This month I had the chance to have a brief chat with Mr. Yoot Saito, the gentleman behind Yoot Tower. While running between appearances and his normal work schedule, he had the time to respond to a few questions. So, sit back, relax and learn a little about Mr. Saito…
My Mac: Mr. Saito, let me first welcome you to My Mac Magazine. I know that our readers will be very interested in hearing from you regarding your program and learning a little about yourself. Knowing that your are extremely busy with the introduction of Yoot Tower, I’ll get right to our interview.
Can you provide our readers with some background on yourself, your work and how you first became involved with the Mac?
Mr. Saito: Around 1984-85 DOS machines were at the height of their power in Japan. However, the Mac, although the screen was just monochrome, had sampling sounds and many bizarre brilliant programs like RACTOR. It was like seeing the silver screen from the 21st century.
My Mac: What first got you interested in developing programs for the Mac?
Mr. Saito: I did not have a lot of interest in action or shooting games. However when I first saw SimCity I thought that it was a very smart method of expression. So when Maxis released Tower in America and Europe as Sim Tower, it was a big honor for me.
My Mac: What was your inspiration for SIM TOWER?
Mr. Saito: Unlike RPGs or adventure games with a linear story, the challenge of SimTower is the simulation model of “people” and how to treat them. There is no specific hero. By setting the movements of the elevators we succeeded in showing the natural reactions of people. It is generally thought that the building is the main character of SimTower, but ultimately it is the residents themselves. They are what brings about the excitement in the simulation. We were limited by the 2D graphics, though.
My Mac: Can you explain the premise for YOOT TOWER for those readers who are not yet familiar with your work?
Mr. Saito: Using the Sim Tower simulation engine I want to offer a variety of building construction kits in a manner similar to Lego. You can say it is the appeal of an extendible game…
As a kid, I was a big fan of Lego. Later when the windmill and the wheel were put out the fun of Lego was never-ending. So rather than having scores and game-over, being able to extend and expand the game is my intention.
My Mac: The 3 sites that you have selected for YOOT TOWER builders to construct their buildings at are Tokyo, Hawaii, and Kegon Falls. What other locations do you have in mind for add-on modules?
Mr. Saito: The Tower team is developing the Statue of Liberty, Tokyo Tower, and plans for other famous symbolic sites.
My Mac: What software did you use to develop YOOT TOWER?
Mr. Saito: I assume that this question is not about what I as the game designer used, but rather Mr. Sakai and the rest of the development team used. Primarily they used the CodeWarrior C++ compiler and Photoshop for the graphics.
My Mac: When you developed YOOT TOWER and were preparing it for release, you made it very clear that you wanted the Mac version to appear first before the Windows version. Why did you do so and what resistance did you encounter?
Mr. Saito: In making the initial prototypes, the Mac was a great sketchbook. However, in America, much more so than in Japan there is a lot of skepticism toward the Mac market. That was a very difficult point from a marketing angle.
My Mac: What’s a typical day for you?
Mr. Saito: I enjoy Ethnic music like Deep Forest. Spending time with my daughter. Partying with friends like Matt Wolf, a producer at Sega.
My Mac: A final question for you, Mr. Saito. What do you have in store for the Mac public? New projects, etc?
Mr. Saito: I am not interested in games with such concepts as scoring, game over, endings, clearing levels, etc. I would continue to make games without end, that become a part of the user’s life. Something that, in the same way as a word processor or network software, stays on the hard disk for years.
My Mac: Thank you, Mr. Saito.