Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Spore Is Special

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the omgreleasenow dept.

77

The New York Times is running a long piece by Steven Johnson, author of "Everything Bad Is Good For You." In 'The Long Zoom', Johnson describes just what is so special about Will Wright's Spore . From the article: "Despite the fictions, many of the themes of Spore are immensely valuable ones, particularly in an age of environmental crisis: the fragility of life, the connection between micro- and macro- scales, the complex networks of ecosystems and food webs, the impact of new technology on social systems. Spore's players will get to experience firsthand how choices made on a local scale -- a single creature's decision to, say, adopt an omnivorous lifestyle -- can end up having global repercussions. They will detect similarities between one level of the game and another, the complex balancing act of global trade mirroring the complex balancing act of building a sustainable environment. And traveling through a simulated universe, from cells to constellations, will, ideally, make them more curious about the real-world universe they already inhabit -- and show them that they have the power to shape that universe as well."

cancel ×

77 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Please stop the Hype (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | about 8 years ago | (#16367641)

"Despite the fictions, many of the themes of Spore are immensely valuable ones, particularly in an age of environmental crisis: the fragility of life, the connection between micro- and macro- scales, the complex networks of ecosystems and food webs, the impact of new technology on social systems. Spore's players will get to experience firsthand how choices made on a local scale -- a single creature's decision to, say, adopt an omnivorous lifestyle -- can end up having global repercussions. They will detect similarities between one level of the game and another, the complex balancing act of global trade mirroring the complex balancing act of building a sustainable environment. And traveling through a simulated universe, from cells to constellations, will, ideally, make them more curious about the real-world universe they already inhabit -- and show them that they have the power to shape that universe as well."

With such simple, easy to obtain, objective like that I'm sure they will have absolutely no problem living up to people's expectations. After all claiming a compeletly open gameplay experience was easily obtained by Diakatana, and Black and White certainly lived up to people's expectations of a trainable, inteligent agent.

Re:Please stop the Hype (1, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 8 years ago | (#16367767)

Yes except the difference between Peter Molyneaux and Will Wright is that Molyneaux claims, Wright delivers.

Re:Please stop the Hype (2, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | about 8 years ago | (#16367945)

Wright never claimed such things this guy claims though. I'm doubting things like industrial global warming will not be simulated to the degree this guy implies. He is setting the bar higher than Wright or any Spore advertising has attempted.

Re:Please stop the Hype (1)

Russellkhan (570824) | about 8 years ago | (#16368323)

Kinda funny thing to say in the context of talking about Black & White (a released game) vs Spore (a game that is beginning to look like vaporware amidst its hype).

Re:Please stop the Hype (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 8 years ago | (#16370711)

I don't think anyone doubted that Spore will get released, what people doubt is that it'll live up to expectations. Black & White failed badly in that respect.

Better late than suck (1)

LKM (227954) | about 8 years ago | (#16378173)

Well... Better to be late than to suck. Or, as Miyamoto put it: "A delayed game is eventually good, but a bad game is bad forever."
(Well, I'm not sure he said it, but the quote is generally attributed to him).

Re:Better late than suck (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 8 years ago | (#16378647)

Duke Nukem Forever!!!

Re:Better late than suck (1)

LKM (227954) | about 8 years ago | (#16389827)

I'm not sure which answer I should go with:

  1. Just you wait! It's gonna be so good, it'll be the end of gaming.
  2. Duke Nukem isn't late. It's late, killed, deceased, zombified and dead. It's dead! It's not late, it's dead! DEAD!!!

Re:Better late than suck (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 8 years ago | (#16390625)

Late (adj)- Recently deceased: The late (and Great) Mr Duke Nukem...

Re:Please stop the Hype (1)

Sulka (4250) | about 8 years ago | (#16368741)

With such simple, easy to obtain, objective like that I'm sure they will have absolutely no problem living up to people's expectations.

Hell yeah. I was in the GDC keynote this year and I recall that by that time they had already created over 400 prototypes for the simulation models in the game. 400 for crying out loud! What I gathered is what they're trying to achieve is anything but simple. If they were just creating a simulation then sure, it'd be "easy" to create one. But making a game that's based on a simulation, man, that's tough.

(You were being sarcastic, right?)

Re:Please stop the Hype (2, Funny)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | about 8 years ago | (#16368753)

But it's WILL WRIGHT! If there's any game designer that can solve all the problems of the world, open people's eyes to changing environmental structures, cure world hunger and make people stop fighting and be nice to each other it's the creator of The Sims.

Re:Please stop the Hype (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16370985)

Yeah, right. First thing I did with that game was trap people in a room to let them die in a pool of their own filth.

Re:Please stop the Hype (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16374167)

> Black and White certainly lived up to people's expectations of a trainable, inteligent agent.

Actually, the creature in Black and White far exceeded my expectations. Unfortunately the rest of the game stunk.

Re:Please stop the Hype (1)

soundvessel (899042) | about 8 years ago | (#16381757)

This isn't hype; this is speculation on the available philosophical themes that can be derived from the game.

You don't have to actively participate or subscribe to the philosophical implications of the game for them to be valid.

So much press for an Unreleased Game (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | about 8 years ago | (#16367657)

Ok, I admit that the premise is working on me I've heard about this thing so much my brain just screams to play it...but come on already when is this thing gonna get delivered! Its approaching DNF proportions of Ok great, but where the hell is it!

Re:So much press for an Unreleased Game (1)

geekster (87252) | about 8 years ago | (#16368235)

June 1, 2007 [gamespot.com] according to Gamespot. I belive it's been on schedule so far?

Re:So much press for an Unreleased Game (1)

Flame0001 (818040) | about 8 years ago | (#16370525)

Never trust game sites like Gamespot for release info. Search for a direct developer quote or something official, because websites tend to want to set a date in stone just to pacify the crowds.

Re:So much press for an Unreleased Game (1)

geekster (87252) | about 8 years ago | (#16377867)

Well, they do have games where the release date is "To Be Announced". But I still think the comparison with DNF is unfair since I don't believe Spore has slipped any date yet.

Whoop-dee-fricken-doo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16367741)

What's with all the dupe fuss over a seemingly mediocre game that isn't even out yet? Wow. Procedural, repetitive gameplay. Does anyone care anymore?

Or... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16367757)

And traveling through a simulated universe, from cells to constellations, will, ideally, make them more curious about the real-world universe they already inhabit -- and show them that they have the power to shape that universe as well.
... or it'll keep them glued to their computers because it's much more conveniently fun than "the real world."

So when does Spore Nukum Forever arrive? (0, Offtopic)

sehlat (180760) | about 8 years ago | (#16367771)

Just curious.

Re:So when does Spore Nukum Forever arrive? (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | about 8 years ago | (#16369187)

I think they should be running out of money to produce DNF, 10 years and 20-30 persons on it...
Means a couple millions easily.. And still no game out... That's a HUGE budget!

Get Real... (3, Funny)

XenoPhage (242134) | about 8 years ago | (#16367787)

And traveling through a simulated universe, from cells to constellations, will, ideally, make them more curious about the real-world universe they already inhabit -- and show them that they have the power to shape that universe as well.

Yeah.. sure.. Let's get real..

Spore looks really cool and I'll be more than happy to play it for a few hours (assuming it truly is as engaging as it looks), but the first thing going through my mind was now "Wow, this has taught me that I can shape the universe," but something more along the lines of "Whoa.. I wonder if I can make a creature that kills everything on sight."

Hrm.. maybe there is something to this video games promotes violence thing...

Re:Get Real... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16368103)

Hrm.. maybe there is something to this video games promotes violence thing...

Well, duh. It promotes violence against nonexistent digital entities, which I do find preferable to violence against real hairless monkeys.

Re:Get Real... (1)

andphi (899406) | about 8 years ago | (#16368481)

Quoth the Poster: Whoa.. I wonder if I can make a creature that kills everything on sight

World of Sporecraft?

Re:Get Real... (2, Funny)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 8 years ago | (#16369325)

Nerf imba sporelocks.

Epic hype (1)

sinner6 (884407) | about 8 years ago | (#16367789)

Come on enough with the hype. Now Spore has the power to enlighten the masses to everything from global trade to the wonders of life, and allow us simpletons to grasp the scope and scale of all existance. This may be the greatest game ever created, past, present, or future, but the hype is up to biblical purportions.

Re:Epic hype (1)

superdan2k (135614) | about 8 years ago | (#16367981)

Given all that it will do, I am going to have to proclaim Spore to be "the Segway of Video Games"!

I call bollocks (3, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 8 years ago | (#16367821)

I'm as optimistic as the next guy, but to think a videogame will make us more aware and caring about our environment is just pure shit. We have a plethora of other mediums all telling us this and we're still not listening, what makes him think a game can do it?

Re:I call bollocks (1)

rblum (211213) | about 8 years ago | (#16368193)

In a nutshell: Interactivity.

You'll actually be able to *see* how small choices can completely screw you over. It's a much different type of learning than just watching a documentary, hearing a speech, or reading a book.

Do I know if *Spore* can do that? No. I haven't seen the thing except as hypeware. But it has the potential to do it. That's where the advantage of video games as a medium lies. Which is why the flood of FPS/GTA games is getting tedious. We've got a marvellous medium on hand, but we just can't say anything with it. (And that's why people pin high hopes on Spore. Will Wright is one of the very few designers to think slightly outside the genre box)

Re:I call bollocks (1)

mypalmike (454265) | about 8 years ago | (#16371673)

In a nutshell: Interactivity.

Exactly. For instance, think about the tactics and strategies that you learn from RTSG's and other war simulations. Troop formations, ratios of artillery/infantry/support units in an assault, effective defensive positions, etc. Someone who is really good at C&C would certainly be able to carry some of their game experience into a job as a war planner. Similarly, urban combat tactics learned in countless hours of counterstrike are directly applicable in real world scenarios. These game experiences become mental models of problems and solutions that are quite similar to real world situations. Game-trained mental models that happen to be non-combat are easily carried over to real world experience. Heck, a few games of MULE on the Atari 800 would be a great exercise in supply/demand in any college eceonomics class. I'd be thrilled if Spore manages to be one of those games that makes people think differently after shutting down the computer.

No other game has done this... (2, Interesting)

SimHacker (180785) | about 8 years ago | (#16368973)

I hate to be sappy, but I think there's a point to games that make people think about the real world. Hopefully Spore will make people think about Mother Earth, the Solar System and the Universe, the same way The Sims makes people think about their Mum, Family and Society.

Here is a message about The Sims titled "No other game has done this... [google.com] ", posted in April 2000 (one month after The Sims was released) in the alt.family-names.sims newsgroup (the Sims fans took over the alt.family-names.sims, newsgroup because there wasn't a newsgroup for The Sims game yet).

-Don

Hi... no need to reply to this cos it's just a whimsical thought :-)

When I first got the game I tried to make my own family, trying to get their personalities accurate too. When making myself, my dad and my sister, I attributed points to all the personality categories, and I found I had points left over. But when I made my mum I ran out of available points and was wishing for more -- I wanted to give her more points than are available. It made me realise for the first time in years how much I love my mum :-)

Now what other game has ever done *that*? :-)

Gavin Clayton

Re:No other game has done this... (1)

UltraAyla (828879) | about 8 years ago | (#16370193)

this isn't to be meanspirited, because I think you're making an excellent point, but what you said made me think of future postings from people playing spore talking about how they ran out of evolution points and it made them realize just how much they love their right arm.

What about SimEarth, also by Will Wright? (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | about 8 years ago | (#16371655)

One of the intentions of SimEarth [wikipedia.org] was to get people thinking in this way too, given the concept of 'Gaia' within the simulation.

Re:What about SimEarth, also by Will Wright? (1)

LionKimbro (200000) | about 8 years ago | (#16375119)

It's hard to know, when you're dealing with something like this, to guage the effects.

But I have a hunch (based in my own experience) that SimEarth "worked," and I have a hunch that Spore will work, [wikia.com] as well.

I've been exploring a model of the "mass mind" called "Causal Layered Analysis." [communitywiki.org] It makes sense to me. Spore would rest somewhere between "Worldview / Discourse Analysis," and "Myth / Metaphore Analysis," since it largely works unconsciously.

Been waiting... (1)

Kingrames (858416) | about 8 years ago | (#16367841)

I've been waiting a long time for a game that lets me create creatures.

I played Star Wars Galaxies and i was a bioengineer for a while, creating critters such as a bearded jax (basically a housecat) that could spit acid and was immune to fire. I told myself I'd eventually go back to SWG and play my bioengineer again, but they went and DELETED the class.

Spore looks to be pretty fun though, and I can't wait to play around with the critter creator.

I'm impressed (2)

tygerstripes (832644) | about 8 years ago | (#16367893)

What amazes me about Spore (quite apart from it looking like a FANTASTIC game) is that it seems to have developed so rapidly, to be able to demonstrate such deep quality so soon, to have such enthusiastic support from all corners. There are many games that have managed one or two of the above, but how many manage all three?

I'm pretty sure this will be out next year, and will be one of those games that forevermore gets mentioned in the biannual "best games in history" articles that somehow get posted. And I'll probably agree.

Re:I'm impressed (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | about 8 years ago | (#16369485)

Unless, of course, it turns out to suck. It's not even out yet. How much were you paid? :P Not to be a troll but that's a little overboard. Maybe you are new to the game industry, but good graphics and an interesting concept doesn't mean good gameplay, or more importantly, fun to play. It just means good graphics. You can say "ooh good graphics" but not "ooh good game" before you've even played it, that's insane. (Unless the graphics is pre-rendered, like some still is though less now days, or completely scripted, which many 'previews' still are.) They are primarily marketing the game concepts. If it's actually fun or not remains to be seen. On top of that, replayability? Frustration level? Too easy? Gets boring? There's a LOT to making a game that's actually fun. We'll see.

Re:I'm impressed (1)

tygerstripes (832644) | about 8 years ago | (#16375283)

You should definitely take a look at the talk Will Wright gave [google.com] at the GDC - while it's probable that it hadn't all been tied together by that point, he played the game for you there & then, with the occasional gaff & things not going according to plan. With the sheer level of user customisation and content creation, there's no way it could be pre-rendered or scripted. That's actually what his talk was about (apart from being a showcase) - the importance of user-created content and flexibility, of deriving behaviour from design at a core, algorithmic level - which is what made the game so incredibly exciting and impressive to watch.

As for boredom, Spore is about as replayable as any game is possible to be. It has several phases that each map to games that are "fun" on different levels. It has the pac-man stage (very much like fl0w [usc.edu] ) for plain fun, it has a micro-management SimCity-like building stage, a very civ-like conquest stage - and at all points you can push your character/civilisation towards an aggressive/defensive/reproductive/whatever style, which changes how the game works for you.

Too easy/hard? The game adapts to your ability by actually bringing in user-created creatures etc from the interweb that it thinks will match your ability but challenge you enough to evolve effectively. That was a core idea of the game.

I could go on, but my point is this: here we have a lead developer who actually understands the concerns you've raised, and has proved time & again that he can overcome them. He's really put a hell of a lot of thought & creativity into this. It takes a lot to get me excited usually, especially about civilisation games (I'm an FPSer by habit), but this is an exception.

I may be wrong on all accounts, and I'd recommend anyone read the reviews about anything before they buy. All I'm saying is I have very high expectations of this game. Seriously, watch the vid.

Re:I'm impressed (1)

mgblst (80109) | about 8 years ago | (#16375593)

What amazed me is the exact opposite (ok, not the exact opposite really), the fact that they have developed it so far, and NOT released it yet. They are actually waiting until it is finished to release it.

The one great failure of spore (1, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#16367919)

Spore has all the appearance of an amazing single player game. Single being the opertune word. Single player games are great, but they are by definition limited. The only possible competition is between the player, and the PC. The reward level is greatly reduced.

Think about it, how many (geeks) people talk about the great fight they had in Morrowind? Compare that to the number of people who boast about frags and kill:death ratios, complete with dramatic reinactment.

Spore will do well, I'm planning on buying it, and playing it (for a while). But in the long term, with out some form of multi-player competition, cooperation, and communication, it'll be nothing more than a nice single player game.

-Rick

Re:The one great failure of spore (1)

geekster (87252) | about 8 years ago | (#16368165)

I believe there is some form of multiplayer in other players inhabiting other planets.

Re:The one great failure of spore (1)

xenoarch (817676) | about 8 years ago | (#16369303)

Actually no its not multiplayer. But what you create in the game can be packed very small and sent to a cetral database. The game will also keep track of your playstyle and that will be saved too. So when you get to the galactic phase the universe will be populated by creatures and civilizations other people made.

So you won't be playing against others just against what others have made.

The first couple of weeks maybe a little boring while enough people make the civilzations to populate the galaxy. But maybe the DB will be filled with stuff from beta.

Re:The one great failure of spore (1)

geekster (87252) | about 8 years ago | (#16377841)

Ok, I see. I guess this keeps people from overtaking other players planets while they're still at a low stage of evolution.

Re:The one great failure of spore (1)

tarun713 (782737) | about 8 years ago | (#16368279)

I'm actually glad it is not a multiplayer game. I enjoy being able to go at my own pace rather than trying to outdo some millions of random people, most of which have far more time than me to play the game. I don't mind if a multiplayer aspect is thrown in, as long as the primary focus of the game is single player.

a failure just like sims (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16368361)

Exactly! The Sims and it' s sequel were also both way too limited to ever garner any universal marketable appeal because they were single player games. What idiot would ever bank on THAT idea? Nobody would ever rattle on and on about which two sims they got to make out with each other or how they got the Newbie family to set fire to their neighbors while they were visiting. ... doh.

Re:The one great failure of spore (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | about 8 years ago | (#16368363)

And millions of people have felt so limited by the Sims so far, right? The "limited nature" of Animal Crossing kept my fiance playing it for well over a year. And she's, at best, a casual gamer.

Re:The one great failure of spore (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#16368607)

I did. And there are a couple million other players in the world that they could likely tap as well.

-Rick

Re:The one great failure of spore (1)

wedgewu (701989) | about 8 years ago | (#16368365)

How do you define failure?

I think it's safe to mention that The Sims was far from being a failure, and it was a single-player only game. While eventually they took it online, I don't believe that they had nearly as many online subscribers as offline players. What does that tell you about multiplayer?

The Sims franchise still sells like crazy. Failure? I think not.

Re:The one great failure of spore (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#16368683)

Failure of a game? The ability to keep me entertained until I get my money's worth out of it. I wasn't trying to imply (as most people have apparently read) that the GAME was a failure, but that there is an ELEMENT of the game that will fail (in my eyes). That element being the social aspect.

-Rick

Note to mods, this post is Off Topic. (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#16368407)

Okay, I know that statement (see parent) wasn't overflowing with band-wagonism, but Off Topic?!? WTF, the article is about why the author thinks Spore is special, and my statement is about why I think it is not as special as it could be.

Because my post was not on the "I want to feltch Spore's crack while giving it a reach around with a happy ending" level of fanboyism it gets tagged as off topic? If you're going to mod, mod well. Overrated, Flamebait, something...

-Rick

Re:Note to mods, this post is Off Topic. (1)

Alex No Really (1011411) | about 8 years ago | (#16371665)

I think you meant 'felch', without the 't'. ;) And actually moderating the hype is a big problem for us on Spore. We're just trying to make a cool game on a fresh concept that gets people thinking and playing a bit differently. It's actually harmful for us if the hypoe gets cranked up too far - it makes people want to hate the game before it's even released, or have unreasonably high expectations. Alex.

Re:Note to mods, this post is Off Topic. (1)

kalidasa (577403) | about 8 years ago | (#16380645)

Then I've got bad news for you, Alex. I haven't played any video game in over a year: in my life, I've bought perhaps 10 or 12 video games (going back to my old Intellivision, but including SimEarth, SimCity, and The Sims), and *I'm* planning on buying Spore at release. That's hype.

Re:Note to mods, this post is Off Topic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16375005)

stop obsessively refreshing your post to see how it was modded

The Future of Content, and new book: Mirror Lake (-1, Offtopic)

SimHacker (180785) | about 8 years ago | (#16368071)

The Future of Content [donhopkins.com]
What I learned about content from the Sims.
...and why it's driven me to procedural methods.
...And what I now plan to do with them.
Will Wright
Game Developers Conference
3/11/2005

Joel Jones and her family Will Wright and Cassidy Wright just published this beautiful new book, which I highly recommend:

Mirror Lake is the natural environment where Joell Jones, Will Wright and Cassidy Wright retreat for vacation to draw inspiration. [amazon.com] Proceeds from this new book go to the Turtle Nest Protection Program.

Through the paintings and photographs of authors Joell Jones, Will Wright, and Cassidy Wright, this gift book looks at the nature and environment of Fripp Island, off the coast of North Carolina near Beaufort. The images and musings span more than two decades of visits to a coastal vacation spot that mirrors the process of leisure development in natural settings all over the world. In it we see and read about many aspects of nature, including the loggerhead turtles that once hatched freely on Fripp's beaches.

About the Authors

Joell Jones is an exhibiting artist with her studio in Oakland, California. She received her BA from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, and her MA from JFK University in Orinda, California. She studied painting with Michelle Cassou. Joell is married to co-author Will Wright and mother of co-author Cassidy Wright.

Will Wright is co-founder of Maxis Software Company in Emeryville, California, and designer of the computer games SimCity, The Sims, and Spore. Wright was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2001. He has been informally photographing at Fripp Island since 1999.

Cassidy Wright has been involved in art exhibits, and in the inventor sport of Robot Wars, since she was eight years old. In 2004 she entered the California College of the Arts in Oakland, California, to investigate her interests in a variety of media. She has been photographing at Fripp Island since 2000.

Prediction: Spore will suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16368131)

There's a serious possbility this game is going to suck harder than almost any game in hsitory (the exception being E.T. from the 80s). Why? Because it's more about creation than it is about playing. All past Maxis games, including The Sims, had SOME game component to it.

Don't be that guy Will.... (1)

kinglink (195330) | about 8 years ago | (#16368209)

Dear Will Wright,

Don't be that jackass that hypes his game, Will Wright. We saw it with Romero, We see it with Molyneux, we see it over and over, but Will, you and Sid Meier are rocks, we can expect good games from you. It's true you falter a bit, Civ 3 wasn't great, Sims got too many expansions, though the final ones were good, but don't become the new industry asshole.

We already want your game, but trying to over sell it and falling short is the worse thing you can do. Just deliver us the best game you can and we'll be happy, your demos have made fans happy, gave critics stuff to bash, and gave comics stuff to make fun of. Let's keep the status quo.

Come on, be a buddy. You're one of the last PC developers that isn't a total joke.

Sincerly,

PS. Daikatana Dikatana Daikatana... See I knew it would make you laugh.

Re:Don't be that guy Will.... (1)

hansamurai (907719) | about 8 years ago | (#16370015)

In your post-post-script, make sure you remind Will Wright what he had to do with Civilization 3. (of course Sid and Will have worked together on projects before, but not Civ 3; and I know you also mentioned Sid in the same sentence, but the letter is directed towards Will, and not Cid; but I digress from my cleverly disguised pointing out your error reply)

Re:Don't be that guy Will.... (1)

kinglink (195330) | about 8 years ago | (#16370319)

I actually knew that Will didn't work on Civ 3, but I was pointing out both him and Sid have had missteps, but they never over hyped their games like some who have already been named, and some who need not be named because I can't think of them right now :)

Re:Don't be that guy Will.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16375073)

Whats the point of this rant?

Will isn't hyping his games. Its everyone else, your rant should be directed at the article.

Nerdgasm (1)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | about 8 years ago | (#16368217)

"Despite the fictions, many of the themes of Spore are immensely valuable ones, particularly in an age of environmental crisis: the fragility of life, the connection between micro- and macro- scales, the complex networks of ecosystems and food webs, the impact of new technology on social systems. Spore's players will get to experience firsthand how choices made on a local scale -- a single creature's decision to, say, adopt an omnivorous lifestyle -- can end up having global repercussions. They will detect similarities between one level of the game and another, the complex balancing act of global trade mirroring the complex balancing act of building a sustainable environment. And traveling through a simulated universe, from cells to constellations, will, ideally, make them more curious about the real-world universe they already inhabit -- and show them that they have the power to shape that universe as well."


I just had a nerdgasm. ...procedurally of course.

Firsthand? (3, Informative)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 8 years ago | (#16368685)

Spore's players will get to experience firsthand how choices made on a local scale -- a single creature's decision to, say, adopt an omnivorous lifestyle -- can end up having global repercussions.
No they won't. Spore is...um...for want of a better word, fiction. The dynamics of the game have been tweaked to behave this way. There's no 'firsthand' experience of 'global repercussions'. If a bunch of major polluting companies decided to release an ecological game in which the effects of any decision were always purely local could we expect Fox News to report how players could experience, firsthand, the robustness of nature against human interference?

Now if spore was built as an accurate simulation based on parameters measured out in nature, maybe one could argue that we were experiencing 'firsthand'. Otherwise this is just nonsense.

Re:Firsthand? (1)

PaulMorel (962396) | about 8 years ago | (#16369297)

Wow, you entirely missed the point, but decided to post your nescience anyway.

When he says that you will be able to experience global repercussions firsthand, he means that Spore will present an immediate representation of the kinds of crazy things that can happen globally as a result of local actions.

In other words, where it's kind of hard to see how an earthquake in North Korea can result (for instance) storms in Peru (I made this up). It is much easier to see these kinds of things in the enclosed environment of Spore.

"Now if spore was built as an accurate simulation based on parameters measured out in nature, maybe one could argue that we were experiencing 'firsthand'"

That is total nonsense. Nobody can accurately map out the processes of nature with the technology we have now (or the math we have now). In fact, the field of chaos mathematics is entirely devoted to understanding exactly why we can't predict the things that we can't predict (and trying to predict them, nonetheless).

Weather is an example of this; a natural phenomenon that has too many variables to examine truly realistically, but can be broken down into a smaller number of fields that CAN be looked at 'firsthand'.

Re:Firsthand? (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 8 years ago | (#16371639)

Nobody can accurately map out the processes of nature with the technology we have now
Exactly. Talk about missing the point. Any such processes illustrated in a game are completely made up and bear no necessary relation to reality at all. It might make for a fun game, but there's no 'firsthand' about it.

Re:Firsthand? (1)

LionKimbro (200000) | about 8 years ago | (#16375129)

I think the "firsthand" is referring to the immediacy of interactive experience.

Instead of telling you how a story plays out, you actually get to play in the role.

Now, granted, it is a story, and a fiction.

But fictions basically move the world and cause interesting things to happen.

That's my understanding, at least.

Why Steven Johnson, You Ask (2, Informative)

PaulMorel (962396) | about 8 years ago | (#16368999)

You may be wondering why Steven Johnson is writing about Spore. The answer is that he wrote one of the best books ever written about swarm intelligence, Emergence [amazon.com] .

For a para-scientific book, it is very deep. It goes over the entire history of swarm intelligence and really explains how local actions can have global consequences. It is also incredibly fluid and easy to read.

In short, you are not a true computer-geek until you have read it, so check it out.

Ugh. (2, Funny)

Canthros (5769) | about 8 years ago | (#16369927)

Spore could make me into a tree-hugging hippy? ... this is supposed to make me excited about the game?

Not Necessarily. (1)

Melllvar (911158) | about 8 years ago | (#16374923)

There's every possibility you could walk away from a session of Spore as a Fukuyama-quoting, Hegel-worshipping neocon. To quote the article:

Once you successfully pass from the "clash of civilizations" stage to the "end of history," the game grants you that ultimate in Hegelian rewards: a spaceship.

So let me get this straight ... Hegel wrote space opera? Serves me right for never having had the stamina to read him through to the end.

I'm pretty sure Marx's Communist Manifesto doesn't end with any spaceships; but now I'm gonna have to go re-read the thing just to be certain.

Re:Ugh. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 years ago | (#16378497)

Spore could make me into a tree-hugging hippy? ... this is supposed to make me excited about the game?

Absolutely. Because when you've become a tree-hugging hippy, you're that much closer to getting the freaky tree-hugging hippy chicks. And, there's gold in them thar hills. =)

Cheers

Re:Ugh. (1)

Night Goat (18437) | about 8 years ago | (#16383045)

Absolutely. Because when you've become a tree-hugging hippy, you're that much closer to getting the freaky tree-hugging hippy chicks. And, there's gold in them thar hills.

Well, gold and lice.

Re:Ugh. (1)

Criceratops (981909) | about 8 years ago | (#16385547)

Spore could make me into a tree-hugging hippy? ... this is supposed to make me excited about the game?

Ah, no. In your case, it's supposed to make the REST of us excited about the game.

If only there was a weapon of mass enlightenment... sigh.

Re:Ugh. (1)

Canthros (5769) | about 8 years ago | (#16388769)

This weapon of mass enlightenment, that's some hippy approach to solar power, right?

Seriously, give me a break. The only thing that seems to make the folks here feel better about themselves more than seeing socialists win an election is being able to shake their heads at us poor benighted dopes who think that maybe, just maybe the frigging global warming alarmists aren't necessarily right. Spare me the self-righteousness.

Some touchy-feely crap about how a video game might make me more in tune with Mother Earth doesn't make me excited about a game. Hell, it wouldn't get me in to hear Al Gore's pompous windbag in a theatre, and that would take less time and be cheaper. Games are about entertainment, as far as I'm concerned.

Oh, if only there was a way I could rap my knuckles on a person's temples for dismissively responding to me on the Intarweb. I could be wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice with such an invention.

Re:Ugh. (1)

Criceratops (981909) | about 8 years ago | (#16388821)

"Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

But you see, your way of thought is to strike down all foes, ideological, political, or even just those who like one show more than another.

And whether you believe in planning for our grandchildren and their grandchildren or not, and whether you believe in civility and tolerance or not, history's greatest atrocities have always come from the way of thinking that *you* espouse, not the way of thinking that I embrace.

All the snide comments and "superior" stances will in the end only prop up your hollow, materialistic, hateful soul in your own mind. Try dropping those rationalizations on the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the ripped-off, the starving, the homeless, the oppressed.

One day, you could be one of them....

No, the cat does not "got my tongue." (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 years ago | (#16369959)

"Despite the fictions, many of the themes of Spore are immensely valuable ones, particularly in an age of environmental crisis: the fragility of life, the connection between micro- and macro- scales, the complex networks of ecosystems and food webs, the impact of new technology on social systems


I wonder if the "civilization level" unit of Spore studies the immeasurably more immensly valuable theme of massive governmental intrusion into a freedom-based economy and how it leads to far more miserable lives for its citizens than all those other things going haywire put together?

Start with the conclusion, then build arguement... (1)

RexRhino (769423) | about 8 years ago | (#16370463)

What if Spore shows us that short term local concerns are more important than long term global concerns, that ecosystems are highly robust and there is little that can be done to disrupt them, and the proper way to solve all of our problems is by massive unprovoked violence? What if a highly militarist, highly aggressive and genicidal society with no goal other than destroying others turns out to be the most effective strategy in the game?

Are people willing to say, unconditionally, that Spore is a simulation which we should take broad lessons about real-life from? Even if those lessons might be in direct conflict with their current views on reality and morality?

Somehow I have a feeling that people will decide how "accurate" a model of reality that Spore is, based on how well the Spore "reality" conforms to their preconcieved model of reality. I think that Spore will probably be an amazing game, but I am a little skeptical about those who are so sure it will confirm their view of reality, or that if it does it will not be because it was designed to do so.

Hippies Go Home! (2, Insightful)

ectal (949842) | about 8 years ago | (#16370865)

I don't think Will Wright is trying to make a statement about the Earth Goddess or the fragility of life or whatever. I remember some interview where he talked about how much fun it is to blow up planets in Spore. Maybe there's a P.C. option switch that allows you to change your UFO's weapon so that it distributes tofu and peace pamphlets to aggressive planets, but I doubt it. This game seems to be as much about the fun of destruction as the fun of creation.

All Sims games have had that. Who hasn't hit earthquake 10 times in a row in SimCity 2K? Or removed the ladder from the pool in the Sims and watched the little buggers swim around until they die?

What's going to be profound about Spore? The fun, man. The fun.

Why Spore Is Special... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16373837)

... because the marketers tell me so.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?