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!