Author Topic: Science Flunking Spore  (Read 6835 times)

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Offline Mrrx

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Science Flunking Spore
« on: October 27, 2008, 12:13:01 pm »
Saw this via Kotaku - http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/322/5901/531b

Quote
The bottom line: In spite of its marketing, Spore clearly has little in common with science, especially evolution. That's a pity, because with very minor tweaks, the game could live up to its promise. Gregory and Eldredge's critique provides several good ideas, such as incurring a developmental cost for making radical body-plan changes. Another easy improvement would be to weave relevant science into the fabric of the existing game. In the game Civilization, for example, you learn a great deal about the history of ancient cultures through a series of pop-up mini-articles. When you stick a limb on your creature, wouldn't it be nice to have an optional pop-up window that explains the real (and fascinating) science behind limb evolution?

Spore flunks, but there's still hope for its future. Once released, games often improve over several generations through downloaded software patches and new editions. Let's hope that noncomplacent families and science educators provide some selective pressure. Then Spore itself might evolve.

I love the game, but I tend to agree with most of the scientific criticisms.     It's pretty weird that there is no "cost" to changing your creature.    Want to remove its arms and legs ?   No problem !      Maybe the editor should behave differently when making a creature inside, or outside of, the game.



Offline eleazar

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2008, 12:52:44 pm »
I agree that Spore has little to do with science, besides the excellently implemented powers of 10 thing.  I think that some of the science they got rid of would have made the game better.

However, I disagree that the ideas presented in the article would make it a better game.


The game-review aspect of the game was pretty shoddy.  Dismissing civilization stage (for instance) as a "a watered-down knock-off of Civilization" implies extreme ignorance of the rather popular branch of known as "Real Time Strategy."

Offline Summoner

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2008, 01:24:55 pm »
Its a game not makeing a REAL creature in real life. Its like games that have aliens and mutants and so it OF COURSE dont go with real physics or law of gravity because its a video game its fun not science class :p

Offline vonboy

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2008, 01:33:08 pm »
thats my type of mentality. i'd rather the game be unreal and fun then scientific and boring or too difficult or complicated to get any fun out of it.
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Offline Vetro

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2008, 02:18:13 pm »
I'm ok with the game not being grounded in to heavily in science, though it would be nice to have at least a few more visual representations to things that the game currently has (example: We know that each species is dependent on each other when we explore planets in spore due to the animal and plant icons on the mini map, however this is rarely shown in game, we never see the predators going on hunts, or even the prey eating fruit)
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Offline AlfredO

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2008, 02:56:15 pm »
I read that article not long ago, but I think they were generally biased against the game from the start. It was a fun read, though.

How exactly does 'having googly eyes' make it so terrible unscientific? How many times have you seen scientific documentaries and articles use talking animals and inanimate objects to explain a point and make it child friendly?

He claims natural selection isn't in the game? Sure it is. You, in a way, are natural selection. You are generally building a creature out of necessity. You're constantly changing him to adapt to the environment; choosing parts that not only relate to what path you're trying to follow, but also what you're facing in the world around you. I often take it to the next extreme, that if my creature is a predator, I camouflage him with the world around him, or if hes a friendly creature or herbivore I give him 'friendly' visible colors, or colors that might make him seem poisonous. Sometimes I shape their body to what I think might be most effective i their environment. But the player doesn't always know they're natural selection. They're constantly choosing parts that by necessity will provide advancement, but even if they manage to survive without doing so, its just another show of natural selection at work. And how exactly does not having real consequences for death have anything to do with a creature evolving? People will still try to make things easier.

They claim that even in Civ and Space 'all you do is repetitively choose between befriending and waring other empires'. Did they mention in civ that you could go about these several different ways for each path? And space has nothing to do with communicating with other races. You can totally ignore it if you choose. There's no objective to interact. Anyway, he made it sound much simpler than it was, even though he probably knew it wasn't.

They also expected the game to be the evolution of earth-like realistic creatures. That was never the plan. I'm pretty sure the alien/creativity idea was always in. It wasn't even supposed to be an evolution simulator, per se. If they wanted that, I'm sure there's plenty of legitimate things like it with not so cutesy graphics.

« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 03:08:11 pm by AlfredO »

Offline Koronii

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2008, 05:09:23 pm »
 Gods high and low, these people want Spore to be Edutainment. 0.o

Offline Raz

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2008, 05:28:30 pm »
Spore was meant to be more scientific but they ran that into the ground and figured to hell with it, we'll make it cartoony.

That aside, there really should be some kind of detriment to changing your creature radically suddenly. In truth, the scientific part of it is in the playstyle.

Offline DarkDragon

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2008, 05:28:48 pm »
thats my type of mentality. i'd rather the game be unreal and fun then scientific and boring or too difficult or complicated to get any fun out of it.

on/off option would solve all our problems and appeal to a broader audience :P
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Offline Raz

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2008, 05:31:13 pm »
It'd be nicer if Spore was more challenging too.

Offline Notorious B.O.B

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2008, 08:24:12 pm »
It'd be nicer if Spore was more challenging too.

Easier solution:  Make yourself dumber!
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Offline Protoavis

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2008, 08:49:40 pm »
Spore was meant to be more scientific but they ran that into the ground and figured to hell with it, we'll make it cartoony.


It was more the influence of someone they hired who then ended up converting most of the developers and generally undermining Will who was after a more science based product *shrug*

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Offline Raz

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2008, 09:08:47 pm »
Where are these free prototypes that have been released that I read about in that thread?

Offline Hydromancerx

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2008, 12:22:25 am »
Spore focuses on creativity not science. If it was more scientific it would loose much of the creativity because environmental factors determine evolution not the preference of a creator.

He claims natural selection isn't in the game? Sure it is. You, in a way, are natural selection. You are generally building a creature out of necessity. You're constantly changing him to adapt to the environment; choosing parts that not only relate to what path you're trying to follow, but also what you're facing in the world around you. I often take it to the next extreme, that if my creature is a predator, I camouflage him with the world around him, or if hes a friendly creature or herbivore I give him 'friendly' visible colors, or colors that might make him seem poisonous. Sometimes I shape their body to what I think might be most effective i their environment. But the player doesn't always know they're natural selection. They're constantly choosing parts that by necessity will provide advancement, but even if they manage to survive without doing so, its just another show of natural selection at work. And how exactly does not having real consequences for death have anything to do with a creature evolving? People will still try to make things easier.

I disagree. There is really no way to loose really. Sure you can die but i have tried making a creature with adaptions which would hinder it. Such as no legs, no eyes, weak mouth, etc. Yet i can still finish creature phase. Spore was made to let any design work. That's not evolution, that's creativity.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2008, 12:27:19 am by Hydromancerx »

Offline Yuu

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Re: Science Flunking Spore
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2008, 12:54:07 am »
Hydro's right.


Spore may not teach about hardcore biology or physics, but it certainly does teach people to learn.