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Topics - xDreamache

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1
Spore: General / So check this graph out..
« on: November 24, 2008, 06:31:19 pm »
This is a traffic graph for my site xspore from July 1st till Now (Nov. 23).



The important thing to note here is the traffic level from july-august, to after the release and now... As you can see, traffic has died down after the release... Now we still attain the same keyword rankings in google (which is where we get our traffic from), so the decrease of traffic has nothing to do with the site itself, rather the actual interest in spore as a whole.

With that being said, it's hard not to label this game as somewhat of a failure in terms of longevity if you compare it with a game like WoW.  There are wow fansites that receive about 100x more traffic than every spore fansite put together on a daily basis... which is damn disappointing :(

Personally when I got the game the day it came out, I played it for 4 days and was done with it - I haven't played it since.  While the idea that you can play with other people's creations is amusing, it's only amusing to a minimal extent.  The whole problem I feel is the fact that you're in an entire universe, and you're alone.  There's no true interaction with real people, real players - and the feeling of disconnection is a big blow to many gamers.. I do understand though that there is a market for what spore currently is, those with imagination who like to role play - BUT that being said, it's a small market when you compare it against multiplayer games.

Now I know the whole spore multiplayer discussion has been had over n' over, but I honestly feel that if they came up with a successful way (which I believe *is* possible) to make spore a true multiplayer game, it would be able to live up to all the hype it had. And those that absolutely love the game as is, great, it should stay the way it is - but if they released an expansion or possibly an entire new title they would capture a much bigger market, and ultimately make a ton more money (which is what they obviously want).

One of the biggest things to note as well, is before the game released and people who never heard about the game before saw the GDC 05 video or any other videos, they sounded amazingly excited (I was one of them), because they(i) for a short moment of time thought it was really a true multiplayer game.  This fact alone shows that a successful multiplayer version of spore would be very popular.

What do you guys think?

2
Being that xspore ranks high for keywords like "Spore" in the search engines, I was really anticipating a huge increase in traffic during the release, and there was - but while I expected there to be an initial period of slow down a couple weeks after the game's release, I certainly thought that traffic would definitely even out *above* what it was prior to the release.. Guess I was wrong!  Looks like it has gone back down exactly to where it was in the months between the CC release and the full game release.

This is from June 17th (creature creator release, to august 9th).


Just thought this would be an interesting graph.  I'm assuming as Spore ages and becomes more known, that more people will be searching for it more.

3
Spore: General / Asymmetry Mod for all editors..
« on: September 16, 2008, 10:34:26 pm »
Figured gamingsteve would have known about this already but I did a search, saw no threads.. but if it exists, delete this thread :)

A guy by the name of "Rick" from http://spore.vg/ has created an asymmetry modification that works.. A simple package file placed in the /data folder in the spore installation folder is all that needs done..

It works apparently for all editors, though I only tried it for the creature editor.

Here's a youtube video of an asymmetrical creature I created..
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pENZ--58UOs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pENZ--58UOs</a>
http://www.spore.com/sporepedia#qry=sast-500078137513
http://www.xspore.com/news/708_spore-asymmetry-mod.html

4
Spore: General / Spore Origins now available on iPhone
« on: September 09, 2008, 08:12:06 pm »
It's up at Spore.com, it links to this: http://investor.ea.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=88189&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1194127&highlight=

Seeing as to how my wife and I just bought the 3g iPhone a couple days ago, I decided to purchase it and play it. ($9.99).

Here's the quote from xSpore..  (I also recorded video of me playing it, but I'm having some issues getting it transferred to the comp, I'll update this thread when I get it up.)

Quote
Spore Origins just became available to iPhone users.  How did I find out?  Well, my wife.  She was on her new 3g iPhone in the living room and she said "Hey, did you know you can play Spore on the iPhone?" - I say, "Uhm, yes it's called Spore Origins but it's not out yet.".. She says, "Well, it's under the Apps Featured section." - At which pointed I checked Spore.com and sure enough it's true.  Here's the link

There are currently 195 reviews of it and it has a 4 star rating on the App store.

It's $9.99, I purchased it and just played the game myself.  Overall it's not bad!  The graphics are surprisingly pretty good and near the quality of the full pc game.  It is of course structered differently, as it's only the cell stage. But there *are* different theme oriented cell stages.  When you begin the game, it starts off with the same asteroid smashing into the earth (it's a cool intro so I can see why they used it).  Then you can pick your creature randomly to start out with, then your stage begins.

Your primary enemy are these creatures that honestly resemble nothing other than human sperm.  It functions very interestingly.  When you encounter a group of them, your creature goes wild and automatically snags them all up.  It's actually pretty fun to watch / experience.  Then each "level" is completed as you fill up a progress bar located at the top.  I played for about 45 minutes straight and completed 10 levels.  After the first 4 or 5 levels, I emerged out of a stage similar to the standard cell phase, into a "volcanic crevice" stage.  Each level progresses through each one of these stages.

The amount I've played so far presented me with 2 different types of levels.  One standard level where you can go anywhere and do anything with the progress bar in view, and the other level is a level where there is no progress bar, and you have to follow currents of water to get to the end.  You have no idea how long it takes to get to the end, either. None the less, it is fun.

There are certain tiny specs (differently colored) that give your creature special abilities. Like speed, poison, shield, etc.. And you can have multiple specs that circle around your creature as they're activated.

The creature editor is very cool, and you're presented with the option of entering it after each level is completed.  You're able to stretch / expand 3 different parts of your creature. The head / torso / bottom portion.  There's also a decent texture editor that gives you predefined textures, it's pretty versatile. There's an "eye" editor, a weapon editor, a movement editor, and of course the texture editor.

At first glance it seems to be a pretty successful iPhone game!

Stay tuned for a video review. (Getting it on the computer now!)

http://www.xspore.com/news/694_spore-origins-iphone.html


5
Spore: General / Chances to win a free copy of Spore...
« on: September 01, 2008, 08:01:34 am »
The release of Spore is right around the corner, and some fansites are giving away free copies of Spore.

My site (xSpore) and sporedaily.com were contacted by Direct2Drive and we're both giving away 5 copies of Spore.  I'm assuming there are other sites doing this but haven't seen any yet...

Update: Unfortunately Direct2Drive is stipulating that for these contests, they're for US and Canada only.

http://www.sporedaily.com/2008/08/29/spore-daily-challenge-the-final-countdown/ (This one ends on Wednesday)
http://www.xspore.com/news/660_free-copy-of-spore.html (Ours ends Thursday)
*update* - Sporeuniverse.net has the same D2D offer as well:
http://www.sporeuniverse.net

So for those of you strapped for cash, you have 10 chances to win between these 2 sites..

Just giving a heads up, if anyone knows of any other sites doing something like this, post the links here!

6
Spore: General / Spore Community Day (Fansites get an invite!)
« on: August 07, 2008, 08:00:05 pm »
I just received an email from MaxisCactus with an invitation to the Spore Community Day being held August 22nd at Maxis Studios..

I know you all probably hate me over this, but yes... I'm going! ;)

Quote
Spore Community Day 

We're hosting a Spore Community Day for key North American members of the Spore Community. Since we can't invite all of our fans, we'd like to invite a group of Spore fansite owners and staff members to come out for a visit, get a sneak peek at the game and our studio, and share their experiences with their own communities. This is also our way of saying "Thanks" for your contributions to the community and interest in our project.

At the event youíll have an opportunity to play the game before itís released,  meet and interview some of our top developers, and find out what a day with the makers of Spore is like.

We'll provide roundtrip airfare to Emeryville and a hotel room for one night.

Event time/location:

10:00 AM - 6 PM Friday August 22, 2008

Maxis Studio
6121 Hollis St. Suite 6
Emeryville, CA 94608

This invitation is for north American residents only.  If you are not in North America, please let me know and Iíll have your information passed to the community manager for your territory to be considered for future events.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to substitute another community member to come in the event that you canít make it.  You must be 18 years old or older to attend this event.

Thanks again for all your contributions in the Spore Community, we canít wait to see you!
http://www.xspore.com/news/630_spore-community-day.html

Since I will be given the opportunity to interview, I'll be taking question suggestions.

7
I just wrote this little how to at xspore on how to customize your spore snapshots / video backgrounds.  It's pretty cool how it works out and looks in the end, especially the video.

Check out the result

Quote
Editing your Snapshots

1. Take a snapshot of your creature from within the spore creature creator, then close it or minimize it.
2. Open up a graphics application such as Adobe Photoshop.
3. File / Open and browse to your spore creature creations pictures folder and you will see 2 pictures associated with the snapshot.  A PNG file denoted at the end with "_ful", and then the smaller version.  Open up the PNG file.
4. You can optionally choose to resize the image at this point if it's too big on your screen.
5. Find a background image you want to use (try google images, or whatever), if you have firefox you can just right click the image in the browser and select copy image and then paste it into a new layer *underneath* the layer the creature is on.
6. And that's it!  You can of course choose to adjust the size/orientation of the background image, as well as contrast and hue saturation to make it fit better with your creature.

Now if you want to create a custom background in your spore video, that's a little different.

Editing your Videos

* First, take a video of your creature with the black background. It won't work with other backgrounds!
1. Open up a video editing software that you has the ability to color key!  I use after effects, so that's what these steps will be focused on.
2. Create a new composition and set the width at whatever the dimensions you have specified in your spore creature creator settings for the file size. Medium is 320x240, if you don't know what yours is, just right click on a video that you recorded in your spore creations video folder and hit properties.  Then set the FPS at 15fps, or whatever the properties state for your video details.
3. Now here's the hard part. I tried importing the raw AVI file that spore created and after effects wouldn't play it.  So I had to first use a program like sorenson squeeze to save it as a WMV first. Then I was able to import it and have it actually play correctly.
4. Once your video is imported, drag it onto the square area in the middle (the composition), make sure its centered correctly.
5. Then import another file, and that will be your background image. It's best to have it scaled before hand to the dimensions you specified for your composition settings. Once imported, drag it from the left to the composition area, and then beneath in the timeline area, drag it underneath the spore video file.
5. Then find your effects panel usually aligned to the right, select "Keying" and then drag "Color Key" to the bottom and hover over your footage name so that it applies it to that layer.
7. The area you just drug it over (your video filename at the bottom), expand it, and then expand the effects window and you will see "Key Color:" - by default it's blue, use the eye dropper and select the black portion of your spore video. At this point, you should see the background image with your creature on top.
8. Then adjust the color tolerance and edge thin to remove as much of the black outline as possible!
9. You can optionally add music to make it better like I did!  Note though, after effects doesn't support mp3 (mine doesn't at least), so you need to first convert it to a wav or another file type before you can import it. Then drag it to the stage of course.
10. Choose composition at the top, then add to render queue.
11. Then at the bottom you will see "Output Module: Lossless", click on lossless and you can change it from AVI to something else if you want. (Raw AVI is very large). And make sure at the bottom, that audio is turned on.
12. Then click render, and you're done!

Also, I'd like to note, try to avoid having any black or dark areas on your actual creature texture, else those parts will disappear!

Whew, it sounds like a ton of work but its easy once you get the workflow down.

Hoped you enjoyed the tutorial!

http://www.xspore.com/news/514_xspore-media-editing.html

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Spore: General / A new purpose for creating creatures..
« on: June 22, 2008, 07:32:10 pm »
I've been a hardcore spore fan for over 2 years now, and admittedly so, the creature creator got a little bit tiring after awhile when you're pumping out creatures simply for the sake of doing so.  So I thought maybe in order to renew interest and provide users with another incentive to create creatures and introduce a sense of competition to it, I built a creature contest system.  You can enter a bunch of different competitions, start your own, and its a fully automated easy to use system.  Creature Contests!

---hopefully no one will take this as spam! I really think some of you would like this sort of thing.  Give me your opinions though, the good n' bad.

9
Spore: General / quick video review of the full creature creator..
« on: June 16, 2008, 04:00:41 pm »
for those interested, I just threw this up.. it's nothing too indepth, but shows the full version creature creator and a creature created from start to finish in crisp vid quality.. it's 12+ mins.

http://blip.tv/file/998247

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Spore: General / Exposure = Key to a popular creature.
« on: June 10, 2008, 05:33:22 pm »
So we know that in the sporepedia, users will be able to sort creatures by the highest rated creatures, most downloaded, etc...

With that in mind, external fan sites are going to be *key*. It's the same concept as making a youtube video popular -- Very rarely can you just upload a video and expect it to grow huge with a big # of views on its own, you need to have it linked from a major source first (like digg, or other big sites)..

So you can bet, there will be external fan sites that will offer spore profile systems (xspore, mysporepage, and probably countless others) where "creature creators" will post their creatures, with a link to their primary spore.com page for that specific creature, urging others to vote for them on their spore.com creature page..

That way, they will be able to generate additional views and ratings aside from the views they gain on spore.com (like after they first submit it, and it shows up under the new creatures list (where they'll generate the most natural views)).

Just some food for thought and a little tip to keep in mind ;)


This also raises the fact that not always the "best" creatures, are rated popular.. A mediocre creature with a creator behind it, who knows how to get views, can beat a great creature with a creator who does nothing additional in terms of getting it extra traffic.

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Spore: General / A little fun with Will Wright..
« on: April 20, 2008, 09:42:32 am »
Had a photochop contest and some of the entries are pretty damn funny :)

http://www.xspore.com/custom_content/3376_wright-xspore-logo.html

(Hopefully this won't be seen as spam, if so then go ahead n' close it :[)

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