Interview with Dirk, The Dirktator of Simtropolis. The most loved man of the Simtropolis community, and founder of the Simtropolis site as we know it today.
Interview with Dirk, Founder of Simtropolis.com
- Interview conducted by Thunderman
So Dirk, when and how was the idea born which began the Simtropolis site?
I guess it was November, 2002 on a dark and stormy night... Conspiring with my cohorts from the SimGolf community, we started a SimCity 4 forum with the colourful name of "Simcity-4.net"!
At the time, with months before the actual release of Simcity 4, 95% of the chatter on the forum belonged to the five of us. It was kinda silly but really fun.
Simtropolis eventually emerged from just a forum to an information site, with a little luck and some help from others, we started making some ripples in the SimCity community. I won't forget how back in our early days, big sites like SimGothia helped us make a name for ourselves.
Which part of simtropolis do you like the most?
Forums! Naturally, to me they are the most involved, the most interesting and the most engaging part of the site. Our community *was* our forums, this was before any "ST Exchange" was ever built. I still think it's true today. Forums are where I met all my closest online buddies. Forums are the root of everything at Simtropolis, it's where the greatest minds of Simcity met, and together, formed some of the greatest modding groups ever seen in the entire history of the internet! Ok, so forgive me for hyperbolizing, but I'm really proud of our forum community!
What are your best memories and/or events that you've seen on this site during all those years?
The Simtropolis Star is by far a highlight. Some of the Moderators and Admins conspired one Christmas to officially register with the International Star Registry, a star called "Simtropolis". That was pretty sweet.
When Maxis flew Rybolton and I down to visit them in their Oakland office was a good time. Not only did I get to meet Rybo himself, but we got to hang with the development team and sit and chat with the father of SimCity himself, Will Wright. We came back with photos, stories, screenshots the first previews of Rush Hour for the community. Also, being able to meet the webmaster of SimGothia in person was pretty cool too. The three of us drove around San Francisco all night, which was a blast.
Do you have any idea on how this site has become so popular, looking at a listing of 100.000(!) members?
Build it and they will come! They come for the great collection of user-created lots, buildings, maps and mods of course! Thankfully, a lot of people love building stuff for other people to download, and there are a lot of people who love downloading! Of course, our forums are still thriving, with a few hundred regular members and lurkers logged on daily.
What is the worst thing you've seen happen with or on the Simtropolis site?
Sure, we get some high-drama on here from certain characters, but they are just part of the ebb and flow of virtual life, and it's easy to deal with it. The scary day when we had our bandwidth plug pulled was a pretty grim one. So I guess anything that brings us close to inexistence is pretty lousy.
Have you ever made a City journal by yourself? And if not, are you planning to make one?
Nope, never made a City Journal. I get a kick out of seeing how other people build their cities. The truth is, I feel wholly under qualified to post a City Journal!
What do you do in real life besides web mastering Simtropolis?
For work, I am the art director for an interactive media company. I'm a big gamer, I'm on Xbox Live, if anyone wants to buddy up some time, just PM me!
How much time do you spend working on the Simtropolis site?
I get a lot of help from the other Admins, Moderators, and Chat Ops on day to day maintenance, and it's usually minimal, and we typically have a lot of fun, though some of the tasks are pretty thankless, I'm really grateful for the staff for their daily work.
Simtropolis is almost going into it's fourth year, do you have any new ideas or big plans for the site for the upcoming year?
Oh yes, as has always been the case, each year comes another major revision and/or redesign. When exactly, I can't say (I just don't know, not trying to be mysterious) but you can expect a point-five update to the site in the coming weeks.
What do you find more important in life? Your work, or Simtropolis?
Well, work pays the bills and keeps me fed and sheltered and financially stable so that is somewhat important. I'm usually never far from Simtropolis, regardless of what's happening in life. As I've said before, Simtropolis has turned into my own version of a Simcity game.
If you were to be stranded on a desert island with 5 ST members, who would they be and why?
Let's see, my closest online friends, Skigeek, Rybolton, RalphaelNinja, Aronion and Samantha! Maybe being stranded on a deserted island with them would be kinda fun... and if the numbers 4,8,15,16,23,42 appeared that would be doubly interesting!
If you'd compare all the Simcity editions that Maxis have produced so far, which edition('s) do you like the most and why?
For the sake of nostalgia, my favourite edition would be Simcity 2000. I have fond memories of skipping school to stay home and build roads and lay down water pipes!
Do you read some of the City Journals, and if so, which one(s) do/did you liked the most???
In the early days, I read almost every one. I don't have as much time, but I do have a few I read. The ones I enjoy the most are those with a unique presentation, with insane level of detail that I always appreciate. I like the ones where the author creates newspapers, ads, drama, and all the little extras that go beyond the game itself. City Journals with high humour are also my favourites.
Which BATS/LOTS do you like in particurly? And why?
I like recreations of real-world buildings. I'd like to eventually have almost every major world structure BATted and in our STEX!
And final question: Would you like to take this opportunity to say/comment anything to the Simtropolis Community?
What can I say? Thanks for making this community great and fun! Thanks to all the contributors who give us something new on a daily basis. Thanks to all the donors who help keep this little city of ours operating! And thank YOU for reading this, as I'm sure there could have been a dozen other better things worth doing!
Thank You Dirk, for taking your precious time for this interview, we all hope that this site may live long and prosper!