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Topics - Slyght

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Spore: General / Spore wins Best of Show for "Official" E3 Awards
« on: June 07, 2005, 09:30:21 pm »
The Game Critics Awards were announced an hour ago for E3 2005.  I know it feels like ages since E3, but it takes these people a long time to make their decisions, as its a group of 33 people from various publications.

Spore had the most nominations this year with 4.  Spore won all 4: Best of Show, Best Original Game, Best PC Game, Best Simulation Game. for more info.

Spore: General / Design Reasonings: Why Creatures Must Have Bones
« on: May 25, 2005, 03:10:39 pm »
Hi all.  I'm starting up a little series here on the board called Design Reasonings (formerlly Rumor Busters), aimed specifically at squashing some rumors and explaining some design decions on the Spore's team part.

Why?  Because I've seen people get really excited about a game, start building up unrealistic expectations of what the game is capable of, and then be sorely disappointed when it doesn't have so-and-so features.  A classic example of this was Star Wars Galaxies, where people on their forums had really inflated expectations of what the game was capable of, a lot of which weren't even mentioned by the developers.  Other examples of this are Fable and Black & White.  I don't want to see the same happen with Spore :)

What makes think I have the right to write this?  Not too much really.  Before I could gloat I was at the GDC demo live, but now that you've all seen the demo, we're on the same page with that.  I am a programmer in the games industry, so I do have some on-hands experience with developing games, programming, and the ever-feared feature-creep.  I also have two friends on the Spore development team, so I've gotten a teeny bit of info from them on some of the low-level mechanics of the game and whatnot (I actually knew that Will Wright was making a "SimEverything" game called Spore as early as October, but GDC was the first time I REALLY knew what it was all about).  I try not to bug my friends too much about the game though, as it puts them in an awkard situation where they could be potentially violating NDA's :)

So let's start with what we recently learned: Will Wright flat out said all creatures must have bones :)  But let me explain why.  The way 99.9% of characters and creatures found in video games and movies are animated is by an underlying bone strucure beneath the character's mesh.  The vertices on the mesh are weighted to the joints of the mesh (this is often called "skinning," which has nothing to do with the texturing of the skin or anything) so all an animator has to do is rotate a joint and all corresponding vertices on the mesh will move properly with the bones.  This is the same underlying structure to how creatures are designed in Spore.  Each creature has an underlying bone structure consisting of joints and bones (which are visable to the player while in the editor, as seen in the demo), and when you're designing a creature, the computer procedurally skins the outer mesh of the creature to this underlying bone structure.  When the computer procedurally generates animations for the creature, it is running these procedures primarily on the underlying bone structure (although it probably accounts for the outside mesh to prevent the creature's limbs from intersecting itself or whatnot).  Without the bones there, it wouldn't know how to move the creature.

This isn't to say that you can't create creatures like squids, it's just that you need the bone structure there for the computer to understand how they move.  Actually, in order to simulate a fluild tentacle, you'd actually put a lot of small bones in so it has a lot of points to bend at.  I think that's what Will did in his interview with Steve if I read correctly.

So there you go.  Hope this helped.  I'll try to explain more things as a I see some potentially nasty rumors and expectations crop up :)

Spore: General / Master of Orion series
« on: May 25, 2005, 01:58:52 pm »
I've been reading a lot of these posts, and it seems that a good number of the people on this forum are most excited about the intergalactic stages of the game.  I was wondering if any of you were familiar with or have played any of the Master of Orion series.  Simply put, Master of Orion is the last phase of Spore, and was almost definately an inspiration for Will Wright in the creation of Spore, so you may wanna check it out if you can find a copy of MOO 2 or 3.  The basic goal is to create a galactic empire through colonization, diplomacy, trade, conquest, research, and everything between.  And yes, you can blow up planets :)  Check out game sites for more in-depth reviews, and you'll probably find that a lot of the features of MOO have found their way into Spore.

Master of Orion 2 came out in 1996, so some of you younger posters may not remember this game, but it got a lot of praise at the time.  Master of Orion 3 came out in 2002 I believe, and got VERY mixed reviews, but overall was considered garbage in comparison to MOO2, which also may be why you've never heard of this one either.  You can find copies of these on and the likes for less than $10.

Spore: General / Who Here's Seen The Demo?
« on: May 23, 2005, 09:20:39 pm »
First off, hi, I'm Slyght, joined the forums today and have already posted quite a bit.  I realize that most people on the forums have far more posts than I do, so I just wanted to say hi before being marked as some noob who's stepping out of line.

I was at the GDC demo on March 11th, 2005.  I'm still in the process of attaching my jaw back to the rest of my skull as the result of it.  Is there anybody else on the forum that was there to see the GDC or E3 live demo?  (Sorry if this post has already been made, I didn't see it anywhere).

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