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Topics - Darcie

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Spore: Sporepedia Exchange / Creative Content Contest Collection: Halloween
« on: September 30, 2008, 06:29:07 pm »
Hi guys.  I'm working on making a sporecast for use this Halloween and I thought it would be fun to put the word out and hold a little creation contest to go along with it.  From candy to haunted ships and beyond I would like to see em all.  When we get close to Halloween I'll set up a poll and we will all vote for the most Halloween Holidayish creation of them all.  The best (or maybe all) will be popped into a sporecast so we can all have a spore Halloween together xD  You can enter as many times as you want, but please mark the three you want voted on with a note if you go really nuts and make a ton.  Also, please link to your creation so we can rate and comment on it and post a thumbnail image of it for use in voting!  I look forward to seeing everyones ideas!

Spore: General / Funny Sun and Planet names
« on: September 20, 2008, 05:25:35 pm »
So far the random names have given me a few gems :)

Hoticy and Jesus the Suns

I thought a list of funny named things could be fun :) anyone care to add?

Spore: General / Reproducable Bugs - Info for Maxis
« on: September 13, 2008, 02:11:20 pm »
I thought for people with experience beta testing a thread for maxis on bugs you've been able to reproduce and understand could be helpful for them.  This isn't for whining or complaining or just saying it's broken, but for those who can offer insight that can help the developers out.  If this is already out there, woops, my bad.

At the very least I can give Maxis one I found.  Basically, after a couple of friendly music take overs in tribe my cheif will start going into a recursive error animation loop sort of thing and the band will no longer be asked for any music by the other factions, but if I ask him to do something else the error ends, only to begin again if I try to conduct the band.  Sometimes he also suddenly gets two chief sticks instead of one.  I messed with it a bit and I think it might actually be related to the creature's PHYSICAL FORM.  It triggers any time I use it in tribe, but not with other creatures.  I think it may have something to do with the four arms, but they also have 2 cell stage parts that may not have been tested as well.  Anyone up for testing the fire fleyers in tribe to see if it hits them too?

Tribal Music Bug Creature Links:
Fire Fleyer:|2262875847%3Asast-500061509916

Other Bugs:
none in thread yet

Spore: General / No Spore yet
« on: September 10, 2008, 01:02:27 pm »
I feel like I'm the only person left on Earth without their copy of Spore, is anyone else still waiting?  Mine should be here any minute, but I feel all alone.

edit:  My dog started barking at the front door, but nothing there *cry*  It says it's on the truck to come to my house, but it's after 4 now!  I am so antsy that I actually... now I must be hearing things, brb.

edit again: yup hearing things... so I actually made two big glass pans of veggitables and herbs from the garden (zucchini,eggplant,tomatos,basil,oraginaw(sp?)) so veggies are set for the next 3 nights dinner.

Spore: General / Going Mad... Java CC demo
« on: September 09, 2008, 11:53:25 am »
So, as I loose my mind waiting for my copy of Spore to come (I think it's going to be late, should have been here today), I run across this on the main spore page.  A CC java demo of the DS Spore game.  If it's old news sorry, but for me, I'm hoping it saves my mind.

edit: Here is my little dude;a7.0.0;b7.-11.0;c5.0.0;d15.0.0;e0.0.0:t3;i28:i6;i34;x34;y25;s99;r76:m1;i38;x-49;y-10;s116;r0:l6;i35;x7;y5;s193;r0:e3;i39;x2;y5;s65;r-7;m38:d6;i67;x1;y-24;s61;r-47:d6;i66;x-14;y-30;s57;r-90:d5;i58;x-8;y0;s130;r-7;m38:d6;i68;x17;y-14;s63;r-11:a1;i37;x-35;y12;s124;r0

Spore: General / Funny theme creators
« on: August 30, 2008, 04:02:39 pm »
I just ran accross one of the best creator theme sets I've seen.

Basically, chemistry alive.  The author gives a short bit of science with each one and despite being simple and maybe a little repetative I think it's a cleaver idea... anyone else got some gem sets?

Spore: General / CC Patch up
« on: August 27, 2008, 10:21:43 am »
The patch for the CC is up for download now:

...sigh* time to make sure everything still animates proper.

edit:  Well, everything looks good for my old stuff, although I don't see a real ovious change right off

Spore: General / server error
« on: August 17, 2008, 10:21:15 am »
Is it just me or is something wrong with the CC server log in?  I keep getting "internal server error" when I try to log in.

Spore: General / Spore Encyclopedia Webpage Updates: new page
« on: August 07, 2008, 10:42:20 am »
9/7/08:  Happy Spore in USA day.  I have another two days to wait, but I did add a page to the website.  It's an overview of the game written in news article style (more or less)
8/24/08:  Okay I added Parkaboy's blog to my links today and I think I found a work around to the broken link issue, which means the site should be working again.
8/13/08:  Okay, the badges page is up.  Here is a quick link.  Sorry, still no progress in figuring out what is up with the page loading with links holding extra letters :P  (see below or my homepage for info on overcoming it manually)
8/12/08:  Okay, still no sign of my original thread so I'm going to use this one now.  Anyhow, sorry for the long wait, but the main space stage page is now up on my website.  I'd also like to give a breif warning about a bug going on at geocities.  Sometimes the links insert an extra i or t in the "/whitegem/" part of my url resulting in a missing page error.  Just remove the extra letter and hit enter to get to the real page.  I do not know why this is happening and it's not in the actual html code until the page is loaded, so there is nothing I can do about it.  If anyone has any ideas or further troubles let me know.
quick jump to new page
I'm not sure where my info website thread got to, but I thought I'd let you all know I will have the space stage area up soon.  I had to house sit last week and I also found a litter of feral kittens in my garage that had to be taken care of.  The mother is getting spayed and the babies are in my bedroom right now.  I just need to find my word file and convert it into html format to get it up.

Spore: General / For the love of Norns
« on: July 16, 2008, 03:22:30 pm »
Okay, so the first real science type game about life and evolution that let users make new content was a series of games called "Creatures".  It was founded by Cyberlife and eventually branched off into it's own company, Creatures Labs.  I have seen a few people reference it and was making some remakes of it's characters for spore when I got to wondering how much of the old creatures community has joined the spore community.  It seems like the games have a lot in common even if spore lacks the same level of AI.

I has come to my attention that while my original thread works great for my theme sets, it doesn't really give me a good place to list my more spontaneous creations without them getting lost or having me have to hide the update about the 10 new horses to announce a single other creature.  As such, I have decided to make a second thread for more fun and intermittent creatures.  It will also be a place where people can check up on sets in the making before I release the full polished theme in the other thread.  It should also make it a lot easier to find the creatures you want.  Also, if you have a request, at any time feel free to post it here and I'll see what I can do :)  I love a good challenge.
Theme Sets:  My most polished work can be viewed in fully rendered form on my Creature sets thread.

Tips and tricks:  I include artist notes with tips and tricks on how I pulled off what I made during each theme set.  You will want to go to that thread for such information.
I also have a thread that is intended for everyone to share tips and tricks. It opens with a basic overview of the most common advanced features used in the CC.  Great for beginners and really anyone.

My Sporepedia username is: Darcie
My Sporepedia Profile Page
My Sporepedia Creature List

You can find more information, creatures and game guides at my website:

General Artist Information:
I'm studying game design and have made third party expantions for existing games for over 14 years.  I love lore and mythical creatures and have had a thing for dragons since I was a toddler.  I am focused on quality over quantity and like to make creations others would likely want to use. 

Group Lists
Templata Complex:
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These creatures are best used as starting bases to form your own creatures and feature some trickier body and leg builds.  Some are meant to be picked appart to teach how to make complex structures from simple ones.  If you use one all I ask is that you say at the bottom of the description based on template by Darcie (or in the key words if it won't fit). True templata will be removed from the sporepedia and placed in a zip on my website when SPORE comes out to keep them from going out in sporecasts.  Simple creatures that double as templata will remain.

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Creatures that I make with the intent of them being simple and small for the beginning of the creature phase.  These tend to have good thumbnail pictures because the camera zooms in so close.

Micro - Not Starter:

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Sometimes I like to try and make mini versions of creatures.  If they end up with small stats they go in the starters section, if they end up with fancier stats they go here. These tend to have good thumbnail pictures because the camera zooms in so close.  To date, the gnat is the smallest creature I have made, just look at the babies!

The rest of the groupings are just to help find various critters by recognisable "type"

Food and Object Monsters: 
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Foodiforma is actually a theme set, but sometimes I come up with new ones on the fly.  Until I have enough to release as a new set with a Fancy graphic they get listed here.  Random object creatures will be here too.  Remember, I don't post it unless it animates correctly so you can be sure they will look just as good in motion (often better).

Insects and Arthropods:
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So insects are arthropods, but I figure insect would be more skimmed for.  Anyhow, this is stuff like bug, crabs and spiders etc.

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Based on real life or classic mythical fish or other aquatic animal on some level, is at least moderately complex and medium+ sized.

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Based on real life or classic mythical snakes,lizards,crocs,turtles,salamanders and frogs on some level, is at least moderately complex and medium+ sized.

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Based on real life or classic mythical birds on some level, is at least moderately complex and medium+ sized.

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Based on real life or classic mythical mammals on some level, is at least moderately complex and medium+ sized.

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Based on real life or classic mythical plants on some level, is at least moderately complex and medium+ sized.

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Based on the intellectual work of others, there are purely fan art of these wonderful creations.  I only did the SPORE form, I don't have anything to do with the original creators.

Total Monster:
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Stuff I made up and is just fun.

Robots and Cyborgs
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For steam punk, scifi, futuristic critters.

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Creatures that don't really fit in any of the above categories.

Spore: General / Unofficial compatable video cards
« on: July 04, 2008, 07:50:51 am »
I have to get a new motherboard for my computer and I was wondering if anyone out there happens to have a computer with a GeForce 8200 chip set (also called 730a) because this board looks great, but that chip set is not listed on the SPORE site.  Anyone know if it will work?

Spore: General / info collection:various updates
« on: July 01, 2008, 06:13:41 am »
July 24: Okay, so my big ol' general update is now up for your veiwing pleasure.  A light overhaul on just about everything (data, images, ect) and a major update to the navigation bar.
July 22: Just for members, here is a link to the tools page of the upcoming space section of the site.  Be forwarned, it contains a list of things you can earn in space phase so it's spoiler packed.
July 13:  I got the Civilization pages along far enough to be of use.  I'll probubly end up reorganising it a bit once the game is out to help hold all the data, but it should do for now.
July 8: Filled in some gaps and added pretty pictures to the Cell, Creature and Tribe game play guides.  Also updated part list pictures for Cell and UFO creators (again, yes, this is diff. from before)
Beta versions of the cell, creature and tribe phases up:
The image collection on the space craft editor page has also been expanded.
Cell and Outfit Creator Parts pages are up:
It's storming, I have to run, but the fast update is the beta of the pages on specialty parts is up on the website now.  Please let me know what you think so far.
Here is a shortcut to the newest stuff:

I've been building a large collection of information on the many modes and features of the full spore game.  This information is based on interviews and reviews from 2008, game play videos, screen shots and left over bits of code in the creature creator (and lining them up to extract further information).  It's basically enough to give details on the mechanics of the whole game.  Now, I have been building this into a website, but my question is... if I do this (and it's a rather huge task) will it be something people will honestly want to see or not?  It's basically easy access spoiler data as well as a guide to how to navigate the game and use various editors.  It won't really be exactly new information, but most definitely more accessable information as most of the data I have is pretty well hidden and overlooked (I have yet to see anyone else announce much of it, even though it is there, hidden in the raw data). 

Once SPORE is out the images will be updated with my own personal screen shots and any missing information filled in.  I'm just asking because I published the rough draft of the creator guide and just realised that basically no one even looked at it.  I've got the new polished section covering Cell, Creature, Building and Vehicle (all 4) creators about 80% done and have only now realised my website is dead (like first time ever in life that has happend on a new one lol).  Soooo, before I spend the next 70 hours building the remainder of the information base and start uploading polished pages I'd like to know if it's worth my time.  Please please please tell me one way or the other as this will very much influence my decision to complete the guide or not.  Also, feel free to demand I finish and publish the full editor guide pages as an example before you make your choice about the whole thing since it is already almost done and it won't kill me to finish, but then again if no one cares at all I do have other things to do.

Spore: General / Feline form
« on: June 23, 2008, 05:54:39 pm »
In my quest to not go insane while waiting for my full CC disk to come I have been making template models of various real animals for when that day finally comes.  Tonight I fineshed up a feline body and moved on to the head only to realise that making one that really looks feline and will animate properly is not so simple.  I've tried all the tricks I can think of and I end up with a dog or bear every time, lol.  I then looked on the sporepedia and didn't see any really feline looking heads at all.  Has anyone been able to pull this off?  Is there the pieces necessary to build one in the full CC?  At this rate I'm going to have to try and sculpt with boney knee pads or something.

Spore: Sporepedia Exchange / Creature Creator Tips and Tricks
« on: June 23, 2008, 01:36:01 pm »
Advance Spore Creature Creator Tips and Tricks

These articles are intended to help everyone get the most out of there creature creator.  If you have your own tips please share them here or link to the thread that contains them.  It is my hope that everyone can gain a little something from reading these pages, including those who contribute to them.  Happy creature creating everyone.

Before reading these articles it's best to play around with the creature creator on your own a bit to get a feel for how it works overall. 

1. Building a better body, by Darcie Clements
   Basics to know:
A)   Each time you press the new project button a different random body will appear.  They are only starter shapes and any can be made into any other if you should want to do so.
B)   Clicking on the body will select it and reveal the spine.  One side of the spine is fatter than the other.
C)   You can drag the body as a whole on the screen by grabbing it's belly, that's the fatter side of the spine.   
D)   Grabbing the arrows at the end of the spine will let you remove vertebra down to two or add them up to 20.
E)   Grabbing a specific vertebra lets you flex the spine at that point.
F)   Holding the mouse over a spine segment targets it for resizing with the mouse wheel or arrow keys.
G)   Each spine segment represents one link in a chain of spheres that make up the body.

   Simple Tips:

A)   You can change which side of the spine is fat by flipping it over.  It will still work just fine.
B)   If you are not sure which end of your creature is the front you can find an arrow on one side of the platform that points forward (Tip by Oviraptor).  Any time you are doing fancy things with your creatures body be sure to do this so you don't end up having to swap all the parts at the end.
C)   Shrinking the spine down to it's smallest diameter can make it easier to flex and shape into the ideal position. Then be sure you adjust your spine as you fatten each node to keep the form you originally intended.
D)   Changing the size of vertebrae can change the flexibility and shape of the spine, use this to your advantage.  Make segments oversized to smooth out kinks that may have formed during early shaping. 
E)   Kinks at the ends of the spine are best fixed early by dragging the last segments up and down repeatedly.
F)   When you get a spine shape that you really like and was hard to produce save it under it's own name in case you want to use it again.

   Advanced Techniques:
A)   When you resize one spine segment the two to either side also resize but at a much slower rate.  Alternate between shrinking them and increasing the size of the center segment to create sharp constrictions around a perfect sphere.
B)   Small spine constrictions can be hidden in the bulk of larger nearby segments.  They can add flexibility to a section of spine without changing it's final appearance.
C)   When possible try to hide a constricted vertebra segment where you want to attach a limb, this will result in the limb being held closer to the body.  If you decide it doesn't need to be close to the body enlarging the constriction is easy.
D)   If you start to run out of vertebra you can tack on a chain of limb segments to extend it.  When possible attach these to the rear end to improve the final animations.

2.   Making the most of limbs, By Darcie Clements
   Basics to know:

A)   All arms have the same default grasper/hand on the end.  All legs have the same default foot on the end.  Speed is determined by the foot piece only, not the legs.
B)   Both arm and leg limbs are made of 3 or 4 parts by default.  The first two to three segments are limb pieces and the last is the grasper/hand or foot.
C)   Holding alt lets you drag a copy of the part off.
D)   Holding Ctrl lets you attach a limb segment to a preexisting limb segment to make longer limbs with more joints. You can also grab a limb segment while holding Ctrl to remove it from the next higher (closer to the body) segment.
E)   You can resize each joint of the limb in the same way you change the size on body segments.
F)   Limbs are made up of spheres connected by cylinders or similar shapes.
G)   Feet stay in place when you relocate other parts.

   Simple Tips:
A)   When you move the lowest joint on a limb that is attached to a foot all of the joints except the one anchored to the body move with it.  Remember to line up the location of this bottom joint first and work up the leg when adjusting a creatures stance to save time.
B)   You can convert an arm into a leg by dropping a foot on it or vice versa.
C)   If you want to lower a limb to the ground temporarily drop a foot on it.
D)   Most real world animals have more than two segments in their limbs, try looking at a skeletal picture and adding the necessary segments to make your creatures limbs look more realistic.
E)      Some limbs may let you resize hidden muscle bulge segments between the two main joints.

   Advanced Techniques:
A)   Each type of limb has a different sort of shape extending between the joints.  Expand them to get an idea of the underlying shape.
B)   Each segment of a limb my actually have it's own shape.  Once you learn these shapes break the limbs up with Ctrl and store single segments on part of your creature.  Piece them back together one by one to get the exact muscle structure you wanted.  Sometimes holding the mouse over a muscle bulge and using the wheel lets you resize some of the sculpting, this can help tweak the final product.
C)   If you want a simple ball and strait cylinder limb for use in something like a tail the arm in the upper left corner works in this manner.
D)   Constricting a body segment where you attach a limb can pull it in closer to the body as a whole (See Building a better body - Advanced Techniques)
E)   You can use limb segments to replace spine segments (See Building a better body - Advanced Techniques)
F)   Shrinking limb segments down to their smallest size lets you place them closer to other parts.  Expanding them after placement keeps them in this location but increases there bulk.  Use this to give better form to your creature overall.  If you move them they will relocate out again, just re-shrink, reposition and expand again.  Check animations at the end to make sure they still work well.
G)   To create a pelvis place a single fused joint end in a body constriction and let it split at the second joint.  You will need to use technique F to do this.
H)   To create pecks select a strongly muscled limb segment such as the meakling and use technique F to place the body joints about where the nipples would go, then pull the second joint back to where the shoulders belong.  The rest of the limb should follow, you can use any form you want (see Technique B).  Now expand the joints, you should get pecks and shoulders.  If it doesn't look quite right try adjusting the joint positions and try again.

Self study and trouble shooting, By Darcie Clements

   If you are running out of room on the complexity meter you may want to adjust your techniques and spend a little time in self study.  Try these simple changes and exercises to help you get the most out of your creature parts.

Out of room check list:
A)   Eyes eat a lot of complexity and one centered eye costs as much as two uncentered eyes, if a part doesn't need to be an eye or the extra eye is just that remove it to make room for more important details.
B)   Extra spine segments eat up complexity, replace those 10 vertebra in the tail with 5 segments of limb.
C)   Limb segments are the next biggest complexity hog, remove extra segments you don't really need.  A real pelvis is nice but if you don't have space drop the extra segment and just have the legs attach to the sides of the body.  Ask yourself how many segments you really need to make that tail look OK.
D)   Maybe you can get that detail in with a texture instead of a part, experiment.

Self Study:

   The best creators are the ones that take the time to play with parts.  It may be from fiddling with a pet project for several hours or it may be a focused study.  In the long run, a focused study can help improve quality and save time making it something worth doing.

A)   Play with the spine, a good feel for how it moves and shapes is vital.  Save your favorite forms to detail later.
B)   Place different limbs side by side on a creature, expand and contract their joints to discover a wide array of forms not so obvious from the parts list.  Experiment putting different combinations together to create different types of muscling and overall looks.
C)   Pull out a part and use each of the little arrows to distort it.  Look at the extremes, pull one at a time then mix them up to see a vast number of hidden forms, often unlike the original.  Now go to test drive and look again, they may look or behave differently than you expected.
D)   Rotate and flip parts over to discover the hidden backside or partially divided form.
E)      If click the icons for special skills in the upper right corner to watch some parts animate.
F)   Create a simple creature with a visible body,head, back, legs with feet, arms with grasper's/hands and a limb based tail.  Drop on a few detail pieces if you are curious about how they color.  Now, set each texture to the upper left one to make it blank and start turning them on one at a time to see what sort of detail they lend to each part of the body, you'll find even with the absent upper left texture the color will still come through on specific parts of the body for each layer.  Try using detail layers to cover up parts of patterns produced in other layers and mix and match.

Once you have done these exercises you should be able to maximize your use of the creator.  If you have trouble remembering which part became what morph or similar details write them down or even if you don't have trouble remembering you may want to jot a note in case you find yourself trying to recall it a year later.

Best of luck everyone and have fun.  I look forward to seeing everyone's work and hearing further tips!.

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