Filling a much-needed niche, our next BATer focuses his energies on midrise, medium density apartment buildings. A man who calls Aaron City his home (or at least who calls his home Aaron City- it could just be a cute name), Aaron Graham's buildings are finely detailed and have proven popular over the years. His files collect reputation points like my floors collect crumbs and the variety of designs and variations of his uploads help to ensure that repetition becomes a thing of the past, a most noble effort. And now, Aaron Graham!
ST: When did you first get SC4, and what do you remember about your first experiences with the game? Was SC4 your first involvement with SimCity, or did you already have a history with the sim games?
Aaron Graham: I believe I bought SC4 back in late 2007 or early 2008. My first experiences with SC4 was amazing, I loved the fact that the graphics were good there is a day/night cycle and I can make a metropolis by combining other neighboring cities, where you can see sims walking and cars moving though out the game. SC4 was not my first involvement with SimCity. I had bought SimCity 3000 a year before SC4. I loved the game when I first starting playing, it was a lot better than playing with toy cars on the floor and making buildings out of cardboard. In SimCity the cars can move by themselves and the people can walk the street and go to work. It was a life-changing experience for me from all the manual labor.
ST: What aspect of SC4 do you enjoy most – what keeps you coming back?
Aaron Graham: The aspect of SC4 I enjoy the most is the ability is to make custom content for the SC4 community and to follow other SC4 custom content creators threads in the Simtropolis forums. If I slowed down or stopped BATing for SC4 to play the game my aspect for enjoying SC4 would be to build up a New York type city and the upcoming projects to be released on STEX.
ST: Do you recall the first plugin you installed?
Aaron Graham: I can't remember the first plugin I installed, was but it was over at SC4Devotion and it was some of Masacrs BATs. Here at Simtropolis I believe it was a New York City BAT, most likely the Don Miguel Row Houses.
ST: What led you to Simtropolis at first? Can you remember your initial impressions of the site?
Aaron Graham: What led me to Simtropolis at first were a couple youtube videos back in the summer of 2008. The Youtube videos compelled me to find out Simtropolis and it's custom content.
ST: Describe your progression into the world of SC4 custom content. Was it a particular lot or BAT that inspired you to take the first step?
Aaron Graham: My progression into the world of SC4 custom content was pretty fast, any BATs with high quality I was likely to download. Most of the buildings I started off with were New York style buildings.
ST: Speaking of first steps, what was the very first thing that you modeled using the BAT? Do you still have a screen shot?
Aaron Graham: My very first BAT was an apartment building, I do not have any screen shots of it and it was never completed. The first BAT I completed was another apartment building, part of the New York tile set and I never uploaded it to Simtropolis because of an exporting error.
ST: Your list of uploads is populated pretty much completely by medium density/midrise style apartment buildings. Are there any particular reasons for choosing to direct your efforts in this direction?
Aaron Graham: The reason for me to BAT medium density/midrise style apartment buildings is because Simtropolis is unbalanced: the Simtropolis Exchange has an over abundance of commercial buildings. The Simtropolis Exchange has a lack in a number of things, especially residential apartments and industrial BATs.
ST: Most of your BATs are released under the NYBT banner. For those of us (including myself) who may not know much about the NY BAT Team, can you elaborate on what you guys are about/how you are organized and what your role with them is?
Aaron Graham: My role with NYBT is to make BATs from the state of New York, my other role is to make residential BATs for NYBT and to keep a balance in the game with the apartment buildings I have uploaded to STEX.
ST: I think most custom content creators would consider their work a hobby, but like anything in life, some parts are more fun than others. What do you consider your least favorite part of the BATing process? Your favorite?
Aaron Graham: One of my least favorite processes of BATing will be modeling molding details. The reason for that is that I want to make them look as good as possible for render. My favorite BATing process is starting the BAT, some may agree because I have started a number of projects and have not finished them. I looking forward to finishing them, but sometimes the smallest thing can cause me to put the building on hold.
ST: Since this is a sort of hobby (in the sense that custom content creators are not paid for their work), what keeps you motivated to continue releasing new creations for the SC4 community to enjoy? How much do comments in the download section mean to you? Is it exciting to see your models used in the CJs of others?
Aaron Graham: What motivates me to continue to release new creations for SC4 is the warm comments of the Simtropolis members. Another thing is the reputation thumbs up; that also motivates me. If I have over ten thumbs up I know I have done something great and worth downloading, since I do not get paid to BAT for the community the thumbs up is like a was to payment for me.
ST: You released your first BAT in 2010. Is there any one of your creations that you are particularly proud of? Are there any fun stories or facts relating to some of your works that we don’t know about?
Aaron Graham: Most of my creations I am proud of, The Manhattan style apartments I am very proud of because most SC4 custom content creator does not make buildings like that, me making that style makes me unique from a number of SC4 custom content creators.
ST: Has your experience BATing had any influence on your personal or professional life? Are there any skills that you have developed over your BATing career that have helped you beyond the world of SC4?
Aaron Graham: My BATting experience has no effect on my life as of now, but I would love to take it to architecture designing and city planning.
ST: What advice would you give to a new member of this community who was planning on creating their first BAT?
Aaron Graham: The advice I would give to a new member of this community who is planning on creating their first BAT will be to keep trying and keep pushing forward. There were times I thought I could never look like a professional. BATing buildings depends on the size and complexity, and that's not all you have to worry about: you will need to build your experience on texturing, that section of BATing can take time to master, too.
ST: Simtropolis is organized into ‘player’ and ‘builder’ categories. Regarding the ‘player’ section, do you have any favorite CJers that you enjoy following? What are your favorite SC4 ‘scenes’ (i.e., towering metropolises, urban sprawl, rural landscapes, etc.).
Aaron Graham: I enjoy following SimCoug's CJ, I love his history timeline on the development of his cities. Another CJ I enjoying following is from time to time is Wweton1's Stone Creek CJ, I love the layout of his cities, he is definitely a CJer who makes me want to play the game.
ST: On the ‘builders’ side, do you have any favorite BATers that you enjoy following? If you still play SC4, what was your most recent download from the STEX?
Aaron Graham: My favorite BATers are Marcszar, Don Miguel, nofunk, JasonCW, SimFox, Madhatter106, and SimHoTToDDy, these guys shaped who I am to day, they made me the one of the greatest mid-rise residential BATers ever. Right lately I enjoy following the JasonCW, Hutson, and Reddonquixote threads, they are the few great BATers that are still posting updates of there work. I have not played SimCity for a while, but I have started up the game to place my building on the map to get screenshots for an upload to STEX. My most recent download was TWrecks' "IRM W2W Moore Transfer & Storage Co by jestarr".
ST: SimCity 4 has been out for over 12 years now. Are you surprised that this community is still going strong all these years later? What do you think is the secret to its longevity? Do you think there will still be new content being created 12 years from now?
Aaron Graham: I am surpried that this community is still alive an well and still going strong after all these years. The secret to Sim City 4 longevity has to be it's collection of custom content. The collection of BATs and Mods is overwhelming, and not just that but there are still more custom to be uploaded to STEX.
ST: Are there any games you play besides SC4? What other hobbies do you have away from BATing and SimCity?
Aaron Graham: The games I play besides SC4 are Company Of Heroes, and PS3 Call Of Duty Black Ops 2. Another hobby I have away from BATing and Sim City is making Hip-Hop Beats.
ST: What question have I not asked that I should have?
Aaron Graham: The Questions are below.
What made you incorporate variations to your BATs?
Aaron Graham: The reason to incorporate variations to my BATs was to kill the repetition of growable buildings.