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Topics - Jaleho

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PC Games / Games With Indirect Character Control
« on: May 26, 2009, 09:55:49 am »
What are some games in which, to move your character, you have to do more than simply indicate "move in this direction" with a joystick or keyboard, or "go here" by clicking a mouse.

Examples of what I'm looking for:

Double Wires:
Ragdoll Kung Fu:
Balloon Dog:

Any other ideas?

Storytelling and Roleplaying / One Day
« on: May 18, 2009, 08:20:21 pm »
First there is the light – bright cannot begin to describe it. No amount of squinting keeps it from burning your eyes. There is nowhere to go to escape the pain. It leaks through the door frames and between the brick mortar.

Then the sound hits you – a deafening roar which makes your skull feel as if it will implode upon itself at any moment. You feel it ravage your skin, pulsing in your muscles, vibrating deep in your marrow.

My god, they have finally done it. At long last, there would be an end to the war…

Because there will be no one left to fight ever again.

In one brief moment, everything you know is taken from you. Everyone you love is silenced. You are left with nothing but your memories, and who knows how long until those will be destroyed along with the world, never to return.

As you ponder this, the sudden realization hits you – the sound has stopped. The light dims until your eyelids loosen and you feel the urge to open them. Your vision fills with a bright white but painless sky. Bathed in warmth, the pain of the world wiped clean from your vision, thoughts of Heaven and the afterlife dance across your thoughts.

The truth, you will come to discover, will be wilder than any prophet or medicine man could have ever dreamed of.

PC Games / Games Without Avatars
« on: May 15, 2009, 08:33:53 am »
Need some brainstorming power from the community...

What are some games where you DON'T control a visual character?

Obviously in most games you have an avatar like Mario or Link. Others have a vehicle, or perhaps a controllable object, like a PONG paddle.

In a puzzle game like Tetris, you may not have a character, but for a few seconds, you DO control the falling piece.

In a First-Person game, you may not see your character, but you are at least controlling a CAMERA around a 3d world.

I'd even go so far to say in many games, a simple MOUSE POINTER is the character you control. You might not directly drive the troops in an RTS, but you need to select them, and unless you're typing the location of a chess piece, you either select it with the mouse or by moving a flashing square to the right location.

Past that, I've found a few possible examples.

First is non-graphical games (like Zork or any other text-based game). Even some of their graphical counterparts worked this way -- you couldn't actually control the character with arrows or a mouse OR click on the ground, so other than "exit room" the character was not actually directly controlled by the player.

Something like MYST or modern flash "escape the room" games are like this - no real character that moves around, just a slideshow of screens with clickable areas.

Dragon's Lair and Space Ace are like this - you don't actually control the character as much as you pick which movie will play next based on a selection.

Duck Hunt and other light gun games might be like this - modern flash versions of sniper games have a target that moves like a pointer, but there really isn't anything like that in Duck Hunt or Hogan's Alley, etc.

Board games and card games, I think those might count. Even then, you sometimes have to move a pointer to select a card or a space to move to.

Anyone have any other ideas? I'm trying to distill down the basics of all games, and having some input moving some graphic on a screen, even if its a pointer, seems to exist in almost every graphical game.

Storytelling and Roleplaying / Dooley and the Gameweavers
« on: April 21, 2009, 10:52:49 pm »
This is going to be a little different than some RPGs.

Instead of telling me what you want to do, you post what you would like to be ABLE to do.

The difference? Instead of simply viewing a series of pictures, you will be giving suggestions to be implemented in an honest-to-goodness illustrated and programmed flash game.

Depending on your suggestions, this game could become a puzzle game, a platformer, a brawler, an RPG, a Shmup, a sim, or any number of games. It's all up to you, created one piece at a time. Feel free to remove, add or modify characters, objects, actions, behaviors, goals, or anything you like. All you need to do is post, and I'll incorporate the suggestions and display the updated game.

The catch is that I'm going to play the part of the dumb computer - being as literal and efficient as possible. Be sure to phrase your suggestions as specifically as possible, and I'll do my best to corrupt them. I'm like an evil genie that way ;) It shouldn't take long before you get the idea.

Here is the game so far:


Spore: General / Chronological List of Spore Demos
« on: December 17, 2008, 02:16:59 pm »
Anyone up to helping me create this list?

Basically, what I want to see is a list of every demo presentation of Spore -- not an interview with spore playing on a monitor in the background, but video (or audio) of one or more devs (Will or otherwise) presenting the game to someone. Be it at a convention, or a tv show or whatever.

Also, gameplay footage would be good. All this should be pre-2008... finding all the new stuff is pretty easy, its all the steps along with way i'd like to gather.

I'd like to get the location and date of each of these demos, so they can be listed in chronological order. Note: If you know where a better version of one of these demos is, post it (especially if it can be downloaded -- I'm planning on meshing all these into one big video).

I'll start, and add to as others submit:

Date: March 2005
Event: Game Developers Conference Europe
  Speaker: Will Wright
    Notes: The first public demonstration of Spore -- basically a prototype, but the one that started it all

Date: 2005
Event: E3
  Speaker: Will Wright
    Notes: Our own Gaming Steve gets a private demo of the early game. Audio only, two parts:

Date: May 2006
Event: E3
  Speaker: Will Wright
    Notes: Will did more than one demo at E3 this year -- it would be nice to find as many of these that were taped, to compare and contrast them.

    Notes: Our own HydromancerX attended this show and recorded some of the other demos.

    Notes: Another Will video, still different from the other two:

  Speaker: ???
    Notes: One of Hydro's other vids - one of the other Devs presenting

  Speaker: None
    Notes: The B-Roll Footage

Event: G4: E3 Live
  Speaker: Will Wright
    Notes: Will gives Kevin a hands-on demo

Event: Wired's E3 Party
  Speaker: Will Wright
    Notes: Robin Williams plays Spore

Date: June 2006
Event: Long Now Foundation
  Speaker: Will Wright
    Notes: Will with Brian Eno

Date: August 2006
Event: Leipzig Games Conference
  Speaker: Will Wright
    Notes: Will and the German Translator

Date: December 2006
Event: X|Media|Lab Singapore
  Speaker: Caryl Shaw
    Notes: Caryl demonstrates the creature editor

Lost and Found:
Are these vids from E3 2006 or Leipzig or what? Anyone?

Same Guy:

What is this one from?

Spore: General / Steve Grand's "Sim-Biosis"
« on: October 28, 2008, 05:28:40 pm »
Three years ago I got a wild idea and decided to start writing all the people involved with things remotely related to Spore to see what they thought of it. I heard back from Maciej Komosinski of Framsticks, Karl Sims of Evolved Virtual Creatures, Takeo Igarashi of Teddy, and Steve Grand of Creatures. Last week after hearing the science community's blowback of Spore, I decided to write back to Steve Grand and see what he's been up to, and this thread is the responses between us.

Conversation part 1, from the end of 2005 (Pre-Spore Release):


From: Jason Holm (Jaleho)
To: Steve Grand
I was curious if you had seen the information on Will Wright's upcoming game "Spore", what your thoughts were on it, and how it compares/contrasts with your current "Simbiosis" project.


From: Steve
To: Jason
As far as I can tell, Will’s product is an out-and-out game (and will doubtless be beautiful, given the money being lavished on it), whereas Simbiosis is a pure simulation – an environment to play in rather than a game to play. Simbiosis is real biology. Hope that’s the case anyway, otherwise I might as well give up now…


From: Jason
To: Steve

Hi again! I hope I'm not distracting you with these messages (let me know if I am)

I work for an educational software development company called I Support Learning, where we make story-based curriculum about such topics as artificial intelligence, mobile robotics, and video game development (among others) for middle- and high-school, so I've been interested in your work for some time, both the Creatures game as well as Lucy. I'm a member of a Spore forum and we get into some pretty in-depth discussions, so I thought I'd get the ideas of a few people from related fields. Do you mind if I post some of your responses to the community?

I have a couple more questions that, if you have a moment, I'd like to ask you:

1. While "Creatures" was a very popular game, it didn't reach the extent The Sims has. Why do you think that might be? 3D graphics, the ability to identify with human characters more than critters, or something else?

2. Do you see "Simbiosis" as something that scientists (or at least science students) could actually use for research, or is it more of a realistic "toy"?

3. Will Simbiosis be 2d or 3d? Micro or macrobiology?


From: Steve
To: Jason Holm
I was an educational programmer too for a long time (I still am, in some ways). I’m happy to answer your questions and feel free to quote me (although sensitively, please – I don’t want to find myself in a fight!).

I should point out that the only things I know about Spore are what I skim-read in an article written after GDC. The only time I’ve met Will was 13 years ago, around the time that I was starting Creatures and he was experimenting with “doll’s house” – which became The Sims. Maxis were in fact going to publish Creatures, but they got cold feet half way through the project and dropped it.

>1. While "Creatures" was a very popular game, it didn't reach the extent The Sims has. Why do you think that might be? 3D graphics, the ability to identify with human characters more than critters, or something else?

I guess Creatures is to The Sims what an obscure arts movie is to ER. The Sims is a soap opera about ordinary folk, and everybody everywhere can get their head around what that means. Creatures, on the other hand, was an exercise in synthetic biology and you had to have certain latent ideas in your head in order to get the point and see under the skin of what otherwise was pretty much zero gameplay. The fact that it still managed to sell so well was very gratifying, and I love the fact that there’s still a thriving and intelligent user community out there today, nearly a decade later.

>2. Do you see "Simbiosis" as something that scientists (or at least science students) could actually use for research, or is it more of a realistic "toy"?

Both, I hope. One of the joys of watching the Creatures community was seeing how much real science so-called “ordinary” people were spontaneously willing and able to carry out. There was a smooth continuum of interest and involvement from young kids through to professors. One day I’d find myself talking to school kids about their “norn genome project” and the next I’d find myself addressing researchers from the Human Genome Project. Science is a way to discover the beauty and subtlety of the world, and for many of us (more of us than I’d dared to hope) this is a joy in itself – we don’t need to be explicitly entertained. The snag with Creatures was that there was a gap between being a consumer (just playing with norns) and taking part as a contributor (coding up new virtual objects, manipulating genes, etc.), which is something that took a lot more skill. Simbiosis doesn’t have that gap – partly because this time I don’t have marketing departments and focus groups to get in my way. It’s a toy that I hope anyone can get something out of, but which doesn’t limit the depth to which people can take thing if they feel up to it.

> 3. Will Simbiosis be 2d or 3d? Micro or macrobiology?

It’s a full 3D physical simulation, and the rough kind of scale I have in mind is small invertebrates (but that’s much more interesting than it sounds!). I don’t want to talk about it in much detail yet because the way I work means that things remain fluid for quite a long time. But the basic idea is that it’s a Lego set for building artificial life forms. I’m not talking “Mr. Potato Head”, or “Happy Families”, but a construction set of functional building blocks at a slightly higher level of abstraction than the transistors, resistors and capacitors which form the building blocks of electronics. Somewhere between cells and organs, biologically speaking.


Spore: General / Mod Requests
« on: October 07, 2008, 09:09:23 am »
Ok, so I've finally figured out how to make Mods work correctly. I have a mod that lets you remap the keyboard controls (come to think of it, I should try to remap the mouse buttons in tribal).

I was wondering what mods folks would like to see - I've set up a wiki at to track what I find while making mods.

Spore: General / Spore: Storytelling Tool
« on: September 25, 2008, 03:31:03 pm »
I just read Michael Chang's post on the Sporum, talking about the early days of development. Someone replied with another interview talking about what had changed since then...

Someone mentioned that the goal of Spore is to be the ultimate Story-Telling tool, and NOT a hardcore game.

So looking at it that way, what are some things you think Spore needs to fulfill THAT goal? We have plenty of topics about what the devs need to add from a gameplay perspective, but I'd like to see a list looking from another angle.

I'll start:

The ability to place "signs" in any stage... I'd like to place a sign on my first nest, so that when I'm in space, I can zoom back to that spot and say "hey, I remember that hill! That's the beach where I killed that epic!" and things like that. And in space, I'd like to be able to mark planets in a similar way... "Awesome world - no spice but good for zoo" or "these guys pay 11,000 for pink spice!"

The ability to choose names for tribe members, and have those names recorded on the timeline when they are born and die.

Multiple building types per city - seven different factories if i choose.

First Person control of a selected individual in tribe and civ, ala Dungeon Keeper's "posess" mode. See the city from INSIDE. Drive one of the vehicles yourself.

Spore: General / Interesting things inside game files
« on: September 19, 2008, 02:04:42 pm »
Here are some things that show the Devs certainly weren't being lazy -- either they couldn't get something working right, or missed something, or they wanted to hold it back for later. Also are things I just found interesting and that maybe we didn't realize while playing

Sounds like patches and expansions are really a smart idea for this game:

FROM THE GAME FILE SP-_CHT-024A0E52-00000000-8C47952D.txt:

Things that are turned OFF:

   property SPGAutoSave (hash(SPGAutoSave)) bool false   # Autosave
   property enableYouTubeVideoUpload   0x0566387e bool false    # YouTube
   property spaceshipsCollide           (hash(spaceshipsCollide)) bool false

Things I didn't know the game did:

   property PlanetAxis                  0x026f5adc                  vector3 (1, 0, 0) # axis of rotation for planet
   property disableJetStreamPhysics    0xd8349603 bool true   # turn off the jet stream physics (weather)

Underwater is bound to be added back in eventually:

   property renderTerrainSeabed       (hash(renderTerrainSeabed))      bool true
   property renderTerrainSeabedFullRes      (hash(renderTerrainSeabedFullRes))   bool false
   property renderTerrainSeabedAsLand      (hash(renderTerrainSeabedAsLand))   bool false
   property renderTerrainUnderwaterEffects   (hash(renderTerrainUnderwaterEffects))   bool true
   property renderTerrainUnderwaterWorld   (hash(renderTerrainUnderWaterWorld))   bool true
   property planetUnderwaterCullRadius       0x054046ee float 25.0
   property planetUnderwaterLargeCullRadius  (hash(planetUnderwaterLargeCullRadius)) float 100.0
   property planetUnderwaterCullRadiusMultiplier 0x054046fa float 1.0

   property includeTerrainWorldAsUnderwaterWorld 0x05404855 bool true
   property allowUnderwaterTerrainObjectsGlobal  0x05408a93 bool true

Wait, what?:

   # Creature trees
   property maxActiveCreaturePlants            0x028bd2fd  int  5      # The total number of active creature plants allowed at any given time.
   property maxActiveCreaturePlantRadius       0x02979cd6  float  (20)   # The max radius from the active point within which the plant controller will attempt to swap effect plants into creature plants

   property SpaceWalkAroundBan (hash(SpaceWalkAroundBan)) bool true  # enable ban mode while out of ufo


   property AngrySpaceMode              0x023ba1fb int     0          # 0-normal 1-immediate combat
   property InvincibleSpaceMode         0x023ba1fc int     0          # 0-normal 1-invincible; This makes UFOs invincible
   property InvincibleTurrets           0x06297f2a bool    false      # This makes turrets invicible for Automated Testing
   property InvincibleBuildings         0x064d431f bool    false      # This makes buildings invicible for Automated Testing

Spore: General / Combining Toy and Game... or Not?
« on: September 18, 2008, 03:26:19 pm »
I've read some reviews that discuss the different phases in relation to their effectiveness as toys or as games... the idea beign that Cell is all game and no toy, creature is a good mix, tribal is all game and no toy, civ is a mix, and space is a mix. I hear some people complain that the editors are awesome but the gameplay sucks, some say one level is too HARD, others say it is too EASY.

When I downloaded the latest patch, I instantly ran to Creature, loaded up one of my CC creatures I worked hard on, and just... walked around. Suddenly I had no NEED to search for parts or get DNA. I still needed to eat and avoid predators, sure... and if I wanted a pack I'd need to advance... but the game took on a whole new feeling at that point. It was awesome just to slowly walk around, watch my nestmates goof around, enjoy a sunrise through the trees (better lighting certainly cuts back some of the "cartoony" feel some were giving the game), take a swim in the ocean (but not TOO far out!). Spore became something totally new.

But I ALSO enjoyed the "start from a cell, track down DNA and parts, upgrade over time, see what you end up with at the end of the stage...

It seems Maxis focused the majority of their energy in the technology, and the gameplay was almost a tacked-on afterthought. And there is a lot of demanding to have that part improved. There's also the talk that a lot of the game was "dumbed down" for the casual player. It's as if combining the customization with gameplay didn't work.

And now I'm wondering if it NEEDS to.

Does Spore HAVE to be the same for everyone? If someone wants to play in a way to get achievements and badges and race to the next stage, and someone else wants to create a no-boundaries world simply to explore and tell stories... why do we all have to be forced to use the same game?

What I'm saying is, there should be some way to TOGGLE the "gameability" of Spore. If you want a realistic world sim with total customization and don't care about points and advancement and badges -- turn them off. And if you want a challenging strategy filled game, they should add more challenges and breadth for those people. And I'm not so sure it *HAS* to mesh smoothly between them. Why make a level that appeals to BOTH, but ultimately disappoints them both instead?

For example -- take the Tribal stage. What if they release an expansion that involves new weapons, more strategy, better diplomacy (will your tribe help us take out our enemies) or mercenaries (how much to fight our battles for us), food that doesn't last indefinately (rots unless preserved), mounted animals, pets you bring into battle, new ways to socialize including dances and costumes and bribery and threats and whatever, making it a real challenge to play and succeed if you want to get to civ...

...and a completely separate expansion, where we can explore the world, find new things, collect rare jewels or whatever, discover volcanoes, name our tribemembers, dress each differently, have funerals when they die, new colors for outfits, create songs with the music editor (but with tribe specific settings), pets you don't keep for eggs, opportunities for tribe members to sit aroudn the fire telling stories about the days battles or play sports together or some kind of editor to allow people to create custom rugs or pottery or tatoos.

sure, they're going to have to combine them into one product for sales reasons, but I can't help but think if they tried to target two separate groups of players instead of aiming somewhere inbetween and missing BOTH groups wouldn't be a better strategy.

Let those who love to micromanage do so, and don't make the big picture such a demanding goal. And let those who want to progress and don't care about micromanaging have it automated. Include BOTH, and let us decide which way (or any combination inbetween) we want to play.

Spore: General / In-Depth Review of the Tribal Phase
« on: September 12, 2008, 12:59:26 pm »
Part 1

So I started Tribal Stage as a Herbivore with the Easy setting. I wonder why the creatures using those big hammers to build their hut don't keep them to use as weapons... ;)

Soon we get a message: "You must ally or conquer other tribes to advance your own tribe."

First, why are they constantly pushing us to get to Space? Is it because they KNOW the content in the earlier phases is so weak, they don't want you sticking around in there long enough to figure it out?

Second, why must advancement hinge on interacting with other tribes? Why not allow my creatures the possibility to invent maracas and spears on their own, through research and discovery and engineering? Why do the few things they give us access to in Tribal Phase require us to get them from someone else?

So our first task is going into the Tribal Outfitter. To do this you have to mouse over the hut and click the button.

I hate it when I'm looking at my village from a good angle and I need to click the hut, only to find the button is off the screen. Can't it just say "ok, they moused over the hut, but they don't see the center of the hut. Let's just move the button to where they CAN see it.

So then we get this ridiculous multi-click sequence to make a tribal outfit. Into the Hut optionn, then the tribal outfitter, then we select our creature from a list of... one... then we click on the edit outfit option. oddly enough the hint bok refers to these as the "Tribe Member panel" (tribal outfitter) and the "tribe member" (Tribal outfit) -- as if you could dress each member differently.

It's pretty obvious the outfit creator was tacked on at the last minute to give this phase SOME kind of editor. But I think they could do a lot more.

For starters, why can't I change the name? It's always "NameOfSpecies Villager". What if I want to make two different types of tribal outfits and upload them both?

Or better yet, actually let us USE multiple outfits in the game. Have there be a separate outfit for the Chief from all the other members (not just the uber staff). Why not have different outfits to match the specialty tools - give the musicians a "band outfit" with high social, and the weapon carriers a suit of armor with high defense and combat. It could be attached to the tools (whenever you send a creature to the flute hut, not only do they get a flute but their outfit switches to the flutist social outfit).

Or just let us dress each tribe member in different outfits if we chose. Charge the tribe more food to do it to balance it, I guess.

Also, why are new tribe babies decked out in the whole tribal outfit? Let them run nude or with a special baby outfit until they're ready to contribute to the tribe.

I suppose you could let us dress up our domesticated animals, too -- harnesses and saddles even if we never see them ridden... brands marking them as ours (considering no other tribes have an animal pen, I don't see that as a problem... but there's a feature they could add in to create "cattle rustling" events in the Tribal Phase).

So the "Tribe Color" comes from the Coat color layer of your creature. And for the other tribes, it picks a random color and then CHANGES the Coat color of that creature. Which sucks when changing that color totally ruins the creature design. Now if you change your creature's coat color after you start Tribal, their tribe color won't change (I tend to start with a lot of "Brown Tribe" identities). Why not simply let you pick a color and then assign that to a FOURTH color layer - one reserved for clothing parts and/or tatoos? Let us pick it at the same time we set the first Tribal outfit -- then it can apply to all the buildings or whatever it needs before any other tribes have risen.

If your creature is supposed to be finished evolving, then it makes no sense to allow you to modify its skin textures and colors. And if a Coat marking is due to evolution, how likely is it the tribe would then color over those natural markings in exactly the same places with some arbitrary color?

There needs to be a FOURTH layer just for tribal. You could then add on additional textures or maybe even tatoos of that color on your creature. You could have some system of adding alpha masked patches to the UV mapped surface, right? Perhaps each tribe could have a tribal symbol as well as a color - similar to the symbols used in "Black and White"?

And please, let us choose colors for the clothing that does not affect the coloring of the creature's skin. Let it at least use one separate color (the tribe color perhaps) - separate from the creature's coat color. It can be as fancy as the building editor or as simple as a fourth color option which matches the tribe color and can't be changed after you first assign it.

I'm assuming Spore treats clothing as non-animated design parts no different than armor plates and spikes in the creature editor. I've had ideas for a system that goes along with that for a sort of "catsuit" layer that goes over body and limbs and can be adjusted for length along all open ends. But letting us separate the color of the blocks from our body color should be enough. And we need a LOT more parts in there. There seems to be a real bias to humanoid, bipedal cephaloids. Certainly we could take some of the more extreme creature designs and come up with parts that could fit them better, too. If you won't release a rig-block editor, just give us a lot more parts in an expansion.

Part 2 will be about the oddness of panning and selecting, while Part 3 discusses why the fact each tribe member is given a name at birth needs to be expounded on to really give our tribe that person feeling it is missing which game the Sims so much popularity. If I'm supposed to be creating a story about my little tribe, I want to get to know the members and CARE when one of them dies -- as an individual, not as a replenishable resource.

Spore: General / Spore Icons - Mark II
« on: September 08, 2008, 12:06:53 am »
I was wondering if anyone would be interested in a NEW batch of black and white icons to represent ideas we'd like to see in Spore. Now that the game is out, speculation is over and we can determine for sure what is and isn't included. I thought the first batch were a nice way of illustrating concepts visually, and with all the "things you want to see added to spore" threads, having this to illustrate them might be nice. This time I'd probably color them like the achievement badges as shown on sporepedia:

Spore: General / Proposed Phases
« on: July 08, 2008, 10:13:51 am »
So in the 1UP Interview topic, the discussion of future "Phases" came up.

As is stands now, we have:
Cell -> Creature -> Tribe -> Civilization -> Space

Hydro suggested this list:
Molecular -> Cell -> Water -> Creature -> Tribe -> City -> Civilization -> Solar System  (Space Stage within your own solar system only) -> Galaxy (aka Space) -> Universe (visiting other galaxies)

Here is a list of my ideas, as well as how they would affect the game:


MOLECULAR PHASE: Currently, a meteor crashes on your planet, a rock breaks open, and your cell comes out. Panspermia/Exogenesis. It's a valid theory and game mechanic, but it doesn't explain where the microbe came from in the first place -- just "Elsewhere". A molecular phase would not only illustrate the origin of mineral/crystal formation, self-replicating molecules, proteins, DNA and all that, but could affect the basic chemistry of a creature and the environment it adapts to.

Practicality: this could help determine the planet you will eventually have in the later stages. How much water vs land, what types and colors of plants the planet is seeded with, colors of land and water, climate, rock formations, ammount and types of spice, maybe even a breathable atmosphere. As far as we know, accessing any other planet requires domed colonies or beamed-down holograms. Maybe some would let you go down and walk freely.

This could all take place on the home planet, or another planet that then blows up and leaves the meteor that leads to the cellular stage. Basically, this stage would determine what type of planet you will develop on. Play a quick round for a generic random planet, or form a strategy to get the type of planet you want to form on.

Tetris, bejewelled, whatever




CREATURE PHASE (WATER): Like the creature stage, except you can't yet go on land. Instead of, or along with, brain development, you have to save up for two things -- legs and lungs. You start as a free swimmer from the cell stage, and can get as big and complex as you want. You can develop legs and crawl around on the ocean floor. If you ever choose to go on land, you have an "oxygen meter" and if you don't return to the water in time, you die. Without legs, you might get beached, but you can still try to wiggle back to the water. Legs are easier, but you still can't breathe long.

Eventually you get lungs and are in the traditional creature stage. The only reason


CREATURE PHASE (AIR): Once you have lungs, you can stay on land and breathe find. Then you have to worry about drowning in water. You can actually get combinations which allow an aquatic creature to spend more time on land, or a land creature to spend more time in water. You can switch back and forth between these two "phases", but you always exist in only one. You can be an air breather with fins staying underwater for an hour, but you still have to come up for air. You can be a crab that walks across the land on legs, but you still have to return to the water to get another batch of wet oxygen.

NOTE: Flight and burrowing could exist in either phase. These are kind of the same stage, but there would be differences in mechanics. You could swap between them, and both would still progress to all the other levels - aquatic tribal and land tribal, etc. This would effect where on the planet you explore.


TOOL PHASE: This would exist between Creature and Tribal. It would be a sort of "crafting" stage. Still a first-person control vs the Tribal's RTS control, evolution is done. You have your final form at this stage. What you would be doing here is collecting materials (such as in the tribe stage) and crafting tools. If you gather reeds, you make baskets. Gather clay, you make pottery. Gather wood, get clubs and staves. Gather stones, get axes and knives. These are stored around your nests. Fight other creatures with better tools.

Underwater species could collect coral, seaweed, shells, rocks, sponges, etc.

Seeing as how we can't make any of the buildings in Tribal, this might be how we can customize which group of buildings/tools we get. Make more baskets and staffs and your tribal village will take on a more idyllic, tranquil look. More clubs and axes could give you a "log cabin" look. More fires and stone tools could give you a stonehengey druid type village.

If anyone has ever played A Tale In the Desert, or been a crafter in any MMO, that's the sort of feel I'm thinking about for this.


NOMADIC PHASE: Just because your primary creature has invented clubs and fire doesn't mean the tribe has a stockpile of them or knows how to use them, so you will still have to buy tools for everyone. But now every tribe won't have a generic look to their equipment.

If you can have underwater tribes, and they insist on having all the other tribes being different species, maybe you can only trade/battle with those species at the water's edge.

This could have a feel like the millitary games where you have a "squad" to command. You have a team and you direct them, but you don't yet have rts type control over them, and you can still control one of the creatures manually.


VILLAGE PHASE: Just because the tribe has a tools, you will still have to buy the buildings to distribute tools without buying them one by one and manually arming them. Now the tribes won't have a generic look to their village. Having a stable base would provide better resources/tools for your tribe,

If you can have underwater tribes, taking over a land tribe's village, would require more advanced technology, not until Civ (submarines, wheeled watertanks, etc)

This is basically what Tribal is currently.


TOWN PHASE: In between tribal and civilization, there should be a phase where you focus on your home city and not worry so much about all the other cities just yet. Building editor, but no vehicle editor. Still harvesting fruit and fish, hunting animals, but no spice yet. I would LOVE to see a "beast of burden" editor, where you figure out how to create mounts or animal-pulled wagons (instead of building the wagon, a group of pre-made ones based on your technology in Tool and your behavior in Town would be chosen from).

Underwater towns might have some kind of underwater tug pulled by a domestic species...

Somewhere around here ought to be the creation of roads (leading to vehicles) and the beginning of agriculture - no more need to seek out and collect fruit or hunt animals. Domesticating animals for meat/eggs/milk/labor/mounts and when it would start (nomads might have some, and by Nation hunting would just be a hobby instead of a necessity).

It just seems odd that you can go from "hunting with spears" to "automobiles" almost instantly. There should be a step in between. The idea in Civilization where you had to discover technology such as writing and philosophy and gunpowder... it's almost like all that is gone from Spore. Prehistoric to Modern, no steps inbetween.


NATION PHASE: Same as the existing civilization phase.


SPACE PHASE: There really is a big distinction between Space and Galactic. There are a lot of tools and activities that exist before you pull out to the star map, you have no inter-species missions or faction affiliations, space battle, any of that. It seems like separating the two would make the progression more logical.


GALACTIC STAGE: All the stuff in Space now.


TRANDIMENSIONAL STAGE: The ability to cross into a true multi-player server based game. I think they still need to include some element of multiplayer in the game, whether it be a "neutral" space station where you can have vehicle races, olympics, gladiator battles, whatever. Nothing that impacts the game as a whole (other than badges), but lets you show off your creations to other players in real time.


ASCENSION STAGE: This is where you should have the tools so advanced that you're basically modding the universe - create your own star systems  with one or more suns and whatever planets you want around them, manipulate gravity, directly shape a planet and its texture terrain or climate, time travel, creature physics, new parts, sounds and language. If all the tools before were about learning how to manipulate the world in the game, this phase should be about learning to manipulate the game itself. A stage about game design, perhaps.


So there's my ideas. I think there could even be more divisions inside these phases. I added more references to water civilizations to make it cleared you wouldn't ever have to go on land on foot to make it to the space stage.

Storytelling and Roleplaying / Story Game - Come to Life!
« on: June 28, 2008, 07:31:23 pm »

Here is a simple game. It has sloppy code allowing you to move the character left and right with the arrow keys, and will not walk off screen.

From here on out, you can add, remove or modify anything in the game - NPCs, enemies, sidekicks, party members, obstacles, pick-up objects, equipable weapons or tools, levels, backgrounds, the appearance or abilities of the player character, how the camera functions, user inputs, heads-up displays... anything.

There is no reason the game has to remain a side-scrolling platform as it is now, nor does the character need to look like he does at the moment. It's just more interesting to start with something that has a basic appeasing baseline than just a stick figure on a white screen.

So go nuts! Everyone make suggestions, convince others to take your side, and if I can't find a clear winner, I'll post a voting poll (do I have to remake a new post to activate the poll?)

Would anyone be interested in one of those "I fell down a hole" games where the choices you make are translated into an actual, playable flash game? I suppose it would be more of a "collaborative game design" experiment than a story game.

Basically, I want to start out with a box on a screen, and people vote what to change next "add gravity" or "create a wall" or "insert an enemy" or "let the screen pan to follow the player" or whatever.

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