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View Full Version : Spore: An incredible game by Will Wright



Smacklug
2006-Mar-03, 04:12 AM
What's Spore, you ask? You could call it the game version of the 'Powers of Ten' movie. It starts with you in control of a single-celled (http://img127.imageshack.us/my.php?image=screenshot5big0ty.jpg) organism floating around, trying not to get eaten. If you survive long enough, you'll evolve your creature all the way up to sentience and the stars. At each stage in the evolution of your species, you'll be able to enter the 'creature editor', which lets you add or remove cilia, fins or legs, change the bone structure, attach defensive weapons or whatever (http://img266.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sporebig38he.jpg) else (http://www.snootyspore.com/pics/spore021.jpg) you want (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v59/gandy/Spore-buttface.gif) to do (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v59/gandy/Spore-Dilemma.gif). Through all this, Spore aims to incorporate gameplay elements from PacMan, Diablo, Populous, Simcity, Civ-- and that's all before you manage to build your UFO and zoom around your planet, your solar system and galaxy.

This might sounds ludicrously ambitious, but that's not all the game promises: by generating your creature's model, textures and animations procedurally (on the fly), the code needed to reproduce your rampaging killing machine will take up a tiny space. This means that the game can populate yor universe from a massive pile of species either pre-made by Maxis or created by other players, choosing the ones that it thinks would best fit a world's ecosystem.

Another neat twist that the game will bring is that while the game will start out really goal-based, the farther you progress and the closer you get to being a 'galactic god', the more like a giant sandbox the game will become. Imagine diplomacy with other star-faring species, bloody interstellar conquest or Uplift/2001-style genetic meddling!

Oh, and if there's something about the game you were wondering about, you can always email Will Wright himself: WWright@maxis.com

Also, awesome video at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8372603330420559198&q=spore , go to around 25:00 for astronomical stuff.

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Mar-03, 05:34 AM
Wow. Just wow.

Watch that video!

Vermonter
2006-Mar-03, 06:36 AM
This will be an incredible awesome game. I can't wait to pre-order it!

Van Rijn
2006-Mar-03, 06:48 AM
Well, that is very interesting. They're saying Q3 this year. It looks very good but I've been disappointed before when it came to games with a great concept but not so great execution.

I did watch through the entire video. You start out with a single celled creature and get up to galactic interaction with alien species. I do like how they've done the galaxy - one of my pet peeves with many of the space games is that the galaxy/universe is usually so tiny and uninteresting. Of course, from a gameplay point of view, "large" can also be a problem, so it is tricky.

I got a kick out of the Star Trek and Star Wars inspired bits.

Smacklug
2006-Mar-03, 06:56 AM
Well, that is very interesting. They're saying Q3 this year. It looks very good but I've been disappointed before when it came to games with a great concept but not so great execution.

I did watch through the entire video. You start out with a single celled creature and get up to galactic interaction with alien species. I do like how they've done the galaxy - one of my pet peeves with many of the space games is that the galaxy/universe is usually so tiny and uninteresting. Of course, from a gameplay point of view, "large" can also be a problem, so it is tricky.

I got a kick out of the Star Trek and Star Wars inspired bits.
Well, if anyone can do it, it's Will Wright(Simcity, the Sims, etc.).

If there are any ideas you have, you really should e-mail him, he usually answers people within a day. I sent him a question about whether asteroids will be in the game, and if they might be able to hit planets, and he said it is a possibility! :D

Seriously, e-mail him, we might be able to get some more good astronomy into the mainstream common knowledge!

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Mar-03, 03:42 PM
I got a kick out of the Star Trek and Star Wars inspired bits.

I especially liked the use of the TOS "fight" music. Hilarious!

Hey, is it bad that I want to create a species in this that will be the scourge of the galaxy? It'll be automatically downloaded into other people's games... bwahaha!

OptimusShr
2006-Mar-03, 06:13 PM
Hey, is it bad that I want to create a species in this that will be the scourge of the galaxy?

I know that's what I'll be doing. All who oppose will be killed and prisoners teleported into space.

Peptron
2006-Mar-03, 06:56 PM
What do they mean by "other players"? Do they mean that this will be a massively multiplayer game (with possibly a monthly fee?), or they mean that this will be a generaly single player game where you can download other players creations?

Anyway, this game looks awesome! I hope my computer will be able to make it...

Peptron
2006-Mar-03, 07:14 PM
Got my answer on Wikipedia:

Wright calls the game a "massively single player online game". Simultaneous multiplayer gaming is not a feature of Spore. The creatures, vehicles, and buildings the player can create will be uploaded automatically to a central database (or a peer-to-peer system), catalogued and rated for quality (based on how many users have downloaded the object or creature in question), and then re-distributed to populate other player's games. The data transmitted will be extremely small, only 1 kilobyte according to Wright. (Think of it as sharing the DNA template of a creature while the game builds the animal itself, which represents a few megabytes of texturing, animation, etc..)

When the player progresses to a new stage, Spore will import creatures as needed. For example, if a flying carnivore is needed to balance the ecosystem, a creature that fits that description will be downloaded. The editor also allows the player to design things ranging from species to custom buildings and vehicles. That includes tanks, aircraft, submarines, boats, and UFOs. If the player has no internet connection, Wright mentioned, it is possible to fit tens of thousands of objects and creatures on the game's disc itself, due to their small size. This means that people with no Internet connection should still have a balanced ecosystem, even if it happens to be far more limited in diversity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spore_%28game%29

Smacklug
2006-Mar-03, 10:40 PM
Yes, it will be free.

That would be awesome if when it comes out we could set up a league or something here. :D

Van Rijn
2006-Mar-03, 11:23 PM
I especially liked the use of the TOS "fight" music. Hilarious!


Yes, the Amok Time battle music. I liked that, but I have to wonder if that is just in the beta and whether it will make it to the retail version. I got a laugh out of the "Close Encounters" and "Deathstar" moments.

Here's the music online if you want it:

http://www.startreksoundtracks.com/sts-tos2-doomsday.html

I've played that a couple of times while reading a book with a good fight sequence :).



Hey, is it bad that I want to create a species in this that will be the scourge of the galaxy? It'll be automatically downloaded into other people's games... bwahaha!

You aren't going to be the only one that will try to come up with some nasties. It looks like it will be possible to customize a galaxy quite a bit. I'm really hoping they did this right, there are a number of SF scenarios I'd like to play out.

By the way, my all time favorite computer game is Master of Orion followed by Master of Orion II. However, Master of Orion III is painfully bad - when it was announced it sounded amazing, but they kept reducing the feature set while stretching the delivery date. In that case, they bit off more then they could handle. In some ways it was painfully incomplete, in other ways there was too much complexity: There were so many details the game wasn't fun.

"Ascendancy" (http://www.logicfactory.com/games_ascendancy.htm) was anothor horror. That one was especially painful because there were some really great ideas that I've yet to see matched in another game, but a completely braindead AI.

There are some other examples of games like these that had some good (even great) concepts but failed for one reason or another.

The upshot is that I would love to find a new good space simulation/competition game bit I've been bitten often enough that I need to see the final product before I get too excited.

Swift
2006-Mar-03, 11:38 PM
"Ascendancy" (http://www.logicfactory.com/games_ascendancy.htm) was anothor horror. That one was especially painful because there were some really great ideas that I've yet to see matched in another game, but a completely braindead AI.

Absolutely correct, though I still liked it in spite of the bad AI. I even still play it once in a while.

RMallon
2006-Mar-04, 05:12 AM
I predict Wright will evolve into a zillionaire! You know, there's no more need to keep in check with reality.
;^D

Smacklug
2006-Mar-04, 07:24 PM
In the video, he put the volcanoes on that one moon with the UFO to give it an atmosphere.

Is there possibly a way you could somehow create an artificial volcanoe?

Musashi
2006-Mar-04, 07:54 PM
In real life?

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Mar-04, 08:07 PM
Start drilling. Keep drilling. Drill some more. At some point, volcano.

Assuming, of course, a molten mantle.

Added: This comes out Q3 this year, right? Now is that April 1 - June 30 in the US? Q3 in Canada is October 1 - December 31.

Wolf-S
2006-Mar-04, 08:41 PM
I watched the whole thing. I think it will be fun, and I was searching for something like this. My hopes were really high when I read that you are basically making life and then go through the entire evolution etc. etc. However, it's too arcadish, I thought it would be more serious... :) He did a good job though. :)

Smacklug
2006-Mar-04, 10:10 PM
I watched the whole thing. I think it will be fun, and I was searching for something like this. My hopes were really high when I read that you are basically making life and then go through the entire evolution etc. etc. However, it's too arcadish, I thought it would be more serious... :) He did a good job though. :)
If they made it too serious, then the programming would be too large, it would take up a ton of space and be hard to run, and also it wouldn't be very fun.

OptimusShr
2006-Mar-04, 10:26 PM
Added: This comes out Q3 this year, right? Now is that April 1 - June 30 in the US? Q3 in Canada is October 1 - December 31.

SOme sites say Q3 some say Q4.

Also I think Q3 here is later than that.

Gullible Jones
2006-Mar-05, 12:15 AM
That is awesome... Will there be a UNIX version? Does it work with Unichrome graphics? Does it object to a 2.2 GHz processor with 256 MB L2 cache? Is there a CVS version available?

Edit: Grr, stupid Flash plugin keeps crashing on me...

Smacklug
2006-Mar-05, 01:05 AM
That is awesome... Will there be a UNIX version? Does it work with Unichrome graphics? Does it object to a 2.2 GHz processor with 256 MB L2 cache? Is there a CVS version available?

Edit: Grr, stupid Flash plugin keeps crashing on me...
I doubt you will be able to run it on those specs, they are already pretty outdates...

Gullible Jones
2006-Mar-05, 01:48 AM
But it runs Cube fine... :(

cjl
2006-Mar-05, 02:14 AM
lmao - 2.2GHz outdated?

I have 2 computers, and one has a 256MHz PII.

I would bet that 2.2GHz would run it, although how quickly depends on the video card and the RAM as well

Smacklug
2006-Mar-05, 03:13 AM
Oh sorry, wrong window. No, 2.2GHz will definitely run it, but what is your video card and how much RAM do you have?

Van Rijn
2006-Mar-05, 05:38 AM
Added: This comes out Q3 this year, right? Now is that April 1 - June 30 in the US? Q3 in Canada is October 1 - December 31.

According to one site, the meaning of "Q3" (and the others) are:

Q1 = January - March
Q2 = April - June
Q3 = July - September
Q4 = October - December

But given how things stretch I'd guess at least near the end of the year or perhaps sometime next year.

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Mar-05, 05:43 AM
Right. So the "Q3" mentioned here isn't the "Q3" of the financial year. Weird.

Thanks, BTW.

Gullible Jones
2006-Mar-06, 12:05 AM
Oh sorry, wrong window. No, 2.2GHz will definitely run it, but what is your video card and how much RAM do you have?

Video is onboard VIA Unichrome, 64 MB shared RAM (maximum), gets about 476.94 fps (average) in glxgears with AGPDMA enabled. Have 384 MB total RAM; 64 MB are allocated to the video hardware, and 8 MB have mysteriously vanished for reasons unknown (still investigating, turned up naught so far), leaving me with 312 MB available.


(FWIW, the Spore wiki has non-pixelated screenshots of the game, which seem to indicate that the quality of the graphics is not incredibly high, although definitely not poor.)

Smacklug
2006-Mar-07, 01:58 AM
Video is onboard VIA Unichrome, 64 MB shared RAM (maximum), gets about 476.94 fps (average) in glxgears with AGPDMA enabled. Have 384 MB total RAM; 64 MB are allocated to the video hardware, and 8 MB have mysteriously vanished for reasons unknown (still investigating, turned up naught so far), leaving me with 312 MB available.


(FWIW, the Spore wiki has non-pixelated screenshots of the game, which seem to indicate that the quality of the graphics is not incredibly high, although definitely not poor.)
No, I'm just sure they will not want to host full resolution screenshots. Also, the game isn't finished yet, so they might just be adding things on.

Also: What is the most system-intense game you have played recently? Onboard graphics doesn't tend to get you far.

Gullible Jones
2006-Mar-07, 03:57 AM
Cube (http://www.cubeengine.com/) - not so much for the game itself as to test the capabilities of my hardware. It runs without a glitch on the current stuff, 20-30 FPS... A vast improvement over the previous video hardware, S3 Savage4, which gave all of one frame per minute.

Smacklug
2006-Mar-07, 04:41 AM
Eh, if that is the most instensive thing you can run, I would reccomend updating. I'd reccomend getting a $160 GeForce 6600 from newegg.com or somewhere, because you might get some bad slowdown on most new games.

The 6600 should hold you for a pretty long time.

TinFoilHat
2006-Mar-07, 04:36 PM
I don't know...

I've been keeping an eye on this game, and intend to buy it when it comes out. But I'm worried it could turn out like Black&White - a really impressive and revolutionary game that turned out to not actually be much fun to play once you got over being impressed by the technology.

I am very interested in the procedural content generation, as I'm working on some similar ideas myself.

NoXion
2006-Mar-14, 11:48 PM
The only problem I have with the game as it stands is that the UFO - directly controlled by the player - seems to be the only representative of your species in space. Having you species build it's own fleet of sleek interstellar destroyers seems to be a missing feature.

porky26030
2006-Mar-16, 12:08 AM
I think he actually mentions that your species does get to build spaceships, via the same function that lets them build buggies and airplanes after they evolve sentience.

NoXion
2006-Mar-16, 01:14 AM
I think he actually mentions that your species does get to build spaceships, via the same function that lets them build buggies and airplanes after they evolve sentience.

If that's true, then this game is perfect!

Does anyone have any idea what the likely minimum specs required to run this game are?

Musashi
2006-Mar-16, 02:01 AM
An xbox 360.


:P

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Mar-16, 03:07 AM
Kidding aside, nope. It's a PC game.

Musashi
2006-Mar-16, 03:13 AM
Yeah, but I have heard that it may get the 360 treatment.

http://www.games-digest.com/2005/05/spore_for_xbox_.html

Back to PC:

SimCity Central estimates

* CPU: Pentium 4 1.4 GHz or equivalent.
* RAM: 512Mb.
* Video: 64Mb with Direct3D support.

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Mar-16, 03:31 AM
Huh. I thought Will Wright had said he wanted to split up the game and port only certain parts of it.

NoXion
2006-Mar-16, 06:28 AM
Back to PC

SimCity Central estimates

* CPU: Pentium 4 1.4 GHz or equivalent.
* RAM: 512Mb.
* Video: 64Mb with Direct3D support.

Looks like I will need to get more memory. :-/ Oh well, not as bad as I thought it would be

zebo-the-fat
2006-Mar-16, 09:54 AM
My eldest brat told me about the game last week, I watched the video, I told him he realy realy realy had to buy it so I can play it! :razz:

GDwarf
2006-Mar-16, 10:39 PM
By the way, my all time favorite computer game is Master of Orion followed by Master of Orion II. However, Master of Orion III is painfully bad - when it was announced it sounded amazing, but they kept reducing the feature set while stretching the delivery date. In that case, they bit off more then they could handle. In some ways it was painfully incomplete, in other ways there was too much complexity: There were so many details the game wasn't fun.
I've never played MOOII, or even MOOI, but Galactic Civilizations II: The Dread Lords (galciv2.com) is being heralded by many to be the true sequel to both of them. I can vouch for it being a very fun game, probably the best 4X game next to Civ IV.

Anyways, as to this game, it looks interesting, but I don't think I'll buy it when it first comes out, it's very ambitious, which means that there's a good chance it won't live up to it's potential, and I'll be saving up for some other games/systems (Nintendo Revolution, Zelda: Twilight Princess, Neverwinter Nights II, WoW Expansion), which are due out in the 3rd/4th quarter.

growlzor
2006-Mar-21, 10:48 AM
Hey this is James from http://www.sporesite.com. Glad to see theres an interest in the game. Should be amazing. If your looking for updates GDC is this week and theres sure to be news about it.

Quantum_Raider
2006-Sep-29, 02:41 AM
Just to liven this up again :P

I'll have to check over the video again to make sure I've got it right, but ...

In the presentation Will gave at the Leipzig Games Convention he mentioned that the scenes of space were taken from hubble (theres also some really good in-game vid too).

Theres a really good google vid of the presentation and his thoughts of future gaming - very much worth watching. Growlzor has some links on his site to vids from LGC also.

P.S. I have my copy pre-ordered!

greenfeather
2006-Sep-29, 11:59 AM
This will be an incredible awesome game. I can't wait to pre-order it!

I was never into computer games, but I can't wait to see this one! I don't care about ruling the galaxy or even creating an empire. What I'm interested in is creating species of aliens!! Can we set up our own planet specs (i.e. a methane atmosphere) and see what develops? And I wonder how good the graphics are, because if they're cheezy, it ruins the whole point. I'm into believable and beautiful alien worlds!

Doodler
2006-Sep-29, 02:24 PM
For most games coming out these days, you really can't get by on anything less than a 128MB Gfx card. Some simply won't even run.

What I'd love to find, somewhere, anywhere, is a video card that can handle shadow rendering without having seizures. I've tried three generations of nVidia and I'm on my third Radeon, and none of'em like them.

Right now I'm running a Radeon x1300, 512MB PCI-E, and it brings tears to my eyes the framerate hit I take with shadows on...

Peptron
2006-Sep-29, 03:33 PM
There are many new videos about Spore online now. Like the one with the super-ugly alien created by Robin William, the one so ugly that the game crashed when he tried to show it in "baby form". The new videos are a lot more detailed, and also show the graphics of the game greatly improved.

The graphics of this game are simple though, from what I understand, it won't require a very strong video card. I will take less that what is required for The Sims 2, and be probably on par with World of Warcraft. The game seems to have a quite low polygon count, which makes it not too hard for older video cards.

In a video it is mentionned that once you reach a certain point in the space age, you have access to modify the flora and terrain of planets, and even create your own planets. While the "regular" planets are quite realistic, the video shown a player created planet that was very cartoonish, with spiral shaped mountains, purple grass and green water.
Since by default the game can access the central database and import anything any player created, you can end up with goofy worlds and/or other things in your galaxy. However, it is possible to filter access to that database to make sure that you only get realistic worlds, that you only get goofy LSD inspired worlds, that you don't get a certain type of thing from other players, that you only get things created by you and your friends, or that you are cut from that database altogether.

They mentionned that a few things will be different from the 1st video we seen online, like the first version released probably won't have the "water-phase" between the cell and the land-creature phase. They plan to put it back later, maybe as an expansion, as well as brining back the possibility of underwater civilisations.

The interaction of things is much more complex in the new videos too, like other creatures are more "alive" than in the first video.

Doodler
2006-Sep-29, 03:47 PM
The graphics of this game are simple though, from what I understand, it won't require a very strong video card. I will take less that what is required for The Sims 2, and be probably on par with World of Warcraft. The game seems to have a quite low polygon count, which makes it not too hard for older video cards.

Say what you will about this game's "toonish" appearance, its animation engine is the smoothest I've ever encountered in half a dozen MMOs.

GDwarf
2006-Sep-29, 07:33 PM
Say what you will about this game's "toonish" appearance, its animation engine is the smoothest I've ever encountered in half a dozen MMOs.
I'd say it's a tie between it and Guild Wars.

Anyways, I'm still holding judgement on it, each of the seven 'eras' is essentially a new game, and if one of them doesn't work then the whole thing won't.

Doodler
2006-Sep-29, 09:07 PM
I've never played MOOII, or even MOOI, but Galactic Civilizations II: The Dread Lords (http://galciv2.com) is being heralded by many to be the true sequel to both of them. I can vouch for it being a very fun game, probably the best 4X game next to Civ IV.

Anyways, as to this game, it looks interesting, but I don't think I'll buy it when it first comes out, it's very ambitious, which means that there's a good chance it won't live up to it's potential, and I'll be saving up for some other games/systems (Nintendo Revolution, Zelda: Twilight Princess, Neverwinter Nights II, WoW Expansion), which are due out in the 3rd/4th quarter.

I recently reinstalled Galactic Civilizations I and have spent the last few nights playing it.

So far I'm managed two diplomatic victories and a single evolutionary win. The Influence system is still driving me nuts trying to work out.

Doodler
2006-Sep-29, 09:09 PM
I'd say it's a tie between it and Guild Wars.

Anyways, I'm still holding judgement on it, each of the seven 'eras' is essentially a new game, and if one of them doesn't work then the whole thing won't.

Know what you mean. It looks like a mix between SimLife and any one of the Civilization/Galactic Civilization clones

greenfeather
2006-Sep-30, 12:05 PM
Also, awesome video at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8372603330420559198&q=spore , go to around 25:00 for astronomical stuff.

The video's great, but I sure hope the resolution is better than the demo!

Peptron
2006-Sep-30, 04:34 PM
A site with a few high res videos:
http://uk.media.pc.ign.com/media/735/735340/vids_1.html


There are a few more videos online, those in youtube tend to be super-low quality though:

A new demo from Will Wright:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-394434397798392775&q=spore

Will Wright answering a few questions and Robin Williams crashing the game with his over-ugly creature:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3423935674619182066&q=spore

HenrikOlsen
2006-Oct-01, 08:54 AM
It does look really great, but I can't help seeing it as pushing ID, since it's definitely wrong as a model of evolution, and any use of the word evolution in relations to the game will give a completely wrong impression of evolution to the players of the game.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-01, 09:09 AM
It does look really great, but I can't help seeing it as pushing ID, since it's definitely wrong as a model of evolution, and any use of the word evolution in relations to the game will give a completely wrong impression of evolution to the players of the game.

Might do more good than harm. When any moron can create intelligent life it sort of downgrades the idea of a superior creator.

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Oct-01, 03:54 PM
I really don't see it as pushing ID in any way. Sure, you design your creature, but it's a game. Wouldn't be much fun if you couldn't do that.

Swift
2006-Oct-02, 01:36 PM
I really don't see it as pushing ID in any way. Sure, you design your creature, but it's a game. Wouldn't be much fun if you couldn't do that.
I agree. That seems like the people who say Harry Potter books/movies encourage devil worship?

Hey, maybe we're on to something, maybe the universe is just some big computer game? I just hope the creator's mom doesn't yell at him to get off that stupid computer and get ready for dinner. ;)

Doodler
2006-Oct-02, 03:30 PM
Might do more good than harm. When any moron can create intelligent life it sort of downgrades the idea of a superior creator.

Now there's a thought that'll get me through Monday morning. :clap:

Peptron
2006-Oct-02, 04:38 PM
I'd already have an idea of a specie complete with its civilisation, buildings and UFO, but I'd have to be fast since I'm sure I'm not the first to think about that...

The creature would be very human like, with very human-civilisation looking buildings. The vehicles and UFO would look like DC-8. The civilisation would be very war-like and use volcanoes as a weapon instead of as a terraforming tool.

BenM
2006-Oct-15, 03:37 AM
Last week, the NYT had an article about Will Wright and Spore. (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/08/magazine/08games.html?pagewanted=all)(It may be behind a firewall now, I only caught it today)