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Messages - Telluric

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Spore: General / Re: One of the reasons why Spore is "cute" and dumbed down
« on: November 05, 2008, 02:40:42 pm »
Does that quell your criticism? 

Not when it was quoted the first time and not now neither.

You may now accuse me of wanting the game to be something it is not.  I stand guilty as charged.  Unrepentantly guilty of wanting an interesting game, not just an editor.  No hero-worship of Will Wright will move me from where I stand.

Spore: General / Re: One of the reasons why Spore is "cute" and dumbed down
« on: November 05, 2008, 09:00:34 am »
I hope that quells people's criticism of Spore for a very long time.

It doesn't really address mine.  The game is too easy and too thin.  There is no depth and no replayability.  One space empire is exactly like another space empire... and there is no reason to play a meaningful amount of time in other stages.  Essentially, the game is a series of editors with no reason to actually use any of the things you make to do anything.

This is sad to me.  I was hoping for the ultimate hobby game, a game I could lavish time and attention on to build interesting things through layers of growth, editing, and emergent change.  A simulation, not just an editor.  This has nothing to do with what creatures look like or whether or not real physics are used in creature movement...

Spore fails to me because it has boring, simplistic game play with no emergent behavior or complexity.  And yes, I can admit that perhaps I am not the target market for this game... even though that admission feels hollow since I've loved dozens of other simulation and data growth games.

It is interesting how this breaks down along the lines of "cute" and "science".

I think the "science" people aren't so much interested in real science, but interested in complexity.  Spore is generally lacking in complexity.  It seems obvious that complexity was removed to make the game play more fun and the game itself more accessible to more people.  A real simulation would add additional complexity, but past examples have proved that you can provide a simple control system to go with that complexity to guide it.  SimEarth was perhaps the best example of this - a highly complex simulation engine driven by a few sliders and tools.

The problem with comparing this to "cute" is that cute doesn't imply any level of complexity, but instead an artistic style.  We could have had accessible, charming creatures built on a complex engine.  But, it appears, the developers had a hard time coming to grips with that engine.  So, the artistic style remains intact, but the meat of the matter (embodied perhaps in things like procedural programming) didn't receive enough attention.

Could there have been a meatier underside to Spore made apparent through the cute interface?  Sure.  And that's the essential failure of the game for me.  The game is too superficial - I don't care what it looks like.

Spore: General / Re: What is your favorite stage?
« on: October 24, 2008, 02:29:15 pm »
Pressing keys is much too easy, that's why tribe sucks.  No disasters, let's see...  War, eco disasters, bla bla bla.  Name one non annoying wild creature that steals your food event in tribe.  Also, who says you have to expand?

Well, no part of the game on any difficulty is challenging.  Saying that Tribal is just clicking a series of buttons to charm an enemy tribe really sets up Space as a complete waste of time as you aimlessly fly around to nameless and faceless worlds doing nothing... you don't even have to touch the keyboard, so that's even less "challenge".  War?  No star empire I've ever met came close to even remotely challenging me, even on hard.  Fly ahead of their slow defenders and bomb their cities.  Done.  Even the Grox.

Eco disasters?  Always the same and always given about 10 times more time than you actually need.  These aren't fun.  They are annoying.  I must interrupt whatever I was doing to run to your little world, zoom in, and trivially fly around lasering some creatures I don't even have to work to find.  And heck, I don't even have to give a damn about it if I don't want to... the whole ecosystem can melt down and the worst is I take a minor rep hit with your irrelevant space empire.

So, don't expand your star empire.  You'll be done even sooner with Space.  Everything is easy and you never get to see or enjoy anything you made or did in the earlier game.

Spore: General / Re: What is your favorite stage?
« on: October 24, 2008, 02:20:41 pm »
Religion the same as Military?  No...  It's not.  And relating to the creatures?  That's for creature phase.  You have goals YOU create in Space and many ways to achieve it.  Also, how do you spam vehicles for Economic?  It just doesn't work.  Also, how do you spam vehicles?  You have limited resources just like everything else.

Religion = spam vehicles, send to enemy city en masse with "convert city" order
Military = spam vehicles, send to enemy city en masse with "conquer city" order

There is no difference in game play here.  When you convert enemy tribes in Tribal, you must press a sequence of keys in order to get the proper music to convert them.  When you attack enemy tribes, you must ambush stray members, order attacks against individuals, position differently armed tribe members... they are completely different game play options.

Yes, yes, yes... we make our own goals in Space.  Yawn.  Whatever.  None of these so called goals offer anything interesting or challenging to game play.  The difference between a perfectly happy star empire of 10000 systems and 2 systems is merely time spent grinding out the settlements.  There are no large scale or ongoing challenges to keep you interested, no disasters that matter, no overall approval rating to keep high.  It's a sandbox alright... a dusty, dry, boring sandbox.

Spam vehicles means just make as many as you can.  Imagine a game where you had to build three different land vehicles, one fast, one durable, and one dangerous, not one that was all three things at once.  Set challenges in enemy empires and vehicles; fast vehicles are good against durable, which in turn beat dangerous and they beat fast... now you've got a marginally interesting Rock Paper Scissors combat system for Civilization.

Creature has you enjoying your creature and good variability, but you retain from this step the opportunity to love your creatures in Tribal - Tribal creatures have names, they are born and run around as children.  This tie to the previous stage is very helpful in enjoying the game.  Cell, Creature, and Tribal feel very "Spore" to me.  Civilization begins the decline into having no relationship to my creations and Space makes it even worse, having almost nothing to do with anything I myself made.

Spore: General / Re: What is your favorite stage?
« on: October 24, 2008, 01:43:15 pm »
It is interesting to me that no one likes Tribal.

Tribal seems to be the most well rounded part of the game.  You've got a clearly defined game objective, two distinct methods of achieving it.  It seems more engaging than Civilization because you can identify with the creatures.

I understand people liking Cell; it's fresh and simple and short.  And I can understand people liking Creature; it is basically the core of what Spore was when it was introduced, designing your own creature.

Space and Civilization though seem like weaker versions of Tribal.  Religion in Civ is the same as Military and spamming vehicles is the way to win for every faction on every difficulty.  And Space, while more open ended than other phases, is ultimately always too easy and pointless - make better planets?  Meh.  Build a giant empire?  A pointless grind... Space just dies at the "end" with nothing to do and no threat or motive to do better.

Tribal has goals, distinct methods of achieving those goals, personable creatures, little things to explore or enjoy.  It seems like a really underappreciated phase.

Spore: General / Re: Do you use city Decorations?
« on: October 22, 2008, 12:51:18 pm »
Sometimes, when I finish Civilization phase, I will go around and put them in all my cities, but I often only do that when I have made buildings that are well suited to having some green around them.

Spore: General / Re: Help With Tribe.
« on: October 22, 2008, 09:55:52 am »
If you have the Firework superpower, you can enter a village with your musicians, gift them up to yellow immediately followed by fireworks to get them to blue, and then immediately followed by music to take them over. 

Yeah... on Hard mode in almost all stages, you want to pay attention to powers you have and use them to get ahead.  Hard isn't so much "hard" as it cuts out the slack of Normal and Easy; you can't have Tribe members standing around doing nothing or just ignore special abilities and such.

I find the "make it rain" ability very useful for gathering food quickly on Hard as well.

Spore: General / Re: Help With Tribe.
« on: October 22, 2008, 08:23:41 am »
Any suggestions?

If you are playing on Hard, this can be very challenging indeed.

The key to playing on Hard is to get lots of food, because you have to send lots of gifts to keep enemy tribes neutral until you can charm them.  The best way to get lots of food is to send 1 or 2 tribe members to every food source you can and utilize everything.  The easiest food is the fruit on the trees... but that's for omnivores and herbivores only.  If you are playing a carnivore, you'll need to be killing entire nests of nearby creatures and harvesting the meat.  You need to watch closely to avoid losing tribe members during extended fights against animals; get weapons for these tribe members if you can.

Remember, one of the best food sources is eggs from domesticated animals.  A great way to get this is to start the Tribal phase with domesticated animals by charming animals in the Creature phase and having them in your pack as you move to Tribal.  I like to find rogue animals in Creature, especially those with serious combat adaptations, and charm them into my pack - they're extra tough and help a lot during Creature on hard.  And, because they are alone, it is easier to charm them.

Gifting food to nearby tribes is more important than anything else you want to be doing.  Don't spend food on buildings or new creatures or anything else if anyone has an orange face - pay them off first and keep gathering.  The first thing to buy is more tribe members to increase the gathering rate and make gifting easier.  I often give the same tibes a dozen gifts or more over the course of the phase; as soon as they turn orange, be there giving a gift.  By the time they are raiding, it's too late.

Plan to convert the first enemy tribe just before the three "second stage" tribes appear.  This gives you enough time to build a cushion of food to allow for some immediate gifts.  Don't let your tribe members wander around either - as soon as you are done charming, order them back to gathering food.

Be sure to wear the best charming and gathering clothes you can.  You don't really need sticks to gather more fruit, but sometimes fishing can be helpful for carnivores.  First priority is gathering food, second priority is gifting (second only to gathering because you cannot gift without food), third priority is tribe members, and fourth priority is musical instrument buildings.

Good luck!

Spore: General / Re: Fix our connectivity issues!
« on: October 17, 2008, 11:03:27 am »
I can't even register an account because they wouln't let me connect.

I've got a lot of experience with tech support and applications, but without the ability to sit in front of your computer and work on the problem, you'll have to be patient and have low expectations.

Almost always, connectivity problems that are specific to a given application are related to that application being blocked by security software.  I'd ask "can you get out to the Internet at all" but obviously you are here posting... or is this from a different computer?  If this is from the same computer you installed Spore, then it is security software or settings on your machine.

Did you answer "no" to questions about "is it ok for this application to do something?" during installation or operation?  If so, you'll probably have to open up your security software and check the blocked applications.

Give us as much detail about other things on your computer as you can.  Other applications running in the lower right hand tray, how you get onto the Internet, how other applications on your computer work for talking to the net.

I'll say this for sure - your problems are almost certainly on your end with your specific environment.  They aren't related to the Spore software.  So, the people at Maxis (or EA or whatever) aren't very interested in dealing with your problems because it is very hard to diagnose random machines with random problems.

Spore: General / Re: First Expansion: Cute and Creepy Parts Pack
« on: October 06, 2008, 02:53:55 pm »
So it ISN'T in there, truly.

Probably not, I'd wager.  Often when you are developing complex, open-ended pieces of software, you begin to include all sorts of features.  Then, as time and money grow short, you are forced to take half complete work and disable it.

It may not be something that can be switched on, but it is a hopeful sign to see they were thinking in this direction.  I particularly like Jahelo's idea that you should be given every opportunity to play with all the things you've made, to see them in the game more frequently.  If the game is to be about our creations, then spending more time with them sounds like a great idea.

Spore: General / Re: First Expansion: Cute and Creepy Parts Pack
« on: October 06, 2008, 11:21:04 am »
Some people seem to be getting the same feelings they did with Spore as Simcity. Others like Telluric are [not].

If I let my game of Spore sit and run, it does nothing.  If I let my game of SimCity run, the city grows and changes.

SimCity was a simulator.  Spore is not a simulator.  Spore is an editor.

A simulator has rules and continues to operate over time, changing and growing.  You tweak the model, but you don't control every aspect - there are a set of underlying rules and behavior that inform and affect your decisions.  Plates have techtonics; you can control the drift rate.  I choose the zoning; what develops on the land depends on the game rules.

Does Spore have these things?  I contend that it does not or at the very best only weakly.  Everything in the game is driven directly by my choices and my impact on the game is hugely more important than anything else going on.  There are no physics, no approval rating from townspeople urging me to do different things, no rough controls on energy usage and invesment to guide a civilization to outer space...

But I really don't want to bash Spore.  I've enjoyed it.  It just isn't anything like the predecessors I liked - SimCity and SimEarth.  It's very like the predecessors I didn't like - the Sims.  As I understand it, few people liked those earlier ones and they rake in money hand over fist for the latter.  Maybe I don't understand it, but I can't deny it.  To many people, Spore is a great game I guess.

Personally, I hope I really enjoy Civilization Revolution for my DS that I picked up at lunch.

Spore: General / Re: First Expansion: Cute and Creepy Parts Pack
« on: October 06, 2008, 09:44:18 am »
So why are people complaining about the gameplay when it's supposed to be an artist in a box? That's what you should expect from Maxis.

It's not what I got from SimCity.  It's not what I got from SimEarth.  It's not what the previews for Spore led me to believe the game would be about...

Spore: General / Re: First Expansion: Cute and Creepy Parts Pack
« on: October 06, 2008, 09:05:16 am »
Sounds like you need an expansion that lets you go INSIDE your UFO... see the crew, cargo, etc...

That would be very nice actually.  How about a mini-game where I have to keep the plants alive during transit, catch loose herbivores running around the ship, and stop predators from eating the herbivores?  Game model; things like the Cake Baker series.

Well, it's a charming idea, anyway, but I can see the writing on the wall.  The game is about building your own thing - building creatures and buildings and vehicles and showing them off to friends.  This is a "game" of art - editors and screenshots and videos.  I'm glad to see the realm of "gaming" has grown to include this interesting evolutionary addition... but it probably isn't for me.  I get terribly bored with hour after hour in the creators.  And that's the only place you can sink time that isn't a repetitive grind.

A game to me will always be about the playing.  Building things with an editor isn't playing.  It's art.

Spore: General / Re: First Expansion: Cute and Creepy Parts Pack
« on: October 06, 2008, 08:24:34 am »
Creature parts?

Umm... I spend the vast majority of my time in Space.  I don't ever see creatures.  The closest I come to seeing creatures is beaming them up and down to planets to fill ecosystems.  Do I much care about what they look like?  No.  Because I'm not going to be looking at them for more than a few seconds.  Then it's back out to space where the only content I actually made is my thumbnail spaceship.

I didn't play any version of the Sims.  When the first game out, a friend picked it up and invited me over.  I spent 10 minutes looking at it and, when I had to order my little person to use the bathroom, I realized this was a complete waste of time.  I've seen endless expansions on the shelf for this and it's sequels and none of them have even registered on my radar as games remotely worth playing... and I am long in the tooth with Sim games, having spent hours and hours with the original SimCity and SimEarth years ago.

So, are we headed in the direction of the Sims then?  It seems in this thread that that is the conclusion of people who know a lot more about it than I do.  That's sad.  I had really high hopes for this... but I won't be buying packs of parts for things I never look at and don't much care about in the first place.  And it doesn't seem like they will be turning this game into a gamer's game in any way either - apparently that's not what this franchise system is about.  I'd be fascinated to learn more about the kind of gamer that actually does like this stuff, though...

I guess it's back to World of Warcraft while waiting for Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3.  Thank you to everyone on this site who has been such a great help to me in enjoying the time I've gotten out of Spore.

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