Gaming Steve

Spore Archives - Page 1

May 9, 2008

Maxis Responds to the Spore DRM Controversy


There has been a small firestorm concerning the Spore Digital Rights Management system. Well Maxis has been listening and Caryl Shaw, Online Producer for Spore, sent me a note about these concerns:

Hey Spore Fans -

We wanted to let you know that we've been hearing your concerns about the online authentication mentioned earlier this week. I didn't want to head into the weekend without getting back to you with some information about how Spore is planning on using this new system.

A few things we wanted you to know:

  • We authenticate your game online when you install and launch it the first time.
  • We'll re-authenticate when a player uses online features, downloads new content or a patch for their game.
  • The new system means you don't have to play with the disc in your computer. And if you are like me, always losing discs, this will be a huge benefit.
  • You'll still be able to install and play on multiple computers.
  • You can play offline.

We do hope that players will play online - sharing creatures, buildings and vehicles with other players is something that is unique to Spore and one of the coolest features of the game. Every day, when I play the Creature Stage, I get to see wacky and awesome new creatures from my Buddies on the team coming over the hill at me and I can't wait to see what happens when our creative, passionate community starts sharing their creations.

I'd love to write more - but I need to get back to work. We've got a game to finish. :-)


Personally I don't see the big deal about the online DRM, especially for a game such as Spore which all but requires you to play online and communicate regularly with EA's servers. Heck, Spore is almost an MMORPG in considering all the online content that will be available for the game once it's released.

Oh yes, and if you think EA's DRM is harsh wait until you see the new DRM that Blizzard is working on for S2 and D3....

Posted by Gaming Steve at 3:00 PM | Comments (67) | Posted to PC | Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

April 24, 2008

Gaming Steve Members Featured in Latest Spore Update


It appears that the Spore development team keeps tabs on the Gaming Steve Spore forums as in their latest update on the Spore web site they featured four creatures created by GS forum members.

LadyM (Mallen), Hydromancerx (Naucean), Petreak (Mentripod), and Oviraptor (Vvukkrauur) were lucky enough to have sketches of their creatures not only turned into official Spore creatures, but each of their creatures were evaluated by the NASA Astrobiology Institute as well as the Spore design team. A sample:

Vvukkrauur, by Oviraptor

NASA Evaluation: Lots of bilateral symmetry on this one. Perhaps the two light green discs below the eyes are heat sensing organs to help detect prey in murky water when the eyes become less useful.

Recreated by Spore Engineer Jeff Gates
Jeff says, "Its low profile is useful when it hunts its prey (not Earth prey). I can't tell if it’s cute or mean, but I know I want one!"

Congratulations you four! I only wish I created a creature as well ... doh!

Update: Mason11987 (Swiftick) and Wydraz (Flaaarg) were also mentioned on the site and are active forum members (sorry I missed you two). So six of the eight creatures featured were from the GS Spore forum ... not bad at all.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 9:00 PM | Comments (13) | Posted to Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

March 6, 2008

Spore Coming to the iPhone (and iPod Touch)


In retrospect it's not a surprising announcement (Spore will be on everything in few years) but at a press conference where Apple detailed it's iPhone software development platform, EA was happy to announce a specially made version of Spore for the uber-popular iPhone (and iPod Touch).

Details are scant right now, but we know the game will use the special technologies in the iPhone, including it's Accelerometer and multi touch screen. The game will include some kind of creature creator, but the only images of the game in the flOw like stage. The game won't be released before September (presumably right along with the PC game).

So long as the price is right and the game is of the same quality of the PC game, I'll definitely be interested. The iPhone and iPod Touch have some really interesting technology in them, so hopefully we'll see some more creative games for the "platform" (such as this one).

Posted by Clayton Ashley at 3:45 PM | Comments (4) | Posted to Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 21, 2008

Gaming Steve Episode 70 - 02.21.2008

Spore Pineapple!Sorry I didn't have a show yesterday as I was having "hardware issues". But I'm back today with a quick recap of GDC 2008 days 1 and 2, plus a little interview with Spore Producer Caryl Shaw.

Caryl sat down with me to talk all things Spore for a good half hour, so stop reading this and start listening to the show. Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 70 Program

  • Game Developers Conference Days 1 & 2 Recap
    • Xbox 360 finally allows anyone to develop for their system.
    • Ninja Gaiden II gets dated.
    • Peter Molyneux does his snake-oil dance for Fable 2 ... and we eat it up.
    • Gears of War 2 is announced and dated, guess the rumors were true.
    • Jack Emmert goes off on MMO developers.
    • Interview with Caryl Shaw, Producer for Spore from Maxis.

Download the show (48 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 70 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Digg the show? Then Digg it!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 7:00 PM | Comments (8) | Posted to Interview | Podcast | Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 21, 2008

GDC08: Spore City Music Planner Demostration

A demonstration of the city music planner that I recorded from the Spore talk, "Procedural Music in Spore" from the Game Developers Conference 2008.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 4:10 AM | Comments (3) | Posted to Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 21, 2008

GDC08: Spore Spaceship Editor Demostration

A demonstration of the spaceship editor that I recorded from the Spore talk, "Procedural Music in Spore" from the Game Developers Conference 2008.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 4:05 AM | Comments (3) | Posted to Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 21, 2008

GDC08: Spore Creature Editor Demostration

A demonstration of the creature editor that I recorded from the Spore talk, "Procedural Music in Spore" from the Game Developers Conference 2008.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 4:00 AM | Comments (4) | Posted to Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 20, 2008

GDC08: New Spore Pictures from Spore GDC Talks

Today I attended two different talks on Spore today and managed to take as many pictures as I could while liveblogging those events. I'll also be posting several videos I took at those events later today once I can find some stable bandwidth to upload these monsters.

All of the pictures were taken from the latest build of Spore , enjoy!




































Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:30 PM | Comments (24) | Posted to Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

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

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!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 6:45 PM | Comments (9) | Posted to Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 20, 2008

GDC08: Liveblogging "Procedural Music in Spore"

11:57 - Just ran from the Microsoft keynote -- biggest news was Gears of War 2 announced for release this November 2008. Also ran into Caryl Shaw who is giving a Spore speech at 2:30 PM PST. She said to me that she was "going to be showing a lot, I should be really happy with what I see." Can't wait.

12:02 - Still waiting for the talk to start, the lots of people still walking over from the Keynote no doubt.

12:02 - Kent Jolly began his talk, started to talk about the background of procedural music in Spore.

12:04 - At first they didn't think they were going to do procedural music as it was going to be a huge undertaking on top of an already huge project.

12:06 - The other issue was making sure that procedural music didn't take up too much CPU-wise. So far this is a very hardcore developer lecture where they appear to be talking about the real background info on making a system rather than gameplay elements so far...

12:07 - Big turning point was Brain Eno and when he joined the team to develop the music.

12:14 - Kent demoed very simple drum sounds being created using a simple procedural tool. Mostly just demoing very simple sounds, very hardcore development talk right now.

12:17 - Yeah! Jumping into the game and the creator editor!

12:18 - Slight detour, showing Brain Eno's thoughts on how to make the music and it looks insanely complex, sounds it too and they dropped his tool from the game. Still waiting to see the music in the game.

12:20 - Finally jumped into the game and the creator editor.

12:24 - Sorry for the delay, just recorded several minutes of creating a creator. Each section of the editor will cause a different type of sound. Also depending upon the "type" of creator you create will change the music type. Create a create with a lot of weapons and the music will be much darker. The music will try to reflect the "feel" of your creature AS you create it.

12:27 - Aaron McLeran started to talk and is now speaking about the spaceship editor.

12:28 - Main goals was to create music which never repeats, is always interesting and fun to listen to, the music is playful, and that the music responds to the user.

12:29 - In the UFO editor it will be more "futuristic" while the creator editor had more "tribal" music.

12:32 - Now showing the Air Vehicle editor.

12:33 - The music will also change depending upon the "type" of society you build. If you build a religious society your music will have a more "religious" feel with pipe organs and such. The music will reflect the type of game you are playing as well as the society you are building.

12:35 - Wow, I just looked behind me (I'm in the front row) and the room is freaking packed. Who would think that a talk about music would get sold out?

12:36 - Each and every aspect of the various editors will play music and beats. You can actually create a song just by building a creator. Aaron actually created a small song while creating a UFO while he was painting it, very cool.

12:39 - Back into the programming tool and back to hardcore development talking.

12:45 - Hardcore music theory going on right now, showing how they managed to take classic pieces of music and had it procedurally generated within their tool.

12:47 - More talk, starting to upload the videos I took from the editors for you to see these editors and music in action...

12:50 - About to start taking questions, still demoing the music tool and how simple beats can be created. Interesting but really high level that people within the game itself wouldn't care anything out.

12:51 - Wrapping up, whoa, just went back into the game.

12:52 - Showing where you can customize the music yourself. You can do it within the Civ game and we're seeing the city music planner.

12:55 - You can create the beat, anthem, and ambiance sounds within the City planner. The music creator works very much like the other editors within the game -- very simple to use yet amazingly complex.

12:56 - You can save your music and trade it just like anything else within the game.

12:59 - Q&A time, nearly all of the music within the game is created procedurally. Another person asked that if you create music within the game and then want to release it who gets the royalty checks. Kent joked that EA would get those.

1:02 - The talk is over, I'm uploading the videos and I'll post those as soon as they're ready. Also the program they were using to create the music was MAX/MSP and PD ... probably should have mentioned that earlier.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:57 PM | Comments (11) | Posted to Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!