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Post from Will Wright Regarding Cute vs. Science  XML
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SporeMasterNumerator


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http://forum.spore.com/jforum/posts/list/210/8555.page#137577

MaxisWill wrote:I’ve just recently tuned into this thread on the forums. I usually try to keep more up to date but I’ve been traveling way too much lately. Wow, there’s some rather intense discussion here I see about the design decisions we made in Spore. I think it’s really important for me to jump in and clarify a few things from my point of view.

First let me say a few things about the “Cute” vs. “Science” perspectives in Spore. It is true that during most of the design process we had team members on different sides of this debate. While I was officially on the science side at the same time I always saw this as a crucial tension that I wanted to foster, in other words I didn’t want the science side to win, I wanted to make sure both sides were represented in the game to some degree.

Two of the Chris’ on our team (Chris Trottier and Chris Hecker) were the most vocal representatives of what I started calling the cute team but they were by no means the only ones, they represented quite a large portion of the team. And their agenda in our design process was most certainly not to dumb-down the gameplay but rather to foster emotional engagement with the players in the game experience. An early example of this was the decision to add eyes to the cell game which in no way changed the gameplay, but we found for certain players made the cell experience more humorous and personal.

I see that many of the criticisms about the depth of play in Spore seem to be personally directed to Chris Hecker in particular. This is both ironic and incorrect. Chris was the leading talent behind the voodoo math of the procedural animation system in Spore, the system that brings the creatures you design to life. As the author of this system Chris was quite aware of how flexible and also how unpredictable it could be. I had many discussions with him in particular about how much of the players design decisions would affect the actual performance of your creature in the game world.

To take a quick tangent let me use the creature design vs. performance as an example. We had competing issues to face. First, we wanted the creature’s design to impact its in-game performance. Second, we wanted the economics of the editor to be simple and understandable and connected to performance. Third, we wanted a high amount of aesthetic diversity. We didn’t want there to be one ultimate design direction that the simulator was forcing all the creatures into. In other words if to be fast you had to have long legs that would have met the first goal, conflicted with the third goal and made the second much more complex.

As the lead designer my goal through most of the project was to make sure the gameplay didn’t end up too complex, which resulted in simplifying many of the level dynamics and editor consequences. I felt like we were already asking quite a bit from the players as we took them through the various level genres. This was totally my judgment call and not even part of the agenda of the “cute” team, and certainly not the fault of Chris Hecker. So to make a long story short I’m the one to be blamed for any faults in the gameplay, that’s my job on the team.

Chris is one of the most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with in the game industry and he takes his craft quite seriously. So it’s been very disturbing for me to read how he has been unfairly vilified for what were in fact entirely my design decisions.

A genre-spanning game like Spore is almost by its very nature experimental. Not only do we not have an existing game to learn design lessons from, we also don’t initially know what the demographic of our players will be (and hence their expectations for complexity and depth). As we move forward with the franchise we plan to listen closely and learn. Our plans for the first Spore expansions are already revolving heavily around what we’re hearing from our players so far.

I want to personally thank everyone who’s playing Spore, especially for the countless, wonderful creations that have been posted to Sporepedia. And I also want to give thanks and encouragement for the discussions here on our forum that will help us make Spore a cooler experience for everyone.

-Will Wright

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 11/22/2008 01:51:19

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Rex199


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Wow, this is quite the heart-felt letter, I will say, well done. And that to people who criticize him as saying this is a lie by EA, screw you.

-rex

Formerly known as Ring Master Zee.


"Those who don't learn from the past, are doomed to repeat it."
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deity


Multicellular

Joined: 09/15/2008 19:27:05
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More stickies, why more stickies? WHY MORE STICKIES, I CANT TAKE THOSE GODAMN STICKIES ANYMORE, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Sorry about that, just had to let it out.



Ccurving wrote:
The CC was ten bucks. Extra crap FOR the CC is $20.
The game was $50. Extra crap FOR the game will be...$100?
Esch_


Microbe

Joined: 09/12/2008 14:36:26
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Thank you for this post, it's great to finally hear from Will on stuff. What I REALLY hope (that wasn't really mentioned in his post) is that since he says he's listening to the people playing the game that he would introduce more complexity into it because clearly that's what everyone wants. Whether this is covered in future expansions or what not is unknown, but I think everyone can agree that on the scales of Cute vs Science, Cute won, and I would love to see more Science thrown in to make the rest of us happy.
Falras


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Woah, Will actually posted here?!

That's awesome, and much a relief. Hopefully this shall put an end to the random rants for a bit.




Turenos refuses to leave my signature.

http://www.spore.com/view/myspore/Falras
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Ryuujin


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Indeed, I think he's done quite the leaderly thing of coming forward and taking responsibility (Being a leader isn't about taking the credit but also taking the blame too).

Still leaves a lot of big questions about why exactly it got as dumbed down as seriously as it did and diverged so far from the original vision Will put forward to us (Or even will's past titles like SimCity and SimEarth); but, I guess that'll be next on everyone's agenda seeing they've lost their scapegoat and they still object to the over-simplification ofthe gameplay.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 11/04/2008 21:47:24

Moach


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Thank YOU, Will!


thanks for clarifying the Chris Hecker deal... i´m sure that many people now will feel a bit sorry for pointing all those angry fingers...


it always great to know that you´re listening! this post comes as a breath of fresh air in these forums so heated by many debates...


thanks for a wonderful game! we love it! if we didn´t we woldn´t come here and argue about how it could be better.. hehe...

Cheers!

Moach

"just want one thing, just to play a sim,
but that castle crumbled and we´re left with just a game...
where´s our Spore, Sim-Nothing?!"


if you think Spore could be much better, support the CAMPAIGN TO MAKE SPORE BETTER!
an open compilation of player´s suggestions to make Spore as great as it can be with a Spore SuperPack!
deity


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Falras wrote:Woah, Will actually posted here?!

That's awesome, and much a relief. Hopefully this shall put an end to the random rants for a bit.



And his post makes your signature wrong.



Ccurving wrote:
The CC was ten bucks. Extra crap FOR the CC is $20.
The game was $50. Extra crap FOR the game will be...$100?
MinionJoe


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Joined: 09/19/2008 22:59:19
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Moach wrote:i´m sure that many people now will feel a bit sorry for pointing all those angry fingers...


Actually, I do. Yes.

And it's difficult to point an angry finger at the man who stood up, took responsibility, and defended his team.


Times MinionJoe Has Been Banned: 5 Times MinionJoe's Opinion Has Changed: 0
YourSavior


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Having been sucked into the rumors of Chris Hecker simplifying the game, I'd like to apologize for blindly following baseless skepticism. I know no-one from the Spore team will probably read this, but I feel awful for having blamed Chris for many of the in-game decisions I don't agree with.

That said, my view of Spore has not changed, and I still feel a great deal of potential was not harnessed, but my respect for the team that has developed this game has grown. I know, had I been in the same situation as you folks at Maxis, I wouldn't have had the will to come out to the public and admit all of the faults I'd committed, so I congratulate not only Mr. Wright but the entire Spore team at Maxis for taking another step towards fixing Spore.

Falras


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deity wrote:
Falras wrote:Woah, Will actually posted here?!

That's awesome, and much a relief. Hopefully this shall put an end to the random rants for a bit.



And his post makes your signature wrong.


Which is why i'm looking for a way to cross out that instead of deleting it.



Turenos refuses to leave my signature.

http://www.spore.com/view/myspore/Falras
^My profile, in case anyone wants to see my stuff.
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LightWarriorK


Microbe

Joined: 09/14/2008 23:58:53
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Thanks for posting this Will, and thanks SMN for giving it it's own thread. It's nice to hear something so frank instead of the corporate platitudes we typically get (ATTN: EA).

Midnight211


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Falras wrote:
deity wrote:
Falras wrote:Woah, Will actually posted here?!

That's awesome, and much a relief. Hopefully this shall put an end to the random rants for a bit.



And his post makes your signature wrong.


Which is why i'm looking for a way to cross out that instead of deleting it.


LOL! ^ ^ ^
Epic FAIL
Sorry, Couldn't resist.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 11/04/2008 22:05:43


EA, it's quality, not quanity Geez...
Boycott the expansion!

GrandPeep


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Well, My two cent on the matter of avoiding a design bottleneck, I think the game could still use some work. Just slapping a pair legs on your cell at the end (usually you don't have enough complexity to slap on a second)and having parts that are the best, kind of herds me toward humanoidish biped/quadruped(1 pair of arms/1-2 pairs of legs).

SivCorp


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Way to go Will!!!

Now that is how a leader responds! Well written, thought out explanations of where he is coming from. Excellent.
And the whole Hecker debate is simply a point for people to vent. The man is clearly a genus in animation.

Now about those overpriced expansion packs...

 
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