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Messages - TFGoose

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Spore: General / Re: Why should I expand? ... seriously
« on: September 12, 2008, 01:50:03 pm »
Just remember star wars where many planets are under darth vaders control. The threat of a "visit" from the armada of ships like the SSD and other star destroyers is enough to make planets stay in control. Although it is under a fear it still works.

It's a good thing there wasn't a rebel group of some sort that was able to strategically use its small numbers effectively against a hulking bueacratic empire to bring about its destruction, then.

Whew, good point!  Probably fortunate as well that they didn't design their massive superweapon with an easily exploitable weak point that would destroy the entire structure...

... twice.


Spore: General / Re: Was it worth the wait?
« on: September 12, 2008, 12:17:11 pm »
The version of Spore we have now is an excellent base on which to build future add-ons and expansions.  The core game, despite needing a couple crash bugs fixed and a re-thinking of some aspects of Space, is quite solid.  However, it's the potential of what could be on the horizon that's most appealing to me.

I'll continue to play for a goodly duration, looking forward to patches for some things, and feverishly anticipating the onslaught of expansion packs which will hopefully serve to flesh out some of the weaker areas of the experience.

So to answer the question, in a way I feel like I'm still waiting for Spore to get to the point where I always felt it could be, but it's great to have something to tinker with on the way there.  :)


Spore: General / Re: If you Terraform a Grox planet, will they re-settle it?
« on: September 12, 2008, 08:53:35 am »
Correct.  I believe I've read elsewhere on here that the Grox will not resettle a planet that has been terraformed.  If you can't afford to just Planet Bust them into oblivion, terraforming is an excellent, cheap alternative.


Spore: General / Re: How many planets do you have?
« on: September 12, 2008, 08:51:58 am »
What's the best way to get a planet to T3? Having to find a load of different animals and plants to put there and stabilise the ecosystem takes so long. And also, why is it so hard to find things like Uber Turrets? I've been to dozens of planets to trade and I've found only 2. And the same for those eco system protectors, but they are a little more common. If I'm going to complete my plan of dominating my local area, I need to make T3's faster, and protect them more easily. Right now I have about 10 systems (I've struggled to overcome the constant attacks and eco disasters), and about 5 T3 planets, because I can't be bothered to make more yet. T1 at least gets me basic spice income.

That sounds really strange.  Normally every single tool is available at any of your own colonies.  Other empires only have select tools available, but those are usually discounted by as much as fifty percent.  Try visiting your own colonies and see what they have.  You'll pay full price, but it's better than nothing at all.

As for terraforming, here's the trick:

Collect 3 different small plants, 3 medium plants, 3 large plants, 6 herbivores, and 3 carnivores/omnivores.  From this point on, you need nothing else.  Now go to a T-0 planet, beam down one small, medium, and large plant from your stock and then two herbivores and one carnivore/omnivore.  That will raise the T-score.  Now (and this is the key), immediately beam them right back up.  The planet's T-score has already stabalized and the plants/animals are already all over the place, so just pick the ones you deposited back up so you can use them somewhere else.  To quickly get a planet to T-3, just rinse repeat with your remaining stock on that world.  Easy.

On a side note, you may want to have 4 or 5 samples of each item in your terraforming portfolio.  That way if you accidentally lose one or two, you're still okay to continue.


Spore: General / Re: How many planets do you have?
« on: September 12, 2008, 08:34:56 am »
I have 17 systems with about 35 colonized worlds, all T3 with fully developed cities, bio protection, and uber turret.  I haven't been to the center of the galaxy yet.  My original goal was to expand towards it and not just make a mad dash.  But given the size, and negative reward for having a vast empire, I'm probably just gonna make a bee line for the center so I can get the *item*.  Then my new goal will be to exterminate the Grox.

By the way, that's not nearly as difficult as some people are making out.  Just Planet Bust them to death.  Over and over and over again.  Yeah, it's tedious, but it's a lot simpler than trying to raid their planets.  Just wipe them off the map.  The rest of the galaxy doesn't care, and if you have a good military ally you can buy Planet Busters for 2.5M.  So load up on those as well as some Energy and Repair packs, go on a run, then make your way back.  If you're a Shaman, you can even teleport back home to resupply or handle whatever attacks they launch on you.  Then, right back to Death Star mode.

Big Badda Boom... LOL, Maxis, you crazy Fifth Element fans you....


Spore: General / Re: Why should I expand? ... seriously
« on: September 12, 2008, 08:04:29 am »
These defenses have a maintenance cost (upkeep) that the player must pay in order for them to continue working effectively without his presence.  This cost is paid automatically from the Sporebucks account of the player, deducted every 30 minutes.  Perhaps 100,000 Sporebucks each to keep one planet on fully automated defense every hour (cost debatable)

There are not enough -s in the world to explain how much I consider this opinion "----".

The one thing I love about the Space Stage is that unlike every other 4X game, there's no ongoing costs to anything. I want pirate raids fixed too, but I really hope that there's never going to be any sort of ongoing costs in Space.

Fair enough.  It's just a thought, and I'm sure there are other methods for doing this.  But seriously, it's not as if money isn't ridiculously easy to come by once you have your spice production going strong.  I can make 10 million in about fifteen minutes just from the planets in my home star system.  If I leave the system and go to two of my other stars, that figure jumps to 25 million.  I'm buying discounted anti-matter bombs and planet busters like they're goin' outta style, and I'm still maxed out on money.  So I don't think putting a mechanism for a money sink into the game is that horrid of an idea (though I admit I'd want the cap for max Sporebucks raised).


Spore: General / Re: Easy, Medium, Hard - What's the difference?
« on: September 12, 2008, 07:11:09 am »
Also, at least from what I've heard and experienced, the likelihood of encountering overly aggressive empires in Space Stage increases with higher difficulty, as does the frequency of pirate attacks and bio disasters.


Spore: General / Re: Why should I expand? ... seriously
« on: September 11, 2008, 02:54:25 pm »
I think the change in difficulty in the space stage is necessary. It really knocks you off your high horse when entering. I blew my way through the first 4 stages with not an ounce of competition. Civ stage was a joke; I used no super weapons, got a big fleet, and just wiped all the cities out in one swoop.

The difficulty of Space is a real eye-opening point that I think they were trying to get across: it's freaking space! It's massive, you're not special, you really have to EARN galactic domination. It really is the vast, unruly place space is realistically going to be.

Hell, I know that if true space travel is invented while I'm around, I'm going to be a pirate  ;D.

I understand what you mean TDKenyon, and I agree that space stage should prevent a solid, difficult challenge.  But I don't consider the fact that I have to do everything personally a contribution towards a game's difficulty.  All it does is annoy me and make some of the tools we've been given seem somewhat hollow and unfulfilling.  I know I can ignore pirate raids without much penalty, but they bothered to put them in the game so why not make them work properly?  Why not make the penalty harsh for ignoring them, but also give the player an ability to let their cities automatically handle the problem?  Off the top of my head:

     To Fix Pirate Raids

  • Pirate attacks occur in one out of every ten star systems you own every 30 minutes.  As player gains more and more star systems, adjust this figure back somewhat so they aren't constantly being assaulted with warning messages. (frequency is debatable, I'm just takin' a shot in the dark here)

  • Colony can handle the attacks on their own with light to occasionally moderate damage, so long as the player has outfitted them with excellent defenses.

  • These defenses have a maintenance cost (upkeep) that the player must pay in order for them to continue working effectively without his presence.  This cost is paid automatically from the Sporebucks account of the player, deducted every 30 minutes.  Perhaps 100,000 Sporebucks each to keep one planet on fully automated defense every hour (cost debatable)

  • City status can be observed from orbit (without entering atmosphere) so it's easier to assess damage.

  • A city can be brought back to full turrets with the press of a single button (all applicable costs deducted).  Dragging individual turrets to each hard point seems superfluous to me once you've made the decision to buy full turrets for every city you make from then on.

Again, that's just some stuff that I've come up with today after reading through some threads and thinking about my play experience the last few days.  Putting all of that in still doesn't take away from the difficulty of the game, so long as you still have to deal with other empires, the occasional bio disaster that still occurs even when all of your planets have protectors running, and of course the Grox.  But it would inject a little more meaning into city defense, a money sink for the otherwise overflowing coffers of the advanced player, and overall make the game feel more about exploration and creativity than work.

That was the point from the beginning after all, wasn't it?


Spore: General / Re: Spore Isn't Fun Anymore
« on: September 11, 2008, 02:15:32 pm »
From the article...

What is the difference in difficulty levels anyway?

Clearly he never tried Space on hard mode.


Spore: General / Re: Why should I expand? ... seriously
« on: September 11, 2008, 08:52:32 am »
Yeah. It seems currently that the global defence turet is nothing more than a bug. Expensive and don't do squat - I don't need it when I'm there anyway.

I think it's a great idea to make a feature that auto-protects your planet very expensive (even up the price by a factor of 2 or 3)... as long as it does the bloody job.

Agreed, it should be expensive.  Heck, you could even make it some kind of on-going expense.  That would provide a money sink that makes buying and selling spice necessary.  Cuz I gotta tell ya, when I can go on a run for 10 minutes and make 10,000,000 Sporebucks right now, money doesn't really concern me that much.  But if I had a recurring 1 or 2 million Sporebucks cost to renew my planetary defenses every hour or something, that would at least make it necessary for me to go on such runs every now and again.

Also, I just want to point out that the Uber Turret does help when fighting things off.  Dealing with invasion forces is infinitely faster when you have one of those little freaks flying around blowing everything up for you.  My only problem is that it doesn't seem to work unless I'm there to watch it happen.


I don't understand why you can't just ignore a planet in trouble. I have never lost a single colony, and I've been away from my home systems for many hours. I've been hanging out at the edge of Grox territory and I get Grox attacks all the time, but I still have never lots a city, let alone an entire colony. Maybe I've lost a few buildings (certainly I lost a few towards the beginning before I could afford max turrets on all cities), but so what? You just go and repair them when you make a spice run. Pop in each planet and mouse-over the city icon, see if their production, happiness, and armor are the same and, if not, fix the problems.

This is also all according to my easy game. I'm still on my first game, I don't like to start over until I'm really done. The Grox shall fall!

That's another valid point.  I guess you could just sit back and let things happen, dealilng with damage or whatever later.  But I gotta say it would be annoying to have to fly down to every single planet you own just to check on damage, even if it was only every once in a while.  If there was something in the interface that you let you check city status at a glance from orbit then this approach could be an effective band-aid for the problem.  But even then, we're treating the symptom and not the disease.


Spore: General / Re: Way to disable Maxis creatures?
« on: September 11, 2008, 08:38:11 am »
Perhaps the solution would be some kind of slider that they could patch into the game or provide in an expansion.  It could let you control the percentage of Maxis-created content in your universe.  That way it doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" proposition, and people can choose to have 50% Maxis content or even 25% if they like.

Just a thought.


Spore: General / Re: Spore Tips and Tricks
« on: September 11, 2008, 08:32:57 am »
If you don't have megabombs, or don't have the budget, but you have picked up some fancy land modelling tools like Crystal Seas or Terra Seas, use it on your enemies. It is an instakill.

As are several other terraforming tools, like using the Heat Ray to melt the planet and detonate all the cities.  Costs nothing but energy and is just as effective as bombing everything or using a Gravitation Wave.  Good times.  :)

Here's another tip:

When taking over an empire through economic means (trade routes --> system purchase), leave one system alone and let them keep it.  Ally with them at this point and you receive the following benefits:

1)  Allies will provide you with a ship for your fleet whenever you ask.

2)  With only one system, the likelihood of having to save them from biodisasters or pirate attacks is lessened.

3)  You are less likely to get dragged into a war when they only have one system, and it's surrounded by yours.

4)  You will continue to benefit from whatever discounted tools they have available.

Doing your allies this way seems to be the best way to balance the good parts of having an ally with the bad.  If you have a monstrous ally, you will have monstrous numbers of distress signals to go with them.  Keep them small to get every benefit you can, and if all else fails, they're that much easier to wipe out if necessary.


Spore: General / Re: Why should I expand? ... seriously
« on: September 11, 2008, 08:13:18 am »
To get badges to get new stuff really...

Well, yes that's certainly a reason.  But I was speaking more on the lines of "once I have all the tools"....

You don't have to expand. There's no stage beyond space stage that you are driven towards.
There's the mystery of the Grox and the middle of the galaxy, but if you don't care about them then don't bother to expand.

In fact, why should you play the space stage at all?

LOL, a valid point.  No, we don't have to expand, but as I said the game seems to encourage it.  Indeed there are a few missions where you are given direct orders to do so "for the good of the empire".  Expansion is (at least to some degree) necessary in the early going.  You have to get some planets with each kind of spice and really juice up the production.  My goal was to have several planets churning out each kind of spice so I could basically make a run every 5 minutes or so and offload 99 of each of them.  With 15 systems colonized, I've reached that goal.  I topped 75 million Sporebucks last night and I still have a cargo hold overflowing with spice.

I know that reaching the center of the universe is a goal, as is meeting and (perhaps) defeating the Grox.  But I suppose my real question is this:  "Does expansion help or hinder those goals?"  From a logical standpoint, I would assume that it should help.  Realistically speaking (I know, just go with it), the larger an empire is, the more powerful they should be.  But that isn't the case in Spore, or at least I don't see how it is.  Instead, the reward for growing larger and larger is an ever-accelerating landslide of repetitive problems.  And I don't think that should be the case.

I guess this is really just a gripe more than anything else.  To me, expanding, getting bigger, and "owning" more of the universe should be a positive thing.  I shouldn't feel as though I'm going to be punished for daring to place yet another colony.  It's like the pirates are just sitting there licking their chops every time I do it.  "OMG he gave us another one to raid every 10 minutes.  LOL, what a douche."

All that said....


Ideas to combat this problem could be some of the following (not all at once):
-Give each colony a slow and small but steady $ income (not spice, direct funds).
-Give each colony a way of defending themselves against raids.
-Add extra health to your ufo per system, planet or colony you own.
-Make hostile AI's level of agression towards you based on your number of colonies vs. theirs.
-Give a synergy bonus so for example an extra red spice planet adds +1 to your ship's or other red spice planets' storage capacity etc.

These are good ideas, especially the second and fourth points.  If my colonies had a way to mostly deal with pirate raids and low-level invasions on their own (if properly equipped by me of course), then expanding could be a lot more fun.  But there's no way I'm trying that now, as I would be doing nothing but babysitting all those colonies from random attack #8427.  There's a way to reduce the frequency of bio disasters, so why can't turrets or something do the same for pirate attacks?  For that matter, why doesn't an uber turret own the entire invasion force when I'm not there the same way that it does once I float down into the atmosphere?

This all seems fixable, so this is me asking... Please, fix it.


Spore: General / Why should I expand? ... seriously
« on: September 10, 2008, 03:24:16 pm »
Okay, after a few solid days of playing Spore (mostly in the space stage with my Shrublings), I have a serious question.  Why oh why should I attempt to expand beyond 10 or so star systems? 

Does the size of my empire influence how much I'm attacked?   Yes, but in the wrong direction. 

Do I get more ships from expanding?  Nope.  

Do I get more spice?   Not really.  Once you have a couple planets churning out record numbers of pink and purple spice you really don't need anything else.  Additional planets and colonies become superfluous.

So why do I do it?  It seems to me that the only reward I get for actively expanding beyond the point where I have a self-sustaining, profitable economy is more frequent pirate attacks and bio-disasters.  It would be different if by arming my colonies to the teeth with fully defended cities, uber turrents and both bio protection devices that I could fend off these nuisances without my personal attention.  But as we all know, even the most heavily-defended colony in your empire will lose the fight if you don't personally show up to supervise the action.  All expansions seems to do is make sure that I will definitely, positively be called back to one of those colonies all the more often, even if only to watch my uber turret take them all down while I make another pepperoni and cheese cracker.

So again, where's the motivation?  At this point, the only reason I'm doing it is because that's what I envisioned I would do from the day I heard about this game at GDC '05.  Part of the fun lies in taking over planet after planet, system after system, on my way to the center of the galaxy.  Indeed, the game seems somewhat built on the idea that you should try to expand (there are a number of 'story' missions to that effect after all), yet at the same time I feel as though I'm being punished for traveling that path.

Does anyone else understand what I mean here or am I just way off base?


Spore: General / Re: Game Crashing Bug
« on: September 10, 2008, 02:57:47 pm »
Sounds like Spore is having alot of problems, despite its hype. Maybe EA pushed them hard so that they didn't do enough beta testing? I'm not saying we should have waited longer (I would be dead if I said that here, lol), just that EA may have had a hand in this.

Also, its likely a side effect of the fact that Spore is pioneering new territory so to speak with programming, so there are more problems than usual.

I hear what you're saying here, but I was under the impression that EA gave Maxis quite a bit of breathing room on this project, probably a lot moreso than many other publishers do.  Heck, probably more than EA gives on virtually anything else under their corporate umbrella.  It's Maxis, and they were creating the next big franchise, so EA gave them a wide berth.

All that said, the game does seem to suffer from a few bugs (like the crashing mentioned here) that went curiously undiscovered (or at least unaddressed) prior to release.  Furthermore, and perhaps more disturbingly, there are clearly some balancing and AI difficulty issues in Space stage that seem like they should have been right in the face of any beta testers.  I admit I'm having a hard time envisioning a scenario where the difficulty/annoyance factor of the current Space stage (at least, on any difficulty above Normal) wasn't noticed.  And if it was noticed, why wasn't it fixed?  I'm willing to wait for space stations, cybernetics, star destroyers (as in, causing supernovas), advanced diplomacy, and everything else that is better served for an expansion.  And I'm still loving the game right now even with its flaws.  But I really, seriously, don't think it's too much to ask that the game *work* from both a technical and playability standpoint straight out of the original box.


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