Hello, and welcome to the second in a series of interviews with the founders of the NDEX team. Today, we'll be talking with DuskTrooper, the original purpose for creating NDEX.
What made you want to BAT?
Well...It all started back when my brother bought SC2K, with the SCURK. I would spend hours on that thing, building my stuff pixel by pixel, lol. Then, I bought SC3K with the BA+/BAT, and, I mostly focused on smaller houses, and suburban stuff. These homes, though, were full of architectural detailing, and were done in many "mock" architectural styles, such as mock tudor, mock tuscan, etc. After that, I also made a bunch of nice shopping centers, and mixed use developments, which I used to recreate many of the master planned communities and suburban areas in Houston.
Then, SC4 came out. I originally wanted to do my entire suburban thing with SC, too, but with the way the game was set up, it was nearly impossible, since the BAT had not come out yet, and all of the commute bugs, etc involved would crush my visions of sprawl, so, I then put my focus on skyscrapers, and such. Of course, I had always been a fan of architecture, especially since we began looking at houses back in 2001. That is where most of my SC3K inspiration came from, since many of the homes in the Houston area feature unique mock architecture (I say "mock" architecture many times, since they attempt to emulate various architectural styles, without actually completely copying it, which reduces cost, and allows for "mass production" of such abodes.).
My enrolment in Architectural Graphics, CADI and CAD II (which I just finished) did not hurt, either. Of course, to sum it all up, I BAT because I love having control over customizable stuff. I always loved seeing my own creations inside a game, especially since the days when I would customize war vehicles for the game Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. And, I always did it my way!
What is your favorite time of day for BATting?
Any, as long as I am not sleeping, eating, taking care of business, doing other forms of recreation, etc. I do not, contrary to popular belief, BAT all day. My best work usually takes place at night, though, when it is cool (since the Texas summer, coupled with my heat-producing computer can make my workplace quite uncomfortable), and when it is quiet. Rendering, which takes several hours, is done overnight. Smaller BATs are rendered whenever I take care of other things. Multitasking is great!
What do you like doing in your free time?
Besides BATting, I like to read up on architecture, which my bookshelf can attest to (especially with my ever growing collection of architecture related books and articles). I also like to surf online, on Simtropolis (of course), architectural websites, etc. In the evenings, I sometimes like to take nice bike rides around the neighborhood (which gives me about 30 minutes to an hour to render stuff) because, after all, one should not be sedentary, and on the computer all day long.
On these biking sorties, I like to check things out... such as the nearby golf course, certain wooded areas, etc., since I like to explore. Occasionally, if I can get a ride in town(I usually do this with a friend), I like to do some urban exploring. Either by car, rail, or foot, I like to explore the great city of Houston. This is another source of ideas for me. TV is not really much of a thing for me anymore, since most of the modern day television offerings, frankly, are garbage. I do watch the occasional episode of CSI and Law & Order, as well as a few old shows, such as MacGuyver where the main character makes weapons and devices out of everyday objects, etc. You don't really see good stuff like that anymore. Oh, and I like to chat!
What is it that keeps you BATting?
The ideas never stop coming. Plus, I like to "develop" my city, rather than simply play it, and in many of the cities today, exciting new mixed use projects/skyscraper projects are being proposed and built in many cities across the US (such as Victory in Dallas, Atlantic Station in Atlanta, The Pavilions in Houston, etc.), and I like emulating these developments in my game. My lofts (on the STEX) are similar to those in such developments that can be found in Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta. Also, my love of architecture keeps me BATting, of course.
Where do you get all your inspiration for BATting from?
Everywhere. Of course, most of my inspiration comes from my home town of Houston, Texas (as you can tell from many of my older towers, which have an obvious Houston influence). Plus, with the emergence of new mixed use projects(as stated above) in Houston, as well as other cities, the ideas never stop coming. Oh, and yes, I DO in fact get a lot of inspiration from Atlanta. Atlanta has a lot of beautiful post-modern buildings, particularly, those designed by late architect Phillip Johnson, who is one of my favorites, due to his consistent post-modern flair. Other architectural firms of inspiration include: Kohn Pedersen Fox, SOM, Sir Norman Foster, Murphy/Jahn, Renzio Piano, etc.
Who is your favorite BATter?
That nod would have to go to Oneil_1, simply because his BATs are absolutely beautiful and well made. From day one, his buildings have always shown consistent quality, and elegant design (along the lines of postmodernism, which is my favorite style). Plus, he is so quick to adapt his style, while still staying along the lines of postmodernism (ie, his BATs for the NDEX marina project).
What is your favorite BAT on the STEX?
I don't really know, lol. Many of them are good, but, my favorites include the stuff by Oneil_1, and NDEX, of course...
What's your favorite Maxis building in SC4, and why?
The one that looks like the Messeturm in Frakfurt, Germany. I forgot what it is called, lol, since I rarely use MAXIS towers anymore. I love it, due to its post-modern design.
Who do you enjoy working with, and why?
Besides myself(j/k), I'd say every working person on NDEX. Every member has their own unique style, and character. Of course, sometimes, things can get a bit tense, but, alas, all teams go through such times.
Who have you enjoyed working with the most?
I would have to say N747. At first, we were both fierce enemies, particularly, back when the BAT first came out, and I was a stumbling ***** when it came to detailing, architecture in general, etc.
Thankfully, these have been permanently deleted from my hard drive(but, they are on a disc, just in case..) However, after a fair amount of resistance, I began to actually talk to N747 (via ST chat),on how I could improve my creations. It was a long and arduous process, with many of the consultations lasting into the early morning hours, but, after multitudes of decimated splines, exploded meshes, and blood, sweat, and tears (along with the occasional late night dose of caffeine, and snacks) we finally got my style established! I can never thank N747 enough for all of his help, and hours we spent tinkering and tweaking.
What project have you enjoyed working on the most?
I'm not too sure, really, since I have not really done any big "projects" in the past. All I do is model the thing, and then, it's off to be modded.
Any helpful tips for budding BATters?
Search! ST has plenty of information on BATting. I, personally, have developed quite a strange modeling method that no one seems to understand(at least that's what everyone I've tried to teach has told me, lol). I am a horrible instructor, because some things just cannot be put into words. I tend to think empirically, so, no set theory, or frameset can be used to explain certain things. Oh, and yes, you should also try downloading a few of my GMAX scenes on the exchange. If one cannot teach through words, then one must teach through example. Besides, it is easier for some people to learn through a hands-on experience.
What made you choose SimCity 4 over the more popular [sims] games that are out there?
I did not really like the concept of controlling the more boring aspects of things, since we all live life already, and playing life like that seems agonizingly boring. Sure, one can design the house, but the spectrum is sort of narrow. I like SC4 because one has control over more things. SC4 for me is not really a "mayor" type of thing- it is more of a city planner/developer type of thing.
Many BATters, myself included, don't play SC4 any more, how about you?
Oh, I still do play SC4. I am actually working on a region right now, Montaukshire, which is supposed to be a full scale American style metro, without certain negative aspects, such as crime, poverty, lack of education, congestion(hence, my ultra freeways) etc. Essentially, it is "the great urban experiment". I don't just test my BATs - I actually use them. I only play for about an hour or two a day, though, since I have been diversifying my activities lately.
What do you want next from Maxis?
A well designed SC5, with BAT, of course. OH, and the new BAT preferably should be integrated into GMAX once again, so we can use our SC4 creations in SC5!
What other games do you play?
There are other games?
What kind of music do you listen to?
I do not really listen to much music. I sometimes listen to the occasional video game soundtrack, or remix, but, other than that, I usually prefer...Silence...of course.
What is your favorite website?
Simtropolis, of course, for many reasons, and that would be too many to list here. I also like skyscrapercity.com, which is a great place for ideas, as well as information. I have a bunch of other sites, too, but, they might be considered boring by you people(blogs, cartoons, etc.).
Do you have any bad habits, and if so, what are they?
I tend to sleep late (since I like doing things at night, when it is quiet, and cool) and thus wake late, which tends to ruin the flow of a certain thing called life. That habit must be broken, of course, since I am going to college soon, but, for now, a full summer waits ahead of me so, bring out the tankers of midnight oil!
What's your favorite building in real life?
I don't really know... I tend to have a strong preference for anything post-modern, though, since post-modern architecture is timeless. Post-modern architecture is a movement that avoids all of the negative aspects of the past, while retaining neoclassical and timeless design elements, and combining them with new design features and technologies. Thus, my favorites are such buildings like the Williams Tower in Houston, 191 Peachtree in Atlanta, and 900 N Michigan in Chicago.
Do you have a specific dream or achievement you'd like to accomplish in your lifetime? Also, What can you see yourself doing in the future, job-wise?
I want to become an architect of course. Besides that, I'd also like to become a developer, creating new urban environments in places that really do not have any (such as Houston). Of course, it would be unique. That's one of my main goals... to be unique; to develop my own style. As for other goals/dreams, there is no limit to those, and hopefully, I will dream up something particularly grand, as the future has no limits. The sky is not even a limit. Finally... please release the BATs! A. Silence, Knave!
And that concludes the interview with DuskTrooper, special thanks to him for taking his time to answer my questions. Thanks to the readers, too, and remember to look out for interviews with other founding members of NDEX, in the near future!