Copyright 2001

[ January 9th 2001 ]

The Chronicles Level Editor is taking the gaming community by storm. Designers from all walks of life are surfacing to envisage and produce some spectacular environments and exciting adventures which look set to increase the shelf life of the Tomb Raider series indefinitely.

Once such designer is GeckoKid, and he stopped by to give us this exclusive on his new level Beneath the Forbidden City.

I am Jackie, also known as GeckoKid at school and on the 'net. And I am a fifteen-year-old boy living in Hong Kong. This is my first attempt on creating levels, it was indeed a hard thing at first. However, it is really easy to get used to the interface. My level is about an emissary who had taken the Amulet of Horus from Egypt to China for the Emperor, the Amulet was said to have sacred power for eternal life. However the Emperor was killed immediately after the ceremony. The prince sealed the emissary in the temple with the Amulet but archaeologists found the buried temple 2000 years after, beneath the Forbidden City. When the news spread across newspapers worldwide, an Egyptian underground community sent troops to Beijing and killed the archaeologists.

An archaeologist had hidden and survived, calling upon Lara to prevent the Egyptian leader's arrival, who would have held the ceremony of reviving the unknown power of the Amulet which would probably have destroyed the world. The archaeologist also called her to take the Amulet away from the well guarded temple. The story is written after placing the Amulet of Horus in my second last room (the 99th one!). I love the level Temple of Xian of Tomb Raider II very much for their traps. But it doesn't have enough sense of "China", those beautiful architecture's are somehow missing something.

I wanted to recreate the temple again, and an idea of the three bridges suddenly popped into my mind, and my imagination continued on. I liked the idea of my marble boat, I found it when I was searching my photo album (A trip there is worth it - finally :P). I applied the textures when I was a quarter through my new level. Before I was just using weird textures provided, to test for lighting effects. There was a notebook by my side which I took notes on, like where things should be edited, i.e. that slope is too high to jump etc. I really loved the type of "show you more" style, like the wooden bridge, which was in the middle part of the level, and had already been seen when you were at the three marble bridges, which is at the very beginning.

I don't like the sudden death syndrome which you can't predict, like suddenly a rolling ball drops right above your head without knowing a ball is there! I myself like more of a warning than nothing. You can see my lava before you are there and you have enough time to decide what to do next. There are a few puzzles in my level, like the translucent platforms, and you have to use your binoculars to find out where you should go. Of course, I won't spoil it too much, play the level and find out yourself! The release of the Level Editor marks an end to the old engine, and a beginning for new engines. It is indeed a positive thing for fans like me, to create a world for Lara.

Sense of achievement is my passion for my designs, and this is evident in my Tomb Raider levels. Although the editor can be unfriendly, it is also challenging! And thanks a lot to the manual writers, without them, nobody would know what to do with the editor!!

Gecko has also produced an amazing web site using Macromedia Flash, and for an exceptional experience, drop on by at or download his brand new Beneath the Forbidden City level.

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