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Spore Prototypes Put Up By Maxis For Free Download

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the modify-it-your-own-durn-self dept.

PC Games (Games) 45

azuredrake writes "According to GameDaily, EA today released a free download of a Spore prototype known as 'BIOME.' The download site describes BIOME as a program that 'uses a language based on chemical stoichiometry.' It goes on to note that 'cells in a BIOME simulation change state the same way that chemicals change when exposed to other chemicals. Systems such as this can be used to simulate phenomena such as forest fires, disease epidemics, animal migration patterns and crystallization.' Note that the link provided in the article is, in fact, incorrect. Here is the correct link. Apparently, many more prototypes giving insight into the dev process of one of the PC world's most-hyped games will be posted in the future, so keep an eye on it."

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45 comments

Wow (1)

jrwr00 (1035020) | about 6 years ago | (#24350543)

Im Glad i Pre Ordered Spore, but WOW, the stuff they are relasesing for free is amazing, i cant wait for the game, if this is a small part of the massive game OMFG!

Re:Wow (1)

cicatrix1 (123440) | about 6 years ago | (#24351121)

There is no 'OMGMYEYES' mod :(

Or... maybe they'll just release it all separately (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | about 6 years ago | (#24351195)

Perhaps they're releasing everything, bit by bit, so that when they do release it all entirely, they won't have to worry about piracy - they'll have given it all away... and in the process, everyone will have securom installed, so it'll be impossible to pirate another one of their games!

Its a covert, secret plan, known only to the EA ninjas...

first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24350729)

i wonder what this post will evolve into by the end of the thread

Re:first post (2, Funny)

jrwr00 (1035020) | about 6 years ago | (#24350765)

As a Second Rate First post that is really just a Second Post, Thus being lower on the food chain

Another SecuROM install? (4, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24350753)

Will this thing also install SecuROM like their creature editor?

Re:Another SecuROM install? (-1, Troll)

jrwr00 (1035020) | about 6 years ago | (#24350779)

Eh Let them install SecuROM, If people are going to pirate a free game, I kinda dont under stand why they would do that, but if you think about it, "Its Not enought we give it away free, you got yo rip us off, thats ok i will find you, and i WILL kill you, haha" Dead Troll

Re:Another SecuROM install? (2, Informative)

LarsG (31008) | about 6 years ago | (#24351159)

*whoosh*

Re:Another SecuROM install? (2, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#24350797)

There are just ziped dirs with the exe files in them no installers.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 6 years ago | (#24352133)

And a virus is an .exe disguised as pretty much anything else. Your point? Yes, it would be incredibly sneaky and unethical (and quite possibly illegal), but definitely not impossible or even improbable.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24354513)

It's actually very, very improbable, since it's quite possibly illegal.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | about 6 years ago | (#24354293)

I sure would like to BUY this game when it comes out. But due to the draconian DRM, it looks like something I would be getting from the torrents instead.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

Edgewize (262271) | about 6 years ago | (#24355525)

I don't get it. Are you boycotting because of the anti-piracy DRM, or are you just assuming that you will have problems with it?

It seems like if you think a game is worth paying for, you should buy it, and then download a cracked copy IF you had problems. And report the problems to customer support, loudly, so that the company learns in a *TRACEABLE* way that DRM is bad.

A boycott is much less effective than escalated customer service traffic. A company like EA can't measure or even notice copies that aren't sold, especially with an anticipated title like Spore. But they will definitely notice if people who have legit copies of the game are reporting problems at an elevated rate compared to other past titles.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

paganizer (566360) | about 6 years ago | (#24355879)

Thats my plan. I'm buying it the moment I see it on a shelf, but If I can't bust out the DRM myself, I'll download and install a version that is fixed. I then plan on pursuing every possibility of complaining about the DRM. I don't want to think that Will Wright would endorse Securom based on his past history, so i can't see ripping him off. But the more overtime I can cause EA tech support, the better. It's too bad there is not a semi-official way you could get the fixed download and donate money to the game creators at the same time; maybe thats something piratebay could look in to?

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

yukk (638002) | about 6 years ago | (#24368567)

That's not a bad idea. I plan on doing what GP has said and buying the game and then installing a cracked version using my real key. The only issue with this is that properly cracked versions are LESS likely to have problems than securom'd installs. As you were saying though, it would be an interesting option to have a retail channel on TPB where you could choose to download game X in non-DRM form by verifying your purchased key and receiving 99% of the D/L by BT and a custom pre-keyed exe directly.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

SplinterOfChaos (1330441) | about 6 years ago | (#24357467)

I kind of think it's naive to think EA would put down SucuROM just because of complaints. They wouldn't put it in their games if they weren't scared of pirates (even though, with the amount of money they make, they have no reason to fear GIVING away copies). That fear, and the greed that fear comes from, is why, if you ever think they'll take away SecuROM, they'll really just replace it. For bettor or worse.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

christ, jesus H (1317921) | about 6 years ago | (#24384957)

I agree, remember to EA (and most publishers) PC gamers are simply criminals that have not been busted yet. They would give your complaints about SecuROM the same weight a Warden would give prisoner complaints (which is non sans a court order to do so).

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | more than 5 years ago | (#24427275)

I have been eagerly anticipating it for a long time. I do plan to get a version of this game that does not include the phone home activation. I am willing to pay for that version. But if I have to download a cracked version to do so, I am less inclined to pay. I love Wright's stuff. I own, paid for, versions of every title he has released, including Sim Ant and every Sims Expansion. I, however, refuse to pay for "rentware." I will never buy XP, or anything that uses Steam. Galactic Civ 1 and 2. Those I pay for. That is the respectable model.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

happydays (1333825) | about 6 years ago | (#24358859)

Aslong as SPORE includes the same 3 activation DRM policy which Mass Effect did there is no reason to buy the product.

I purchased Mass Effect for PC, and I can blame noone other than myself for not getting into it's DRM policy but I frankly didn't think any company would ever do something like it. You see, Mass Effect (and SPORE) comes with 3 activations, activations that are eaten each time you do major hardware upgrades, buy a new computer or simply reinstall windows. In my ignorance I happily wasted my 3 Mass Effect activations on trying out Windows Vista.

I saw it as a minor problem though, after all Bioware had a nice FAQ which told me I only needed to contact the EA phone support and they would sort things out. Heh, well EA doesn't currently have phone support in my country, so on July 10th I tried reaching them on the listed EA support e-mail instead thinking that would be fine aswell. 18 days later the only responce I recived was an auto-response confirming they had recived my e-mail and otherwise telling me the phone support for my country would be back up on July 1st 2008. :p

I've also made a thread about my problem on the official Mass Effect forums hoping that if EA wasn't going to help me then perhaps Bioware would. But there wasn't any help to be recived there either.

The irony is that if I had priated Mass Effect then I wouldn't ever had these problems. But it's a lesson learned for SPORE and any other future products containing the same kind of DRM.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

azuredrake (1069906) | about 6 years ago | (#24360989)

If you pirate Spore instead of buying it, you'll be missing out on the "massive" function of the game, where creatures on the planets you visit are populated by the creations of other players. IMO, that's one of the game's coolest ideas and something I'd definitely want to have in.

If only so I can make a planet full of my buddy's creations, and then nuke them into the stone age. Muahahahah! :P

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | more than 5 years ago | (#24427213)

Somehow the idea of visiting a worlds full of penis people and goatse guys, does not appeal.

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

Edgewize (262271) | about 6 years ago | (#24355553)

Question - what about SecuROM is "installed"?

DRM software is not malware just because you don't like what it does. AFAIK, SecuROM is just a wrapper that goes around a game EXE. When the game isn't running, SecuROM isn't running.

If it is integrated into the game EXE, and it doesn't hide executable content on your hard drive, I don't see how you can claim that it's "installed".

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24357243)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SecuROM [wikipedia.org] :

The use of SecuROM is very controversial. It installs a shell extension that prevents Windows Explorer from deleting 16-bit executables. [...] It can cause computer problems and people sometimes use cracked (cleaned up) executables on their original and legally purchased software that use SecuROM to avoid its effects.

SecuROM 7.x, if run under a non-admin user account, installs its own service called UAService7.exe, which works in ring 3 of the computer's operating system.

---------

See also "Sony Rookit".

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

Edgewize (262271) | about 6 years ago | (#24359799)

Wikipedia is all well and good, but I don't see any citation for the shell extension information, and can't find any information on it other than "it's in Wikipedia". And I've installed both Mass Effect and Spore Creature Creator, which use SecuROM protection, and I do not have any such services or extensions installed on my PC.

Perhaps there are specific versions of SecuROM that can do these things, but a blanket statement that SecuROM is bad for your computer is not borne out by my own experience. I've never had any trouble with playing the games I've bought, and I don't see anything running on my computer that shouldn't be there.

(Aside: as a developer, I'm fairly certain that the reason SecuROM would install a service is so that non-administrators can have direct hardware access to the CD/DVD drive to perform the precise data-access timing checks that SecuROM is based on. Since Mass Effect and Spore don't require a disc to play, this could be why they didn't install any services.)

Re:Another SecuROM install? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24361449)

I've read anecdotal stories from other slashdot members about SecuROM screwing their systems, they couldn't rip music CDs with iTunes, others couldn't burn DVDs correctly, etc.

What ever the terms and conditions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24351331)

... I couldn't give a crap. The check box doesn't work.

I know I saw those last week... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24351737)

Currently, the http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:n6mEcHDR2I4J:www.spore.com/comm/prototypes+spore+prototype&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us reports "It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Jul 23, 2008 06:47:54 GMT." and has the download link for BIOME.

The wayback machine is throwing errors for me at the moment of course...

Smooth, (4, Informative)

cee--be (1308795) | about 6 years ago | (#24352507)

you can download the prototype without agreeing to EA's terms by clicking the picture instead of the text on the prototype page. Nice work.

Re:Smooth, (1)

SplinterOfChaos (1330441) | about 6 years ago | (#24355673)

That didn't work for me, but I did enjoy counting the number of times the terms said "Tools & Materials" (22).

But, I'm always cautious of downloading something with EA's name attached. http://www.simprograms.com/?p=692 [simprograms.com]

Re:Smooth, (1)

cee--be (1308795) | about 6 years ago | (#24359645)

Didn't work for me the second time I tried either, weird.

Re:Smooth, (1)

ekhben (628371) | about 6 years ago | (#24364193)

lrn2NoScript. There's a bit of JS on the page to prevent you clicking the image unless the checkbox is marked.

Re:Smooth, (1)

cee--be (1308795) | about 6 years ago | (#24364577)

Except the first time I got it I hadn't agreed by clicking the check mark. I guess I still haven't. Does that mean I'm not bound by the terms of the agreement?

Re:Smooth, (1)

ekhben (628371) | about 6 years ago | (#24364625)

I'm not a lawyer, but speaking as a non-lawyer, I'd say it really doesn't matter -- the license agreement likely contains a bunch of unenforceable crap, and you're unlikely to do anything that would draw EA's attention.

Re:Smooth, (1)

cee--be (1308795) | about 6 years ago | (#24378115)

I think it's a fairly interesting situation but you're probably right, nothing is likely to come of it even if it were repeated in other cases with different games/companies/media.

Underlying mechanics? (2, Interesting)

AmonEzhno (1276076) | about 6 years ago | (#24352637)

I'm confused, these things appear to be the software that underlies and makes spore work, not really a prototype, a lot of them are just modified (or maybe not ever) scientific software from what I can gather. Seems interesting, but prototype seems severely misleading.

Re:Underlying mechanics? (4, Informative)

azuredrake (1069906) | about 6 years ago | (#24353707)

Prototyping in games does not mean what it means in say, mechanical engineering. In the games industry, we build apps to test out and see how systems work and what would be fun to play. What you're seeing here is basic applications that were developed in order to see what might be fun to put in Spore.

That's the reason I submitted it - because it's a cool window into the development process that can rarely be found in the game industry.

Why is EA not being evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24353843)

What the Hell? This is one of the better things a game company has ever done ever. But it's EA.

Re:Why is EA not being evil? (1)

SplinterOfChaos (1330441) | about 6 years ago | (#24355687)

How does this not make them evil? Just because Will Wright designed it well, doesn't mean a thing about EA. They're still the evil capitalists they've always been.

Only FIVE generations (1)

partowel (469956) | about 6 years ago | (#24354633)

If SPORE was honest,

it would only last five generations.

People who are going to pay for SPORE, better

realize that they are RENTING the game.

Five install, or Five "major pc changes",

then your screwed. No more SPORE for you.

I wonder how many people EA is going to piss

off. 1,000 ? 10,000 ?

How many people until EA learns that

this five install program is WRONG!

Thankfully, we have pirates who can crack

anything. Even bluray encryption.

Another Protoype (1)

Soiden (1029534) | about 6 years ago | (#24355155)

There's already a second prototype called ParticleMan. From the same page linked in the article: 'ParticleMan simulates gravitational attraction between particles in a cloud. This system was used to study such gravitational dynamics as orbits, nebula formation, star formation and particle streams from sources like pulsars and black holes.' Interesting? You bet.

Why bother with the current DRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24358689)

As long as SPORE includes the same 3 activation DRM mass effect did, there is no reason to buy the product.

I purchased Mass Effect pc, and it's shame on me for not bothering getting into it's DRM policy but I frankly didn't think any company would ever do something like it. You see, Mass Effect (and SPORE) have a 3 activation policy, and I happily wasted my 3 activations on trying out windows vista.

Well no problem I thought, after all Bioware had a nice FAQ which told me I only needed to contact the EA phone support and they would sort things out. Heh, well EA doesn't have phone support in my country, so on july 10th I sent an e-mail to the listed EA support address think that would be fine aswell. So far the only respnse I've recived is an auto-responce confirming they've recived my e-mail and telling me the phone support for my country will be back up on July 1st 2008. :p

I then made a thread about my problem on the official Mass Effect forum, thinking that if EA wasn't going to help me then perhaps Bioware would. But nothing so far.

Of coruse the irony is that if I had pirated Mass Effect, I would've never had this problem.

Re:Why bother with the current DRM? (1)

azuredrake (1069906) | about 6 years ago | (#24360947)

AC, if you come back, post with your real name so I can talk to you about this. That's a serious problem that deserves a serious solution.

What country are you in, out of curiosity?

Re:Why bother with the current DRM? (1)

ekhben (628371) | about 6 years ago | (#24364251)

I'm not the OP, but yes, it's a serious problem. Ever since the days of looking up a word in a manual to start the game, copy protection has been a major hindrance... to legitimate owners only There's 1.27 million hits for "Mass Effect torrent" on Google, and 1.25 million for "Mass Effect crack."

The solution, then, is obvious. EA needs to protect its initial sales, OK, apply your copy protection. Don't invest too heavily in it, it will be broken inside of a week in any case. A month after launch, release your own patch to remove the copy protection. Problem solved. You save money by having a simple solution to the most common support problem, and by not wasting millions of dollars developing new forms of copy protection that can never be effective for long.

CA (1)

Boronx (228853) | about 6 years ago | (#24364793)

MCell [chelm.pl] is a great cellular automaton simulator (like Biome) that's highly customizable. You can even write your own DLLs to link into it if their extensive rules customization options aren't enough for you. More fun and more accessible than Biome.

One thing that Biome's got that MCell doesn't are these spiral CAs. What is the Spore team trying to do here? Graphics effects for space?

trade files (1)

Oxen (879661) | about 6 years ago | (#24377813)

Is there a place to trade files that you have made? reply if you wanna trade.
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