Alan 'Talisman' Willard is a senior designer and artist for Epic Games. He has been affiliated with the company since the development of Unreal and has made many maps for its successor, Unreal Tournament, many of which are now considered classics in the Unreal community.
Alan was born in Birmingham, Alabama on October 31, 1974. Early on his life, he enjoyed playing games in the Atari 2600, one of his favourite games being Adventure. Alan was attracted a lot to the atmosphere side of games. He got his beginnings in level design hacking some "bad games" in BASIC and hacking his characters in Quest for Glory II: Trial By Fire. However, it was the release of Doom that convinced him that level design was his forte. He made maps for other games such as Descent, Duke Nukem 3D and Warcraft: Orcs & Humans before meeting Shane Caudle about a year before Caudle was hired by Epic Games. In the time between these events and his hiring, Alan would send levels and other pieces of artwork to Caudle, so he could show them to Cliff Bleszinski.
Alan was hired by Epic in September of 1998, 4 months after the release of Unreal, and just after Epic moved their offices to Raleigh. His first official map, DM-Cybrosis, was a part of the Fusion Map Pack for Unreal. Alan's first major project was Unreal Tournament, for which he made 16 maps (including his maps for the post-release Bonus Packs). With this, he is the level designer with the most levels for Unreal Tournament, outnumbering even Epic's Lead Level Designers Cliff Bleszinski and Cedric 'Inoxx' Fiorentino (who both made 13 maps for the game).
For the 2nd and 3rd generation UT games, Alan mostly functioned as a 2D and 3D designer. All of the texture and static mesh package found within Unreal Tournament 2004's folders with the prefix "AW" are his. Besides modeling and texturing, Alan has also worked as a sound designer, effects artist, and technical artist.
|Maps created by Alan 'Talisman' Willard|
|Unreal Tournament 2003:|
|Unreal Tournament 2004:|
- In one interview, Alan said that he wished UT to have more Assault maps, but they had to compromise since making maps for the gametype is really hard. He described making one as "making a single player map in the size of a Deathmatch map". He was also pleased with the quality of the custom Assault levels that the community was cranking back then.
- He also enjoyed UT rival game Quake III Arena, with his favorite map being q3dm15. Another game he found out enjoyable was Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force. He specifically mentions RTS (calling himself "the office's closet RTS freak") and RPG as his "secret gaming pleasures".
- He mentioned Infiltration as his favourite mod for UT, even though he doesn't play mods, but watches Cliff Bleszinski playing them. Other mod he recommended back then was Eavy Darkmatch III
- Willard, Alan (Oct 31, 2001). ".plan file for Alan Willard". BluesNews. Retrieved Sep 9, 2020.
- "UTGamer Interview with Alan Willard". UTGamer. Archived from the original on August 18, 2000. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Harris, Patricia (September 22, 2000). "Dueling Designers: Alan Willard and Cliff Bleszinski of Epic Games". 3DActionPlanet. Archived from the original on April 28, 2001. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Willard, Alan (Jan 13, 2000). ".plan Archive for Alan Willard". BluesNews. Retrieved Sep 9, 2020.