Sam's Been Shammed
Sitting in my new office, bare as
it may be, I am suddenly awakened by the sound of a dive klaxon going off.
It’s the boss’s way of getting my attention. It also gets the
blood pumping through the old veins again. He makes an announcement that
my presence is needed immediately in his office. I wonder what he has up
his sleeve this time around. Last time it was to dress me out for my expenses
on the Polder Kolder adventure. When I leave the confines of my office,
I am greeted by Security and escorted across the compound. As I enter, I
hear the familiar old refrain of Scoop, ole buddy ole pal. I might as well
sit down and relax because I know I’m being volunteered for another
dangerous assignment to who-knows-where. Construction has started on the
new complex to house assorted bits of RCT Lore and Legend and now he wants
to start filling it up. I ask, “What do you have in mind”? He
says, he wants to continue with the Staff interview series until it’s
finished. Bad timing or an open opportunity, I don’t know which. Seems
he has forgotten he is on Staff. I lean back in my chair with a big ole
grin and say “Guess what, you’re first”. A look of shock
on his ever-whitening face tells me I have hit pay dirt. As I get out my
notepad and pencil I say, “OK Sambo, let the mind
||I know some of your bio information but our readers surely
don’t. How about I take some notes on the missing spots, like
real job, location, food, hobbies and etc.
That’s good Scoop – start off with the boring
stuff and the interview has nowhere to go but up. You are truly a
professional. Real job?… hmmm, some folks say that I don’t
do any real work. My primary career has led me to an interesting place.
I am Quality Coordinator for the Department of Transportation. Not
Caltrans, but a smaller governmental entity (must keep some anonymity)
here in Sacramento. Just what does that mean? It centers on customer
service, continuous improvement, and employee empowerment. I work
with our Department leadership, advising on such matters as teambuilding,
performance measurement, cultural and organizational change. I work
with our Communications and Media Officer on communication within
the department, and preparing media for distribution to staff and
customers. Which leads me to working with our Information Technology
folks in Web Development for our corporate inter and intranet. There
are also employee recognition programs; I work with employees, Supervisors
and Managers to unify those efforts. There’s a lot more boring
And of course I have my Graphic Design business. I do advertising
materials, product labeling and packaging, brochures, etc, etc. (
I finally found out how to make money at art, Ma…) And I’m
co-founder of a local Private School where I am a Trustee and part-time
You mentioned food – Yeah I like food. I love sushi in particular.
And coffee – thick, dark, full bodied coffee, mmmm… Hobbies
I turned into a business, but still enjoy doing photography and painting
just for fun. There is also this computer game called RCT…
||The Department of Transportation, that explains the condition
of the road coming to the site. You must get paid for designing the
potholes. Also, while you’re at it, the Staff lounge need a new
coat of paint.
||If I did they would look a lot better. Most of the design
I do is for print or web media. They make me keep my hands out of the
||How did you get started in the RCT Community?
||I suspect like a lot of folks – I am a roller coaster
and theme park fan, and found this interesting game, bought it, and
fell in love. I saw there was an official web page and found it to be
quite boring so I did a web search. I found many sites, cruised them,
joined some, forgot about others. The one that was the most helpful,
interesting, and friendly was RCT2.com. After lurking for quite some
time – I became a member and started posting. It always fascinated
me how much cross-pollination there was between sites. I got to know
many of the members from different locations.
||I know what you mean, as I have made my rounds in the Community
also. I always see you up and moving around the RCT2 site, do you get
to spend anytime playing RCT2 and making parks.
||Not as much as I used to. Being Staff at RCT2.com really takes
a chunk of that little time I have left after all those jobs I do. I
still manage to turn out a park now and then. I have a couple smaller
parks out in contests right now. They might go public soon. I have a
couple of mega parks completed, one I was not satisfied with and is
buried, the other is ‘Sambo Acres” that was in the parks
section of the site for a while. It was really a learning opportunity
for me, and that leads to the mega park that I am currently nearing
the half-way point on. It’s called “Forgotten Islands”.
As you can guess, there are islands, and they are roughly themed around
a lost tribes/lost civilization concept. Of course pirates took over
one of the islands and set up a base of illicit operations. Another
is mostly jungle, and quite terrifying. I think over all it will display
some of my best work
||How about on the graphics side, with your ability to push
pixels around, do you have any great objects you’ve created.
||Sadly, only on paper. I have tinkered a bit with the Object
Editor, but have not really created anything but a few badly shaped
test objects. It is one of my goals – after finishing my current
mega park – to commit some of those ideas to the screen. I think
I can do well, but who can say? I have to start before I can finish.
||If you were ever lucky enough to meet Chris Sawyer, what would
you say to him? I know you’re kind of laid back, but honestly
what would you say.
||First off, I’d say thanks. His work has lead to many
hours of enjoyment for this old codger. Next I’d ask why. Why
some of the decisions were made the way they were. Opting for object
limits for one. Did he not envision the users wanting to create more
than the design would allow? Why were some of the things we took for
granted in RCT1 such as the mountain tool, land side options and queue
designs not included in RCT2? I’d ask why he decided to sell off
the game when he did, and does he have any regrets considering what
they did with Wacky Worlds and Time Twisters? I would want to know if
he is bored with RCT, or if he still has an ace or two hidden up his
||I’ve been worried about the future of RCT2 since the
announcement that TT was the last expansion pack. What are your thoughts
||To everything there is a season. In this regard RCT2 is no
different than a business or a civilization. There are the explorers
that venture forward and discover new places and things. Behind them
are the pioneers, the ones that set up shop, build outposts, create
destinations. Then come the settlers, the ones attracted to the new
places. They turn these outposts into communities and bring civilization.
It is usually when the settlers bring civilization with them, the explorers
are off again seeking new places and things. The cycle begins again.
We have seen the explorers discover new possibilities with RCT2. We
have seen the pioneers setting up web spaces, and sure enough the settlers
have claimed their turf and civilization is happening as we speak. The
UCES is the perfect example of this. We all own the town now, and the
explorers are leaving to discover new and different things.
So even though TT is the last official expansion, it will not be
the last expansion. Sure, even as those old civilizations ultimately
feel the weight of time, the entropy is inevitable. RCT2 will expand
outward and the center will collapse. The wave has begun and only
time will stop it now. Of course the “original” explorer
could come up with RCT3. Then we are off on a whole new adventure.
||I can tell by your answer, you’ve been reading the Thesaurus
again. I also have to agree with the cycle theory. I’ve been around
for a while and seen them come and go. You’re the third owner
of the site, how did this transition of power come to happen.
||It’s really no secret. Boomer had both the wisdom and
foolishness of asking me to join the RCT2.com Staff. I had to accept
such an honor, and it caused me to see the site in a whole new perspective.
Once you see how the site is managed, it changes how you see things.
When Boomer was off taking care of much needed personal business, he
trusted his Staff to run the site. When the time came that Boomer needed
to devote his full attention to personal affairs, he sought out Staff
members that could manage the site in a way he thought appropriate.
Of course many on Staff were ready to do whatever it takes to keep the
ship moving forward. There were lots of discussions, offers, and proposals…
In what seemed like a thunderclap, Boomer had to leave. He placed his
trust in me, and the office keys in my hand. Of course having a credit
card that wasn’t maxed out was a help. The one thing that made
the transition work was the Staff. Words cannot express my gratitude
and constant amazement at the Staff here at RCT2.com, both past and
present. I consider myself fortunate in this regard, that is to be working
with such a devoted, caring, and capable team. I always remember that
leaders come and go, but it’s the people who do the heavy lifting
that are the real measures of success.
||And a better Boss can’t be found ?. If I do a good job
on this interview, can I have a window put in my office and the shackles
removed? I also promise to leave a smaller dent in your credit card.
||Well, I have wanted to really try out that object editor…
||Can you share with our readers some of the behind-the-scenes
happenings that I miss out on when I’m on the road. Like the time
you had the doorknob taken off AE’s office door.
||Scoop, now you’re giving away secrets! It’s true
– there are a lot of behind the scenes shenanigans going on around
the RCT2.com corporate offices. Amazing Earl is known for doing his
share - the bucket over the door trick has never been done so well as
when done by the Amazing Earl. The goldfish in the water cooler, gluing
the furniture to the ceiling to make it appear the staff room had been
turned upside-down, there is much fun that goes on behind the scenes.
Yeah, I had the doorknob removed. Not just removed, but filled in, so
it appeared there never was a doorknob. With the door securely locked
in place, and nothing to grasp to try and open it, I thought I finally
got one over on AE. Little did I know that he was doing his invisible
man routine, and was actually inside his office when this happened.
We missed him for a few days, but the joke turned out to be on us. Fortunately
he was able to survive on all the bottles of Red Fusion that thedoctorpepper
left in the closet. Yeah, it’s a laugh a minute here…
||What’s with all of the new construction at the site?
You keeping secrets from the Staff again?
||Nope. Just from the members – and not for very much
longer. We have some big end of the year events and expansion that are
nearing completion. One room in particular is a tribute to the heart
and soul of RCT2.com.
||Are there any last thoughts or words of wisdom that you would
like to impart upon the RCT Community before I get back to work.
||There’s so much to say, I don’t know where to
begin. I’ll have to mull that one over, Scoop. The first thing
is to remember that RCT is only a game, a fantasy. The people we meet
in this community, the bonds – however tenuous- that are formed
are what is real. Enjoy the game, but cherish the players.
Sam is lost in thought about
more things to say concerning my last question. I slowly work my way to
the door and slip through. Dang, there’s security again. I’m
led back to my office and left to my own devices. Suddenly, from where a
wall used to be, I see a ray of sunlight from my new window.
Now we have to work on the
Copyright © 2003 Scoop