It is a real honor and a real pleasure to kick off this new rE-View series with an In-depth interview with Mr. Dakin Lecakes, better known as Dakinle around the RCT community. This avid RCT fan and smart lawyer from upper New York State has once again graciously offered his time to patiently answer my feverish and perhaps forward, questions.
Why should this new series kick off with Dakinle? He was one of my more recent original E-Views and you would think I would start back at the beginning with Dr. J. But old men move in mysterious ways and I have two reasons for starting out with Dakinle. One reason, as I told him, it has been said somewhere that "in the end, the first shall be last and the last shall be first!" But the other and maybe more valid reason is that Dakinle dove head first into RCT2 and brought back and is still bringing back the first and most trusted and understood reports of what this new game has to offer. He's given us free download scenario conversions showing he was more then just a few step ahead of Infogrames itself.
As popular as he is right now, I understand he has some new surprises for us in the near future that you may want to keep an eye out for. In spite of his many time constraints and distractions Dakin has offered us a small window of observation into both his private life and his RCT life.
So lets pour some steam to old Betsy, pull the whistle loudly and get this rE-View choo choo underway!
||I want to thank you for your time again Dakinle and thank you for having this rE-View
with me. When we first talked, we kind of brushed by any personal info and talked mostly about RCT2, a very popular subject these days and understandably so with the just released RollerCoasterTycoon2 by Chris Sawyer. We will of course get into that in this interview but before we do, you should know that YOU also have gotten pretty popular these days (again) and I have received some E-mail asking me if I would consider asking more personal, non-RCT type questions about the RCT celebrities that I interview. So on that note I would like to start out this rE-View with some questions about yourself so we can all get to know you a little better, then we will jump off into your thoughts on RCT2. Can you tell us again what you do for a living and the general area that you live in?
||"I am an attorney in a general litigation practice. I live and work in upstate New York.
Upstate New York is anything north of the New York City Metropolitan area and east of Utica.
Utica to the Finger Lakes (includes Syracuse) is Central New York. Rochester to Buffalo is
Western New York".
||Do you mind telling us how old you are?
||"Actually, that depends on when this is posted - most likely I will be 34 by the time this
gets posted (DOB: 11/01/68 or for our European friends across the Atlantic who do it the correct
||Our European friends seem to do a lot of things correct. But I have to say, a New York State certified Lawyer, or any lawyer for that matter, is rare in the rather young age based RCT community, how long have you played RCT and been involved in the RCT community?
||"I found RCT (and began the addiction) around March 2000, about a year after its
release. So I have been playing for more than 2 ˝ years now".
||Yep, that was me too, about the same amount of time. Now I know the answer to most of these questions but others do not, so for their sake I would like to ask you, besides your law practice and playing RCT, do you have a family to look after and spend time with?
||"I am married, but no children. Also, we both have family in the local area as well that
we see often".
||Does your wife mind you spending the time you must spend playing RCT, or is she like
mine and kind of resents this other object of our admiration and time and maybe frowns a little
when she sees that gray/blue loading box displayed as RCT is lovingly but shamefully turned on?
||"Occasionally, she gets irritated, but most of the time she has other things she does too. I make sure that I don't neglect the rest of life to play RCT. Initially, back in 2000, it was much
more difficult to find a balance. LOL - of course, we weren't married back then and lived apart by
about 25-30 minutes by car, so it was RCT or her, back then, now that we are married she can
always find me in the computer room if she needs me".
||Ahhh yes, the computer room. I am also easily found at any given time, day or night in this room. Are you into any kind of sports Dakin?
||"Baseball: I am a New York Mets fan (welcome Art Howe), Hockey: New Jersey
Devils, American Football: Buffalo Bills. I am definitely a sports fan. I also am a season ticket
holder to our local Minor League Hockey team. Oh yeah, and a Sportscenter junkie. I even listen to Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio and WFAN in the afternoon/evening (NY City's 24 Hour Sports Talk Radio)".
||May I shamelessly take this moment to sneak in whom my favorite Baseball team is? (Continues without pause), that would be the World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks! I grew up in Phoenix Arizona and know the team roster as well as I know my own family roster. Now I know this next question my sound strange, but for some reason, lawyers and fancy cars go together like tea and sugar or coffee and cream, could you tell us what kind of car you personally drive?
||"You will be very disappointed if I answer this question truthfully. Suffice it to say I put
about 36,000 a year on my car because of the travel I do for my job (my firm does work in a large
portion of New York State). Thus, my car is reliable rather than fancy, although I did get a new
car this year - but, trust me, it is nothing to brag about LOL".
||(Laughing) Well if you compared it to my car it might be. Dakin, when you just want to relax and chill out and get away from the grind of day to day living, what do you do?
||"Computer games - especially RCT. Exercise and weight training, reading (I am a
voracious reader), movies, (Lord of the Rings Extended FOTR DVD comes out November 12
and The Two Towers in December - I am psyched), crossword Puzzles and Logic Problems - I
love those things".
||Of course I have to ask you, other then work related sites, what Internet sites do you
spend time at? I guess what I really want to ask you is, what is your top 3 favorite RCT sites?
||"Top 3 RCT sites I spend time at are RCT2.com, RCT Station and RCTUK. I also have
MSNBC and CNN in my Favorites folder. Also New York Times and Chicago Sun Times (mostly for Roger Ebert's movie reviews). I listen to Launch Radio on Yahoo's Music service at work. I also look at The Sporting News and ESPN's web site. TheOneRing.net for Lord of the Rings movie news. TheForce.net for Star Wars movie news - although after the last two movies I haven't visited there much at all. ;) Ain't-it-cool-news.com and DarkHorizons.com for movie spoilers in general. IMDB.com for other movie knowledge and info. Cnet - especially their Tech News and for Download.com. And, finally, Discovery.com and its related web sites – I love the stuff on the Discovery Channel, TLC, Travel Channel, History Channel, etc.".
||The Science channel is another cool channel to watch. Okay, now that we know a little about you let me gently guide this conversation towards the subject on all of our minds these days, RCT2. You have had the opportunity to really play and check out this new RCT game by Chris Sawyer, at least to some extent, what do you think of it so far?
||"I like it for all the same reasons I love RCT Original. But I really am disappointed with
a few things - especially some of the nonsensical omissions like first and foremost the retrograde
path window - why tinker with something that was so good - I mean the lack of path options is
ridiculous. Furthermore, I am very disappointed with the scenery options available in the scenario
editor. Why make such a big deal about all the new scenery added and then be so restrictive
about its use, very strange. I am also bothered by the inability to fix the money in the Convert
Saved Game to Scenario function, as well as with a few bugs I discovered in playing with the
scenario editor so much - especially the Construction Rights over the entrance path bug. I am
also very disappointed with the lack of more new flat rides".
||Yeah, me too, I wanted more flat rides and am hoping that maybe there will be more in the (sure to be) add-ons. In your original E-View interview with me, you had some hopes and thoughts about RCT2, now that it's been pretty much dissected under the microscope, so to speak, did your hopes and thoughts come true?
||"In a way yes. What I wanted before I got the game is there. But in playing the game
some of the omissions have become glaring – especially the paths. The reason the paths bug me so much is because the system that was in place by the time of Loopy Landscapes was perfect. I cannot figure out how in the world something so simple like that got so screwed up".
||Was it a disappointment for you that we didn't get 3-D graphics or nighttime mode in RCT2?
||"No, not at all. Neither of those things means anything to me. Nighttime mode would
be silly - the days last only a few seconds - so the nighttime would not be in sync with the game's
passing of time anyway - Besides I like bright screens :). I never cared for first person perspective
3D games - to me it's no loss".
||Have you tried the RCR (RollerCoaster Rider) 3-D program by Michael Gee or the 3-D
viewer currently being developed by Tim Miller?
||"I couldn't get RCR to work on my computer so I have not tried it. I do like Tim's
program though and hope he is able to finish it. I think it would make a lot of people very happy.
Again, however, personally I don't see any need for 3D - maybe my ego likes the omnipresent
God-like feeling of looking down on the peeps – perhaps I should get Black & White. LOL"!
||Speaking of black and white, that's just what some of the copyright laws seem NOT to be, there seems to be a gray area concerning some Internet copyright issues. According to what you know about copyright laws can these new programs that enhance the RCT experience be downloaded and used legally. Keep in mind that the one that was developed by Michael Gee is sold on the Internet for profit, at his own RCR site for a $10.00 download fee.
||"These issues are very specific, so it's tough to get into blanket statements. As for
trainers, I always point out that game shark is sold legally in any EB or similar store. That's all a
trainer is - a game enhancer. Once you purchase a game, you are able to do with it as you see fit so long as you are not infringing its copyright. Copyright really doesn't apply to using a tool that
works with a game - it does apply to reproducing a game and selling it for profit, or zipping it up
and offering it for download on the Internet. Realistically, fan sites have more to worry about
when it comes down to it, than trainer makers do. Use of the game's images on a fan site could
be infringement - whether it's considered trademark infringement or copyright infringement. If
you own a fan site and are looking to make a profit off it - beware, that's asking for trouble. If
you're doing it out of love for the game and to bolster awareness - you have less to worry about -but always remember the Star Trek fan sites that Paramount shut down - bunch of idiots
(Paramount, not the fan sites), nothing like slapping your fans across the face".
||In my humble opinion it is not to wise to slap your fans across their collective face, especially when those fans feed them and helped make them what they are. Paramount made millions in profit from Star Trek fans and that was way back then. Speaking of fans, you have a few of your own these days. You have been a huge help in the RCT community, in lots of ways, both now and in the past when you were on staff at RCT Station. In fact, without a doubt, it
would be hard to list them all at one time, so I won't, but I am curious about how you feel about
one thing. You put in a lot of effort and energy to convert RCT1 scenarios to RCT2 format. You
were the first to do that! Then you provided a free download (downloads) to the whole RCT
online community. Must have cost you something. I love some of those old scenarios and
downloaded everything you painstakingly cranked out. And then ... disaster strikes and
wouldn't you know it, here came Infogrames with their "Official" scenario conversions more then a few steps behind you. Sadly they tried to pawn these off as our big yippee trophy for our much-
anticipated RCT2sday prize, but I already held the prize in my hand before they even got here, thanks to you. If I were CEO of Infogrames I would do myself a favor and retain your services for
whatever you demanded in return. But with ALL that having been said, I am more then a little curious how you really feel about that. A little of what you felt has been discussed in some RCT forums but in this rE-View I would like to know how you really feel about this issue. Did Infogrames rip you off, or were you just a step ahead of them?
||"Well I think maybe they intended to do this the whole time which is kind of a joke. I
mean the whole promotion of RCT2 revolved around the inclusion of a scenario editor. Then the
manual made such a big deal about being able to import sv4's (Original RCT saved game files)
into the editor. That, to me, was a direct invitation to undertake the scenario conversion project.
In truth, the scenario conversion project idea was not new to me with the advent of RCT2. I had
done that with Dr.J's Saved Game Modifier. I loved all the original RCT scenarios but felt they
were much too easy. Plus, and this is a side-track, but the whole thing was very odd, when
CF/AA came out - I don't know how many people know this - but some of the new rides and
stuff became available in the original RCT Scenarios. However, for some strange reason (like the
paths in RCT2), when LL came out - the scenarios in original RCT reverted to their original
research trees. Well I wanted to make the original scenarios (1) more challenging and (2) have
the CF/AA and LL rides available in them. So basically, I modified at least two thirds of them to
have new rides and more challenging goals. Then, when RCT2 was announced (back in
March/April or so) there was a lot of speculation about whether sv4's would be compatible. As
early as that I was saying that I hoped so because that would provide the opportunity to have 80
or so ready made scenarios - all you had to do was start a scenario, save it immediately, then open it up in RCT2 and there you had a pre-made scenario. Yes - I said that back in March/April of this year. So the scenario project idea was always there in my head. Then, when RCT2 came out ad the scenario editor allowed importing of sv4's and the ability to create scenarios with rides – the idea became reality and I jumped on it. So did Infogrames apparently. By the way, I do not think they are using the scenario editor to make theirs. They have proven that they don't have to worry about the Constuction rights bug in Karts & Coasters and Bumbly Beach (my conversion still needs to be re-worked because of that late discovery - sorry to all of you that have it - might as well get the official one). Anyway, the short answer is yeah, they probably did steal the idea from me - those jerks ;). No, just kidding I don't know - they own them anyway and can do what they want with them".
||(laughing) Do you think Chris or Infogrames ever scan or read through the RCT community forums and sites and maybe saw your conversions? (Laughs again) Maybe they said, "Hey, we need something for RCT2sday, lets do our version of what that smart New York Copyright lawyer is doing, stop him in his tracks and allow us to deliver on our promise of
something special on RCT2sday" then they put a team on it and crank them out in time (just
barely) for the first RCT2sday.
||"You realize that this really is likely the only thing we'll get in RCT2sday. I mean there
are about 70-80 Original scenarios in all (including the promotional ones and such) and RCT2sday was/is supposed to last about 10 weeks. 7-8 a week times 10 weeks = 70-80 scenarios. So much for possibly getting my path options back through RCT2sday LOL"!
||Now I have another question for you that leans more to your professional side. And I
only ask you this for the benefit of some of the younger age players who may just not know there
even are laws against this. Can you tell us in general terms what the law states concerning the
consequences of those who burn, reproduce or copy any RCT game disk and use that copy and/or passes it on to others?
||"Yeah - it's definite infringement. There is no question about it. No matter what
perceived shortcomings exist in the product, it is the product of someone else's intellectual
property. Reproduction is prohibited. The only way you can sell the game is to sell the copy you
bought (like at a garage sale or trade-in), AND you cannot keep a working version for yourself
when you do sell the game away (like with a no-CD patch). And don't say - oh he's just an
American - it's ok here in the UK, Europe, Australia, etc. Remember, copyright law is very
similar and most copyright law internationally is based on treaties that extend from one country to
another. Just buy the game and tell your friends to just buy the game, too. If you need money,
try and get it as a present, or shovel driveways, or rake leaves, or mow lawns, or deliver papers,
or something, please don't steal it or provide the opportunity for others to steal it".
||I agree, Chris Sawyer has worked hard and has given us a wicked game; he deserves to profit from it by those that enjoy it so much. What do you think of the new RCT2 trainers
already in existence such as Henry Winkelstein's new RCT2TRG money trainer available on
the Internet for public download?
||"I like TRG because (a) Henry has been very supportive to me personally, and to the
community in general, and (b) the money function (especially the rounding off feature) is exactly
what was needed for the convert saved game to scenario function. Myth worked for me, but
could be unstable. I tried the other one - the one with the mountain tool and the scenario editor
check options. I found some bugs in it, but I think iamsponge or whatever he called himself
should keep working on it - he had a great idea – stop the game from counting check marks and
you can check every box in the scenario editor's ride selection screen. Unfortunately, in practice,
the game drops a number of checked rides to equal the maximum number allowable. But where there's one good idea there's usually more so I want to echo here what I said in the forums – sponge keep working at it".
||I will soon, hopefully, be talking to Mr. Josef Drexler about a patch being needed for
RCT2 and his take on the game but do you think we need a patch or a bug fix of some kind that
will have to come from out of the RCT community itself, like in RCT1?
||"In reviewing some of Henry's posts, I am not so sure a bug fix or patch will cure some
of the things I would like to see in the game. I am very concerned with the vast amount of people
having trouble with installing the game and not getting it to work on their system because of copy
protection or what have you. Unfortunately I am not technically proficient enough to anticipate
what may come or may be necessary. Thus, I defer this question to the experts and look forward
to reading their rE-Views to see what they think can be done".
||I will certainly be asking them about that! Add-on's, when will they come and what do you hope to see in them?
||"Well CF/AA came out in less than a year – I think in order to keep the momentum
rolling AND to keep the disappointment in check, Infogrames should really consider keeping to
that time frame. Otherwise, I do not anticipate RCT2 maintaining the level of visibility that the
Original did. I am curious because I think it will demonstrate conclusively whether Infogrames
has a commitment to RCT as a franchise, or whether RCT2 was a quick cash infusion in difficult
economic times. First and foremost, I hope to see the paths restored. I still cannot believe that,
nor understand why, I cannot use the red queue line with anything other than that ugly space
fencing. What the heck? Secondly, I would like to see more flat rides. And, last but not least, I
would really like to see a true sandbox as a tribute to all those wonderful mega park makers that
toil for hours upon days upon months to bring us such beautiful creations. If I was the maker of
this game, irrespective of my own personal feelings about what the game was supposed to be,
once I saw some of those mega parks I would provide those dedicated RCT fans with the tools
necessary to continue their work. Why insult the people who are your very best advertising tool
for what this game can be in one of its many facets. Leave it to the dakinle's of the RCT
community to carry the flame of the scenario aspect but, by God, do NOT shut out the
Testudo's and Kai Bueno's - that is simply commercial suicide and shortsighted ignorance as I see it"!
||Very well said! Well I have taken a lot of your time and asked a lot of questions that I suppose you would normally charge people exorbitant prices to
answer and for both of those reasons I thank you, but I want to ask you one last question before I
reluctantly let you go. Were you as surprised as I was that Chris just kept his one-man staff and
hasn't recruited a team of developers to help him develop even more the RCT experience? I'm sure the success of the original RCT1 gave him the capital to do that, or do you think he was right to stick with a slower, less expensive, but tried and true formula to develop RCT2?
||"I think the one man creation really works for CS and it is very much to his advantage,
but it is also to his disadvantage in a way. The end product is highly entertaining, and the saying “Too many cooks spoil the dinner” can, in my own experience, have some real truth to it.
RCT is simply the best game I ever played in my life and is not threatened by anything in the near future. However, CS should open up the input channels a bit - and get someone in there who can explain that while he may have some very strict notions about what a game is what with goals and the scenario format - that others can have a very legitimate point of view on the matter and that either is particularly right or wrong and that it depends on the context. Then again, not knowing how he operates I really don't know. Again, for the most part, I think he is successful in the way he proceeds, but I really don't understand the “Do it MY way or else” mentality - it is an anathema to the legally trained mind".
||It is an anathema to us all Dakin, a mystery to us all indeed! So the time has come to wrap it up and say good-bye. I sure want to thank you again for your time, information and for letting us all get to know who you are a little better. I realize that these rE-Views are a lot more up close and personal and more in-depth then the original E-View we did some time ago and I appreciate your willingness to share this stuff with us.
||"Hey no problem - again I am honored to be the first - although considering the way I
jumped all over the scenario editor I guess it makes sense. I only wish Infogrames hadn't stolen
my thunder. But, a word of warning, I will be back - look for some dakinle original RCT2
scenarios at an RCT2.com download near you! ;)".
Dakinle has left the house! Old men will get weary, such is the way of life and I Boomer am no exception to that rule. So on that note and as usual after a long visit, I will head for bed and all the comforts that await warmly within. I hope you've enjoyed this first rE-View and close-up look into the life of a lawyer and RCT fan Mr. Dakin Lecakes. Goodnight….
Boomer drifts quickly to sleep as old men do and soon is dreaming a strange dream…. Or was it a vision? Somewhere out on the high desert flatlands of Nevada he stood. In front of him stood the familiar wooden cross of a power pole and a lonely highway lay forlorn and wind-blown next to it. The power poles as well as the arrow straight road that they followed stretched out endlessly across the desert to a small point and then faded into the shimmering horizon, as if swallowed by a high desert mirage.
At first all that could be heard was the harsh wind and the lonely call of a coyote. And then he heard it! At first the small sound of a mosquito and then quickly rushing by with a loud roar and a whoosh, then slowly fading ever smaller and smaller into the seemingly infinity of the vast barren desert. For a moment time stood still and as if in a snapshot Boomer saw the happy face of a fancy lawyer, In a fast fancy car, with a fancy laptop with RCT2 emblazoned across the slim screen and a smile on his face from ear to ear! The wind howled, the vision dimmed, then all faded to gray and Boomer snored softly under his blankets through the chilly fall night.