Here is another interview with Tom Hall

How did you and the other members of id come up with the enemy ideas? What sort of ideas were rejected and why?
Before DOOM, I came up with most all of them.. Adrian came up with the Broccolash in Keen Dreams, and Carmack added the little hop to the Yorps, but I did pretty much all the rest. Sometimes I would come up with 20-30 of them, and have people choose the best ones they liked. During DOOM, we were kind of philosophically parting ways, and Adrian and Kevin did most of the monsters. I argued strongly for something that wasn't bipedal (so it could come get you even if you couldn't come get it), and Kevin did the Cacodemon. Before DOOM, I designed most all of the monsters (though of course, the artists made them look insanely better). For example, Adrian's MechaHitler was much cooler than my poopy little drawing.

Why didn't you put a secret level in keen 2? It's something that I know drove a lot of people crazy, including me : )
It drove me crazy too! I think there was one, but it sorta didn't make sense (it was outside the ship on the blueprint), and we only had two and half months to finish all of Keen 1-3, so I think someone said just to do 16 levels instead of 17.

Is there anything in the games that people haven't found yet?
I think they are pretty thoroughly explores. It's hard to hide stuff from a hundred thousand people.

Why only one weapon? Why only four keys? These are deeply philosophical questions to us keeners!
Um, we made the Keen 3 in like two weeks! And four keys--simplicity of interface is good.

What made you choose the name commander keen? Billy Blaze?
I just wrote that all off the top of my head in fifteen minutes. That's what came to mind. I pictured a whiny Walter-Winchell radio-serial voice saying the words, and it just came out. The "Bean-with-Bacon" thing is a reference to a George Carlin routine.

Was there any thought of doing a Keen Dreams II? (I've heard there might have been a "Keen meets the meat". If so, would Softdisk have distributed?
Nope. I actually disagreed with doing a Keen for Softdisk, knowing that they would keep the rights. I didn't want to leave Keen behind.

The inevitable question, anything new in relation to Keen 7?
Nope. id still owns Keen. If they ever want to sell me the rights, I'll be on it that second. :)

If you did a keen 7, how would you introduce a new generation to the world of keen?
I had a Keen 7 idea planned out a long time ago. But we were in the middle of stuff, and people weren't really interested. Then Super Mario 64 came out. That was basically it, but I wanted you to switch control modes for different situations, sort of like mid-level mini-games. Some of that is coming out in Anachronox, actually. :) I'd love to do another Keen, though.

If you did a keen 7, would you maintain the same look and feel of the old keens, or would you enrich the keen universe with more complex characters and stories?
I would expand the universe a bit, but keep the same favorites. Keen is really a light adventure, though, so I wouldn't burden it TOO much with story--just enough to make what you are doing always new, interesting, and purposeful.

Why didn't you make Standard Galactic Numbers? If there were Standard Galactic Numbers, what base would they be in? To clarify for those who will read this and don't know what bases are, we use base ten, out numbers go from 0-9 and then reset. Binary is base 2, it goes from 0-1 and then resets, so in binary 3 would be 11, in base five 3 would be 3, but 6 would be 11.
Again, made the game in 2.5 months, so the SGA was just a quick fun thing--I made an EXIT sign for the level, and realized that it would be in alien letters, so I made symbols that looked sorta like exit, but not. Then I got the idea to make signs throughout the game that were clues...then came the Rosetta stone in the secret level. :)

I've read that much of the original Doom design was never realized, why is that and what would it have been like otherwise?
We were really splitting apart philosophically--I wanted to have just enough story to give what you were doing each level a purpose. I also wanted some environment hazards in certain places, like a simple sparkball shooting down a hallway. I forget what level it was, but you walk behind something and there are little hallways sunk down a few inches with big blue circles repeating down the length of them--those were meant for those sparkballs. :) It's somewhere in Episode 2.

What was it like working at Apogee/3D Realms? What games did you have a hand in and what role did you play in their development?
It was fun starting up development there. The people there were really nice. But I sort of still had the vision of what I wanted to do, and it really wasn't a super-bloody game, though those can be fun. And I wanted to bring RPG elements to the sci-fi shooter genre, but that kind of got watered down. You usually don't get unique new things when there are many cooks. But I had a really good time there, and worked with some really great developers. I worked on Duke Nukem II, did the story for Duke Nukem 3D (after the game was almost done!) and helped come up with TripMines, did Rise of the Triad and Extreme Rise of the Triad, co-produced Terminal Velocity, and did early Prey design work.

What made you leave Apogee/3D Realms to go found Ion Storm?
I had the opportunity to do my own thing--whatever I wanted. I had to go for it.

Do you have any suggestions for anyone out there who wants to make a keen game?
A fan game? I'd always make sure you get to see new and interesting things as you go, and you get to do new and interesting things, too. We always had new monsters, new puzzles, new environment dangers, and so on, so the next level wasn't totally like the last.

If Ion Storm did get the rights to keen, would you form a children's division?
Not specifically, but I'd dang well make some Keen games! :)

hat's your impression on the direction of the video game industry? Since you started at Softdisk it's change a lot, do you think in five years a company like id could form from a bunch of friends and still make it?
Yes, but not on the PlayStation 2. :) Need a lot of people to pop a game on there. But I think bold new innovations usually do come from the small groups, because the larger you get, the more people's necks are on the line, so you have to play a safer game. If four guys are working out of an apartment, you don't have as much to lose, so you have great freedom. If you've got some talent and some time, I'd recommend it to anybody. :)

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