Author Topic: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team  (Read 21074 times)

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Offline Jennifer Reitz

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An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« on: June 30, 2008, 12:34:55 am »
I know that the Maxis team occasionally reads this forum; I wish to make a formal plea -

Please leave the vanishing limb 'bug' intact. By this, I mean the exploit of the editor where it is possible to make invisible limbs, yet retain parts floating in space.

It clearly is a bug, but it is also a feature. A wonderful feature. It is useful, and it is valuable.

I draw comics online. My stories are about alien universes with carefully reasoned, alien physical laws. One thing I deal with are beings, creatures, from higher dimensions, entities that can only be seen in our space as cross-sections of their higher dimensional selves.

A bit like Abbott's 'Flatland', really.

I have managed to make one of my hyperspace creatures in the Creature Creator. I am very happy about this, and I see in the power to do this only great things for others as well, with no downside. It is a wonderment that adds to Spore, and takes nothing away.

My creature is a Krawlni, one of a race of enigmatic beings that exist only partially in three-dimensional space. My creation of them in Spore is thus:

 

Here is one in one of my comics: http://www.pasteldefender.com/images/038.jpg

The method I used to create my Krawlni is simple; one but shrinks the spine of a creature to two segments of the smallest size possible, then add limbs to one end exclusively, such that they attach precisely to the terminus of the spine and nowhere else. The limbs must also be positioned far from any contact with the body. Then, one expands a spine segment to maximum size with the mouse wheel, and when it is maximally large, and if no limb or part intersects the body thus expanded, whiz the mouse wheel very, very fast to shrink the enlarged spine segment down to the smallest possible size once again. It helps to have a mouse with a fast, weighted, rapid wheel.

If done quickly enough during the shrinking of the spine, and if no part ever intersects the body mass, the result is invisible limbs, yet visible feet, hands, eyes, mouths, and so forth, hanging in space.

This results in the precise visual effect of a creature that exists as a cross-section of a higher-dimensional shape. The circles made by the fingertips of an unseen hand pressing down on the plane of Flatland.

Please, it is not a bug, it is a feature.

That is oft said as a joke, but in this case, I press that it is true. So many things are possible with the power to make limbs invisible.

And because this trick is hidden unless known, you need not worry about it confusing the average user. It cannot detract from their experience, for unless a user cares to learn it, it is not even an issue to them.

Consider it an advanced trick, at the very least a perfectly harmless exploit that adds to the fun.

This matters to me because I value higher dimensional notions, but it is still useful to any who wish to play with it. People could make many characters that lack limbs, from Rayman to Homestar Runner, or create otherwise impossible wonders that are only possible if parts of the method of construction can be hidden. Indeed some already are doing just this, which is how I learned the trick.

Yes, fixing bugs is important to a solid product.

But sometimes, I beg you at Maxis, sometimes an apparent bug is actually, truly a feature in disguise. Sometimes serendipity provides wonders.

I plead with you - permit this one bug, this one small exploit, to remain uncorrected, if you possibly can.

It is useful and good.

Thank you for listening.

Jennifer Diane Reitz
Jenniverse.com
« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 12:38:43 am by Jennifer Reitz »


Jennifer Diane Reitz

Offline DaMuncha

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2008, 12:37:56 am »
I hate it when that happens, and it is a bug, and its anoying. If however you still want it "in" then maybe ask for them to add that as an option.

Offline BumpyRide

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2008, 12:52:28 am »
-List of Reasons that this should be fixed

A. It is a Bug. Bugs get Squashed for a reason.
B. It's makes no evolutionary sense. Spore is based on evolution, be it directed or otherwise. A 'higher dimensional creature' is very out-of-bounds in a game where you play from a Cell to a Creature to Tribe and so on.

Offline Andrew Ryan

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2008, 12:57:55 am »
I say let the bug stand, but modify it so that can be switched on and off.
"Don't worry 'bout me. I wouldn't worry about me. Don't you worry about me. Don't you worry 'bout me!" - Talking Heads, Don't Worry About the Government

Offline Crowster

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2008, 01:04:52 am »
How refreshing. I clicked this link expecting to see another, "Please fix your buggy software and stop making it cartoonie and also come to my house and pet my kitty she is lonely" kind of posts.

If they do fix it, I'm sure they'll leave an option somewhere in the cheat menu to recreate the effect. In Sims 2, I'm remembering how many building features were taken out to avoid bugs, but left in the building menu for whoever wanted to tinker around. (45 degree furniture rotation and items not snapping to the grid, I'm looking at YOU!)

Just like with house building in Sims 2, figuring out how to take advantage of strange program behavior will most likely be the mark of a truly skilled spore artist. I'm remembering back when Sims 2 was new, downloading a house from the Sims exchange, looking around, and going, "SPLIT LEVEL!? How did they do THIS!? Aw man how does that staircase curve like that!" and going on a quest to find answers.

EDIT:
B. It's makes no evolutionary sense. Spore is based on evolution, be it directed or otherwise. A 'higher dimensional creature' is very out-of-bounds in a game where you play from a Cell to a Creature to Tribe and so on.
If I can make elephant sized herbivores that can be taken down by chihuahua sized predators, creatures with no legs who persistently float, creatures with tiny lower bodies and thin, frail legs who can support bulbous heads, an elephant looking creature who supports his entire body with his trunk alone, and a huge dangerous lizard who can "fly" using a pair of tiny, tiny wings, I think invisible limbs should be possible.

Offline BumpyRide

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2008, 01:10:53 am »
The creatures who float is also a bug. I'm saying there needs to be aleast some realism. Limbs floating around is harder to believe than elephants being taken down by chihuahua predators, as that is actually possible. Bones can be made of different material that may be stronger. Maybe the lizard is on a low gravity world.

Offline Enoch

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2008, 01:19:16 am »
Please leave the vanishing limb 'bug' intact. By this, I mean the exploit of the editor where it is possible to make invisible limbs, yet retain parts floating in space.

I have to say I agree. This bug never occurs unless the creator wants it to, so it's no problem for players who don't want to use it, and as you've shown it increases the creative possibilities.

Great job using the bug, by the way - must have taken a lot of patience and experimentation to get everything to line up the way you wanted it.

Offline Crowster

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2008, 01:25:11 am »
The creatures who float is also a bug. I'm saying there needs to be aleast some realism. Limbs floating around is harder to believe than elephants being taken down by chihuahua predators, as that is actually possible. Bones can be made of different material that may be stronger. Maybe the lizard is on a low gravity world.

And maybe some sections of a creature can be made out of a substance that either doesn't reflect light, or that bends it in such a way that it is rendered nearly or completely invisible to the human eye, if we are going to start putting in narrative to explain certain creature designs and how they might function.

And I don't really see how floaters are a "bug." If it were, it's so easy to create on accident, I'm sure the developers would have found it and "fixed" it a long time ago. Besides, under certain conditions, similar to your "lower gravity" example, they would be quite possible.

Offline immortius

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2008, 02:09:51 am »
I have to say I agree. This bug never occurs unless the creator wants it to, so it's no problem for players who don't want to use it, and as you've shown it increases the creative possibilities.

You're assuming they don't end up on sporepedia or get automatically streamed into people's games.

Anyway, I think it would be nice to have the option to turn it on via the console, but it should be removed from the main game.

Offline Blulightning

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2008, 02:24:24 am »
Quote
How refreshing. I clicked this link expecting to see another, "Please fix your buggy software and stop making it cartoonie and also come to my house and pet my kitty she is lonely" kind of posts.

I wish Maxis would do that stuff for me.......... :'(
My kitties really are lonely, and their software really is buggy.


.... on topic, how do you perform this trick? :P

Offline BumpyRide

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2008, 02:30:02 am »
And maybe some sections of a creature can be made out of a substance that either doesn't reflect light, or that bends it in such a way that it is rendered nearly or completely invisible to the human eye, if we are going to start putting in narrative to explain certain creature designs and how they might function.

And I don't really see how floaters are a "bug." If it were, it's so easy to create on accident, I'm sure the developers would have found it and "fixed" it a long time ago. Besides, under certain conditions, similar to your "lower gravity" example, they would be quite possible.

I am using tried-and-true physics. We know of no such substance that can perform this function. To bend light means it would need a lot of gravity, uncharacteristic/impossible for matter in such small amounts on an animal. Even if it were invisible to the human eye, all you'd see is something opaque white. While floaters may be possible, they don't move correctly. Floaters are distinctly different from flying creatures in that they are still a bug. They do not require wings of any sort. It is a simple malfunction/error in the animation programming, probably some assumption that someone wouldn't be stupid enough to put arms without legs on a creature by the developers.

Offline Jennifer Reitz

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2008, 03:22:45 am »
I am using tried-and-true physics. We know of no such substance that can perform this function. To bend light means it would need a lot of gravity, uncharacteristic/impossible for matter in such small amounts on an animal. Even if it were invisible to the human eye, all you'd see is something opaque white.

Nope. It's called a 'metamaterial', and for light or sound, it requires nano-scale patterns of a specific type. Proven mathematically, the progress towards creating actual, physical metamaterials (primarily for military use) is coming from, interestingly enough, various types of light-scattering Amazonian beetle shells. Apparently Nature has already made use of the metamaterial principle, just not -as far as we know- for invisibility. Rather, it is used to permit circular polarization of light for the benefit of insects that can actually see which wise light is spirally polarized.

Metamaterials, natural or man-made, have the potential to provide total invisibility, or, in the case of sound, total dampening (total conversion of sound into heat, thus creating paper-thin materials that block all sound).

Try NewScientist.com, Scientific American on the web, or Science News on the web (or any of these in print), or just google 'Metamaterials' to get all the details. I've been following this for some time, and it is really quite amazing. It is likely that within five years, total invisibility will be a military tool for the US (most likely in the form of a soldier-shrouding cylinder covered with a paper-thin metamaterial sheet that bends light completely around the cylinder, but hey, it's perfect invisibility, so clumsy may not be that big of an issue).

Knowing this, is it really so impossible that on some other world, somewhere, that a creature evolved a metamaterial skin or shell that was used for invisibility, rather than just attracting mates with bizarre forms of light polarization?

For that matter, being invisible, and considering that new species are being discovered all over the planet every single day, who is to say that such a creature does not exist, on earth, right now? Nobody has every seen one? That's kind of the point, don't you think?

The problem with discovering new things is that a strong bias against them makes searching problematic.

I am very hesitant to say that any given thing is utterly impossible. The farthest I go is 'very, very unlikely'.   
Jennifer Diane Reitz

Offline BumpyRide

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2008, 03:29:29 am »
My motto is Anything is Possible, you just need the means and know-how to do it. The problem with being completely invisible in the natural world is that you'd get a human-esque screwing up of natural systems. Anything like that would make the whole system collapse since nothing could eat one really. Basicly like what we're doing, only it's natural and not man-made destruction.

Offline CosmicD

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2008, 03:44:49 am »
instead of leaving this very annoying makeshift way of creating invisible limbs intact, maybe it could be possible to just make limbs that are visible , while you work on the design on how the alien parts should be floating together, and then just have a menu option to make things invisible that you don't want to see, to have the desired effect of creatures that have some way of keeping their parts together without visible limbs.

Offline emmet

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Re: An Open Plea to the Maxis Team
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2008, 03:45:13 am »
Make the bug into a cheat.
No way dude, you're trolling me.