Author Topic: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be  (Read 14395 times)

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Offline Borogove

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'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« on: January 21, 2006, 08:01:24 pm »
Well, this is an idea I've had bouncing around in my head for a long time, but this article spurred me to post about it:
http://archive.gamespy.com/gdc2004/challenge/index.shtml

It is basically a quick summary of GDC 2004's Game Design Challenge, where Raph Koster, Warren Spector, and Will Wright presented ideas for a 'love story' game.  Wright presented his idea as a game that happened within another game (he suggested something like Battlefield 1942). 

This got me thinking.

One thing WW seems to be a big proponent of is doing a lot of prototyping for games, and we've also seen that he likes to stretch the limits of a game to allow new sorts of user experiences ("Tony Hawk's Grand Theft Auto 1942" in the GDC2003 speech).
Is he making them the same thing with Spore? 
We already know that Spore consists of tools for editing most things about the world around you - as far as shapes, placement, and space anyway, but suppose it added tools for constructing new behaviors, for setting rules that would allow new behaviors to occur.  If Spore would have revolutionized gaming before...man, just think what it would do then.  For Collateral Romance, for instance, create a new planet, then plop down city A, and city B, drag some sliders for their attitudes, set them to be at war, and hit play on your simulation.  Now  add the civilian players, set objectives for them, and take control of one to play along.

I am wondering if Spore might function as a platform for rapid prototyping games and doing other experimenting with dynamics.

Way back in the younger days of the forum, Jaleho began a long discussion which went along similar lines...but I think I failed to grasp what he was suggesting at the time.  Spore as a platform for developing games...not by game developers, but by the gamers themselves(or were you?  Feel free to correct me, Jaleho.  In fact, please do.  I greatly enjoyed the last discussion).

I doubt that Spore is going to turn out to be quite the game-experimentation toy I'm talking about...but someday there will be one.  And I can't wait. (No, seriously.  I can't.  I'm actually working on my own feeble attempt at making one).

I tried to both keep it short and convey the message. 
Anyway, I would very much like to hear other people's thoughts on the matter.


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Offline Golgrig

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2006, 08:17:41 pm »
heres some of the views on spores potential along the same lines. Spore Engine 2.0 and the precursor The Potential of Spore
thebasic thing for me is that spore could allow new games to be made both quickly and easily.

great enthusiasm
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Offline 7LES

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2006, 08:18:46 pm »
that would be so awsome if you could do that like there is the evolution game in spore and a prototyping one.

Offline Eagleon

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2006, 09:04:35 pm »
I tend to try and do this with lots of games, regardless of the intentions of the developer. For instance, in Unreal I had great fun setting up little arena fights using the cheats. The ability to freeze time helped with this, and I missed it in a lot of other games. The Skaarj warriors and the giant flies were in particular a lot of fun to play around with, because they had great animations, or so I recall.
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Offline happydan20

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2006, 09:15:43 pm »
what is a game really? at its base its a graphical simulation (sometimes not even that) with a set of rules and objectives underneath.  I just think about the amazing things people have done with mods for games, to make new games...  I am very excited to see what those that know how to do such things do with spore....  perhaps it really will be a platform for game development the likes of which no mod community has ever been given.

one can dream:)
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Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2006, 02:44:59 am »
Has anyone else noticed that all three guys doing that contest have an identical facial hair/glasses configuration? :P
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Hydromancerx

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2006, 03:19:23 am »
Has anyone else noticed that all three guys doing that contest have an identical facial hair/glasses configuration? :P

OMG they are clones!! Will Wright is acually a clone!! Er.... wait or maybe they are clones of Will!!!  :o

Offline Golgrig

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2006, 03:46:47 am »
Golgrig
(hissing sharply)
Stay on topic you or I'll put the #$%^ing leeches on you.
Golgrig turns back to Krakow Sam  - smiles reassuringly.

(Golgrig's thoughts)
How long could we maintain, I wondered.  How long before one of us starts raving and jabbering in this post?  What will he think then?  This same lonely post was the last known home of spore fans.
Would he make that grim connection when Hydromancerx starts screaming about spore and huge Will wrights coming down on the post?

Golgrig posts (intermittently - sometimes in sync with his thoughts, sometimes not.)
(Golgrig's thoughts) If so - well, we'll just have to cut his head off and bury him somewhere.  Because it goes without saying that we can't turn him loose. he'd report us at once to GamingSteve, and he'dl run us down like dogs...
Golgrig (out loud to himself) Jesus!  Did I say that?
(Golgrig's thoughts) Or just think it?  Was I talking Did they hear me?

Hydromancerx (reassures Krakow Sam )
It's okay.  He's admiring the shape of your skull.


but as for the real topic i have said it before but i still think this game could be the unreal engine for next gen genera games

allowing fast design
« Last Edit: January 22, 2006, 04:36:19 am by golgrig »
"6.4 Um's per minute" or "The Speed of Wright

An adventurer in the land of who gives a ****

The idea is to mix one ingredient that will burn very fast with a second ingredient that will supply enough oxygen for that burning. This burns so fast, it's an explosion.

Offline Wahh

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2006, 04:52:37 am »
That was pretty funny Golgrig, but seriously, get help  :-\  :D  I can definitlely understand where you're coming Borogrove, and I like the idea of both gamers and game developers trying out new ideas on the Spore engine.  How many mods have players made of FPS like Doom and Quake?  Now just think about what can happen if the game itself is really modular in terms of content (ie, the engine will figure out all the mods for you, you just need to stick them in) and actually part of the game is modding in a way.  (side note, I hope you can export your creature onto your computer.  That way I can make a file with all my favorite creatures in it and share it how I will.  If everybody loves sharing creatures, how about full, balanced environments of many creatures that fit with each other.  It's like the difference between having one Magic card you like to trade or a full deck, side note over.)  The game designers themselves can also use Spore by having a peak under the hood--modifying the physics, changing the algorithims for creature movement and environment creation, learning how the software communicates with the server, etc.  It sounds just like an old car--you can make a million tweaks under the hood, each one possibly making it better.


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Offline Golgrig

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2006, 05:32:30 am »
Clap... Clap...  Clap...  Clap...  (builds to a roar)

By George you've got it

Golgrig: We interrupt this post to annoy you and make things generally irritating!

Golgrig : Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Spore forum here at Gaming Steve's. My name is Golgrig and I'm your host for tonight. You know, once in a while it is my pleasure, and my privilege, to welcome here at the Spore forum, some of the truly great international artists of our time. And tonight we have one such artist. Ladies and gentlemen, someone whom I've always personally admired, perhaps more deeply, more strongly, more abjectly than ever before. A man... well, more than a man, a god, a great god, whose personality is so totally and utterly wonderful my feeble words of welcome sound wretchedly and pathetically inadequate. Someone whose boots I would gladly lick clean until holes wore through my tongue, a man who is so totally and utterly wonderful, that I would rather be sealed in a pit of my own filth than dare tread on the same stage with him! Ladies and gentlemen... the incomparably superior human being, Will Wright!
GamingSteve : [from PM] He can't come!
Golgrig: Never mind, he's not all he's cracked up to be.

And now for something completely different!

Golgrig: where have you been?
Hydromancerx: I just spent four hours burying the cat.
Golgrig: *Four hours* to bury a cat?
Hydromancerx: Yes - it wouldn't keep still.

And now for something completly diferent... Gaming Steve!

Gaming Steve: Well last week, we showed you how to become a gaming journalist. And this week on "How to Do It" we're going to show you how to play an FPS, how to split an atom, how to construct a box girder bridge, how to irrigate the Sahara Desert and make vast new areas of land cultivatable, but first, here's Will Wright to tell you all how to make the world a better place through gaming.
Will: Hello, Gaming Steve.
Gaming Steve: Hello, Will.
Will: Well, first of all, become a Game Designer and create a marvelous gaming engine, and then, when the gaming world really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there'll never be any boredom ever again.
Gaming Steve: Thanks, Will, great idea. How to play an FPS.
[produces a typical FPS]
Gaming Steve: Well here we are. You blow this up and you move your character shoot enemies here and there.
Wahh: Great, great, Steve. Well, next week we'll be showing you how black and white people can live together in peace and harmony, and Steve will be over in Microsoft showing us how to reconcile Windows and Linux. So until next week, cheerio!




what possible use could a revolutionary game engine have to developers focusing on content lets here some ideas. personally i think that spore could be as much as a benefit to the Simulation/ RTS genera as the unreal engine is for FPS.

Golgrig : Ah, I'm afraid we'll have to stop the post there, as some of the ideas which followed were of a violent nature which may have proved distressing to some of our viewers. Though, not to me, I can tell you.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2006, 06:06:34 am by golgrig »
"6.4 Um's per minute" or "The Speed of Wright

An adventurer in the land of who gives a ****

The idea is to mix one ingredient that will burn very fast with a second ingredient that will supply enough oxygen for that burning. This burns so fast, it's an explosion.

Offline Wahh

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2006, 06:01:04 am »
I just read the article.  Way to go WW, that was hilarious!

I do have to agree with you though, the love genre sucks.


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Offline Jaleho

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2006, 09:50:52 am »
Way back in the younger days of the forum, Jaleho began a long discussion which went along similar lines...but I think I failed to grasp what he was suggesting at the time.  Spore as a platform for developing games...not by game developers, but by the gamers themselves(or were you?  Feel free to correct me, Jaleho.  In fact, please do.  I greatly enjoyed the last discussion).

I've taken to splitting up my view of Spore into two parts, combined into a third which can greow into something greater than the sum of the other two parts:

First, you have the "SporeEngine", the tool, which utilizes procedural methods, total customizability, content seeding, ranked content, physics, and all that jazz.

Then you have "SimSpore" the game, in which you raise a being from cell, to animal, to tribe, to civilization, and into space.

My idea is that the SporeEngine could be used to create a massive world-spanning online game world -- let's call it the "SporeServer". It could be accessed through a console, a PC, whatever. This server could have asynchronous capabilities, or an option to be truly multiplayer. You would log onto this server, and once logged in, play a game. One of the games that utilizes this server would be the good ol "SimSpore" game we're all looking forward to. (In a way, this is already what is in the works).


Now here's what I was (and still am) advocating...


Take any game... ANY game... and I say it could be included into this "SporeServer".

If you wanted to play "SimSpore", you do so. Log in, click "Spore", and play as normal.

But what if you wanted to play, say... Medal of Honor: European Assault (I'm only chosing that game because we deathmatch it at work in the afternoons)?

Simple - you log on, click on "Medal of Honor: European Assault" and play THAT game... BUT it is *LINKED* to "SimSpore" through the "SporeServer."

"What is the point of all that?" you may be asking.

The point is, you end up with an experience that benefits four groups of people:

1. Spore players
2. Spore developers
3. Medal of Honor players
4. Medal of Honor developers

How does this "linking" benefits all four groups?:

1. Spore players

Spore, to our knowledge so far, doesn't seem to have any first-person gameplay. Past the creature stage, the player is essentially playing the role of an "overseer", managing the civilization as a whole. This limits the experiences, in my opinion. I created this world, now I want to see it from the eyes of someone who lives there - exploring the city, piloting those vehicles, taking on enemies in hand to hand combat. In this Server concept, now you could. If you simply want to create vehicles and send them into battle, fine. The game plays normally. But if you want to get into the driver's seat yourself... click a button, and suddenly, you're there. You are the willosaur armed with a tail rifle, running out onto the battlefield. Your civ continues to run in the background like it always did, but now you are engaged in a "mini-game" of sorts, where you have ammo, maps that are procedurally generated based on the buildings in your city or the city of the neighboring civ you're invading, enemies with AI to pick off, or teammates (through AI or other players on the server) to help out. And when the battle is over, you go back to design new building to replace those that were destroyed, or vehicles for future battles, just like Spore already intends to.

And for those who aren't interested in FPS gameplay, it just so happens that somewhere in their galaxy is a blue-green world, on which bipedal primates are currently engaged in a massive world war, in which you can chose to observe or interfere. New technology and people to beam up and run off with, if so desired, or chose a side and bring ufo invasion into WWII!

2. Spore developers

Guess what? By having another developer add their game to your server, you just gained all that FPS functionality without having to program it yourself! Your players just got a massive boost to their gameplay, and it didn't require any work on your part after creating the initial SporeServer app!

3. Medal of Honor players

You're busy blasting german soldiers. While stopping to rest, you look up into the night sky. All those twinkling lights, so far away from the horrors of war going on around you. Sure, they may just be decoration in the background, but suddenly, they've just made your experience a whole lot richer.

Now, I'm not talking about aliens invading WWII if you don't want that. Players of MoH will get a ton of enhancement through this "Server" without any sight of three legged critters or spaceships. The game can run and function almost exactly like the good old FPS they're used to. So what are they gaining? User customizable content.

In the GDC video, Will starts out talking about the mood he was getting from the conference -- next gen games would require more content, and artists to make it, and money to pay them. A big part of his presentation was "it doesn't have to be that way."

How many different character models are there to chose from in Medal of Honor: European Assault -- eight? Ten? How many guns - about the same? Maps? As you can see, a very small amount of content costs a lot to make. Why not let players create it?

If a player were to log on to SporeServer, and click on MoH, perhaps their menu now comes with a couple new options - "browse new content" and "create content". In the "create" option, they would now be able to create new buildings, and obstacles, and plants, and trees, and maps, and textures, and weapons, and missions, and player models, and who knows what else. In "browse", they could instantly scan an online database of all this, review it, vote on it, see how popular it is, how high quality it is, how challenging it is, how historically accurate it is... suddenly now, you have online players trying to create more and better wwii game elements all on their own for free. If the game never runs out of maps, players will pay it even longer.

And all this content would be available cross-game as well - if you wanted your spore civilization to use german panzers in battle, you buy one from the shopping list. If you want to fight on normandy using laser cannons and aquatic fish-soldiers, you simply toggle that option. Historical accuracy for those who want it, traditional FPS gameplay, and now, all the customization you might want.

4. Medal of Honor developers

Are you kidding? Your players are making the maps and models FOR you! That has GOT to save a ton in your budget! Put it into adding new elements in the program - reaction to limb injuries, armor protection, AI teammates, abilities to climb ladders or dig into the snow or roll while lying down or use chewing gum to attach a small mirror onto your bayonette to peek around corners, or vehicle piloting, or whatever! Get interns or beta-testers to create your initial content for free, then let the community expand it! Start simulating other campaigns in the same game -- or other wars! Let your programmers figure out new camera filters or rendering processes!


I think I could make this arguement for ANY game. And every time a game is added, it adds to all other games and benefits from them as well - throw something like animal crossing into the mix -- spore players can now take their creatures and have them collect their own breeds of local insects or fish, or dig up the fossils of the creatures they evolved from. Medal of Honor players can write to and receive letters from their family back home, or spruce up their customizable barracks to help distract them from the horrors of war. Animal Crossing players could now play a city-wide game of FPS paintball with their fellow towsfolk, or have more control over what their house looks like, make their own custom furniture, import non-earth animals as citizens... who knows!

The possibilities are endless. The only drawback I see is that competition will be difficult to work with - why would anyone buy your WWII FPS if there is already a better one on SporeServer? Which just begs the question, why do people do it now? How can a hundred FPS all compete on the market if they're all the same thing? If the only reason you stop playing one game and pick up a nearly identical one is because it has a new story, new maps, new graphics... SPore is already proving that is going to be a thing of the past with customizable content. Developers will be forced to focus on making better tools, better abilities, better application... rahter than "look! our zombies have TWICE the blood!" or "our guns glow PURPLE!"


Any thoughts?

Offline Jaleho

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2006, 10:06:48 am »
How many mods have players made of FPS like Doom and Quake?

And don't forget, those required external programs that are sometimes hard to use. Imagine putting the character model builder or the map creature RIGHT IN THE GAME, and even include a tutorial of sorts on how to use them (like Spore is - the tutorial before the sandbox). Image how many MORE mods would be available for those games. And with a ranking system, you could filter through the best ones.

That's why seperating Spore the "goo-to-god space game" and Spore the "procedural methods, user-created content tool" into two is so effective. Like Steve said in one of the podcasts, basically "it doesn't matter whether Spore succeeds or flops - it's going to forever and completely change the entire game industry".

Spore "The Game" is just another game (although a cool, extensively huge one). Spore "The Tool" will redefine how every game of the future is developed.

Offline Wahh

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2006, 10:34:32 am »
I believe I had mentioned the fact that the "modder" on Spore is built in, and, like you said, that makes it far easier to generate content.  The portal of yours, Jahelo, is a brilliant idea because it frees gaming companies from the "content war," but do you really think that the legal ramifications could be worked out.  Just thinking of the power EA would have over the gaming industry if they owned the "central server" gives me nightmares.  What makes you think that gaming companies are willing to give up some rights and money from their game just to get it linked to an EA server?  And then there's the question of who owns what and for how long.  It's a brilliant idea, Jahelo, but the practical hurdles are just too huge.  Maybe in a decade, minimum.

Sorry to crush your dream, Jahelo, but us pragmatists have to live too you know  ;)


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Offline Jaleho

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Re: 'Collateral Romance', prototyping, what Spore might really be
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2006, 10:50:30 am »
Just thinking of the power EA would have over the gaming industry if they owned the "central server" gives me nightmares.  What makes you think that gaming companies are willing to give up some rights and money from their game just to get it linked to an EA server?

Who said it had to be EA? :) Actually, you may have solved my question of competition -- there's no reason there has to be ONE SporeServer -- any other developer out there is free to create their own multi-game in this same format. You really think that once Spore comes out, some other competitior won't be taking the time and money to clone the concept? Or maybe even improve on it?

My thought is that this becomes the next stage in game development - EA produces their own mega-server (SporeServer), through which all their games can be linked, content-wise. As a competitor, why would anyone buy YOUR FPS? Simple - you make YOUR server. Put YOUR games into it. Now, you are fighting to get developers to add to your collection of inter-connected titles.

"Hmm... SporeServer has The Sims and Madden... but MicroServer has Halo and Oddworld..."

It wouldn't be that different between picking your favorite console system - maybe you own only one, and buy the games individually... or maybe you own multiple systems and can pick from multiple games.

The difference is, when you buy one xbox game, you don't get all the content from every xbox game. In this, you would - not all the gameplay, but all the content. Wouldn't that make the product line even more valuable?

I don't know all the details of the game industry business, but there's bound to be a way to do it, to share content and still have income and competition