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By Cyclone Boom
General Feedback Thread -
To help pass the time until the Awards Ceremony, here's a place to share your experiences of the new Trixies format.
What went well, and how can they be improved for next year?
As you're likely aware, this Trixies introduced various changes. Not only being the first time multiple years (2015 & 2016) were combined, but notably nominations were accepted in a special forum, allowing you to post and edit them in private. Based on your ideas, the Default Awards List was also created, and intended to provide a suitable baseline to cover the wide range of site contributions.
In summary, here's a few possible possible topics of discussion:
Total available default awards: 101 Custom Content: 34 City Journals: 40 Community: 27
Too little? Just right? Too many? Spread between categories. Coverage of types/themes? Any confusion or conflicting awards? Did the descriptions help or hinder?
How did you find it compared to years gone by? Were the instructions clear and easy to follow? Was it helpful to edit and view your nominations? Any issues along the way?
Duration of nomination period: 23 days (including the 2 day extension). Too short? Just right? Too long?
Interviews To what extent were they helpful / enlightening? Types of questions asked? Format / presentation. More for next year?
Content lists (2015 / 2016) Did they help with your decision making? Were they a useful reference? Should all content have been included in the lists? Grouping per author or per category?
Community discussion How could this work better in future?
Anything else which could be done in build-up?
Too sparse? Just right? Too excessive? When did you first become aware of the Trixies this time? How useful was the info banner at the top? Should anything else have been included? Were the countdown timers helpful? Visibility of the Trixies forum. Should any other banners have been added? Homepage features -- were they useful or too repetitive?
We're always looking to improve the Trixies, and this was really a learning experience for everyone. Hopefully it worked well as a comeback after being absent for such a long time. But like anything, there's always room for improvement going forward.
So if you've any comments or suggestions (even not on the above list), big or small, please post below and we'll take them into consideration. Feel free to post multiple times in this thread to your heart's content.
And of course, you don't have to answer all the above questions -- they're just pointers.
As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favourite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspiration and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further adieu, please welcome our next guest @simmaster07, which many of you will seen around the forums, or you may have downloaded one of his many mods.
An Interview with Simmaster07
Hi Simmaster07, how are you?
Fairly busy but otherwise pretty well, thanks for asking!
What is your earliest memory of the SimCity?
Oh jeez, I was tiny back then, maybe six years old. I think I was walking through Target or some sort of department store and I was bored, so I dragged my dad to the video games section while my mom did some shopping. For some reason SimCity 3000 was the game that caught my attention, and I guess my parents had no issue with it since it was pretty innocuous.
Of course as soon as I found the disaster menu I spent a good amount of time spawning locusts and toxic clouds. So much for learning about city planning — though I did manage to get SimCity 4 not long afterward, and that was a pretty good long-term investment.
Has this game helped inspire you at all in real life endeavours?
Not directly, but I did learn a lot from Simtropolis after finding it through the SimCity BBS. A lot of aspects of modding tied into my interest in programming in some way, and some of my early content was making tools for things like creating NAM packages for Mac installations or automating city backups. In retrospect a lot of the code was absolutely awful, and that content is deleted now since I didn't feel confident that it would function properly now. Still, that was a big part of the process in allowing me to learn more about programming and create the more advanced mods I've made recently.
Recently you've been pushing the boundaries of what mods can bring to the game, specifically around features which were left out of the game. What inspires you to create these mods? How much time and effort goes into researching and developing these files?
The effort to get DLLs capable of modding the game to work has been an effort that dates back to over six years ago. I was in way over my head but heard that Paul Pedriana was the one of the development leads for SimCity and figured I'd email him about how to implement DLLs like the extra cheats mod.
To my complete and utter surprise, after a bit of back and forth, he did respond with some source code. It was incomplete, but Paul said that it should've been enough to pull it off. My main motivation, up until I got something working, was trying to decipher how to take this code and and get a working program. It took years upon years of accumulating knowledge about programming and debugging to figure it out, and it definitely seems to have been worth it.
Perhaps most helpful was the community's prior efforts to learn about the game's internals, and I stumbled upon a post from GoaSkinmentioning how the PowerPC Mac port of the game had a lot of debugging information left in the final version. Because of how the game's architecture was modeled, this was actually incredibly helpful in learning about the Windows version and the generic APIs, so I'm extremely grateful that the community documented their findings as well.
You also created a patch for SimCity, a game more than ten years old, which fixes a substantial issue that was only found after significant modding. What amount of work goes into finding a fix for such a frustrating crash which so many of us experience?
Again, it takes a lot of cumulative knowledge from both personal experience and the community. SC4Fix requires some understanding of how assembly language works and how to debug a program without any reference code before you can start to build it. Once you have that, it's not a terrible amount of work to build that patch — especially since the TE lot crash is pretty isolated from the rest of the program — but it's still a good amount of work to get to that point.
How rewarding is it when you have this idea and toil away until you eventually get the patch working?
The very first thing I did when I got SC4Fix working, even in a primitive and virtually unreleasable form, was post on the forum, because I was incredibly excited about the prospect of fixing one of the biggest remaining issues with the game and sharing that with as many people as I could, so it was very rewarding to say the least. Even now, over a year after having released it, it still comes up in other threads with people hailing it as a must-have mod now, which is pretty heartwarming.
Your work is a source of inspiration for many. Who's work inspires you?
Insofar as SC4 modding goes, I've always been inspired by the work of some of my friends and fellow modders here — @Wahrheit, @meister1235, @z1 are a few that come to mind, as well as and especially the NAM Team, which has been here iterating on their work for as long as I've been here, if not longer. They and many other people here piqued my interest in modding the game, and even though I haven't been able to get into BATing or network modding I am glad I've been able to carve out my own niche and contribute that way.
More broadly, I've been inspired by entrepreneurs like Bill Gates who managed to lead revolutions in how we live and have given back to the global community after achieving that kind of success, as well as programmers like Dennis Ritchie and Linus Torvalds who haven't made billions of dollars but have still contributed with their code and their openness to and advocacy for sharing information.
(I couldn’t find a way to @ mention bill gates )
A lot of the work on mods happens behind the scenes, who has been someone that's helped you the most during development in the past two years?
I only know of one other person who's tried to pull off DLL modding, and they acted independently for the most part, so I can't say there's anyone or anything in the past two years specifically that has helped me. Unfortunately most resources I used go even further back, especially the forum threads that I used for reference.
Do you get to sit down and actually play the game very much anymore?
Sometimes on really long plane rides, but I find myself more fascinated by the game's internals than by the game itself now and so I don't ever really play the game so much as I have it running in the background while I use a debugger and a code editor to dig deeper.
I used to have a huge Plugins folder with over ten gigabytes of content, but looking at it now it seems I just have the NAM, a few lots, and the extra cheats DLL, which is probably a good analogy for how much I play the game properly now.
What's a quality piece of work from the last two years which you think has been overlooked?
I wish I could answer this but I haven't been watching the forums or the STEX closely at all. Generally speaking I notice @CorinaMarie and @rsc204 contributing regularly and probably deserve some recognition, but I might also be just a tad biased since they've tagged me at least a couple of times and their posts usually give me an excuse to investigate some part of the game internals I hadn't considered looking at before.
Has here been a STEX file review/comment from the past two years which you absolutely love, or find incredibly funny?
Not particularly, but it is also generally nice to see people like @T Wrecks consistently offering positive and constructive comments.
Lastly, what would be your perfect Sunday?
A good Sunday would probably just be doing something new with my friends.
Thank you for joining us! We can’t wait for the opening of the nominations which is now just a couple of days away
As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favorite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspriation and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further ado, please welcome our next guest @Prophet42, a long time Simtropolis member and moderator. You may have seen him around the forums at some point over his 13 years here with us.
An Interview with Prophet42
Hi Prophet42, how are you today?
I'm doing great. Justing relaxing by the fire.
What do the trixies mean to you?
The trixies are a chance to showcase the great talent we have in the community. For me, it is a great chance see content from members that I may have missed and also inspire me to build better cities.
What's the best part of celebrating others achievements over the past year?
The best part is that it gives well deserved recognition to members for their contribution and hopefully inspires them to continue creating great content.
How did you first discover SimCity?
Back in the mid 90's, a friend of mine recommended SC2000. So I went out a bought a copy. I have been addicted ever since. By far, SC4 is my favorite city simulator, and probably my favorite game of all time.
What would be the most substantial project that has left a meaningful impression on you from the past two years? Why is that?
@Ln X city journal My SC4 CJ Scrapbook has really made an impression on me. His attention to detail, and realism has made me strive to be more creative when building my own cities.
What's a quality piece of work from the last two years which you think has been overlooked?
I think Modern Row Home #4 from @gutterclub has been overlooked. It is a nice detailed residential piece that doesn't seem to have been downloaded all that much.
Has anyone's content surprised you from the last two years? In what way was this a surprise?
@Diego Del Llano has uploaded some great content in the last two years. What kind of suprised me is that the quality and variety of the BATs has been good from the beginning.
Simtropolis is organized into ‘player' and ‘builder' categories. Regarding the ‘player' section, do you have any favourite CJers that you enjoy following? And what piece of content from them in the past two years would you recommend to others?
For CJers, I enjoy @Ln X's SC4 scrapbook journal and @korver's True Earth journal.
As far as content, I would highly recommend @madhatter106 Middies Office Pack 7. It fits seamlessly in with the rest of SC4 buildings and provides essential C$$ buildings.
Who is an up-and-coming member that we should look out for next year?
I think the recent work of @Aarsgevogelte is exceptional. I would look for continued great work from him in the following year.
You spend a lot of time commenting on forums, specifically forum games. Who is someone which always has a funny or witty remark?
@Toothless Stitch always seems to be able to provide humor and wit to the games.
What forums games these past two years have been exceptionally fun? And are there any that you'd recommend people new to the forum games section get involved in to introduce themselves to the concept?
I especially like "Why should the person above you be banned?" and "How is the person above you going to die?"
A good game to get started with would be "Guess who’s Next"
Lastly, if there was anyplace you'd want to go, where would you go and why?
Australia. I am fascinated with the culture, geography, and unique life forms.
Thanks for your time, here's to a great trixies season!
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