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Author Topic: Of Special Interest Interviews  (Read 28551 times)

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Offline art128

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Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2013, 11:32:40 AM »
That was an interesting read. :)

Nice to know more about Sim_link and Holt District.
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Offline MTT9

Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2013, 01:02:37 PM »
Another great interview on a great MD! Keep it up guys :)
You can call me Matt

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Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #42 on: March 10, 2013, 11:14:03 AM »
Wow great city!!! :D
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Offline Jmouse

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Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2013, 11:07:13 PM »
Matt, I can’t wait to hear you interview yourself. :D

Offline threestooges

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Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2013, 01:06:59 AM »
You never know Joan, I might just do it. I mean, I'm sure there are people out there who are having a hard time sleeping.

In all seriousness though, I do have a few on my burner that I've yet to post (my apologies to those of you, you know who you are) that I hope to finish up for this month.

Offline threestooges

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Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #45 on: May 29, 2013, 07:39:18 PM »
First I would like to apologize to those of you who still have interviews pending. They are coming, I assure you. Haven’t forgotten about them, and here’s one now.

I had the opportunity the other day to sit down with a collection of folks from the NORO Collective. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, NORO is rapidly developing in the Collaborative Region Projects board here at SC4D. It’s also spent the last month in OSITM, so if you haven’t seen it yet, where’ve you been?

Joining me for this interview were: Robin (rooker1), Noah (noahclem), Willy (Swordmaster), Vester, and Maarten. For ease of reading, changes in topic are noted by a bolded name.

threestooges: and the lack of coffee has been remedied, so I'm ready when you all are.

Robin: Ask away Matt

threestooges: Well first let me say I'm pleased I've been able to get so many of you together in one place. NORO has become a remarkably international project.

Robin: Thank you Matt.

threestooges: I'll start off directing this question to you, Robin, but everyone feel free to chime in on any question as you'd like. What initially got you started thinking about the concept of NORO?

Maarten: I have to go in a few minutes, so some of my answers may be sent later ;)

Noahclem: timezones are a *****. **** that spinning globe :D

threestooges: By all means Maarten. Pleasure having you here.

Maarten: Good thing that Skype can sent these things later ;)

Swordmaster: shhhhhh! don't distract Robin. It's hard enough how it is for him.

threestooges: I would imagine he'd be used to this by now, what with the team he has so far.

Robin Rooker [laughing]: I'm trying to concentrate.

threestooges: We wish you the best of luck on that.

Vester: [laughing]

threestooges: So yeah, Robin, what initially inspired NORO in your mind?

Robin: No one has really fully accomplished this in the past before and I thought if I could get the right people together at the start the idea just might fly.

Noahclem: there's something deep down in all of us serious players that wants to share and cooperate. It's just not easy.

threestooges: And NORO, for those who haven't been to the threads yet, is what exactly?

 Robin: An MD that is a cooperative playing style with a few rules. Lots of planning goes on in the background so we all know what is going on and which way we are going.

threestooges: It started out with just you and Noah (noahclem), but it seems to have expanded its membership rapidly. Was that intentional, or a happy accident?

Robin: For me, it was a happy accident. I had no idea that by this time we would have this many members already. Everyone that has joined so far, has for a specific speciality that they have.

threestooges: Such as?

Swordmaster: I'm reading back my conversation with Noah and apparently I suggested to add potential rail lines to his highway map. that's how I got involved.

Vester: Think I suggested some automata (what else?) for Noro.

Noahclem: Guglielmo (gugu3) is a wild card. not on any team or other serious endeavor. I suggested him because i thought i saw some real potential.

Robin: Metarvo  for his expertise in Power grids. Joan as a prize for the contest she won.

Noahclem: I have to say I'm very happy with our team. Everyone there has an enormous amount of respect from me.

Maarten:  Well, I just asked Noah and Robin to join by PM. I was up for another challenge to do something I never did before. And considering my previous works, Noah and Robin were happy to give me permission to join. I think Noah and Robin are the leaders of the project. They do have something in mind, a larger plan, but we may always contribute some of our ideas and suggestions. For me, I'm mostly the motorway infrastructure manager and I'm good at finishing those up with details. But I might do some other things in the future. I'd love to build parts of the cityscape.

Noahclem: It would be hard for me to categorize what I bring because I'm used to working on my own and doing everything, but when it comes down to it building highway and detail scenes are what I think I bring to the team, and maybe planning.

Swordmaster: yup. I bring everything else.:D No, really. I'm trying to push people to add more rails and make stuff bigger.

Noahclem: Willy pushes hard to keep things as realistic as possible, especially the things he's familiar with.

Swordmaster: I think we all do that actually. Dock size and railyard size are a pet peeve of mine, though.

Robin: In this case, it was more important to me that the members of the team bring their expertise but also try to do things they have never done before. As you may have already seen, I have tried to broaden my horizons. I have done very little in this MD so far having anything to do with dirty industrial. I have done a lot of scenic scenes and I think I'm doing fairly well now. I have also tried my hand at an exchange (interchange) as you can see in my last update.

threestooges: So has the overall plan for NORO, or Noroway as I've seen it called before, changed with all the new members? Have there been any growing pains changing it from a 2-man project into what it's becoming now?

Robin: There have been a few growing pains, but we have worked through them and will continue to do so as they come up. Learning how Google Drive works was a big one, and keeping track of all our plans is always fun.

Noahclem: Yes, the plan has definitely changed as we've added members. It's an organic process that can be both exciting and frightening.

Swordmaster: Calling Google Drive a growing pain is a gross understatement.

Robin: Well, I think we have it under control now.

Swordmaster: Insofar that is even possible.:D So far the planning has mostly entailed the highway network, and Noah has a pretty good idea about how he wants to layout things. We've all tried to change his mind but he's just plain inflexible… I mean, really smart.

Noahclem: Google Drive is abominable software. Not that I'm bitter.:D

threestooges: How have you been using Google Drive?

Noahclem: we share everything there, from ideas to quads.

Swordmaster: there's a Plugins folder that Robin built up and that we all sync to our machines, then a Regions folder with the quads in, and an additional Documentation folder with all sort of funny pictures in it.

threestooges: So the planning is collaborative, but primarily driven by a couple of folks?

Swordmaster: Mostly collaborative, but as always one person will have an idea about stuff, and then the others chime in. We do 95% of that over skype. We also recognize people's areas of expertise. I don't have a driver's license so what do I know about highways anyway? I've learnt a lot the past couple months.

Noahclem: Part of this project for me has been getting myself to loosen my grip of control of things--and RHW in particular is difficult.

Maarten: It's a challenge when you have not full control over your region. It does look a lot like my university projects, where people above you set the limitations. Again, this is something I never did before, but so far, the results I've seen are very pleasing. Especially the interchange at tile Fq, we posted a few days ago, has become gorgeous! So good management does achieve something good.

threestooges: The RHW was mentioned earlier, and I know I've seen some impressive interchange pictures floating around. Anyone who has seen Noah's MD (or watched his OSITM interview) has already seen his ability to create transit webs. Anyone who has seen Maarten's work with the NAM knows what he's capable of. How has it been working together?

Noahclem: Maarten's addition has made big waves. I think he's a more talented RHW worker than I am and the process of him displacing me as the region's highway expert has had beautiful and frightening results on my end of things.

Maarten: Pretty OK. Even better: NORO give me some inspiration to complete a few more RHW pieces which I think we might need later on in the project. A happy side-effect that all of these pieces will also be public when the new NAM gets released. For instance, the Smooth Curves for the RHW-6S, 8S and 10S were missing in all our opinions, because we like to have realistic smooth curves. So I decided to make them

Indeed, I may be very eager to start up actual development. Part of it is my over-enthusiastic character trait, but also I like to see results from what I plan. I did go wrong with that twice, so I hope in the future this won't happen again. So instead I'm making plans of what we could be doing so we can actually start realization soon on things we all agreed on.

Swordmaster: Maarten is most of all the kind of guy who's pushing us to do things rather than talk about them. Part of that is very good, but it's also had its challenges.

threestooges: Such as?

Swordmaster: Building an interchange in the wrong quad, for instance. I blame it on bad communication on our part and a bit of over-enthusiasm on his part. But that enthusiasm is also why we wanted him on the team, so it's a matter of finding the right balance and getting all noses pointing the same direction. After all, adding people who just sit and listen doesn't really do much in terms of improving the Noro project. We're all learning from each other, I think is the overarching theme here. It has also taught us how important planning is and communicating about it. If we want the region to be really top notch we can't forgo that.

[/b]threestooges[/b]: It certainly seems like the initiative of everyone involved has helped spur the project onward. One of the perks I have, being a global mod, is the ability to sneak in to areas of the board, such a planning boards for NORO. I've noticed that quite a bit of work has been done to make sure multiple people are indeed able to play the region simultaneously. How difficult has that been to get organized, what with ensuring adjacent quads aren't played at the same time, and all the nit-picky details that must go with it?

Swordmaster: We sort of got a double system for that. One is the NORO tool which Wouanagaine put together for us. It has a little map where you indicate the quad you work in, and you see which the other people are in. The other is a sign out thread where we notify folks about this checking in and out, or out and in, or whatever it is nowadays. After someone gives the quad back, he uploads it on the google drive and the others have it synced automatically. As for the nit-picky part, I think we have yet to see if we got that right or all messed up.

threestooges: So to what degree is the planning for a particular quad pinned down, and how much of it will be left to the individual player's tastes?

Swordmaster: Ultimately, I think everything is left to the player's tastes, since he can always suggest alterations to the plan. It's just that they need to be sensible, realistic, and fit into the Overall Grand Scheme of Awesomeness. For instance we try to keep certain standards in the highway design, like merging ramps, slopes, curve radius etc. The key is discussion, however. You can't just put the highway a mile further east for the heck of it.

Robin: Nothing is really pinned down. Changes can be made at anytime. I guess the only thing that is really planned is the transit networks. But everything is following a set of minor guidelines set up from the start.

threestooges: Willy mentioned putting a highway a mile further east "for the heck of it." How much of NORO is based in realism, and to what degree does "for the heck of it" come in to play, if at all?

Robin: We are not basing anything on real places but we are trying to make what we do as realistic as possible.

Maarten: Very much of it is based in realism. I started off with pretty unrealistic city layouts in Imaginia six years ago. But as the time went by, realism started to grow on me and it gave me an extra challenge. With Schellingen-Stadt, I planned out a region more realistically (with still a few quirks left). With NORO, I'm trying to get to the next level with realism. I actually never really worked with things like wide radius curves and FARHW on quite sloped terrain before NORO.

threestooges: How do you define "realistic" for purposes of NORO?

Swordmaster: I think finding the right balance between realism and creativity is one of the challenges of the game. Not letting one win out over the other. If it could exist in the real world, it's realistic; although that has its caveats of course. Most of the awesome things in RL are so crazy you can't think them up. One thing I mentioned was the scale of interchanges. Another was the scale of the docks in the port. When I build something of the kind I tend to look up similar places in the world and see how I can make the game look a bit less like a cartoon and more like that world, but that's just me.

Robin: That's all of us.

Swordmaster: Robin, didn't you just say "We are not basing anything on real places"?:P

Robin: Not place for place. But style and ideas off of real places.

Swordmaster: as you might have guessed I've personally been in favor of being more detailed on the historical side of things, how stuff developed.

threestooges: Touching on the urban planning side of things briefly, many cities have developed over time. Fewer have had the chance to start with a blank slate and build-to-suit. How has that affected the planning for NORO? Will NORO have the appearance of having been built over time?

Robin: Yes

threestooges: How are you achieving that while laying out a full transit network in advance?

Robin: The network is being laid out in advance to be sure we have exactly what we want so the city can be exactly how we want it as well. Problem with growing a city and expanding networks afterwards, is that you end up needing to destroy half the city. We are trying things a little backwards here maybe.....

Swordmaster: I've never really agreed with that policy. There you have it right away: tension and friction in the Noro team. How will it be solved? Who will win? And, especially, how many squirrels will perish in the conflict?

threestooges: So what's your thought on it Willy? *gently fans the flames*

Robin: [laughter]

Swordmaster: My thoughts are that urban renewal is a key part of the game, and I've never been afraid to tear down stuff to accommodate infrastructure works. I'm just not convinced by the reasons Robin gave not to give more thought to the historical part of development. Even so, I understand both Noah and Robin have a building style where they pretty much have an idea of how the end result should look. I have no problem with that in particular, although I have a rather different approach.

Robin: I like to build and move forwards.

Swordmaster: It's certainly one part where I'm on the receiving end of some education and instruction.
 When it comes to roads, I'm a bit more like Tarkus: build a road, let stuff develop, and expand the road when traffic requires it. Noah approaches this by anticipating traffic, sometimes a bit wishfully, and build the infrastructure accordingly.

threestooges: Care to elaborate on the "wishfully?”

Robin: We have a basic plan where parts of the city is suppose to be crowded, needing high volume transit we just have to convince the game of our plan.

Swordmaster: Convincing the game of our plan: that's exactly what I meant. I mean that actually this approach can't go wrong, since we are omnipotent creators that can adjust traffic flows. If we want to build a big interchange, and it happens to be in the middle of nowhere, we can scrap the nowhere and make it a CBD or something; although this is obviously an exaggeration to make my point.

threestooges: How will you attempt to create that sense of "developed over time” and do you think there will be periods of renovation and expansion?

Swordmaster: I think if anything we'll get the sense that things were developed by different people, rather than over time. Aside from that, we're doing our best to create a transit map that doesn't look like it was put together by a bunch of geeks on their PCs. even if it was. I also think the details added to individual scenes may help a lot in this regard. you can make things look old just by adding and old rail spur with some rusty cars or something like that

threestooges: Knowing Robin's approach in Mind Scape, I may already know the answer to this, but it still bears asking. Will the region be an idealized concept of perfection, or will it have its flaws?

Swordmaster: Adding flaws may be the only reason I'm here. :D

Robin: A pretty city is not least not in my mind.

Maarten: It will have flaws. Part of realism is building things that are dirty, sub-standard, ugly (in a realism sense) and un-successful. It's part of life and it makes the cityscape interesting. If you've seen the CJ "Rust & Tenements" by TekindusT over at SimTroplis, you will see why ugliness can have its charms.

Swordmaster: For instance, Noah likes to have the ideal RHW interchange everywhere. I guess that's just his nature. I would prefer to have one or two highways where ramps just aren't up to standard, too many exits, sharp curves or whatever flaws you can think of.

threestooges: That was the answer I had expected, Robin.

Swordmaster: and sometimes I get the idea a very modern mass transit system is also on his mind. I'd love to have it a bit more dirty and clunky.

threestooges: On the topic of mass transit, my compliments to Arne for the automata he's created.

Vester: Thank you.

Swordmaster: Yeah, probably the awesomest part of NORO so far.

Robin: Agreed!

threestooges: How did you get involved in automata initially, Arne?

Vester: Think it was in the GLR thread where I asked if someone could place a Japanese skin onto a short train, developed for the GLR. No one stepped up, but they did point me to some posts by BigRedFish. Talking about doing a full circle: starting with requesting a Japanese skin and now doing them. I had a lot of helps from Jan / Swamper77.

threestooges: What was the biggest challenge in learning to work with automata? Is it something anyone can jump right in to?

Vester: Parts of it some can be something people do. It has been a slow and long learning process. Still learning things.

Swordmaster: I think making new skins is doable since it all boils down to photoshopping a texture. Not that making good ones is easy, but making new models certainly requires 3D modeling skills.

Vester:  I use lot of routine from the engineering world

threestooges: What is the biggest hurdle to overcome?

Vester: On the textures is to open one’s eyes, to see  the world around you, how light and shadows plays on surfaces. One of my key point is how to place as much details into the textures instead of the model.

threestooges: So I know automata has been specifically designed for NORO. As a question for everyone, how much of what we will see there will be custom made specifically for NORO, and how much of it is straight out-of-the-box custom content from other people?

Robin: Not too sure how much of anything in NORO will be out of the box in the end.

Vester: I will always add logos etc. on stuff, so straight out of box it will not be.

Maarten:  I might be making a specialized NORO signage set in the future, but for now, we use the LRM v5.1 USA Set and the Ontario Signage set, both of which are available on the STEX.

Swordmaster: We'll edit every single texture and add little NORO logos on them. Ha!

Vester: :D A big Noro logo done by trees. :P

threestooges: Now *that* I'd like to see. So what's the story with the recent influx of squirrels?

Vester: Maybe you noticed it is in the logo for one the railway companies?

Swordmaster: There's no mascot more fitting for NORO, and it's a Skype emoticon as well.

Robin: Sometimes things have a mind of their own and just come to life whether you like it or not. This just happens to be a very funny one.

Swordmaster: It's basically how we've all started to look the past couple months.

threestooges: A bit squirrely?

Vester: Yep.

Swordmaster: and we all love nuts. I only think Maarten's not a member [of the NUTs].

threestooges: I'll talk to Joan [Jmouse]. Maybe we can change that.

Swordmaster: I'm not sure. I think it'll be hard to get Maarten out of the Brony box.

Threestooges: So when did the squirrel first appear, and will we see it integrated into the cities of NORO?

Vester: (on the side note on automata modding you could link to this tutorial:

Swordmaster: Noah made it into a logo for Arne's automata. That was the first instance, I think, ever since it's been in our subconscious. I even think there's a squirrel shape in my port layout.

Vester: [laughter]

Swordmaster: Though I don't think anyone noticed yet.

Robin: (facepalm)

threestooges: So you've had your month in OSITM. What's coming next in the near future?

Robin: Once the transit layout is closer to complete, I think you will see us all in game building cities more.

threestooges: How much work is left on the transit network?

Robin: Another year or so. Kidding, it seems to be going faster and faster now a days. But if you ask Noah, it's not a race.

threestooges: What's the best way for someone who hasn't jumped in to reading up on NORO to get started/involved?

Robin: Start on page one and see if it's something that interests you. The MD we are trying to put out is supposed to be as interactive with our readers as we can possibly make it. We the members are basically taking turns doing updates as often as possible and taking the readers input into account for upcoming updates. As for becoming involved, that is a little more in depth. But sending us a PM with the reasons why you are interested and what you think you have to offer would be a great start.

We want NORO to be a realsitic as possible and the readers input is how we'll get there. Everyone's input is important and taken into account everytime.

Swordmaster: Not because we care about them, but we want to harvest their ideas and make our own game better. They can have a cookie later on; or was that not for publication Robin?

Robin: [laughter]

threestooges: Closing thoughts?

Swordmaster: Noro kicks ass.

Vester: Free all squirrels!!!

threestooges: Well said! On that note, thank you all for your time in this. It was fun getting to know the project better, as well as the people behind it.

Robin: Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to do this Matt. It's much appreciated!

threestooges: Thank you all, it was a pleasure to sit down with you all.

Offline art128

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Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #46 on: May 30, 2013, 03:06:00 AM »
Great to know a bit more about the background of NORO.

Good work guys, and thank you Matt for doing these interviews.
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Offline noahclem

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Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #47 on: May 30, 2013, 04:20:24 AM »
Great work Matt  &apls  Thanks so much for taking care of this. Transforming our rambling, squirrel-ridden conversation into a lovely interview must have been a daunting task  :D

Offline rooker1

Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #48 on: May 30, 2013, 04:39:40 AM »
Wow, that's how the conversation went? Just kidding......great work Matt!
I really appreciate all the hard work you do putting these interviews together.

Robin &apls
Call me Robin, please.

Offline sim_link

Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #49 on: May 30, 2013, 09:42:27 AM »
Great interview! It's always interesting to see the personality come out from the usernames. Good lord, the squirrels. I had to try my best not to break into a hysterical laugh at various points during this interview.  :D You guys have something awesome going here, and it's apparent while you have your disagreements you also seem to have a hoot.

Thanks for publishing this threestooges! And for "fanning the flames" a bit in there, as you mentioned. :D

Offline Swordmaster

Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #50 on: June 02, 2013, 08:20:34 AM »
Thanks Matt! So, if I write this novel, can I send it your way to have it edited? $%Grinno$%

And if people think we had a funny conversation, you should see the usual. (Where's that squirrel smiley now?)


Offline sim_link

Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #51 on: June 02, 2013, 09:43:37 AM »
And if people think we had a funny conversation, you should see the usual. (Where's that squirrel smiley now?)

Will this one do?


Offline Bipin

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Re: Of Special Interest Interviews
« Reply #52 on: July 20, 2013, 09:43:28 AM »
What a great interview! I always love uncovering the real person behind the name they masquerade themselves as, it's always very intriguing. Once again, great job on the journalism. I look forward to reading more of these. :)