Thriving in the icy Quebec winters, we will be speaking with mrbisonm next. To borrow a bit from his own profile, mrbisonm is from Germany, passing through the Netherlands and Andorra on his way to his current home in Canada where he is currently surrounded by vast swaths of nature. On the game-relevant side, he has been uploading custom lots and BATs to Simtropolis for very nearly 12 years, adding to the variety of the game. Let's take a little while to get to know him a little better, shall we?
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?
mrbisonm: I got SC4 as soon as it came out in North-America, cannot remember the exact date though, but it surely was in early 2003. It was my third SimCity, since I started playing simgames with SimCity I. I used to build a lot of stuff for SC3K also, but it was not quite the same because we used more or less some blockbuilding technique at the time. So, I am an Oldtimer with SC.
ST: What aspect of SC4 do you enjoy most – what keeps you coming back?
mrbisonm: What I enjoy most with SC4 is that it is expandable, kneadable and can be transformed, so to speak, to almost anything we want. Manipulating and making it different with every region I play is what makes me come back.
ST: Do you recall the first plugin you installed?
mrbisonm: Oh yeah, the first plugin, it was a Maxis Plugin, a landmark, but I cannot remember which one exactly, then when the BAT came out, I asked Raphaelninja to render me a Nexis 100 flag I made because of my 100th upload of Lotmaking to ST, the first one to reach this. Gmax BAT was not yet available, but some had the ability to render models for SC4 already.
ST: What led you to Simtropolis at first? Can you remember your initial impressions of the site?
mrbisonm: I came to Simtropolis by error, when I was searching in the fall 2002 the SimCity4 game. I saw the site, had a look at it and liked it, so I became a member right away. That was in September 2002 when less than 100 folks were members of the site. I did not come back to the site until March 2003. I probably forgot all about it, but then I did not remember my [original] screename nor the password.....darn. So, I became a new member in March 2003 under a new name, mrbisonm, and guess what..... I got stuck on the site, where I am still active today.
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?
mrbisonm: I was not the first to make BATs, but those which were made by others inspired me of doing some of my own, since I was at my 150th or so LOT and slowly was running out of ideas. So I gave it a shot and surprisingly it came out well, encouraged by myself and a good friend of mine from Simtropolis, GranPa Al, to start BATting myself.
ST: Speaking of first steps, what was the very first thing that you modeled using the BAT? Do you still have a screen shot?
mrbisonm: Of course I still have a screenshot of my first BAT, I have everything that I did for SC3K, SC4, Civ III, and now Farming Simulator 2013 also. I must have some 150 or so CDs and DVDs of all kinds of stuff, including thousands of downloaded files for SC4, some of them most likely do not exist anymore anywhere else. The first BAT I did was for my CJ NEXIS OF GENESIS, and it was for the construction site of the Dam in Grand Dam City. Picture below....
ST: Your files have all been released under the Nexis name. Can you tell us a bit about your Nexis of Genesis City Journal?
mrbisonm: Most of my files were called Nexis, some of them do not bear the name of Nexis and others were uploaded by others under a different name, such as Vlakhaas and his CSX lots.
The Nexis of Genesis CJ was an inspiration to deliver something new and diffenrent to the community, a CJ with a story, action, and new, never-seen-before BATs and LOTs. Also it was a CJ that started with the creation of a new planet and the evolution of life. It was the first CJ to have done like this. Then after awhile I tought that it was a good idea to involve other players into the story and give the new characters a name and a lifetime story which helped to build up the region of Nexis of Genesis. Again, this was a first and it gained a lot of interest by members from ST and even other sites. Nexis became a name, a legend and then an example for many other CJs that followed it. Somewhat strange to say, but I still play the region sometimes.
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?
mrbisonm: My favorite part of BATting is to let my soul wander on its own and create just models as I see them. I have more than 5000 models made, of which most are not finished or not uploaded. My favourite BATting models at the moment are the ones that I am working on for more than 2 years, the MFP1 set, Modern Farm Props, which will have approximately 600 to 700 big models and will change SC4 to SCFarming. It should be ready before summer 2015. The models and modeling can be seen on SC4Devotion.com under...
The FrankU and Nexis CO-OP
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?
mrbisonm: Yes, somewhat it pleases me that others use my LOTs and BATs in their CJs. Comments of others also keep me going and encourage me to continue BATting. I make all these for others to use in their play of course, some are for me and personal use though, for my CJs. BTW, I will start another CJ here on Simtropolis as soon as I finish my farming sets. It will be innovative again and surely something new and interesting. Look out for Tymbactou, my world.
ST: You released your first file in 2003. 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?
mrbisonm: I will be proud of the set that I am working on right now. FrankU is fully involved and he will be doing the first lots with my BATs. The MFP 1 should change a lot how we see and play the farming community of SC4.
Not really a fun story, but I must confess that some of my BATs turned out well by simple pure luck..... lol... some of them I cannot reproduce because I do not know how to make them. They just happened. lol.... it is just that I clicked on this and that and then all of sudden.... “Wow... I'll keep this one!”
ST: Has your experience creating SC4 content had any influence on your personal or professional life? Are there any skills that you have developed while creating that have helped you beyond the world of SC4?
mrbisonm: The experience surely changed my way and understanding of computer knowledge, private and also professional. I am, or should I say, I was a Loghome Designer, owning my own well-established business from the seventies and having done all my work with my pencils and tools, no computer. Since I am not very active anymore, after my second heart attack and operation last year, I left 95 percent of the designing to my followers, who use computers, but since BATting gave me experience with modelmaking, it really helped me to understand their designing on the computers.
ST: What advice would you give to a new member of this community who was planning on creating their first BAT?
mrbisonm: The only advice I can give to new BATters is to get to know the 3D program first, not giving up and understanding that it looks and sounds more difficult than it actually is. The reward is great, creating models that you like is the most important, and of course... Having fun... that is what this is all about. If it does not come out right, just put it aside, make a copy and put it on a CD or DVD. Later you will know how to finish it. And please, always ask for help on the Forums if nothing is working right, there will always be someone to help you.
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.).
mrbisonm: I do not really have the time to look at todays CJs a lot, but sometimes I peak into any random one showed on the highlighted starting page and slowly go through them, sometimes seeing some really good concepts and excellent stories. No preferences though. My favourite scenes differ a lot, I like to look at roadworks, city lines , downtowns, nature, farms and even just landscapes terraformed by our members and players, and anything that SC4 and the Players can come up with. So many possibilities. Like I always say, the limit is your imagination, which sometimes can become mammoth-sized.
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?
mrbisonm: Again, I do not have that much time to look much into other BATters works, but I enjoy anyone who is BATting decently enough. There are some Legends out there, really good ones, some still quite active.
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?
mrbisonm: No, I am not surprised that SC4 is still going strong, along with the site. Both are one today and will continue for long time to come. And yes, there will still be uploads in 12 years from now... hey... I am planning to do an MFP2 set later........
ST: Are there any games you play besides SC4? What other hobbies do you have away from BATing and SimCity?
mrbisonm: I play regularly these games, almost every month or so: Civ III, Farming Simulator 2013, The Sims 2, Serf City, The Settlers 7, Anno 1503, Tropico 4 and Banished.
My other hobbies are painting, hunting, collection all kinds of things, reading, nature and animals and taxidermy. And most of all, I am interested in everything that is interesting...
ST: What question have I not asked that I should have?
mrbisonm: Ah, you have probably asked everything possible for this interview, now I am somewhat tired......need my evening nap.
ST: 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!
mrbisonm: My pleasure....