So, now that the first phase of the Make Something Unreal Contest is over, we thought it would be a good idea to have some of the winners speak up - in this case, Nick "neoduck" Donaldson of DM-CBP-AugustNoon fame, winner of the Best Level category.BU: neoduck, it's been a few days since your victory. It seems like it was quite a surprise for you - especially considering the number of well-known community veterans that you beat. The judges obviously thought your map was great - what do you think about AugustNoon?

neoduck: AugustNoon is a map I went into with the primary focus of having a map with great gameplay, and secondly, nice visuals. I was not fluent with an external 3D modeling program, so I used stock static meshes, and Tonberry allowed me to use some of his meshes from Alpu2. I am very pleased with the outcome of the map, as I have recieved lots of positive feedback.

BU: Which contest entries were your favourites?

neoduck: My favourite level for gameplay is Dm-1on1-Alpu2 - A lesson for everyone who's interested in making a great playing map. My favourite for visuals is CTF-Addien-Dwy. Hourences is a great example of a mapper who can make an atmosphere really shine.

BU: What are your feelings on the contest? How could they be improved? Were they fair?

neoduck: Well, I can say that I am very pleased with the outcome, but there were a lot of maps that I would like to have seen make it into at least the finals, that were just dismissed. I congratulate all those who won a place in the competition.

BU: How about plans for your next map? Have you got one in the works already?

neoduck: I have got a couple of maps in the works, but the next one will hopefully ring a bell ;) Here are two screenshots:

BU: Looks fantastic. At this point in time, how do you think your new map scales up against AugustNoon? Will it be even better?

neoduck: The map is very different, so I'm not sure they can be compared back to back.

BU: Are planning to enter the map in stage 3 of the MSUC?

neoduck: Yeah, sure! Hopefully I'll have more than one map in the competition, in more than one category.

BU: Let's move on now. Your past work - you began mapping a little under two years ago, correct?

neoduck: I started mapping at 13 years of age, just experimenting with the editor. I released my first map that year (fortunately, it didn't get much further then the depths of the BU forums :P). From then on, I've been hooked on mapping.

BU: Your quick development has been pretty striking - from the less-than-average DM-1on1-Demise to the original AugustMoon - that's quite a leap. Have you got any tips for aspiring mappers, just starting to subtract their first brush?

neoduck: You've heard it before, but it's the best piece of advice: practice practice practice! Study other people's maps, implement some of the things that you think make them cool into your own work. After a while, you'll start to get a feel for what's good and whats not.

BU: AugustMoon was released with CogWorks as part of the BeyondUnreal Forums Bonus Pack - does CogWorks have any plans in the future? Is it still alive? How about anotherBuFPack?

neoduck: Possibly... Cogworks has changed its focus in recent times, and i am not as much a part as i used to be.

BU: Perhaps something for UT2004?

neoduck: I hope to see their latest project take flight sometime next year.

BU: Further back - how did you get into the Unreal series?

neoduck: My older brother bought Unreal Tournament a few years ago. It was the first of the Unreal series i'd ever played, but I loved it.

BU: Did you map for any other games before?

neoduck: Nope.

BU: So, what are you playing these days?

neoduck: I just finished Need for Speed: Underground a week or so ago. The game was fun while it lasted, but was ultimately disappointing.

BU: Hopefully, you'll get into some of the newer titles coming out day by day. We'll leave you for now, neoduck, any final words?

neoduck: Again, I'd like to thank Tonnberry for his positive attitude and helpfulness in letting me use some of his great meshes from Alpu2. Thanks to Epic, Atari, nVidia and all others involved in the MSU contest and thanks BeyondUnreal.

BU: Thanks, neoduck.