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T Wrecks

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  1. T Wrecks liked an article by rsc204, Modding Automata into Props   
    Have you ever wanted to use one of the in-game automata as a prop in lotting? Well it's actually really simple, all you need to do is create a prop exemplar that links to the installed automata model. You can even duplicate the model and make rotated versions. Unlike normal SC4Models, automata are special because fully 3D models are used in game.
     
    However to aid you in making automata as props, I've included here a template for the Bus Automata. I will use this as an example, and walk through the modifications required to make whatever bus automata you are using. But the principles explained here can be adapted to props for any S3D 3D model that you want as a prop. Note all models are S3D, but not all S3D models are the 3D ones.
     

     
    In the example above you can see the Basic Prop Exemplar for the default Bus Automata. The IID* of this model is 0x10620000. This is the same ID used in the Resource Key Type 0 field of the prop exemplar.
     
    *IID = Instance ID, as in Type, Group and Instance. For all 3D models the same Type and Group ID is normally used, hence we only need to worry about the Instance ID when dealing with these models.
     
    Any models which over-ride the Maxis defaults, must have the same ID as the originals. Therefore it's usually easy to know which IDs we are looking for. Vester has compiled a handy list of most Maxis Automata here.
     
    The example shown above references the default Bus Model. Without further modification, you can now use this prop to place your Bus Automata on lots. But in the included template DAT, there are a further 3 Prop Exemplars, linked to 3 S3D model files. These S3D files need to be replaced by duplicates of the actual Bus Automata you want to make into props. Since those included are merely templates.
     
    Copying your custom Bus Automata.
     
    These additional prop exemplars need to link to rotated models. At FAR-L, FAR-R and Diagonal positions. If you want to use these, you need to find the DAT containing your Bus Automata. Open that file, whilst keeping the included file opened as well.
     
    Copy the S3D of the Bus Model. Be careful to get the whole bus, not the model with the lights. Paste this below an existing S3D model in my file.  Right click the template S3D model and select "Copy Entry ID".  Right click the replacement S3D model and select "Paste Entry ID".  Right click the template S3D model, select "Remove File". We don't need this anymore.  
    So that's one S3D model replaced with your custom one. If you do it this way, all the prop exemplars and textures from the existing model are now automatically linked together, saving a lot of work.
     
    Repeat the process for the remaining two S3D templates. Save your modified file. You can optionally rename the Prop Exemplars to better suit your model.
     
    Rotating unique model instances with Model Tweaker.
     
    Now we need to rotate the models, because right now our copies are still straight. For this, you need Coego's Excellent Model Tweaker. Open the modified DAT file using Model Tweaker.
     
    Highlight the following S3D models in turn and use the Rotate Models option with the following settings for each:
     
    S3D IID 0x20620000 FAR-L        -    Counter-Clockwise / Free = 18.5 S3D IID 0x30620000 FAR-R        -    Clockwise / Free = 18.5 S3D IID 0x40620000 Diag             -    Clockwise / Free = 45  
    Now save the file. Your props will now appear in the Lot Editor for use. Bear in mind that such props may not show correctly in the Lot Editor. But they will appear in game, all four props link back to the original model's textures. So to use them, you must keep the file with the automata installed.
    BusAutomata_as_Props.zip
  2. T Wrecks liked an article by NMUSpidey, STEX 100,000,000 DLs Interview with Jasoncw   
    As one of the most prolific, experienced BATers out there, my next interviewee worked hard to bring the Midwest to life in SimCity 4 with the Barry Sanders Project, which has since become mipro.  Calling the great (and underrated) American state of Michigan home, Jasoncw has been BATing for longer than I have even been active.  His buildings are realistic, detailed, and look just awesome in my cities, and probably yours, too!  So, without wasting any more of your time, Jasoncw!
     
    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?
     
    Jasoncw: My first involvement with SimCity was the original. I had to have my brother start the game using the command line in DOS. I’d start a new city (usually Jasonville or something similar), plop the airport, and then fill an area with roads, because a cluster of 4-way stops looked like a parking lot. And then I’d have no money and that would be the end of it. For SC2K I was old enough to actually play the game.
     
    Before SC3K came out I was so blown away by the graphics that I told my friend the resolution was so high that you could even see inside the windows. That wasn't completely true, but compared to SC2K's graphics it might as well have been. I had a demo of the game where you could build a city, but only for about 20 minutes before it would kick you out, making you start over next time. I played it for hours on end before finally getting the full game.
     
    ST: What aspect of SC4 do you enjoy most – what keeps you coming back?
     
    Jasoncw: Considering how rarely I actually play the game, the answer would be BATing, but the truth is that if it weren't for the community I wouldn't be BATing, so it’s the community that keeps me coming back.
     
    ST: Do you recall the first plugin you installed?
     
    Jasoncw: I don’t, but I do have fond memories of certain early plugins. The Liberty Building, Buffalo City Hall, and Niagara Mohawk Building, by Sabrethooth78, the Chicago Tribune Building by Prepo, and Western Investments by ONeil_1. Pegasus’s Garbage Chute was both very useful and very funny.
     
    ST: What led you to Simtropolis at first? Can you remember your initial impressions of the site?
     
    Jasoncw: Despite being an active SC4 player and a lifelong SimCity fan, my reason for coming to Simtropolis had nothing to do with SimCity! I wanted to learn 3d modeling and found gmax, and needed the BAT gamepack in order to render things. I came to Simtropolis for gmax tutorials.
     
    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?
     
    Jasoncw: SimMars was close to my original intention of modeling science fiction stuff, so I started making things for SimMars, but it didn't take very long for me to start making normal 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?
     
    Jasoncw: I’m pretty well organized and I keep everything, but somewhere along the line I lost a lot of my early stuff. Below are the earliest things I was able to find, I believe from fall and winter of 2004. My first upload was in spring of 2005. The BATs to the left were intended for SimMars.
     

     
    ST: Many of your BATs are released under the mipro (originally BSP) banner. For those who may not know much about mipro, can you elaborate on what you guys are about/how you are organized and what your role in it is?
     
    Jasoncw: mipro is dedicated to recreating buildings from the US State of Michigan, including Detroit.
     
    During the time that I was getting into BATing I was also getting into Detroit’s architectural history and development news, the BSP thread was very active, and a lot of the early BSP members were the same people I was interacting with on other urbanism/Detroit forums. So a lot of different things converged, and it was inevitable that I got involved. Unfortunately by the time I was producing BATs the original group was pretty much gone, but nofunk came along soon after, and JBSimio did our early custom queries.
     
    ST: Your list of uploads is populated by a large number of buildings from the Midwest. Are there any particular reasons for choosing to direct your efforts in this direction?
     
    Jasoncw: To be honest I didn't realize that until you pointed it out! Obviously my mipro BATs are from the Midwest, but the rest I think are just a coincidence. A lot of my fictional BATs are loosely based on buildings from outside of the Midwest.
     
    ST: What is the thought process behind choosing what to create next?
     
    Jasoncw: It’s a combination of how much I like the building (or a style, if I'm going to make a fictional building), how well it fits into the game’s 16x16 meter grid, and how easy it would be to make.
     
    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?
     
    Jasoncw: I hate lotting, and I avoid projects where I have to do it.
     
    When I make a BAT I start off with the facade, which is the fastest, funnest, and most immediately rewarding part of the process. After that there’s a point where the entire building is modeled and the BAT is no longer a cluster of floating facades, and it’s nice to see the building come together as something close to its final form. I also love seeing the transformation from an untextured BAT to a textured BAT. And of course I like plopping the building in the game for the first time.
     
    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?
     
    Jasoncw: You’re going to throw me into an existential crisis! Why do I BAT??
     
    I absolutely appreciate the positive support I get. BAT releases are like a party, and comments, ratings, and downloads on the STEX are like confetti. In my thread, comments and upvotes can be encouraging when I’m struggling to be productive. And then there are times, especially during the Trixies, when people go beyond typical commenting and write very kind things. Most people go through their entire adult lives rarely experiencing the good will and appreciation that I experience regularly. People have been very generous to me.
     
    ST: You released your first BAT in 2005. 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?
     
    Jasoncw: My early BATs. For those, each one I worked very hard on, learned a lot, and I was improving a lot from BAT to BAT. My first uploaded BAT was Poirer's Pictures, and I probably spent 6 hours in Photoshop just trying to make a peach color that was similar to ones used in the game. Fisk Insurance was similar, I spent absurd amounts of time literally matching my BAT’s facade with Maxis’s Fisk Insurance. I’m also proud of Fisk Insurance (and some WIPs that never made it) where I first developed my glass texturing technique.
     
    After my early BATs, I’m most proud of the Penobscot Building. I started it in 2006, restarted it several times, and finally pushed through the difficult task of finishing it in 2014. Even counting my early BATs it’s the most hours I've put into a BAT.
     
    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?
     
    Jasoncw: There were things like LEGO and drawing, but SimCity most specifically lead me down the path to pursuing a career in architecture.
     
    But unfortunately I’m very unemployed. If you work in architecture, are located somewhere in the world where I can get by with English at first, and would like to consider hiring me, please contact me (I’m not joking!). I bring the same dedication to quality and personal engagement to architecture as I do to BATing.
     
    On a personal level I've become friends in real life with Nofunk and a few others, and I've enjoyed online friendships as well. If you get along well with someone here and live in the same area I recommend meeting up.
     
    ST: What advice would you give to a new member of this community who was planning on creating their first BAT?
     
    Jasoncw: The most important thing is that you have to feel it in your heart that you are capable of making great BATs.
     
    Then you have to understand that at first you’ll be bad, but you need to be patient and keep working and learning until you’re good. You can’t accept ‘bad’ as your final result.
     
    And then, more practically, start a BAT thread, follow other people’s BAT threads, and learn how to find existing information (be a resourceful self-learner). And don’t be afraid to ask questions. As long as you've done your due diligence, BATers won’t mind helping you out, and it’s a nice way to build relationships.
     
    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.).
     
    Jasoncw: Over the years there have been certain CJers whose work I've enjoyed, but I don’t follow city journals closely enough to be able to list names without the risk of leaving out great CJers that I’m simply oblivious to. I like CJs that contain realistic urban areas, and that do a good job of using my BATs. I've never been able to get into story-based CJs though.
     
    You've probably noticed that most BATers don't follow city journals, and that most CJers don't BAT. I respect the few that are able to do both well.
     
    I enjoy seeing my BATs used, so if you’re happy with the way you've used one of my buildings, you’re welcome to post it in my BAT thread.
     
    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?
     
    Jasoncw: When I see Odainsaker's BATs I think I get a glimpse of what it’s like for other people to see my BATs... especially those years-long “almost done” WIPs! Nofunk is an obvious answer to this question. Aaron Graham is very important to my cities. Vlasky does a great job. Don Miguel was very influential early on.
     
    My plugins folder is in a perpetual state of disrepair, but I don’t think anyone would be surprised about the types of things I have in there.
     
    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?
     
    Jasoncw: If you’d have told me all those years ago, I would be surprised. But moving forward from year to year there’s never been any indication that the community was about to die. At this point SimCity 4 has gotten so big that even when the day comes that it’s not very active, I think it will still linger on for a very long time.
     
    ST: Are there any games you play besides SC4? What other hobbies do you have away from BATing and SimCity?
     
    Jasoncw: I mostly play older games, a lot of RPGs on the SNES. The Earthbound/Mother series is one of my favorites. I play StarCraft 2 casually. I play the guitar. I like architecture of course. I used to draw and it’s something I’d like to get back into.
     
    Thank you very much for your time and for your great answers!
     
     
  3. T Wrecks liked an article by NMUSpidey, STEX 100,000,000 DLs Interview with bixel   
    SimCity 4 is a game that appeals to people living all over the world who want to build cities in wildly differing styles. Some have added content to enhance American-style building all the way back to colonial times. Others have created BATs for building classical European towns. Our next interviewee helps to make this possible with his incredible Hong Kong BATs. bixel's buildings are essential downloads for making any city with a hint of East Asia. They are what rice is to fried rice. They are what Peking duck is to Peking duck. They are what bell peppers and beef are to bell peppers and beef. Anyways, let's give a warm welcome to bixel!

    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?

    bixel: I think it was 2 years after SC4 was released. It was actually browsing the internet on SimCity 3000 modding that got me to purchase Simcity 4, and through that of course lead me to simtropolis.

    ST: What aspect of SC4 do you enjoy most – what keeps you coming back?

    bixel: The aspect to SC4 which extended the play-ability was actually [url="http://go.simtropolis.com/6242628/http://www.simpeg.com/forum/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=6"]Sim Peg's Garabage Chute!!! Without this mod, SC4 was similar to the earlier versions of the game, chasing down fires, fixing water problems, etc etc. While it is always a good method to keep players engaged with random scenarios I don't think SC4 would have been able to evolve into the "City Garden Building" game, which I feel is what the community actually uses SC4 for. Hence, city diaries and hours and hours of ocd-like city pruning and beautifying that we enjoy.

    ST: Do you recall the first plugin you installed?

    bixel: The 1st plugin were the official ones, like South Koreas 63 building.

    ST: What led you to Simtropolis at first? Can you remember your initial impressions of the site?

    bixel: That thirst for more buildings led me to Simtropolis to download more.

    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?

    bixel: NDEX plugins were, by far, the biggest influence. I had by then been learning 3DS Max and had been playing with the BAT at the time, so I felt I was ready. I wanted to do something NDEX-y but since commercial-office buildings were being made by several power artist groups I decided to try my hand at residentials.

    ST: Speaking of first steps, what was the very first thing that you modeled using the BAT? Do you still have a screen shot?

    bixel: The 1st release was a terrible, terrible residential skyscraper called the Liberte. It was very tall and pretty ugly, but had some detail that appealed to some users. This encouraged me more to release better and do better. It went through 3 versions I think in over 4 years. [NMUSpidey: Here's a link if you're curious.]

    ST: Your list of uploads is populated entirely by Hong Kong buildings. Are there any particular reasons for choosing to direct your efforts in this direction? Are they based upon real buildings, or are they true-to-life recreations?

    bixel: Since I was committed to adding much needed high density residentials to the game, I needed to find a style that was both realistic and exciting to look at. I had a couple of attempts of making fantasy buildings but they were ugly, so I used the internet to find inspiration. Right away I found Skyscraper Diagrams website and Hong Kong is the 4th featured city of architectural drawings. I chose HK because it was not Chicago or New York, which I felt the content was already saturated.

    ST: Most of your BATs are released under the HKABT banner. For those of us who may not know much about the Hong Kong/Asia BAT Team, can you elaborate on what your role with them was?

    bixel: Once I latched on the HK style, immediately my work improved and I met some friends through my work and other HK content that was being uploaded. Particularly Paul v. Montfort, Simfox and T-Wrecks. Paul and I formed the team and quickly gained some very amazing talent to help us populate the game with some visual style and content. My main role was simply encouragement and teaching some skills and methods when needed.

    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?

    bixel: When it comes to making content for Simcity 4, it is very different from making content for almost any other game. Simply because SC4 is NOT a 3D game but very cleverly uses images rendered at fixed angles to create an illusion of 3D, the camera is orthographic at preset angles. Because of this you must render your building at all 5 zoom levels at 4 different directions. For large buildings this can take hours, and if your lighting is bad, you have to render it again. My biggest projects were so huge I had my PC running for 2 days! By far the rendering process is the most tedious and stressful for me. Simply modelling the building gave me the most joy.

    ST: You released your first BAT in 2005. 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?

    bixel: For a short while I had many dedicated followers in HK sending me photos of buildings when I asked for them. They were very enthusiastic and would travel to many different locations to snap a few photos. Several times they would reply that they live in the building and where overjoyed to see them in game. That meant a lot to me and I was glad to bring them such joy.

    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?

    bixel: Making 3D custom content for SC4 has definitely allowed me to acquire new skills and land me some pretty interesting jobs. I think game modding is really a good starting point for any hobbyist looking to increase their skills and enter the industry. Counter-Strike is still one of the most played multiplayer games and it was a mod, same with DOTA.

    ST: What advice would you give to a new member of this community who was planning on creating their first BAT?

    bixel: My advice to anybody wanting to make content for SC4 or any 3D game is to watch and learn from Lyndia tutorials. I learned by myself and I picked up some very bad habits that are hard to get rid of. The worst is modelling solely from splines... because of that I would have to re-train myself to do anything other than a box. I can't do characters or curves at all! Broaden your ability to work in different platforms, Modo is very popular now as well.

    If you want to do more than just SimCity 4 seriously consider sharpening your UV-Unwrapping skills, upcoming generation games like Cities Skylines are different from the way they did things for SimCity 4. It will also help you find a job in the industry.

    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.).

    bixel: I don't follow any CJs but I do check them from time to time for inspiration and how to use NAM effectively . My favourite CJs are of course the HK re-creations and stuff with a lot of clever train and public transportation schemes.

    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?

    bixel: Most BATs I download are Euro/Asian style. I have no idea why but I can't do NY or Chicago stuff. I also am keen on parks and city beautification sets. I think there are many new content makers out there that have greatly increased the quality of output thanks to members ability to help each other and of course Simfox's BAT tools.

    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?

    bixel: I am NOT surprised SC4 has lasted this long. This game appeals to young and old and is also casual and OCD (Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder)(like Minecraft) at the same time. It is such a great game. Additionally, I don't want to get too socio-economic here but SC4 is able to expand with new players with an old PC or laptop, they don't need to spend $2000 on a new rig. For this reason i expect to see more people playing in many different parts of the world. New content in 12 years? Sure, SC4 still looks great, and the skills of the custom content makers have surpassed the default content.

    ST: Are there any games you play besides SC4? What other hobbies do you have away from BATing and SimCity?

    bixel: My biggest hobby right now is programming games, hopefully I will mature to an indie developer! games I find myself playing mostly are Guild Wars2, Hearts of Iron III, and World of Tanks. I also enjoy small indie games like FTL. I'm really looking forward to Cities: Skylines. I have been following the dev guys closely and I will be making content for it.
  4. T Wrecks liked an article by SimCoug, 100 Million STEX DL: An Interview with nofunk   
     
    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?
    nofunk:  I must have bought the game soon after it was released, because I've been on Simtropolis since August of 2003. I remember finding the game much more challenging and realistic than SimCity 3000. In fact, I seem to remember being a little turned off by it, because I struggled initially to grow a successful city.
     
    I've played every version of SimCity except for Societies. I even have SimCity BuildIt on my iPhone. I've been playing SimCity since it's original incarnations on the PC and Super Nintendo -- I'm a veteran SimCity player! I've also played other Sims games, but none of them has kept my interest like SimCity has.
     
     
    ST:  What aspect of SC4 do you enjoy most – what keeps you coming back?
    nofunk:  Hands down, the custom content is what keeps me coming back. I love the fact that you can take all this amazing content developed by some really creative individuals -- and even create your own buildings and lots -- and make your city truly unique. There are so many great maps, BATs, lots -- the NAM!! -- that together make the game so much more dynamic and exciting.
     
     
    ST:  Before we jump into the all the custom content questions, I’m curious… what is your favorite Maxis lot/BAT?
    nofunk:  Some of my favorites are Cameron Cameras, Brown & Sons, Buechner Apartments, and the Long Building. Of course, they're all Pre-War buildings similar to what I BAT.
     
     
    ST:  Do you recall the first plugin you installed?
    nofunk:  I don't, but it was probably something by Pegasus. There wasn't much in the way of custom content when I first joined Simtropolis.
     
     
    ST:  What led you to Simtropolis at first?  Can you remember your initial impressions of the site?
    nofunk:  Haha -- that was so long ago! I remember feeling sort of unsure of what to do on the site; at that time I didn't really know forum etiquette, so I laid pretty low. It was also a much quieter site back then.
    I'm also not sure what led me to the site initially: I'm sure it wasn't for custom content, because I didn't even know what that was when I first started playing and first joined Simtropolis.
     
     
    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?
    nofunk:  I remember thinking about creating buildings long before I actually started doing so. And I experienced quite a few false starts before ever making something that bore any semblence of the thing I was trying to create. I'm not sure there was any particular BAT or lot that inspired me to start creating; I think it was more just a general desire to have in the game some of the buildings I really loved in real life. I eventually ended up joining one of JasconCW's BAT Schools and making it most of the way through. That gave me enough technical know-how to start learning and creating on my own. The rest is history!
     
     
    ST:  Speaking of first steps, what was the very first thing that you modeled using the BAT?  Do you still have a screen shot?
    nofunk:  The very first thing I modeled using the BAT was a really terrible attempt at the Burton Memorial Tower on the University of Michigan's campus. And I do have a screen shot!

    I guess it wasn't so bad for a first attempt, but I've come a long way!
     
     
    ST:  Tell me a bit about the Barry Sanders Project (BSP).  I know that you and Jasoncw have been the caretakers of this group (and it has since been renamed mipro) for some time now, but I believe it got started all the way back in 2004.  When did you become part of this BAT group and what are some early memories of the BSP?
    nofunk:  The Barry Sanders Project was probably one of the first BAT groups organized around a city, but it took a long time for the group to actually produce anything. I think it was started with a lot of ambition, but when I first began posting in the thread (sometime in 2006) it had pretty much become a social forum. There was a lot of talk about making BATs, but very little action.
    When I really starting participating in the BSP, I think Jasoncw had just released his Detroit Free Press building, and JBSimio was working on some things as well. Wolverine was working on Ford Field or something similar. And I started small on a few buildings in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I spent most of my time. Since then the BSP has died out, been resurrected by me and Jasoncw (and later SimHoTToDDy), and then reincarnated as mipro. Since then there have been 56 uploads by the BSP/mipro!
     
     
    ST:  Most of your BATs focus on buildings found in the Upper Midwest (US).  What is it about the area that draws you to recreate some of the great buildings found there?
    nofunk:  Well, I've lived in metro Detroit most of my life, and now live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both are old, post-industrial, rust-belt cities, with a deep sense of history and culture. I guess I just really love the feel of old rust-belt cities -- the pre-war architecture, the grit and grime of the old factories and rail lines and infrastructure, and the determination and eternal optimism of the folks who still live here. I've thought about moving out of the Midwest a few times -- to Seattle or Boston or Washington, DC -- but my heart will always be in the Midwest, and I'll probably always find myself back here!
     
     
    ST:  Even though you focus on one region, you have BATed a wide range of buildings, from towering skyscrapers to small apartments, and from W2W shops to industrial behemoths.  How do you end up choosing projects?  Are you inspired by walking around a town and seeing the architecture up close, or is as simple as seeing a picture on the web?
    nofunk:   Occasionally I'll get talked into BATing something I wouldn't normally pick on my own, or I'll BAT something that fills a need in my game, but most of the time I just BAT what I like. I find inspiration everywhere, but particuarly from visiting cities and walking around and discovering buildings that really stand out to me. It's certainly easier to recreate a building that I've seen in person, been able to study, and take reference photos to capture all the little details.
     
     
    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?  What about your favorite?
    nofunk:  Least favorite is definitely lotting -- it's just such a tedious process searching through all the poorly labeled Maxis props to find what you need for a lot. On the other hand, my favorite parts would be the excitement of first picking out a building to BAT, and then that moment near the end when the modeling is done and the textures are coming together and I run a preview render and it actually looks like the building I was trying to create!
     
     
    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?  Do you get a thrill seeing your models pop up in CJs?
    nofunk:  The Simtropolis community is absolutely what keeps me going. I enjoy spending time developing a building from scratch and seeing it come together, but what I enjoy even more is the amazing feedback and responses I get on Simtropolis when I'm working on something! I've been pretty quiet on Simtropolis the past few years, but we really do have a great community here and it means a lot to me to be a part of that and share in the excitement of such a great game.
     
    And I sure do get a thrill when I see my BATs in people's CJs!
     
     
    ST:  You have been BATing wonderful models for almost 9 years now.  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?
    nofunk:  There are three BATs that I'm particularly proud of, all three because they required me to persevere. Cadillac Tower I started not once, not twice, but three times before finally getting it right. I also think it has some of the best texturing I've ever done.
     
    I'm proud of Carew Tower because it was such a huge undertaking -- by far the biggest BAT I've ever made -- and it required so much attention to detail in terms of both the modeling and the texturing.
     
    Finally, I'm proud of One Detroit Center, which was another big project that also forced me to step outside of my comfort zone of usual pre-war BATs and work on a building with a completely different architectural style and need for new textures and materials than I was used to.
     
     
    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?
    nofunk:  I work in the urban planning field, and BATing has definitely helped me become more familiar with architectural ideas, terminology and the design process, which comes up more frequently than I had expected when working in a big city. So much of city planning is focused on site development, which means constructing buildings, and requires you to review plans and renderings and in those cases, having some understanding of how they come together helps.
     
     
    ST:  What advice would you give to a new member of this community who was planning on creating their first BAT?
    nofunk:  Stick with it!
     
    It takes time to develop the skills required to create really good BATs, and at times the process can be incredibly tedious and frustrating (I can't tell you how many times I've had to just walk away from a project for a few hours... days... weeks... before revisiting it). And keep learning and trying to improve! My BATing process and the quality of my work is dramatically different from when I first started. And I'm still learning new things! There's always room for improvement.
     
     
    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?
    nofunk:  Of course I really love the BATs that Jasoncw makes, although he has a modernist streak that doesn't always appeal to me. I also really like Aaron Graham's work -- his work has improved so much since he started BATing! I've also always loved Odainsaker's work -- he hasn't put out much, but what he has released has been just impeccable. And Spa has been making great content for smaller city and neighborhood commercial districts for as long as I can remember!
     
    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?
    nofunk:  There have been a few times when I thought that maybe Simtropolis was running out of stream, but ultimately I'm not surprised how long it's lasted: when you have a group of people who are this passionate about something, that something doesn't die easily. As long as people stil care about the game, the community, and creating for it, I don't see any reason why Simtropolis can't be around for 12 more years!
     
     
    ST:  Cities:Skylines... have you played it yet?  If not, what are you first impressions based on the mountain of feedback available here on Simtropolis or around the web?
    nofunk:  I have not played Cities:Skylines yet, but I’ve seen plenty of screen shots from it and it looks amazing! I’m excited to install it and start building my dream city.
     
     
    ST:  12 years later, many are calling this game the 'successor' to SC4 and the city building genera.  What are your thoughts?
    nofunk:  It certainly seems like the game could be SC4's successor: it’s really the first city simulation game we have seen since SC4 that actually intends to be a city simulator and not some strange Sims offshoot or awkward foray into social engineering! The graphics and gameplay seem realistic, and the opportunity for modding is exciting! And I’ve heard you can even plan out bus routes! It seems to me Cities:Skylines has many of the elements we all love about SC4 with even more realism and detail.
     
     
    ST:  It will take plenty time before C:S can rival the amount of custom content available for SC4, but the developers have really encouraged modding, and there are already many new buildings and 'assets' that can be found on Simtropolis and the steam workshop.  Are you encouraged to leap into C:S custom content?
    I've already talked to some folks who are actively working to develop custom content for C:S so I think the potential is huge for the game! I can't say whether or not I'll end up making custom content for C:S, but I also never imagined I'd make so much content for SC4, so who knows!
  5. T Wrecks liked an article by NMUSpidey, STEX 100,000,000 DLs Interview with Sabretooth78   
    While it has been a while since he has uploaded a file, our next BATer was creating custom content in our website's infancy. He was creating BATs before it was cool. Well, no, that's not true, creating BATs was always cool. Anyways, Sabretooth78's efforts center around the area he calls home in western New York state, with many BATs coming from Buffalo including the impressive Buffalo City Hall. Go ahead and check through his files, there is sure to be something there that you'll find interesting. But not yet, we have an interview to conduct. And now, Sabretooth78!
     
    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?
     
    Sabretooth78: I pre-ordered SC4, so I had it right at the beginning. I remember learning of it and pretty much instantly abandoning SC3k in anticipation. My involvement with the game dates back to SC2000 Deluxe on the Macintosh.
     
    ST: What aspect of SC4 do you enjoy most – what keeps you coming back?
     
    Sabretooth78: The fact that it's constantly changing; that you can come back to some point in the game a million times and it doesn't get boring. There's always something to fix or redo. It's like a sandbox or model railroad, only faster.
     
    ST: Do you recall the first plugin you installed?
     
    Sabretooth78: Not quite, but aside from the official download packages it was probably an "American Flag Park" from the official exchange.
     
    ST: What led you to Simtropolis at first? Can you remember your initial impressions of the site?
     
    Sabretooth78: I don't remember, there must have been some reference to it on the official forum. I remember having a tough time trying to figure out where things were so I left. A few months later (would have been August 2003) I came back and finally registered.
     
    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?
     
    Sabretooth78: BAT had recently been released and I was curious about it but hadn't done anything with it. I was living in New Hampshire at the time and had a postcard tacked to my wall at work showing an aerial view of Buffalo, NY. I remember looking at it and thinking the then-HSBC tower should be a pretty easy building to pull off.
     
    ST: Speaking of first steps, what was the very first thing that you modeled using the BAT? Do you still have a screen shot?
     
    Sabretooth78: The first thing I actually modeled was a set of highway sound walls. There was a lack of good BATed walls available (there were some that had been made using Maxis props in Lot Editor) so I decided to attempt that myself for something to cut my teeth on.
     
    Unfortunately, any screen shots I had are long gone. I've changed ISPs several times in the intervening time. Haljackey had pulled up a couple images of an interchange I was modeling for the NAM back in 2005 over on SC4D, but I'm not sure if any others still exist.
     
    ST: Your list of uploads is populated by buildings from Buffalo, NY. Are there any particular reasons for choosing to direct your efforts in this direction?
     
    Sabretooth78: A few reasons. First, it's my hometown and where I now currently live, so there's the familiarity aspect. Another reason is that for being a relatively small city it has a pretty rich architectural heritage so there are plenty of different styles available to choose from. Another reason is simply that nobody else was doing it. This was around the time that quite a few city-centered groups were forming, with the Barry Sanders Project (Detroit, MI) and the Portland, OR groups probably being the most well-known.
     
    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?
     
    Sabretooth78: My least favorite part is that I tend to get too particular and bogged-down in details. Blowing a dimension of some feature which just cascades into other problems down the road is frustrating and I just don't have the freelance creativity to run with it; also as I like to build recreations as faithfully as possible given the limitations of the game. The best part, aside from finally uploading it and seeing it in use is just seeing it progress and develop.
     
    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?
     
    Sabretooth78: Ultimately my motivation is to see the finished product in the game, to build something that nobody else has. Comments are usually satisfying but it's not the basis of motivation. I build for myself, but I figure if I'm doing that then why not share it? It's quite satisfying to see the models in CJs, the "Show Us ..." threads and even if one just happens to show up in the background of some completely unrelated post like a bug thread or something.
     
    ST: You released your BATs in 2004. 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?
     
    Sabretooth78: My favorite is easily Buffalo City Hall. It's a very complex building and it was a lot of fun to make. I'll venture a guess that it was probably one of the premiere BATs available at the time of its release.
     
    I don't really have any interesting stories about the BATs themselves, but they did indirectly get me my current job. A few forumers at Skyscrapercity had seen my work and eventually through one of those connections I started at my current position in 2008. Same line of work as before, just a better place to work.
     
    ST: Have you considered going back and revisiting any of your old BATs, or perhaps adding to your works?
     
    Sabretooth78: Yes, that was actually the basis of deciding to get back into BATing. Honestly, when I returned to the game almost 2 years ago, I didn't really want to have anything to do with it, but eventually the itch returned. I currently have 2 all-new projects in the works (shown in my thread) and another which I've only put one night in so far in order to get started. Ideally, I would like to release all-new models for all of my old BATs to bring them more in line with the current standards for BATs. Things have come a long way since 2004.
     
    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?
     
    Sabretooth78: Not so much, if anything it's the other way around. I deal a lot with CAD on a professional basis, so if anything it enables me to be able to pick up a 3D modeling package and be able to find my way around perhaps a little better than if I didn't have that background. Interestingly, we do have a guy in the office who spends a lot of time making renderings in Sketchup and he was pretty impressed with what I showed him. That said, it's a hobby and not something I think I'm good enough to actually be able to do as a career.
     
    ST: What advice would you give to a new member of this community who was planning on creating their first BAT?
     
    Sabretooth78: Take your time, do the tutorials and listen to feedback. The software is intimidating, but you don't need to know it all right away, and for the most part you'll never touch 90% of its capabilities no matter how advanced you get.
     
    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.).
     
    Sabretooth78: My favorite CJs at the moment are probably packersfan's "District of Wenzel" and wwetom1's "Stone Creek", but there are several that I follow on a consistent basis. I like journals that are realistic, believable and generally parallel my own playing style. I get bored with skyscraper jungles and prefer to see gradual transitions, well-planned out developments and good transportation networks. As a roadway engineer myself, that's easily the most interesting part of the whole game to me.
     
    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?
     
    Sabretooth78: RDQ, spa and the mipro team are the ones that come to mind immediately but I've been following most of the active threads on-and-off over the past half-year or so. Apparently, my most recent download was Don Miguel's "Storefront Church". I haven't been able to get into the game much this year on account of gearing up my CJ reboot as well as just being generally busy.
     
    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?
     
    Sabretooth78: If I had told asked 12 years ago that it would still be going strong today, I might have been surprised but really there was no point along the line where it seemed an end was in sight. I think the secret is that SC4 is, despite its many shortcomings, the best and most complete offering in the genre. I think there probably will still be new content 12 years from now, but who really knows? While the community doesn't seem nearly as active as it was back then, it's still strong, new content is constantly coming out and there always seem to be old-timers returning. I think as long as people can still run or emulate Windows XP, it'll be around.
     
    ST: Are there any games you play besides SC4? What other hobbies do you have away from BATing and SimCity?
     
    Sabretooth78: I like to play Civilization IV and the Rollercoaster Tycoon series - other old games. Civ is nice for when I want to get in-depth with a game without all the "overhead" of SC4 in the form of maps, spreadsheets, etc. Yeah, when I play SC4 it's all-in. As for RCT, I haven't actually played that in a while but it's up there with the classics. I used to also be big into MS Flight Simulator, and have occasionally thought about trying out X-Plane.
     
    Other hobbies mostly involve projects around the house and eventually I want to get moving on a model railroad. I have over $1000 worth of kits in a closet that I've just never gotten to.
     
    ST: What question have I not asked that I should have?
     
    Sabretooth78: I think that just about covered it. I can't think of anything else at the moment.
     
    Thank you for taking the time to read through our questions, and extra-special thanks for taking the time to answer some of them. We appreciate your participation with this!