armory, or a museum are easier to write.
Q: Did you ever find yourself going back and rewriting rooms you had
created some time ago?
A: I made small stylistic changes through the whole zone, even after
the whole zone was completed. I don't think I'm a great writer, I have a
creative mind, but my grasp on the English language isn't as good as
I'd like it to be. I'm getting better though.
Q: The Alps are a fairly high level zone for running purposes - do you
like to run this level of zone yourself and was this a
factor in designing it?
A: It originally was going to be a lower level zone, I was going to
compare it with Wittermark XP. Odd how changing mob levels and adding keys,
and flavoring the zone with procs changed the whole feel of the zone.
Q: I can see your title - are there any bananas in The Barbegazian Alps?
Q: Are you sure?
A: Hold on, I'm going to add a banana to the penguins. By the way, the
penguin eggs were not my idea. My original penguins were harmless!
Q: Do you ever hear people talking about your zone? If so, what sort of
feeling does this give you?
A: It's a rush. Even when people tell me how much it sucks, and they
would never run it, etc. I can't please everyone, creating
zones on Medievia gives me great satisfaction.
Q: Do you have plans and ideas for your own zones in the future? Any
hints as to themes etc?
A: I'm working on Alps 'day 2', but I don't think it's really a day 2,
hm! I'm also revamping Bloodstone *cringe*, and writing various
Q: What makes building a zone fulfilling for you?
A: Imagine you spend a year writing and developing an idea, and slowly,
day by day you see this idea unfold. Mobs appear, the keys start to
work, procs come into play. One day, the zone opens, people flock to it,
they begin solving puzzles you put together, and they spend hours taking
the time to make everything fit. It's a great feeling.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Arethusa for answering
these questions. When we select another victim... er, worthy and creative
person, we will be continuing this irregular series of interviews.
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