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Interview With Kell
Kell and I "met" via IRC, he was so kind to sacrifice more than two hours for this. I tried to ask questions that are not the usual "Hello, what are your hobbies" but squeezing the essence of Quake-mapperish goodness out of him.
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This was a very nice read. Good questions and interesting answers. The screenshots and links were also very good and helpfull. 
Nice Read 
Thanks, Kell + Spirit.

One thing about the imagination being the hook of Lovecraft is something that's there in Quake 1 over, eg. Doom3 or other modern games. We have to imagine the snarling face of the Ogre or rotting flesh of a Zombie because the graphics aren't photo-real enough to do our imagining for us. I prefer it. 
good work ;) 
I will always admire the way Kell thinks creatively, and enjoy the lengthy discussions we have behind the scenes of #tf.

The part where he mentions Contract 'still influencing people' probably has at least something to do with me, because some of the lengthy discussing has involved my appreciation for the true "quakeness" of Contract, and how I'm trying to relate lunsp2 to Contract and steering it toward capturing a similar quakeness. 
Imagination Vs. Detailed Graphics 
ijed brings up a good point, does the progress of detailed graphics work against the goal of having vague worlds that spur the imagination?

I think the answer is maybe. There are multiple ways in which you can leave things undefined and require the player to fill in the details with their imagination:

1. Blurry, low-res, "rough strokes" graphics. Things like quake and other old games have low-resolution renderings of the world and its inhabitants, resulting in worlds that are more conceptual and symbolic than concrete and specific. This may be hard to do, or maybe impossible, when adding more polygons and higher-resolution imagery.

2. Vague, sparsely-explained storyline or explanations of why things are the way they are, or of what's happening. This can still be done in modern games, simply by the amount of storytelling and the method.

3. Show only a small fragment of the entire world or series of events. This is the "star wars" trick, where you make it feel like there is much more stuff beyond the frame of the camera. We can still definitely do this, and it means that once again, people can use their imaginations to explain what the small glimpses represent. 
I Don't Think 
elaboration of a story or the addition of graphic detail takes from the viewer's abilaty to imagine. You take a painting with a great deal of detail, a Bosch perhaps, no matter the number of demons wearing feather boas or what else strikes your fancy in the scene, you will still find yourself staring in to it, creating your own narative line.

Of course, imagination is not a zero sum game so you don't necessarily have to have the enormous ammount of scenery for a scene to be provocative. When I was a little kid, I remember having a set of the Divine Comedy. Not really being interested in reading it, I did find myself staring at the illustrations making it mean something interesting to a boy's mind. They were sketches with mostly vague outlines. Dante and Virgil were usualy clearly drawn, but the cerebus, demons, tormented beings were mostly smudges and half drawn outlines and that perhaps was the appeal of these sketches.

Those paragraphs are contradictory! An answer to this lies in what Kell stated about the maps that appeal most to him create their own space. In so doing, creating their own criteria. At which point your are the maps helpless subject, forced to feed it more life with your imaginations wonderings.

Okay, I threw that last bit in, because every other conclusion I came up with was either banal or unsatisfactory. That one at least had some drama. 
Suggestive Designs 
Saying it would be impossible to do that with higher poly counts and resolution seems silly to me, if that was the case it wouldn't be possible to create artwork or illustrations with those qualities in higher detail than quake (I do agree that the low res and detail in older games automatically leaves more of the imagination though).

I kind of hope that the increasing flexibility in recent graphics hardware pipelines will result in more varying, interesting and not just trying to be realistic visuals.

In relation to Lovecraft influences there was an article in the escapist magazine recently predicting that cthuloids will be the new pirates/ninjas/zombies/robots! : 
You take a painting with a great deal of detail, a Bosch perhaps, no matter the number of demons wearing feather boas or what else strikes your fancy in the scene, you will still find yourself staring in to it, creating your own narative line.

This is missing my point. I drew a clear distinction between graphical vagueness and narrative vagueness. Your counterexample is graphically detailed but has a vague narrative, which is something I already said was possible in my post.

The rest of your post seems to agreeing with Kell's idea (and mine) that vagueness can be a good thing. 
I Was Responding To Ijed 
I was forming an answer to his earlier post while eating dinner when those two
examples came to me. 
Thanks For The Interview 
very good read, made me feel quakey again.
kell just oozes with quake and ignites creativity ;) 
I like the way Kell thinks philosophically about the Quake "ethos".

Living amongst the Edinburgh architecture is enough to make anyone a good mapper :). 
Very Interesting & Entertaining. 
thumbs up ! :) 
Kell Rocks!!! 
This was a good interview but I would have loved to have seen more of his stuff -- especially bits and pieces of the things he is/was working on over the years.

Kell is, IMHO, the true Cthulu-Quake champion around here: he is not trying to make the game into anything it was never intended to be (i.e. shiny, realistic, etc.) and extends it in a logical way -- with new textures and monsters -- that fit not fight the original Quake mold.

We could use a dozen more like him :-) 
Well Then 
Having read that, I like Kell a lot more (was already a fan of his maps and general work and attitude) - this interview fleshed him out in a good way.

Good to read with the Quake soundtrack playing as well. Now I need to go play some Q1SP. 
Is cooler than Sean Connery and the Loch Ness monster combined. Not that that's something I would advise doing. 
By the little icon there, I don't mean to say Kell is porcine, either. Clearly, Iam the pig. Oink. 
Took It To Mean 
Kell is better than bacon,
and bacon is good,
better than a rack of ribs,
and ribs are good. 
Ta Much Spirit... 
...nice work! 
Kell was so very kind to reformat everything into nicely readable paragraphs. I hope I find the time to update it today! 
The new version with paragraphs and stuff is online. Some remarks were added too. 
Good Read 
very interesting this talk. 
When last year Quaddicted moved to its new design iteration, lots of pages were broken and unsightly, and unfortunately that included this interview. But now, this interview, as well as all the interviews at Quaddicted have been reformatted for your viewing pleasure! 
Why Does American McGee's Page Have A Different Title? 
Otp Rocks 
because it's special and not just the same 10 questions. I guess kell and mexx should be changed too. or the index page needs to be done manually and have categories. 
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