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View Full Version : Some new Spore videos!


AdamHerbert
08-25-2006, 02:42 PM
Here are somenew spore videos on Gamespy. If you saw the Robin Williams video it doesn't show a whole lot of new stuff, but still really cool to see.

Link (http://media.pc.gamespy.com/media/735/735340/vids_1.html)

I personally can't wait for this game. Looks very original and has lots of different gameplay elements to keep you playing again and again.

mccg
08-26-2006, 04:34 PM
Yes, its a cool game.
Just doing some CG in a easy way :) funstuff

DeadlyFreeze
08-26-2006, 05:37 PM
Maxis really needs to get it butt in gear. Considering they debut Spore at E3 2005 and their TBA is 2007 thats not a good sign.

DrFx
08-26-2006, 06:36 PM
All good things to those who wait!
Think of the time it takes for Blizzard to come out with a game, even three years after it's announced! It builds huge hype, it's true, but both Maxis and Blizzard have an excellent track record to back it up! So my (easy) prediction, is that this is gonna sell like hot cakes!

DeadlyFreeze
08-26-2006, 06:54 PM
You mean like starcraft ghost? The truth is the longer games sit in a holding pattern the more likely they are to be axed completely.

DrFx
08-26-2006, 10:11 PM
Wasn't Ghost meant for consoles? If so, it may have been delayed because of the gen transition right now. What I do know is Blizzard take their time to make their games! I think neither Blizzard nor Maxis are like... *cough* ...3d realms...*cough*:sad:

cookepuss
08-26-2006, 10:57 PM
Maxis really needs to get it butt in gear. Considering they debut Spore at E3 2005 and their TBA is 2007 thats not a good sign.
That's an unrealistic of assessment of the situation. A typical game development cycle lasts about 18 months. As the complexity of a game rises so does its production schedule. 24+ months might seem like a lot to a game player, but it's par for the course with a game of this magnitude. I wouldn't read anything into it.

The truth is the longer games sit in a holding pattern the more likely they are to be axed completely.
That's not completely true. It depends on the publisher and the overall market. It depends on what you define as a "holding pattern." The development of Spore has consistently pushed forward. I wouldn't consider it to be in any sort of danger, especially since Will Wright has an impeccable track record when it comes to starting new franchises. There's no way that Maxis would cancel Spore considering how much money the Sims line raked in for them. Wright is a proven money maker. Spore will make back its production budget easily, as Maxis will no doubt sell expansion packs out the wazoo. Let's also keep in mind the mulit-platform angle.

It's not as if we're talking about at a game like Duke Nukem Whenever, which has lingered like a fart in the wind. Now THAT game brings new meaning to the term "holding pattern." Games such as Spore, HL2, and their ilk just take time to incubate.

ScottC
08-27-2006, 12:01 AM
Normally, I dont like to participate in any serious fashion in these sort of "pre-release hype" threads but theres something about Spore and many strategy/sim games in general that bothers me. Namely, why the "cutesy-wootesy" approach to the design?


Theres no denying Spore would be an ambitious game if they manage to pull it off, and it doesnt end up being just more Molyneux-esque over reaching hype in the advance of the actual game. Being able to design and apply a rudimentary animation rig to your own characters in game would be great..except that you seem limited to characters that look like sesame street muppets.


This is not a criticism specific only to Spore. Im a 4x turn based strategy fan, and have been disappointed by the number of otherwise great games apply a similar philosophy to the game and character design. I mean, its sort of a let down when you build a mighty empire by the sword In Civ 4, and rule by fear with an iron fist, only to have your leader avatar look like a friendly bumbling cartoon character in animations and diplomacy screens. But the issue seems to be all the more grating in spore because of the potential it does show. You know going in, that even if its super cool in all these other ways, theres always going to be that disappointing factor.


I mean, who is this for? If you subscribe to the philosophy of "know your audience", and you assume 18-34 yr old males primarily, it seems sort of confusing. If I want to to build a hostile klingon-type lifeform, I want it to look cool, bristling swith teeth, spikes, scales, and glowing eyes, but not in a "cartoony" sense...in a genuiniely intimidating sense. Even if I want to evolve into a benevolent race with superior mental powers, I dont think they need to look like saturday morning cartoon characters.


Ok, so is the philosophy is "18-34" males who types of games like this will appeal to are going to buy it anyways because its new and unique, and the only thing of its kind...lets see if we can keep the audience as broad as possible, making it appeal to girls and small children as well? To which I would say the youngest kids are not going to be into a game of this type with its complex gameplay and 200 page manual, and even young boys (having been one myself) still tend to pursue things that look "kewler", and go out of their way to avoid things that look "kiddie-ish", even more so than adults, who no longer actually being children, sometimes like to indulge in "kid at heart" activities.


Which leaves trying to appeal to girls ("women"). If you really think about it, its sort of insulting that people often equate things that would appeal to small children and things that appeal to women, (like women all suffer from some sort of arrested development, when really, I would apply that generalization much more readily to males). While I know there are some girls out there who enjoy console and computer games as much or more as their male counterparts, and some that even enjoy the largely "geek-centric" strategy genre, I think realistically, this number is always going to be a much smaller proportion to the traditional male audience. And even so, as thinking adults, who enjoy the "role-playing" and "immersion" aspects inherent to strategy/sim games, arent they likely to be just as interested in creating believeable creatures and characters, rather than sesame street?


[Edit] Do I have "The Sims" to blame for this, because its been a mainstream cash-cow, so now everything must be likewise cartoonish? Was the Sims a mainstream cash cow because of its cartoonish and less than serious tone...or was it because of its unique and innovative gameplay DESPITE the cartoonish aspect thats off-putting to a lot of people?[end of edit]


So, in the end, is it worth marring a game for its core audience , in the hopes of ecking out a slim, if any, increase in sales?


Or is it really just a question of technical limitation? Is the concept of the game too ambitious to really support the time and effort it would take to produce refined and highly detailed serious art assets? I mean, its just simply easier to animate and model amorphic "blobs" of charaters with ill-defined features, especially if our ambitious "user created characters" mechanics need very forgiving shapes to work with in regards to rigs and weighting?

In any event, /rant over. It was not my intention to be sexist or discriminatory in any of my above comments. If I have been, I'm sure Ill be corrected ;) and I apologize in advance.

cookepuss
08-27-2006, 12:23 AM
I think that the cutesy graphics are not necessarily there to help it reach a broader appeal. That may also be true, but I don't think that it's the sole motivator. I see a couple of other reasons for their direction.

- Realism is a b***h to mimic. Even when we're dealing with the unreal, that level of detail is simply impossible to pull off a game of this scope.
- More over, as the game is designed to be a giant sandbox of sorts, taking a realistic approach in terms of art direction would be misguided.
- The sim family of games have never been known for their LOTR-level of visuals. They usually serve function over form.
- In that same line of thinking, we're looking at a game with a relatively high level of customizablity. Since modularity is key to Spore's design, the individual components should be as simple as possible.
- Scary is relative. The "scary" user created monsters might look like a joke to horror fanatics, but they might indeed be scary within the context of the game world and the so-called "pansy" races.

As far as potential sales go, I would not call this a bad set of decisions. Remember, this will ultimately go multi-platform. Wright has even stated the possibility of taking it to portables such as the DS or PSP. Dark and gritty is good for the hardcore gamer, but it fails to drag in the casual gamer, especially women. Women generally have different sensibilities. What passes muster in the harcore/geek/fanboy community tends to alienate most (prospective) female gamers. You can't deny its potential appeal to the fairer sex.

Keeping the tone of this game airy will improve sales - more than by a slim margin too. It'll also make it helluva lot easier for expansion packs to be pumped out.

Ask yourself one question. You've played Will Wright's games before. What's his target audience? Everybody - man, woman, & child - from the ages of 8-80. Just look at the Sims.



EDIT>> BTW, I don't think that it's necessarily insulting to women. I do know some women who love gritty games. However, I also know some women who absolutely detest them. Most games are designed by men and for men, sad as it is to say. THAT seems to be a big reason why there are fewer female gamers. (Same with comic books. Designed by men and for men, with so few women in the industry. Hence, the T&A factor in many titles.)

Even more sad is that most games seem to be designed for the proverbial "man child" with his fixation on guns, gore, & breasts. It's like writing the anti-"chick flick". You either wind up with something like "Beerfest" or "Snakes on a Plane." Nothing wrong with that, but you just won't drag in as many butts into the seats. Same with games, at least imo.

ScottC
08-27-2006, 01:24 AM
I'm not sure how we got from a "less cartoonish tone" to "Boobs, Snakes on a Plane, and Beerfest". Those examples strike me as every bit as cartoonish, just at the opposite end of the spectrum. Surely theres some sort of common ground in the middle thats both fun and with humour, but also isn't ashamed to depict and render the subject matter seriously , which is really what I think most people want.

My theory is this. The "cartoonish" and "overwhlmingly airy" tone is something thats happened simultaneously with some great successes, but those succeses were so because of the underlying quality or subject matter, and "in spite of", not "because of" the cartoonish feel. But Games, like Hollywood productions have become so expensive and complicated to produce, people fear varying it all from the succesful "package" that came before.


Was Civ 4 a great success because of the cartoonish characters and the Lion King music, or because it happened to be a great, fun game? Was the Sims popular because it was cartoonish, or because it was the first game of its kind with groundbreaking gameplay, that people were willing to play despite the cartoonishness.



Critics and audiences alike have overwhelmingly applauded Christopher Nolan's taking of the Batman character seriously, rather than making a farce out of it. But the original movies and to a much lesser extent some of the sequels also made money. Was it because of the less than serious tone, or the fact that it was the first big budget depictions of a beloved character, and the beginning of a new big budget genre of films. Each time a new one came out, audiences were hoping this would be the one to do it right and take it seriously, but the films got even farther away from that, each one become progressively more "cartoonish and airy" and the audience got even farther away from the films.


The Pixar CG movies that spawned all the knock-offs . Were they a success because they were CG, cartoonish, and light and airy, or because they were excellently done, and something new? Well, I think we can see now from all the CG toon failures, that it was the latter, and not the former.


People, women, kids, and 18-34 males in general, respond well to things if theyre new and excellently done, DESPITE an airy and cartoonish tone. But even kids, while enjoying humor applied appropriately, want to be able to feel seriously about the things they enjoy.


So somewhere along the line, people have had great success producing some excellent things, that also happened to have a "airy and cartoonish" feel. But develpers and producers are now terrified of trying to do one without the other, even though one is entirely incidental of the other.


And BTW, no, Ive never played a Wil Wright game. I know, I know, I'm poorer for the experience, but the subject matter has always lacked interest for me. I know there are dozens of "kiddie centric" Mario-type games that are excellently designed games, but they hold no interest for me. This is the first time that the subject matter of a Wil Wright game has really spoken to me with its potential, but is off-putting to me at the same time.


While you might understand the reasons for it, and even agree with them, I dont think it can be denied that this game would be better if the presentation and art assets could accomodate either a more serious look, or a cartoonish one at the players preference. I'll most likely buy spore, but it will be in spite of the graphics, and Ill wish the entire time that more people had the balls to take fanciful subject matter in their big budget productions seriously. It didnt seem to hurt LOTR.

cookepuss
08-27-2006, 03:08 AM
I'm not sure how we got from a "less cartoonish tone" to "Boobs, Snakes on a Plane, and Beerfest". Those examples strike me as every bit as cartoonish, just at the opposite end of the spectrum. <snip>
That they do. Some people have a really twisted notion of what "mature" gaming means. (Not you specifically, btw.)

Surely theres some sort of common ground in the middle thats both fun and with humour, but also isn't ashamed to take the subject matter seriously , which is really what I think most people want.
I guess we won't know how seriously Spore takes the subject matter until we actually play it. Even so, "what people want" depends mostly on who you ask. Either way, balance is indeed tricky. Too much in one direction and you'll end up with self-parody. Too much in the other direction & you end up with an EDU-level sim, which would drain the game of any fun. I think that if one is to make a game that is casual gamer friendly then one has to tone down the realism. There's as much validity to the formula one sims as the arcade racers. One just has a different market appeal than the other.

But Games, like Hollywood productions have become so expensive and complicated to produce, people fear varying it all from the succesful "package" that came before.
Very true. Success is a trap. Money is both the bait & the poison.

Was the Sims popular because it was cartoonish, or because it was the first game of its kind with groundbreaking gameplay, that people were willing to play despite the cartoonishness.
I don't know. Some people played it BECAUSE of its cartoon-like world. I know I did. It was a hoot creating a parody of my own family the first time I played through. :) Anyway, some people would argue that the concept behind the Sims wasn't groundbreaking at all and that it was merely a modernization of an old fave - "Little Computer People". That's neither here nor there though. I'm arguing semantics.

Critics and audiences alike have overwhelmingly applauded Christopher Nolan's taking of the Batman character seriously, rather than making a farce out of it.
Yes, it did take the matter more seriously, though it just as equally altered the lore. However, one of the reasons for its success was - to oversimplify - no bat nipples. A lot of critics were mostly happy that it just wasn't a disaster.

But the original movies and to a much lesser extent some of the sequels also made money. Was it because of the less than serious tone, or the fact that it was the first big budget depictions of a beloved character, and the beginning of a new big budget genre of films.
Look to the 70's Superman for that. I think the 1989 Batman was a success because, while the Joker casting was a mess, the film was more or less faithful to the lore. Again, similar to Batman Begins, critics were mostly happy because it wasn't the disaster and campfest of the old Adam West Batman.

Each time a new one came out, audiences were hoping this would be the one to do it right and take it seriously, but the films got even farther away from that, each one become progressively more "cartoonish and airy" and the audience got even farther away from the films.

This whole Batman issue can't be compared to Spore at all. Spore is the first in what will likely be a series. While Wright is drawing inspiration from many things, he's making it all up as he goes along. It's not like he's saying, "We have to put this in because it was in issue #129 of 'Uncanny Spore.'" He's pulling it out of the air. Spore's gameplay is "inspired by" not "based on." Even then, as it's an amalgamation, that classification might not even fit. You can choose to accept the new world he's creating or look for something different. In that regard, Batman & Spore aren't the same deal.

The Pixar CG movies that spawned all the knock-offs . Were they a success because they were CG, cartoonish, and light and airy, or because they were excellently done, and something new?
Both. They're not mutally exclusive. Plus, why a Pixar movie is great depends on who you ask. Ask a little kid and he'll go nuts over the Mike & Dory types and the slapstick. Ask the adults and they'll cite the fear of infidelity subplot in the Incredibles. Ask an artist and he'll say he liked the CG water. ;) Same with games. I agree with you about balance. I don't think that Spore will stray into the realm of self-parody. Maxis & Wright know the difference between taking risks and shooting oneself in the foot.

As far a Pixar movies themselves go, it can even be argued that, from a non-technical pov, that a handful of the pixar movies didn't do anything new at all. For example, "The Incredibles" was a superb technical achievement. However, in terms of story & design, it did borrow liberally from other non-CG sources - some of which did it all better. Similarly, I've often heard Cars cited as a combination of "Doc Hollywood" & that old Tex Avery "One Cab's Family" cartoon. Would either movie be as successful with Hoodwinked level visuals?

That's not to put either movie down. The Incredibles is my all time Pixar fave to be sure. However, Pixar's a special case scenario. They were on the cutting edge of the medium when practically nobody else was doing it. They've got the street cred. Gaming is a bit different. Games have been around for decades. There might have been a time when Atari could do no wrong, but that shine has worn off along with the novelty. CG is getting there. For now, Pixar just wins for being Pixar. The gambler's ruin will come into effect soon enough.

ANYWAY, BACK TO SPORE... ;)

Well, I think we can see now from all the CG toon failures, that it was the latter, and not the former.
Cartoony VS More more depth... Hmmm... I don't think that productions such as Valiant or Shark Tales failed to usurp Pixar flicks because of their more light & cartoony approach. I think that they failed because of poor storytelling. In other words, content killed them. There was breadth, but no depth. There were good scenes, but no tight plot in sight. That remains to be the number one fear with regards to Spore. A lot of previews are still waiting for Wright & Co. to turn all of those training games into a cohesive tour de force. If anything kills Spore it won't be the nature of the content. It'll probably be the cohesion.

Remember, each Spore sub-game might seem as if it lacks depth, which might kill it for you. However, if Maxis can pull all of these elements together then we're looking at a situation of the game being more than a sum of its parts. In that case, depth may be relative to the overall experience. Too much depth in one section and you might as well bog the game down.

(See? I got back on topic. :))

People, women, kids, and 18-34 males in general, respond well to things if theyre new and excellently done,
Explain Hollywood. :)

And BTW, no, Ive never played a Wil Wright game. I know, I know, I'm poorer for the experience,
Ifidel!!! ;) Seriously. Play one of his games. They're kick@$$ game that appreciated as much for their less serious elements as they are their hardcore ones.

but the subject matter has always lacked interest for me.
Then what's your basis for comparison? Sim City was never a true city planning simulator. The Sims wasn't DNA on a disk. They're games. You'll find that their depth only extends so far, as fun is the number one priority. I believe the game you're looking for is "I AM GOD!!!" ;) j/k

I know there are dozens of "kiddie centric" Mario-type games that are excellently designed games, but they hold no interest for me. This is the first time that the subject matter of a Wil Wright game has really spoken to me with its potential, but is off-putting to me at the same time.
Kiddie? Judge not by appearances. Tsk Tsk Tsk....

I feel like an old man by saying this, but when I was a kid in the 80's this whole kiddie thing wasn't even an issue. Shows how much times have changed. Could explain why the market is so stagnant. We're stuck in a limited mindset.

I'll most likely buy spore, but it will be in spite of the graphics,
Don't see how that's an issue. I think procedural content is the way of the future. With people demanding more bang for the buck, this is surely the way to go. Play a 64k demo now and then. Look at how much procedural content they pack in to such a small amount of space. Cuh-razy...

Spore looks to be a wicked cool public experiment, as far a procedurals go. So maybe the procdeural visuals aren't up to your standards now. In a couple of years, you'll be going nuts over Spore 2 or whatever game takes the tech to the next level. Guaranteed.

and Ill wish the entire time that more people had the balls to take fanciful subject matter in their big budget productions seriously.
LOTR took the subject matter seriously, but never at the expense of entertainment value. Where do you draw the line?

Buy the game. You might be pleasantly surprised. Then again, you might be utterly disappointed. You never know unless you try though. Same with those other "kiddie" games.

ScottC
08-27-2006, 03:53 AM
Well, I certainly cant respond to that truly epic degree of dissection and nitpicking of my argument ;) ...


But let me phrase it another way. While you may be perfectly content and anxious to play the game because it looks interesting, or its the next big "hype", or Wil Wrights feces tastes like fruit loops, or whatever reason...

Is there anyone here who really doesnt wish, or think it would be even better if it were more of a "create your own lifeform" game, and less of a "create your own sesame street muppet" game?

As it is right now, its bordering to me as feeling like..."hey...that stuff that theyre doing looks really interesting...Id love to see that apply to a real game that caters to me too. Oh well, maybe next time."


And BTW, you dont have to agree with that last statement to honestly answer the question before it.


And also, to the "You should play a wil wright game just because its an awesome game even if the subject matter/presentation is completely unappealing to you" argument...no. I completely accept that there are "good" games and movies that I will never see or play, simply because I'm not interested in them. Were all things equal, I probably would see/play them just to say I have, but I cant play/buy/watch all the games/movies I actually WANT to. The priority seems clear to me.

Ramseus
08-27-2006, 06:40 AM
Yeesh, I don't think you guys made your posts long enough... Anywho!

Maxis really needs to get it butt in gear. Considering they debut Spore at E3 2005 and their TBA is 2007 thats not a good sign.

IIRC, Wright said that (at least) pre-production of the game began as early as 2000. Just thought you'd like to know :D

ScottC
08-27-2006, 07:20 AM
Yeesh, I don't think you guys made your posts long enough... Anywho!



I think its just indicative of the deadly importance of the subject matter. I mean, Spore is due any year now, and Wil needs to check in with us on how to proceed with his game.

Wait...what...?

BigJay
08-27-2006, 01:23 PM
I remember videos of a alien spearing some lunch, blood spraying and it dragging the bleeding corpse away. Isn't there sex involved when they produce an offspring. I'm sure you could turn it off for kids but it's in there.

Other than the eyes being kind of cartoony since they are seperate orbs that are placed on the body the rest is pretty decent looking. If you took some time to really customized their placement you probably can get your alien looking better.

I am not crazy about cartoony looking games but the potential is well worth the trade ins they needed to make to allow the aliens to be modular.

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