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Topics - Dreyfuss

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Spore: General / Videos slowly getting less exciting.
« on: February 24, 2007, 05:26:54 am »
Has anyone else noticed that?  Compare the original GDC '05 vid http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-262774490184348066&q=spore to some of the more recent vids http://media.pc.ign.com/media/735/735340/vid_1663756.html , for example stuff from E3 '06 and the ones released last fall.  Three big things I've noticed are that the animations are far less fluid, the visual style is less natural, and what little challenge there was seems to have disappeared.

Compare the motion of the Willosaur's limbs to the very rigid, robot-like darting around of the new four-legged creature, whatever it's called.  I just can't imagine a creature with the leg structure of fourlegs moving in such a manner, not to mention that it's moving far too quickly.  I suppose the way it actually moves its legs isn't so bad, it's simply doing so far too rapidly, almost like one of those speedy beetles.  Is it an insect?  I suppose that could explain it, but it doesn't really look it.  And the torso seems to remain completely still while it runs.  What happened to the bobbing and swaying of the creatures from the GDC '05 vid?

And besides the creature itself, the environment seems much less natural now.  Now I know that Spore is supposed to be very Dr. Seuss-ish, or at least Will's worlds are, but I'm talking about things like the color scheme and lighting effects.  The GDC '05 was much more natural, soft, easy on the eyes, and comprehensible, but in the recent vids it seems the bloom has been turned up so far it would make Fable look dark.  The colors are unnaturally bright, almost play-dough-like, and the light makes you almost want to squint a bit, not to mention that the environment in general is very chaotic and cluttered.

And lastly, what happened to the big scary spider that the poor little Willosaur had to run away from?  Or the seeming lack of other Willosaurs.  Not to mention the scary tanks that came and started blowing up Will's city?  Now our friend fourlegs seems to have no problem at all fighting his enemies (especially since there's nothing bigger than him around), has lots of friends there to help him, and never gets attacked by other towns, or at least not that we've seen.

Speaking of which, where exactly would the challenge even come from once you reach the space stage?  One thing that's always irked me about Will's game, even though they're all great and I would never dream to call them anything less, is that there's no challenge past the initial stages.  Once you have a stable economy in SimCity, the rest is a peace of cake.  Once you have a good job and the necessities in the Sims, you'll never have to fear anything again.  And it seems in Spore the only time we ever saw the player in any danger was in the cell stage when that brown thing attacked Will.  I love the whole concept of Spore and everything it stands for, especially the revival of the "old ways" of the demo scene, but I don't play games just to mess around with some toys.  Without a challenge to overcome, there's no sense of victory or achievement, and then what?  Maybe the Sim games just aren't my thing, but I enjoy them nonetheless, and would really like to see at the very least an option between "sandbox" mode and, I don't know, let's say "conquest" mode, where you are never far from the danger of extinction, and your spaceship isn't the uber-hand-of-god-machine it seems to be so far.  I'd recommend looking at one of my favorite games, Dungeon Keeper (fixed)* 2, for a good example.  There's a campaign which scales in difficulty all the way to the end, and sandbox mode, where you just build the best dungeon you can in the area you're given and then have an endless amount of heroes to throw at it to see how it holds up.  The fact it had both meant that gamers who only liked one mode could still have fun with everything the game had to offer in their own way.  Spore needs this.  Sure, it'll still be successful without it, but it wouldn't be a perfect 10.

Anyway, not putting down Spore, I still think it'll be a great game regardless, but I'm just saying the more recent videos seem to be less and less... well... awesome compared to the original, and it really makes me worried.  Anyone else notice this?  Oh, and feel free to flame, I can take it.

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Spore: Creation Corner / Just wondering...
« on: May 15, 2006, 11:19:37 am »
Where does all the furry hate come from?

I know what it's about, why it's popular, etc.  but what convinced you guys to hate so much?

Molested by Chuck E. Cheese when you were a kid, or what?

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Spore: General / Spore: The comic
« on: March 27, 2006, 09:27:58 pm »

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Spore: General / An example of the power of procedural coding.
« on: March 24, 2006, 09:27:31 pm »
http://www.theprodukkt.com/kkrieger.html#dload

96 kilobytes, the game lasts about 5 minutes if you're fast, and in some places looks as good as Doom 3.

Give it a spin, and have a taste of the power Spore is drawing from.

Why did we ever stop making games this way?

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Spore: Creation Corner / Nezumi
« on: March 10, 2006, 12:24:40 am »
New creature on the way.  This space reserved.  In the mean time, try and guess what the title means. ;)  I'll try and have enough material to be worth scanning by tomorrow night, just wanted to give you something to occupy and baffle you and leave you guessing until then.  ;D

EDIT: Was going to post this last night but I got distracted by other things while typing, and then fell asleep :P  Sorry about that.  Sorry also about the picture being on lined paper.  It's only a sketch (done in classes :P) and I will edit those out when I get things finalized.

Also, yes, I know the final, sentient species is very "orthodox" by Spore standards, but this is a race I began to develop way back in late '02 based on the Cleyrans/Burmecians from Final Fantasy 9 and I've been wanting to stick them in a game for quite a while.  So yes, they are not entirely original, and they are humanoids, but since their conception there have been a lot of things added to seperate them from the typical anthro, and in thinking of their Spore version I've added a lot more detail.

EDIT 2: Forgot to mention, my avatar (Dreyfuss himself) is a Nezumi, and my rp character anywhere such a race is allowed.  So there's a Nezumi male face.

EDIT 3: Changed title.




Physical evolution:


The Nezsayhazaka (Invisible life, literally "life without percievable brightness") began life, as all other life does, in the water as a tiny creature, invisible to the naked eye.  The Nezumi's particular ancestral strain survived through devloping the more advanced means of locomotion in order to chase down its food and escape its predators.  It never became very strong, just a simple spike inside its mouth to pierce its prey with.

Eventually, the Nezsayhazaka survived and prospered enough to haynez, change themselves (evolve), into Nezashkonmiz (Underwater life, literally "Life located below water").  The Nezashkonmiz were still dependant on being the fastest form of life in the water and developed their flagella into very effective fins, as well as growing more.  The spike in their mouth became a probiscus, and then eventually a very long, narrow snout with teeth lined inside, and so the Nezashkonmiz became predators.  However because of their high metabolisms they never developed the ability to lay many eggs at once, and though they were very well adapted and had a high rate of survival, they never really "prospered" at this stage.

After many millions of years, the species that could prosper and swarm the saiosamiz (ocean, "great sized water") began to overtake the Nezashkonmiz's territory and eat all their food, and in order to survive the Nezashkonmiz began to find ways to hunt where others could not, including the Ashsaimiz (land, "place above water").  Over time, the Nezashkonmiz became so well developed for hunting on land that they began to live there, and became the Nezkonash (Land-based life, "life of low places"), one of the first species of reptiles on their planet.  They kept their long snouts and quick legs, but had to adapt to becoming omnivores because of the scarcity of other animals to eat.  Their dorsal fins became a sort of cover for their konaki (sensory centers, "all-inclusive limbs"), which are mainly ears, but also are the only part of their skin that feels more than pressure, texture, and pain.  The Nezkonash's skin does not sense temperature, humidity, wind, etc.  There are two very sensitive areas on the back of their skulls that sense these things, as well as being their smell centers.  The Nezkonash do not smell through their nostrils, the nostrils are only for breathing while the mouth cannot.  So on a very cold day they can cover these areas and not experience the cold.  They can also find burrowing animals by pressing these areas against their burrows and sensing heat, knowing which burrows to search and which to not waste time and energy on, as well as being able to find water by turning in a circle and determining which direction is the most humid.

Obviously, these adaptations made them extremely fit, but they still could not produce large litters because of the energy required to simply live, and so they relied on each nezaka (child, "life that is new/bright") being as fit as possible rather than having many.  Other species on the planet opted to either give birth to swarms of offspring or grow very large and overpower the others.  To counter this and continue living the Nezkonash had to evolve once again, into something that could outrun even the largest predators and efficiently capture many of their prey, the sainez (Higher life, "important/respected life").  The sainez, their world being relatively temperate on the galactic scale, took a similar route through evolution as most temperate worlds do and became mammals.  They became warm-blooded so that weather could not prevent their hunting, and developed fur over most of their body to maintain their inner temperatures.  They also became more dependant on their konaki, and the senses that used to be on the back of their skull moved to the ends of their hazshuaki (ears, "percieving sound limbs") and the mane along their back.  This mane, unlike the fur covering most of their body, is not actually dead.  The surface of each hair is made of the same thing as fur, but is actually hollow, and within each hair is a single blood vessel and a long string of nerves.  These nerves do not feel touch, nor pain, but are extensions of the konaki.  This means that the sainez actually smell with their hair, and aside from the mane and ears cannot feel temperature, humidity, wind chill, and other such things humans normally associate with the skin.  The konaki on the ends of their ears feel all those and touch/pain because there is normal skin underneath, and these are actually the most sensative parts of their body.  They also have a tuft of konaki hair on the very tips of their tails, which like the konaki on their ears can feel everything, including touch and pain.  They use these tufts to feel around in places either too small or too dangerous to put their heads in to access the situation inside.  As for the traditional senses, the sainez have extremely well-developed hearing and par-for-the-course sight by predatory mammal standards, but substandard senses of taste and touch.  They cannot taste if something is poisonous or not, they must see another die from it to know it's bad, and they cannot feel very small things against them, like an insect on their leg or such, but they do feel if they are being pinched or poked by something about the size of a human finger or larger.  In terms of behavior, the sainez hunt and live in packs, and hunt usually by chasing down smaller prey, ganging up on prey the same size, and using their tails to search burrows for prey that digs.  When confronted by one of their predators they always scatter and run.  Sainez never attempt to fight a more powerful creature under any circumstance because they do not produce enough offspring to consider any expendable.  It is better that one dies than many die trying to save it.  The sainez usually get away from their predators, because they are so fast, so the only time they are ever captured is when a predator can keep themselves hidden until they are within pouncing distance, and even that is difficult because the sainez rely more on their ears than their eyes to watch for danger.  Because of this, and because they are among the largest of species on their planet, the sainez are near the top of the food chain, and were finally able to prosper at this phase of their evolution.

Because they were finally able to prosper, there was finally a chance for less-than-perfect sainez to survive and pass on their genes.  Those sainez who were slightly less than perfect at hunting and escaping predators were forced to communicate better with their packmates, and slowly developed greater abilities of communication and teamwork.  These abilities allowed those sainez to survive and even perform better than their ancestors despite their inferior abilities as individuals, and as time passed those sainez became so different from the originals they were no longer the same species.  These sainez were forced to shrink a bit, to conserve energy for their more advanced brain functions, as well as growing more upright so things like climbing, which was very commonly used as an ambushing strategy, were a possibility.  Unfortunately, these changes continued to make them physically weaker and tools became necessary to hunt with, as it was getting more difficult, even when plans were created, to catch their prey.  It was only because they had become omnivores so long ago that these sainez were able to survive as they grew more distant from their ancestors.  After many more hundreds of thousands of years of this trend in evolution, these sainez began to learn to commicate more than just hunting plans and danger warnings, and established societies of hundreds rather than small packs, learning to use their tools to create their own shelters instead of sleeping in trees.  These shelters were still placed in trees anyway, simply out of habit and because they could, but they provided better protection than no shelter, or shelter on the ground.  From these tree houses these sainez watched over other life, and learned much from them.  There was now importance placed on knowledge other than how to hunt, and a culture was born.  At this point, these sainez were already sentient and beginning to learn concepts like art and higher learning.  From the language they had been constantly developing since their days as slightly smarter sainez many, many millenia ago, they dubbed themselves the Nezumi, or "life that watches over".

The sainez still exist in the present day, though the previous forms have all vanished, swallowed by the other species, constantly encroaching on their territories.  Feral sainez have kept their forms for the most part, and have opted to become bigger and better hunters (though they remain omnivores, with a preferrence for meat).  They still maintain pack mentalities however and are very friendly to the nezumi, who are too big to eat, too small to be fearful of, and are friendlier than the other animals their size.  They recognize that nezumi are a different species, but anything that willingly gives them food is a friend in their limited understanding of the concept.  The nezumi see sainez as faithful companions and guardians, and excellent, loyal mounts.  Though the sainez still instinctually run from anything larger than them, this is usually a good thing as the Nezumi on their back would never be able to escape on its own.  However if the nezumi is not on their back, they prove to not be quite as loyal as their master would like, and the nezumi is on his own to reach safety, usually resorting to climbing and then leaping from tree to tree to get away.  When a nezumi is threatened by a smaller, but fierce creature, the sainez is happy to step forward in his master's defense and gobble it up.

It is very easy to see how sainez and nezumi are both similar and different.  They both have large ears, which are still home to the main konaki centers and the most sensitive parts of their bodies.  They both still have manes of konaki hairs, though the nezumis' are more similar to the kind of hair a human has, except that it bleeds slightly when cut (still feels no pain however, as there is no skin) and it is thicker than a typical human's.  It does not grow from the spine however like the sainez.  They are both still covered entirely in fur except over the eyes, nostrils, etc. but a nezumi's body fur is much shorter and more fine than a sainez's, and is usually smooth against their skin rather than fuzzy, though there is still no visible skin, even on a nezumi, other than inside their ears.  Both still walk on two legs, though the nezumi is upright and has more muscular arms.  And they both have snouts, though the nezumi's is much shorter and thicker.

Between one nezumi and the next of the same gender there is not too much variation.  Most is in height, length of tail, thickness of body fur, natural hair length, facial features, and coloration.  Nezumi are universally slim because of their high metabolisms and do not vary significantly in height or proportion, thus very small changes to us humans, such as an inch or two of height, or how stout/lanky a person is are much more apparent to the nezumi.  To us they would all appear to have the same body type.  More significant changes are tail length, fine vs. slightly shaggy coats, and coloration.  However, a much more significant difference between how we and how they recognize a person is that they primarily recognize individuals by their voice, not their features.  They sense of hearing is very well defined, almost to the point of a bird's, and they will tell apart individuals much more easily by their "song" than their "markings".

Between the two genders there is much greater and more obvious difference.  It is strikingly obvious that the height difference between males and females is much greater among nezumi than humans.  Females are rarely taller than 5 feet and there is a practical reason.  As the nezumi evolved the females had to expend great amounts of energy to carry and give birth to their offspring, and the females with smaller bodies, who required less energy for themselves but still took in the same amount of food, had more to spare for birth.  The males on the other hand were relied upon to catch the food the females required, and grew larger and more imposing as a result.  Though the roles of the genders in nezumi society are much less contrasting, it takes a long time for changes to take place, and the nezumi are still too early in their evolution as a sentient race for their physical differences to even out again.  Females share many of the traits that define their gender with humans, such as wide hips and breasts, but also have some differences relevant to nezumis that we may not notice.  The most significant of which is that females have smaller, more rounded ears, and longer hair.  Unlike humans, male nezumi hair is just naturally shorter than females'.  It has nothing to do with their culture, or looks, it just doesn't grow as long or as quickly.  These differences also stem from the time when they were sainez, when males needed to be able to pinpoint exactly where a sense was coming from, and developed ears that could be rotated and directed like satellite dishes to find their prey, while females only had to know when danger was approaching so they could protect their young, and simply determining that it was there was more important than where it was coming from.  So their ears are designed to hear everything at once, and their hair, which also senses things, is more plentiful, while the males had less so they would not be distracted with too much information and could focus.  In the present this means males are usually much more focused and well-versed in their subject of expertise, while females are better multi-taskers and have better insight into the "bigger picture" of things.



More on the cultural aspect of the Nezumi when I have it in written form.  It's still floating in my brain for now.  As for the language, that's fairly well-developed.  I dropped a few words throughout the writing, so see what you can translate of "Nez akanez.  Akanezaru aru Nezumi.  Hay nezhazash aru hazshu nezhaz shu" so far.

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