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More Spore Details from DICE Summit

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the howabout-a-release-date dept.

Games 47

Will Wright and his team at EA put together a presentation for the DICE Summit, giving folks more details on the much-anticipated Spore . Gamespot reports on the talk, which sounds like it must have been highly entertaining to view. The entire presentation centered around the development process for the game, which has been a platform for smart people to talk about making games since Wright first announced the project. Designers from the team talk about making the space ship creator flexible ("It's pretty satisfying to fly around in your X-Wing and blow up The Enterprise."), and Wright mentioned their habit to run a batch process creating thousands of planets every night. Stephen Totilo at MTV also discusses the talk, and fleshes out a few more details from the event. Looking this over, what do you think? Still excited for Spore, or has it been in development too long?

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47 comments

Sure I'm still excited. (5, Insightful)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17952590)

I would much rather have a game delayed by a full year, as long as the developers take advantage of that extra time. If I could have Spore tomorrow, but it would be lacking in some features or not as polished as it should be, or I could have it in a year with everything they promised - I'd definitely take it in a year. I have enough great games to play through as it is. I don't want to see major features scaled back a-la Project Ego/Fable due to time constraints. Take your time devs, and make it worth the wait.

Re:Sure I'm still excited. (2, Insightful)

DeeZee (84216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17953102)

Of course I agree, but looking at it from the dreaded Business Point of View(tm), a year extra in development is a lot of extra expenditures in salary and other costs, and it does not guarantee better sales. (In fact, a years delay might sour the deal for some people, not to mention the "buzz" might be gone by the time the game is actually released).

Re:Sure I'm still excited. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954498)

I'm hoping some people will take a look at the sort of model Blizzard works with, where they bust their asses on a project, and aren't afraid to delay the hell out of it until it's exactly what they want. They don't have many titles under their belt, but their hit record is second to none, and you can't say it's not making them a ton of money.

Re:Sure I'm still excited. (2, Interesting)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954286)

Might I offer up Duke Nukem Forever and Daikatana as examples for a counter argument.

Re:Sure I'm still excited. (1)

Mursk (928595) | more than 7 years ago | (#17956922)

How are those counter-arguments? The original poster said that he would be willing to wait if the extra time were taken advantage of. From what I hear, this is not the case with Duke Nukem. Please clarify if I'm misunderstanding your post.

Re:Sure I'm still excited. (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 7 years ago | (#17960890)

I agree with you and also suggest Blizzard Entertainment games to tide you over till Spore comes out. They do just what the Spore team is doing, delay, delay, delay, YAY great game.

Development time (2)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17952596)

It's not that the development has been to long, it's that we've been hearing about the thing constantly for the last year and a half! The phrase "Shit or get off the pot" has never been more appropriate.

How to cure the hype problem. (4, Insightful)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17952908)

If you don't want to hear about things in development, stop reading Slashdot and those stupid gaming mags.

Personally I'd rather EA doesn't "shit" out Spore like they do so many other titles. Sims is still selling well, let the development time have the time they need.

Spoor (2, Funny)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17960680)

If it was going to be shit, then it would be spelled "Spoor".

Spoor [wiktionary.org]: spoor (plural spoor or spoors) 1. The track, trail or droppings of an animal

-Don

Re:Development time (2, Insightful)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17958518)

You must be new to gaming I take it? EA letting Maxis take their time with this is the best thing they can do. I'd rather have a good solid game to start of with before it gets EAified and they start churning out yearly iterations or an expansion pack or content pack every quarter. This also suggests that EA is putting a lot of money behind this project in order to let them keep working on this as long as they have. Although it's pretty well known that EA will let Will Wright/Maxis do whatever the hell they please, as long as it brings in the cash by the truckload.

Re:Development time (3, Informative)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17960724)

Although it's pretty well known that EA will let Will Wright/Maxis do whatever the hell they please, as long as it brings in the cash by the truckload.

I certainly hope that EA listens to what Will Wright says he wants to do, and lets him do it without throwing up any roadblocks. The last group of people who thought they knew better than Will Wright caused SimCity 3000 to be delayed by many years, and almost bankrupt Maxis. If they had just done what he said, they would be on top of the world, but instead they all got fired after EA bought Maxis and cleaned house.

-Don

Re:Development time (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17986432)

Did you even read the post? As I said, I don't care how long is in development for. I really don't care to hear about it until it's relatively close to release. I don't have the time or interest to follow every detail of a game for years on end only to have it canceled.

Not too long.. (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17952602)

I'm willing to give them until late 2007 / early 2008 like I've heard. I don't think I could hold out any longer than that. IMO it would lose a lot of its hype by then.

Re:Not too long.. (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17952972)

I'm willing to give them until late 2007 / early 2008
After which.... what? You will ask for your money back? Play another game in the meantime? Exit their target age-range?

The real question is: who cares? Blizzard answered that with their extended beta of World of Warcraft: no one. No one cares when you release it; they care about what you release and how playable it is.

Spore could be released in 2020, but as long as it delivers a solid game that people want to play, it will be a success. The only time pressure for them is their funding.

Re:Not too long.. (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17953252)

If it does take them until 2020, I won't even remember what it was. Forget having an interest in playing it. I'm an adult with a job, and I'm starting to settle down and start a family. If these "awesome" games don't come out in the next year or so, I'm just simply not going to have room in the budget or on the clock to invest anything in any more new computer games.

The real question is: who cares?
The real answer is: I do. So do a lot of other adults who are out of highschool and their mothers' basements.

Re:Not too long.. (1)

DarkJC (810888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17953436)

Well that's a specific scenario then. It's not so much that you'll lose interest in the game after a year, it's that you'll lose interest in spending time with games in general.

If I have interest in a game, I'll buy it when it comes out. It dosen't matter when it comes out, if I think it will be a fun game, I'll go and buy it. I think that's the majority view here.

I'd also like to mention that just because you're an adult and out of your mothers basement doesn't mean that all adults throw away their game playing time. Some actually, you know, make time for it. The internet is such that it's impossible to see whether someone is a hypocrite or whether they actually follow-through on their statements. I bet if Spore was released two years from now we'd see you walking into a store to check it out, even if you'd only play it very casually.

Re:Not too long.. (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17953534)

It's a faint possibility. Perhaps I should have said after another year of development, my chances of buying the game diminish exponentially.

Playing games with your kids (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17960784)

Don't you plan on ever playing games with your kids?

The Sims is a game that kids and parents and grandparents often play together, because they have a "common ground" to share and discuss, that everyone can relate to and understand.

Playing Spore will be a great way to get your kids interested in science, evolution, nature, astronomy, biology, society, etc!

...Unless of course you don't want your kids to believe in evolution or learn about science, in which case you should keep them far away from Spore! Or better yet, if you don't believe in evolution, then do the world a favor and don't have kids! (Think of it as evolution in action.)

-Don

Re:Not too long.. (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17959420)

I'd also like to mention that just because you're an adult and out of your mothers basement doesn't mean that all adults throw away their game playing time. Some actually, you know, make time for it.
1) I'm an adult (have been for a couple decades)

2) I play games

3) Whenever spore comes out, I'll probably try it out, but I don't really care when

4) If there were a basement appartment involved, it would be mine (and one day it probably will be, if she doesn't move into a nursing home instead)

Re:Not too long.. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17956102)

Gaming doesn't stop when families start, it's not one or the other.

You might even actually play games with your kids !

 

Spore Wii? (2, Interesting)

Shayneisgreat (1052124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17952604)

I want to play spore, but I want to stick with my inexpensive Wii.

Re:Spore Wii? (1)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17953586)

Are you being sarcastic, or serious? Frankly this game looks like it would be best on PC, having a full mouse and keyboard to use. I mean, it'd be like playing Sim City 2000 on a console...it's fully featured, but still gimped.

SimCity SNES (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955594)

I mean, it'd be like playing Sim City 2000 on a console...it's fully featured, but still gimped.

Hey, I liked SimCity (classic) on my Super NES, and that didn't even have a proper pointing device (unlike Wii).

Re:Spore Wii? (1)

10Neon (932006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17957672)

From what I understand they'll be porting Spore to pretty much every platform in some form or another.

unlikely to be a nice game with this hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17952664)

with this much hype its likely to be a failure -- like black and white -- fun to play with, get bored of it easily and pushed out the door waay before its time. i wouldnt be surprised if the first release was buggy as hell and they need x service packs to get it working.

Re:unlikely to be a nice game with this hype (2, Insightful)

supremebob (574732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17952942)

The last game that Will Wright tried like this was SimEarth, which also covered the full timespan of evolution from single cells to space fairing civilizations. Most people thought that it was overly tedious, though, and wasn't all that fun to play. I hope that he doesn't make the same mistakes this time!

Re:unlikely to be a nice game with this hype (3, Interesting)

bstorer (738305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17953128)

Wright's gone on record as saying this was the game that he longed to make when they did SimEarth.

Re:unlikely to be a nice game with this hype (1)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17953296)

Will Wright appears to have passion and it shows in things he's done so far. His ideas probally outpace the technology he has available to him at the time to work with. If we needed someone to cover for God, Will Wright would be fit for the job.

Re:unlikely to be a nice game with this hype (1, Interesting)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17960870)

Spore's structure is a lot different than SimEarth.

Will Wright gave a talk to Terry Winnograd's user interface design class at Stanford in 1996 (before he made The Sims), which I sat in on and took some notes about Designing User Interfaces to Simulation Games [donhopkins.com]. In that talk he discussed post-morta of some of the games he designed, including SimEarth.

Post Morta:

After designing SimCity Classic, then SimEarth, then SimAnt, then SimCity 2000, here's one way Will compares them: With SimCity Classic as the standard against which to measure, SimEarth was too complex, SimAnt was too simple, and SimCity 2000 was just right.

SimEarth:

SimEarth and SimAnt did not support the same level of creativity and personal imprinting that SimCity does. With SimEarth, anything you do is quickly wiped out by continental drift, erosion, and evolution; you can walk away from it for a while, come back later, and it will have evolved life or shriveled up and died without you, looking pretty much the same as if you had slaved over it for hours. It was too complex a simulation for people to grasp or effect in a satisfying way.

The time scale slows down as the game progresses, from geological time, to when life appears, to when intelligence appears, to when technology is developed. There was some trouble conveying this to the users. One thing that supported the notion of time scale is how the view controls along the bottom of the global map were ordered in a temporal progression, in the order you'd need to use them, from the continental drift display, to the technology display.

Spore is actually designed as a "T" shaped storytelling based game: the levels of scale that you go up through, from plankton to spacefaring civilization (the vertical base of the T), are actually a sandbox tutorial that teach you to play the rest of the game (the horizontal top of the T), which is a collection of science fiction story genras, that take place on top of all of the lower levels.

From the notes I took at Will Wright's Game Developers Conference demo on 3/11/2005, The Future of Content [donhopkins.com]:

Meta Games
Meta games around different genras of science fiction.
Invasion (war of the worlds). Adult supervision (Day the earth stood still. Uplift (2001). First contact (Close Encounters). Abduction cross breeding (X-Files). Diplomacy (Star Trek).
Most of the narritive will come into the game through the space game.
Broad variety of different worlds to visit.
Cross-pollination of content created by different players.
Going to another player's planet.
You can abduct creatures, and go back to populate zoo planet.
T shaped game.
The base of the T is a goal oriented gaming.
The player first goes through a tutorial and sandbox to learn editing tools and game play at each level.
Player can eventually surf down to the lower levels.
Goal oriented game trains you to use all the editors and teaches you the simulation dynamics at every level, from bottom to top.
Once you get to the top you can surf vertically down into the other games, that you've learned to use on the way up.
At the top of the T is a collection of science fiction story genras, that take place on top of all of the lower levels.
Once you make your way all the way up from unicellular life to intergalactic civilization, the storytelling begins.
Pull out to galactics level, 10's of thousands of worlds.
Like the movie Powers to Ten. Always wanted to roll this into a game.
SETI: Drake's equation: N = R fs fp ne fl fi fc L. Each term of the equation correspond to different power of scale.

-Don

Re:unlikely to be a nice game with this hype (1)

Zeisel (1063362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17987716)

It really looks like they are taking large measures to prevent this. The phases look like they are relativly short, starting as a cell then spending 1 or 2 more "stages" untill you design your "race" and start to majorly influence their development. I remember SimEarth used to take forever to make process but Spore looks like they want any gamer to be able to jump into the game and have fun.

Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17952820)

Please, Mr Wright, Please can I have some spore!

But bad puns aside, I'm willing to wait until xmas for spore if I must, but much more and it won't seem so innovative any more. Take what you have now and use the next few months to make it bug free and sparkly, then start the assembly line so I can start playing ASAP.

OM.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17952878)

OMGPonies!!! I can't wait - before it was pins and needles i was on. Now... there is no car analogy that will suffice for how excited I am for this new video game overlord. At the risk of sounding ± 1 whatever, in Soviet Russia I still can't wait. I have my Beowulf cluster on order so I can get the maximum graphics detail for my NatPortman alien model. It's all coming together like a bowl of hot grits!
P.S. Something dupe, troll, redundant, vorbis

Re:OM.... Care Bears vs Klingons fight mechs (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954054)

I think you mean a beowulf cluster of spore-enabled care bears and klingons fighting for interstellar supremacy.

Re:OM.... Care Bears vs Klingons fight mechs (2, Interesting)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17960926)

You hit the nail on the head there. Will Wright is fascinated with Care Bears [gamingsteve.com]. He had several slides on the topic in his GDC 2005 talk [donhopkins.com]:

Pokemon, Neopets, Care Bears. Give kids a sense of ownership and mastery over the facts and details of the characters. Loved dinosaurs as a kid. Knew the rock-scissors-paper of different species of dinosaurs, which was something his mom didn't know. Mastery of facts.

Care bears. Started as greeting cards. Found a web app that categorizes your personality: Which Care Bear are you? Each care bear has special abilities. Care bear have cousins, that aren't even bears. Care bears live in a star-speckled, rainbow-trimmed, cotton candy, cloud world called "Care a Lot". If they fall out of the clouds, they land in the "Forest of Feelings" (Kindom of Caring). Forest of Feelings is over the earth. So the Earth must be the "Kingdom of people who don't give a shit".

-Don

Re:OM.... Care Bears vs Klingons fight mechs (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17986032)

In WoW, apparently I'm a Care Bear, cause I don't like PvP combat.

I just find it a waste of time, actually.

Spore. (2, Insightful)

rdwulfe (890032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17952964)

Wright and team are putting major effort into this project, and it does look like they are comming along nicely. Every so often, there's new stuff up on the Spore website, though not near as much as I'd hoped would be on there by now. I can only hope this means that they are working as hard as they can and keeping themselves from being burned out at the same time. Wright has come out with some of the most influentual games of the last several years. Sims, Sim City, Sim Earth, and so on... These games made the whole Simulation selection of games possible. And for someone who's interested in AI and artificial life, like myself, these style of games are the most compelling. I just hope Wright does the one thing that could make this game TRUELY great: Make it so that the user has access to the programming of the game. I'm not talking Open Source. That is way too much to hope for. No, give us access to the procedural programming elements, so we can mod and make our own. Wright wants the users to create content, says we're better at it and more interested in doing it than game companies. I challange that we want even more, if we can have it. We want to be able to add things the creators forgot. We want to be able to add new sections to games, or new WAYS of doing things. So what if the dev team doesn't have time to add flying procedures to the game? Well guess what, we'll gladly do it. Give us a core. Give us the tools, and the basics. We'll make the rest, and we'll love you for it. Rion Wulfe

Re:Spore. (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17953428)

I sympathise, but that will be EAs decision. I worked at a company doing a game that had extensive mod support planned. After the hot coffee fiasco, pretty much all mod support was pulled, and discussions were seriously held by company lawyers (idiots) as to how easily we could encrypt everything to prevent anyone ever altering any of it.
The enemy of easy mod support is not the designer. it's the lawyer. or the finance guy that doesn't see any bottom line in it.

Re:Spore. (1)

rdwulfe (890032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17960608)

You're absolutely correct, unfortunately. Heh. I love the idea of encrypting all the data. Hmmn. Yes, just encrypt it all. It's note like the *program* would have to decrypt it, while reading it... And no, noone could ever reverse engineer that. Nope nope. Short sightedness is where most of our problems come from, in life, and in games.

To wit -- Who would ever need more than 640k of memory?

Gates probably rues the day he said that.

      Wulfe

Re:Spore. (1)

edschurr (999028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17961584)

There doesn't seem to be any evidence that Gates really did say that. There is no attribution, and Gates denies it. That was the case the last time I explored it anyway. He may rue the day the quote appeared anyway!

Re:Spore. (1)

rdwulfe (890032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17963770)

True, then. Huh. I wasn't aware of that. I may have to do some research on that myself.. Oh wait, I'm lazy. No, no I probably wont. Wulfe ;D

Spore Forever (1)

JoshDM (741866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17953024)

It really is taking a long time.



Bring Rocket Jockey to the Wii.

Re:Spore Forever (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954082)

Bring Rocket Jockey to Open Source. A version with updated graphic that you can play on modern systems without jumping through hoops (outside of the game) would be awesome.

Re:Spore Forever (1)

MayonakaHa (562348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17956504)

Oh how I wish I could play Rocket Jockey again. I'd love to see it released as OSS if there's enough support in the community to make it even better.

Re:Spore Forever (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17959870)

"Oh how I wish I could play Rocket Jockey again. I'd love to see it released as OSS if there's enough support in the community to make it even better."

That's the beauty of OSS. You can write the game yourself!!

Content Filtering (2, Interesting)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17983314)

Excluding the game being actually fun and awesome, my only concern is how Spore deals with filtering of content.

The fact of the matter is, when this game is released someone is going to make one or more rather obscene creatures. Whether it's a perfect model of a Playboy bunny, or a disturbingly humorous creature based off of our naughty bits, there needs to be a way for someone to say 'I don't want that in my game'.

While there will be people who will welcome these things into their ecosystems, there will also be people who will not. For them, the entire experience will be ruined if their creature they have lovingly crafted can not be played without encountering a race of Fidel Castros.

It shouldn't be too difficult to have an option where you right-click a race and select them for replacement.
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