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Messages - Barrakuda

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1
Spore: General / New creature pictures (maybe?)
« on: July 07, 2006, 08:50:53 am »
I haven't been following the news much since E3, but I'm pretty sure I hadn't seen these creatures before



It's from a spanish pc games magazine. The text is just a question by a reader asking if the game wil be fun and playable, aside from looking pretty, because it's looking more like a scenario editor than a game. The magazine answers that, rest assured, after what they saw in E3 the game will stand out in those aspects, specially in it's "multiplayer mode".

It also mentions a release date of 2006 in another section, but I didn't take it too seriously since everyone is giving a different date, and besides:



"Spore, the next game by Will Wright is one of the more unusual projects ever seen, because of  it's concept of species evolution and planetary exploration. Maybe that's why it's surrounded by curious occurances. One of them took place at the recent E3 when Wright asked for a volunteer. From the audience jumped none other than Robbie Williams, the famous british singer, who had a blast with the creature editor making a being as extravagant as himself."

 ??? ??? ??? ;D

2
Spore: General / Re: New little tidbits of information
« on: June 20, 2005, 01:53:50 pm »
Just 2 new e-mails


Brian,

>>Dear Will,

>>My world, in Spore, only has one creature that I created; every other creature will presumably be created by some other player. What will prevent me from travelling into space, visiting a planet created by another player, and discovering the same species that populated my world? The same buildings? What if that player downloaded my creature as a low level species and there are hundreds of them on this world? It would be kind of a letdown to finally get to travel into space and the first creature you encounter are the same creatures you've already seen on your own planet. This is further complicated by your procedural feedback system; the more popular an object; the more it shows up in peoples buy window; therefore it becomes more popular. If someone creates the absolute best monolith, and everyone uses it because its the best, theres a significantly higher chance that I'm going to travel halfway across the galaxy to discover the same monolith that I myself used.

>>I assume the database will be large enough to make this occurance a statistical anomaly (if i visited 100 planets and each of them had 1000 objects, that would still only be a fraction of the total database) but it would be nice to have some overlap protection (I will only download items that do not already exist in my galaxy, etc etc).

Since we control the injection of creatures into your ecosystem as well as the injection of planets into your local space we can easily prevent the "content collision" problem.

>>Also, when does the procedural decompression occur? After download, so each creature is stored on my hard drive as a 5 meg file? Will there be a "populating worlds" loading screen everytime i start up? Does it populate only when I'm focused on it? Given the size and price of hard drives today, I can see storing it as a 5 meg file being the cheapest option (slow game, small footprint vs fast game, large footprint. Hard drives are cheap, CPUs are expensive) but I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

We're currently planning to do most of the reconstituting of downloaded content while the player is in the editors (where we have a surplus of CPU).

>>How are you going to deal with copywrite issues? Givin the ultimate freedom to create what they want, many players will recreate their favorite universes to play in, much to the chagrin of the people who own that universe. The same goes for mature content as well, I wouldn't want to be that unsuspecting parent just as Johnny lands on planet Cocknballs.

As for the copywrite issues, we've had to deal with that already with all the content for The Sims. It basically comes down to giving anyone the ability to flag content they think is inappropriate for any reason.

-Will



Scott,

A few quick answers:

Will there be population dynamics such as predator/prey
population cycles?
Yes.

Will there be procedural evolution in
addition to drawing from the central databases?
Probably not, but we're going to give it a shot to see how far we get.

Will there be any sort of
gameplay in space along the lines of Space Empires or
Master of Orion?
Yes, federation, empire and alliance building.

Will there be an option to design space
stations, ringworlds, and/or Dysons spheres?
No.

Will there be
interstellar vehicles other than UFOs?
Not sure.

Will every game have the same universe, or will every
game have a random distribution of stars?
Every player's galaxy is different and tailored to how they're playing.

In the editor, how extensive will the library of
primitive shapes be?
Depends on the editor, about 200 shapes per editor.

Will it be possible to add third party primitives to the
editors library, or would it be too difficult to work in
with the central databases?
Probably not, they are quite complicated.

If third party primitives
arent tenable, will additional primitives be added via
patches at Maxis's discretion?
Probably.

Will the cellular world have any impact on the
macroscopic world?
Only in terms of changing your starting point when you enter the macroscopic evolution game.

Will there be any means to remove species from the game,
short of genocide?
It seems like removing them is the definition of genocide.

-Will

3
Spore: General / Re: New little tibdits of information
« on: June 08, 2005, 01:57:47 pm »


Aaron,

How mod-able Spore is will very much depend on the particular content involved. One thing that is crucial however is that every piece of content needs to be representable with a very compact genome. This implies that any enumerated parts (such as creature parts) that resolve into tokens in the genome need to carry a proxy solution if they are to be expandable at a later date.

For specific things you brought up:

Gravity - undetermined at this point, probably not.
Solar system layout - hopefully so (creating a system out of the initial proto-planetary disk)
Shape of Planets - Yes, there will be many geologic tools for this.
Manual creation of creatures - Yes, much more than we have shown so far.

All these functions will be available to the end-user.

-Will

What is that replying too?


I don't know, he didn't post the original question

4
Spore: General / New little tidbits of information
« on: June 08, 2005, 11:23:58 am »
Some folks in the games forum of http://forums.somethingawful.com (registration required) where talking about Spore and three of them emailed Will with questions about the game and he actually replied:

Hello,

While discussing your future game on some Internet forum, I had an idea about how to introduce limited multiplayer capabilities to your game. Well, it's not really multiplayer, more like a common sandbox.

The idea is to have the game being able to synchronize with a server, be it a master server hosted by Maxis/EA or a player run one. Latter option would be a plus, to allow private communities.

Since the whole Spore galaxy is very likely also just a procedural product, the server should generate a fix set of parameters, that'll be sent down to the client, should a player create a server-supported game. This implies that every client/game runs the same galaxy. The server also assigns each player a planet or star system he starts out with. Progress in the game session should be synced with the server on regular intervals.

If the player now gets to the interstellar level, the game requests the necessary information when flying around. Means if someone scrolls out, the server sends down the necessary information, not before. For instance on star region level, it sends information down which of the planets/stars in the region are player controlled (and any delta information, should a player have terraformed things), and basic information so the game can i.e. generate the SETI signal chatter like you've shown on the GDC demo. The same should apply when scrolling out to the galactic level, though it'll likely require less information, just enough to hint the player where to zoom in and look for other life. Optionally, there should be a server-side option, if turned on, just clearly marks player controlled planets, on both regional and galactic level, to ease finding people.

Now, if a player zooms into a player system, the server sends down the necessary info to generate the system, just as the other player sees it or formed it. More and more necessary info gets sent the more a player zooms in, like city info on planetary level, creature info when going down to the civ level, and so on.

The game would still run async, the player's client would just start generating planetary activity based on the parameters for visual reasons, it wouldn't affect the player's planet or reflect its real state in any way. A player controlled system would be in sort of a read-only mode to other players except the owner, as such just allowing things like watching it, and abducting species to create a copy of it. Optionally, as a server-side option, people could be allowed to drop their own species on another player's planet. When the owner continues his game, he'll be notified that player so-and-so dropped an alien species on his planet, and the game takes this in consideration.

Also, if a player terraforms a planet and/or drops objects or species of his on it, it'll automatically be marked as player-controlled and will be synchronized between the client and server.

A plus would be a small chat system for all active players.

Those were the ideas I had, to allow players to play on a common ground and watch what everyone else does without needing to actively search and install content. Yet it would likely be easy to implement, since it's all about exchanging and synchronizing information on an as-needed basis, most just difference data based on a master galaxy based on procedural generation.

I'm not sure whether this is feasible to the deadline, or if it requires an expansion to implement all this, or if something like this is already being implemented, but it'd be great if you'd consider any of these ideas.

Sincerely,

-Toiletbrush from Belgium


That's close to what we're planning to do in some ways. But if we do exactly that we lose several huge gameplay advantages.

-the ability to customize each players galaxy to how they like to play (conquest, diplomacy, colonization) -the ability to let each player be the "hero" (destroying everything in their path) -the ability to let time flow be relative to the player (how fast does everything develop)

You will be interacting with player designed worlds (though under NPC control). And your region of space will be downloaded on an as needed basis.

-Will


I emailed Will about bacterial infestations and robots, and he emailed back with this:



I don't think we are going to deal with things like bacterial infections in Spore.

On the other hand I do want robots. The current plan is to unlock robotic creature parts once you reach the UFO stage and then allow the player to create robots in the creature editor which can populate an environment just like creatures.

-Will


Aaron,

How mod-able Spore is will very much depend on the particular content involved. One thing that is crucial however is that every piece of content needs to be representable with a very compact genome. This implies that any enumerated parts (such as creature parts) that resolve into tokens in the genome need to carry a proxy solution if they are to be expandable at a later date.

For specific things you brought up:

Gravity - undetermined at this point, probably not.
Solar system layout - hopefully so (creating a system out of the initial proto-planetary disk)
Shape of Planets - Yes, there will be many geologic tools for this.
Manual creation of creatures - Yes, much more than we have shown so far.

All these functions will be available to the end-user.

-Will

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