Red Bull Metropolis is a Cities: Skylines tournament, featuring four of the biggest content creators in the community going head to head to test their city planning prowess. Biffa, RTGame, Spiffing Brit and Canada’s own Quill, will go through a series of time-limited challenges designed by Red Bull, Paradox Interactive and the Cities: Skylines community.
All four contestants will take part in five challenges, revealed on the day of the tournament. Points will be awarded based on creativity, integration, realism and a number of in-game factors. The two participants that score the highest will be given a sixth and final challenge that will crown the winner. The action will be streamed on Red Bull's YouTube and Twitch channels August 21st 2021 at 12pm EST, featuring gameplay challenges, interviews, expert analysis and commentary.
Those who want to follow a particular content creator’s experience can go to their individual channel to see their perspective. That’s five different angles for the Red Bull Metropolis action. Before the event, we talked to quill18 about his background, Cities: Skylines and why he couldn't pass up the invite to be a part of Red Bull Metropolis.
Origins of quill18
Martin “quill18” Glaude, 42, is a full time content creator from Sudbury Ontario. His YouTube channel is mostly centred around Let’s Plays of various strategy/simulation games and he also streams three days a week on Twitch. Quill worked as a computer programmer before becoming a full time content creator, so he occasionally makes video game programming tutorials on his separate channel quill18creates.
Quill grew up in Sudbury, Ontario and became interested in both gaming and programming when he was a kid. Despite it being the mid 80s, Quill says he was lucky to have access to various early computers through friends and family to develop his passions.
“I remember early on, getting really interested in any game that had more than just plain action, so those strategy and simulation games, early Flight Simulators, very early memories of things like the first Civilization game, Master of Magic, Master of Orion... That kind of thing,” said Quill.
“At some point we got an Adam from ColecoVision, which is a pretty rare system in the house and that's actually where I learned programming when I was about eight years old. I taught myself that with a book that came with it.”
Quill left Sudbury to study computer science at the University of Ottawa before going back to his hometown to work as a programmer. He had no intention of diving headlong into content creation, initially only creating a YouTube channel to make guides for his guildmates in World of Warcraft so they wouldn't die as much. After deciding to start making videos on League of Legends builds, his YouTube career started to supersede his job as a computer programmer.
“At the time, [League of Legends] was tiny and there was no real content for it. That sort of started the ball rolling. Then I started doing Let's Plays for Civilization, SimCity, and a few things like that. At some point, my YouTube channel was as successful as my day job,” said Quill.
“I really liked my day job as a computer programmer, but I had to make a decision. I thought, ‘Well, if I don't commit to this, if I don't really give this a try and see what can happen at some point down the road, when I turn 40 I'm going to kick myself for never having tried,’ so I tried to do it full time and it's been working great ever since.”
Quill’s love for Cities: Skylines and the community
Since committing to content creation, Quill has made various videos on Cities: Skylines, becoming a big fan of the game before it even saw release. He was in Germany at Gamescom 2014, visiting the Paradox Interactive section, when two representatives from Colossal Order took him aside to show him a trailer for their new city builder game called Cities: Skylines. After watching it, Quill was beside himself with how much he loved the concept.
It was amazing. It was perfect. It was like everything everyone loved about SimCity, except brought to 10 times the size and the detail and it just worked beautifully well. You know, sort of freeform building. It wasn't limited to a grid, it had just so much more ability. You could play it for the nitty gritty technical side of it, but you could also play it to just make a stunningly beautiful and creative city if you wanted. It was everything for everyone.
Because it’s a simulation city-building video game, the community around it is separated into two major groups. Those that pursue creativity and those that crave functionality.
“The Cities: Skylines community is incredibly passionate, and the two parts of that community work together extremely well. In the end, at the intersection of the Venn diagram of this, you've got these people that generate these huge cities that are absolutely gorgeous,” said Quill.
“On top of that you've got the modding part of the community, which is massive. Other than maybe Skyrim, I don't know if I can think of, off the top of my head, a community with more dedicated and amazing modders than Cities: Skylines. They've really made the game, and kudos to Colossal Order for making a game that's so wonderfully and beautifully moddable.”
How Red Bull Metropolis is changing esports and quill18
Quill says the Cities: Skylines community is hyped for Red Bull Metropolis. From the talent and popularity of the content creators competing, to seeing how a simulation game like this will look as an esport, there’s a lot for them to dig into and that’s before all of the memes that are going to come out of it.
“These content creators play the game so very differently, and it's going to be really interesting to play people with very different levels of skill and style. Some of the people that are going to be in [Red Bull Metropolis] are extremely technically brilliant, and it's going to be really interesting to mesh these different styles together,” said Quill.
“One of the things Cities: Skylines has is a lot of memes about it. There's the poop lake meme, different ways to destroy your cities, and things like that. I think people are really excited to see some of that play out in a competitive format.”
On top of this being the first sponsored Cities: Skylines competition ever, it's also Quill’s first esports tournament. Even though he enjoys some esports titles, Quill often shys away from anything that requires him to really compete. With more outside the box event formats cropping up in esports, fans of simulation games like Quill are finding opportunities to get involved in something they never saw themselves being part of before.
I get quite anxious when it comes to competitive stuff, and I often try to avoid it, but the combination of: Red Bull, Cities: Skylines, tournament... It was too hard to resist. Plus, I fully expect to get destroyed by the other people in this because they’re amazing and that makes it okay, because there's no pressure. I know that they're very good, because my comments keep telling me that I need to watch their videos to learn how to play the game.
Despite seeing himself as the underdog, Quill is still doing everything he can to get ready for this event. He's doing mock challenges, practicing the approved mods and studying pictures of real cities to prepare for whatever he might face this Saturday. But the biggest advantage he says he has is his fanbase.
“My community is really amazing. Lots of really mature people, everyone being really friendly and positive all the time. I think I'm gonna get a lot of really good feedback as I go through this and a lot of encouragement. I think that's going to make a huge difference.”