February 20, 2008
GDC08: Liveblogging "Pollination the Universe: User-Generated Content in Spore"
2:25 – Okay, this I did not expect. The talk is in a conference room underground and I can’t get a signal. So this will be a delayed liveblog, sorry everyone.
2:28 – Caryl Shaw started her talk, said that the European version is coming out first is that Europe is a much larger PC market than the States.
2:30 – Started the talk, explaining how they thought the game was going to dispute the content using an aesthetic matching system, but it seems like they are going in a new direction.
2:33 – They needed to build a way to organize the content and distribute it. This is what her talk is going to be about, how to organize all of the content.
2:34 – Their main goals were to encourage content discovery – the first time you encounter something within the game which is new you will get the “card” which contains all of the user creation information on it.
2:35 – Achievement system will reward you throughout the game using a variety of features and methods.
2:36 – Talking about quality and how quality metrics are being measured. The best content is not always the most popular content and they wanted to create a system which will reward content which isn't just the most popular.
2:37 – You can create buddy lists, Sporecasts, ban stuff that you don’t like, can browse, search and sort for items both within the Sporepedia as well as on the web.
2:38 – Showing the community web site, looks like a social network site for just Spore. Has personal info, featured content, subscribed Sporecasts, my creatures, widgets, stats, and more. This will live at Spore.com
2:39 – There is an in-game user-page for Spore very similar to what is on the web site. Looks very similar to your profile within Steam
2:40 – Extensive social networking tools – search, comment system, storytelling movie-making system,
2:41 – Cayrl opened the game and showed how the login feature worked. Looked like any other MMORPG login screen actually.
2:42 – You can put your creature on a t-shirt or mug and they are working on the ability to create a 3D creature but they are really fragile and they need figure out how to ship these figures without breaking them.
2:43 – You will also be able to create comic books based upon your Spore content. They are working with a comic book software creation company, but she wouldn’t say who.
2:45 – You can jump right into the game and access ANY editor at any time.
2:46 – Got yelled at that I couldn’t film the talk, nice.
2:47 – Caryl started to build her creature, the interface is REALLY cleaned up from the last time I saw it.
2:48 – You can paint a creature “like” something. So she tried to paint her creature using the same paint scheme as a Gamecube. I also saw an Xbox 360, PS3, and other systems in there.
2:49 – You can record a movie directly within the game and then upload your move, from within the game, directly to YouTube. That is slick.
2:50 – Showing off the Sporepedia now, you can “test out” other people’s creatures and see how they work.
2:51 – All the card within the Sporepedia are only a PNG file and ALL the information for each creature is within the PNG file. Each file is around 30k in size. You can email these PNG files to anyone you want and then drag-and-drop those PNG files directly into the game and it will be added.
2:53 – Demoing a cheeto creature, it is amazing that you can basically make anything you want within this game. The creatures she is showing is going by fast and furious but it seems like you can make anything you want.
2:54 – You can leave comments on other people’s creatures, users,
2:55 – You can “subscribe” to your friends stuff and the game will increase the chance that you’ll see creatures within your game.
2:57 – Demoing a creature which looks like a cricket and it actually got a gasp from the audience it was so cool.
2:58 – Sporecasts are themed groupings of content. So you can create groupings on any subject you want, demoing “cool buildings” right now.
2:59 – They made it really hard to make “realistic” creatures on purpose, but people are still managing to do it.
3:00 – Showing off a city hall which looks like a stack of sushi.
3:01 – Showing off how you start a new Civilization game. You first select your “theme” for the game based upon a premade list, you then select the “type” of game you want to play – Military, Religious or Economic, name your planet, select your color for your empire, and then select your assets within the game. Your creatures and your city hall.
3:03 – They are working on the transitions on the game.
3:04 – The game crashed while she was going to start showing the Civ game, I guess they have more work to do on it.
3:05 – Tried to show off the Civ game again, again it crashed. Doh.
3:06 – Started the backup version of the game and is now playing the off-line version.
3:08 – Took a question, the DS and the PC versions won’t share content. But the PC and Mac versions will share content.
3:09 – Game started up, it looks like a simplified version of Civilization actually. She places a few vehicles, buildings. Showing off the music system within the game and how you can create music and then save it as a PNG file just like anything else within the game.
3:12 – Caryl finished up her talk early and is now taking Q&A.
3:14 – Expects people to create their own widgets for just Spore.
3:15 – Looking at the live Sporepedia. Interestingly there are only 1791 of “everything” on the server right now, and Caryl herself made 70 items. So it looks like they have a lot more, a lot more, to add to the game for the “off-line” experience.
3:17—You can’t take someone else’s creation, add a single thing, and then upload it and take credit for it.
3:18 – Someone is asking if you can sell your content within the game or you can buy content within the game. So far that is not within the game and right now everything is free, but EA owns the software and he will have the final decision.
3:23 – Talking about load testing the Spore servers. The Sims 2 had over 700,000 people register within the first week and they know that Spore will likely far exceed that number. So they are testing the servers extensively and will try to have 100% uptime.
3:25 – Talking about toolsets for just people to manage community aspects – Sporemasters.
3:26 – All movies are saved in AVI of the PC and something which works within iMovie on the Mac.
3:30 – The talk ended and I have a ton of pictures and video to show. I'll upload those later for everyone to see!