The Sporum - The Official Spore Forum
  [Search] Search   [Recent Topics] Recent Topics   [Hottest Topics] Hottest Topics   [Members]  Member Listing   [Groups] Back to forum index 
[Login] Login 
We Found Who to Tar and Feather!  XML
Forum Index » Spore General Discussion
Author Message
Eekwotsthat


MouthBreather

Joined: 09/14/2008 08:47:42
Messages: 677
Offline

... a real hardcore science would limit the gameplay to much, the 2005 demo was a light playable science version, ok then there's the cute approach which changed that in appearance to start but the biggest mistake was to scratch some of the very basics of gameplay and make it a toy instead of a game. even if spore is supposed to be a sandbox with cute creations you can still do more with a real sandcastle.


So then we need to ask, how much of those changes were

1) Implemented due to playability issues and the goal of the complete project (sharing creations, multiple unified stages)
2) Implemented due to Chris Heckler
3) Implemented due to time constraints
4) Implemented due to EA wanting things in expansions

And before I hear it's 4, Will has said in the latest interview that EA took nothing out. I would imagine that the majority were actually 1 and 3.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 10/30/2008 17:19:22


MaxisLucy


Developer

Joined: 09/12/2008 22:50:24
Messages: 3
Offline

Hi all. I wanted to weigh in on this thread. I appreciate the comments and the open discussion about the game, the look and everyone’s expectations. I think that this type of dialog is a healthy exchange of ideas. We get a lot out of it and I’m not interested in shutting that down. However, I do think that the aspersions toward any individual member of the Spore team are unwarranted and are getting out of hand here. The concept of Spore that Will presented at GDC 2005 was the guidepost for the development and execution of the game. Will very much remained the visionary and design leader throughout the development of Spore. He worked collaboratively with the team when opinions differed but decisions were definitely in his domain.

The cute vs. science debate within the team had more to do with the concept of accessibility, character and aesthetic than it had to do with the underlying gameplay. Some of this was driven by the simple reality of a very unique and rather cutting edge approach to animation. Procedural animation is just one of the incredible contributions that Chris Hecker made to this game. It was a huge area of focused work and learning for us as the animation engineering team developed this system. One thing that we learned is that setting an expectation of very realistic looking animations that, for instance, captured the discrete differences of movement of a cat vs. the movement of a dog would be off target. Moving away from an aesthetic that set such expectations was a well considered decision on our part. I’m personally amazed at what the animation team was able to achieve. Will set a goal for the team that we be able to hit a mark, in terms of creative breadth, that reached from Pixar to Geiger. The aesthetic, physical and placement constraint decisions that we made regarding the Creature Creator were held to our tenets of unconstrained creativity and accessibility for the creators.

Chris contributed so much in the way of innovations for Spore and deserves to be recognized for his work. While we have no interest in stifling conversation on the Sporum about Spore from anyone, I request that people show respect for others and refrain from outright defamation and threats.

Thanks,

Lucy
MinionJoe


Spacefaring Sporeling

Joined: 09/19/2008 22:59:19
Messages: 5991
Offline

Thank you, MaxisLucy. I'll have to digest what you've posted. There's some good things in there and some disappointing things in there.

Though, my initial knee-jerk response was: "MaxisLucy is GOIN' ROGUE!"


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


Microbe

Joined: 10/30/2008 11:23:21
Messages: 3
Offline

Thanks MaxisLucy. That does put things into perspective.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 10/30/2008 17:30:35

AnotherPoster


Multicellular

Joined: 09/28/2008 22:18:31
Messages: 155
Offline

MaxisLucy wrote:Hi all. I wanted to weigh in on this thread. I appreciate the comments and the open discussion about the game, the look and everyone’s expectations. I think that this type of dialog is a healthy exchange of ideas. We get a lot out of it and I’m not interested in shutting that down. However, I do think that the aspersions toward any individual member of the Spore team are unwarranted and are getting out of hand here. The concept of Spore that Will presented at GDC 2005 was the guidepost for the development and execution of the game. Will very much remained the visionary and design leader throughout the development of Spore. He worked collaboratively with the team when opinions differed but decisions were definitely in his domain.

The cute vs. science debate within the team had more to do with the concept of accessibility, character and aesthetic than it had to do with the underlying gameplay. Some of this was driven by the simple reality of a very unique and rather cutting edge approach to animation. Procedural animation is just one of the incredible contributions that Chris Hecker made to this game. It was a huge area of focused work and learning for us as the animation engineering team developed this system. One thing that we learned is that setting an expectation of very realistic looking animations that, for instance, captured the discrete differences of movement of a cat vs. the movement of a dog would be off target. Moving away from an aesthetic that set such expectations was a well considered decision on our part. I’m personally amazed at what the animation team was able to achieve. Will set a goal for the team that we be able to hit a mark, in terms of creative breadth, that reached from Pixar to Geiger. The aesthetic, physical and placement constraint decisions that we made regarding the Creature Creator were held to our tenets of unconstrained creativity and accessibility for the creators.

Chris contributed so much in the way of innovations for Spore and deserves to be recognized for his work. While we have no interest in stifling conversation on the Sporum about Spore from anyone, I request that people show respect for others and refrain from outright defamation and threats.

Thanks,

Lucy


Chris Hecker is on record for saying "Yuck" to a science version of Spore. How are we to interpret that?

The cute vs. science debate within the team had more to do with the concept of accessibility, character and aesthetic than it had to do with the underlying gameplay


So he is responsible for all the overly cute stuff, except for the lack of gameplay?


Procedural animation is just one of the incredible contributions that Chris Hecker made to this game.


The current animation system is nothing more than selecting the closest animation from a set and using that. What part is procedural? Parts selection makes no difference. Sorry, its not procedural. Procedural would be if I put a weapon on the tail and it used that to attack a victim, sorta like the GDC2005 demo.




This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 10/30/2008 17:37:01

tonaros


Microbe

Joined: 10/30/2008 19:14:43
Messages: 1
Offline

This is very upsetting, especially since I don't think now we will ever see Spore as it was meant to be... but it seems to me like ultimately, as a business decision, this probably amounted to greater sales instead of a "cult classic" as I have to assume the true Spore would have been.
igbee


Microbe

Joined: 09/25/2008 02:45:07
Messages: 17
Offline

MaxisLucy wrote:Hi all. I wanted to weigh in on this thread. I appreciate the comments and the open discussion about the game, the look and everyone’s expectations. I think that this type of dialog is a healthy exchange of ideas. We get a lot out of it and I’m not interested in shutting that down. However, I do think that the aspersions toward any individual member of the Spore team are unwarranted and are getting out of hand here. The concept of Spore that Will presented at GDC 2005 was the guidepost for the development and execution of the game. Will very much remained the visionary and design leader throughout the development of Spore. He worked collaboratively with the team when opinions differed but decisions were definitely in his domain.

The cute vs. science debate within the team had more to do with the concept of accessibility, character and aesthetic than it had to do with the underlying gameplay. Some of this was driven by the simple reality of a very unique and rather cutting edge approach to animation. Procedural animation is just one of the incredible contributions that Chris Hecker made to this game. It was a huge area of focused work and learning for us as the animation engineering team developed this system. One thing that we learned is that setting an expectation of very realistic looking animations that, for instance, captured the discrete differences of movement of a cat vs. the movement of a dog would be off target. Moving away from an aesthetic that set such expectations was a well considered decision on our part. I’m personally amazed at what the animation team was able to achieve. Will set a goal for the team that we be able to hit a mark, in terms of creative breadth, that reached from Pixar to Geiger. The aesthetic, physical and placement constraint decisions that we made regarding the Creature Creator were held to our tenets of unconstrained creativity and accessibility for the creators.

Chris contributed so much in the way of innovations for Spore and deserves to be recognized for his work. While we have no interest in stifling conversation on the Sporum about Spore from anyone, I request that people show respect for others and refrain from outright defamation and threats.

Thanks,

Lucy


So the Disney game I purchased was Will's doing? Thank for clearing that up.

I guess some where along the line, the vision of the game changed. The person really to blame, tar, and feather is Will for giving me this trash. Clearly what I have installed on my computer is not what Spore was marketed as all along. I have blamed Will on these forums from the start, thanks for confirming to me that Will screwed the game up.

Igbe
Guineh


Multicellular

Joined: 09/10/2008 13:37:08
Messages: 190
Location:
Somewhere in the Saggitarius Arm

Offline

AnotherPoster wrote:
The current animation system is nothing more than selecting the closest animation from a set and using that. What part is procedural? Parts selection makes no difference. Sorry, its not procedural. Procedural would be if I put a weapon on the tail and it used that to attack a victim, sorta like the GDC2005 demo.


What part is procedural?

Look at how the legs/feet/arms move. It's all procedural. You can have any number of configurations and it just works. The thing is, it works so well that it's virtually transparent to the end user. You don't notice it.

Remember the 2005 demo, while a working version of Spore was cobbled together. Will had to be careful with what he created so he didn't expose the shortcomings of the system while showing the proof of concept to the audience. Yes, some stuff was inevitably dropped because they couldn't get it to work properly in all situations. Maybe as PC's get more parallel, and they have time to reexamine the problem we'll get the sort of thing you're discussing here in a later version of the engine. It is not an easy problem to say, "I have a tail here ... it has a spitting implement on it, lets see, if I just turn around, I can spray my opponent with poison" Instead, the program really has to look at all possibilities of path between the target and the weapon, to determine how best to animate it. In some cases, this would work flawlessly (the maceball on the end of Willosaur's tail) other times, no so due to the anatomy of the creature. More than likely it got dropped for technical reasons. So, they simplified how weapons would work.

Also remember one requirement was that this game work on as many PCs as possible, which meant that if something were to be too CPU heavy, it would need to be dropped to keep the game running reasonably on a lower-end system.

(edit) As an aside, I don't necessarily mind the "cute" motif as the game is. Though the cute side of the cute and creepy pack may be a bit teeth-rottingly cute for my taste.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 10/30/2008 20:45:07


"We come in peace! Shoot to Kill"
Virakotxa


Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 09/15/2008 22:14:11
Messages: 1276
Location:
Year 3? "after Will"...

Offline

Yep, same goes for me... Never bought the Chris Hecker scapegoat.

You know MaxisLucky, this thing you've just posted, if not what we "ultimatly" would like to hear, is more or less a response on all the things we've been raging about. It's appreciated. What took you people so long? Many have left, already... You lost them as consummers, supporters and earnt lots of enemies just by your inaction.

The thing is... we would not like to hear what you had to say. As this goes.

Animation is fine... a great success of the editors, we all know that. But it was better on the CC, if you ignore the "wobbly" thing on many parts... not to talk about the Creature Creator demoed by Robin Williams!!

The game we bought was a FAKE. Now, we might eventually get to what was promissed... previous pay, but the stripping-down of programming, content and FEEDBACK, is selfevident.

SykoTavo


Microbe

Joined: 09/13/2008 15:54:40
Messages: 29
Offline

Lucy, I like you. Always have. And I agree that what you say has some truth to it but to be totally honest, you're full of it!

The game that was released is clearly NOT Will's vision. It is NOT the ground-breaking game Will wanted to make. And it is absolutely NOT the game that was hyped for over 5 years.

From the start Will advertised a game that would be a perfect marriage between learning and fun, in other words, a toy.

What's on the game store shelves now is merely a bad game with some great tools. There is no real learning experience. There is nothing to discover. Nothing random. And what you create and how you create it has absolutely no meaning save giving the creatures 3 or 4 generic traits. Nothing unique about that.

The argument inside the science vs. cute dilemma has nothing to do with how the game looks. Graphically the game looks amazing and I think we can all agree on that, even if it is a bit cutesy. What has bothered all of us is the fact that some people at your company, be it this Hecker guy and his team or not, decided to scrap everything that was luring us to continue to follow and raise hype and awareness for Spore - which was the educational and revolutionary procedural gameplay - and replace it with generic and very boring gameplay.

I am very dissapointed of the comment made by you as a representative of Maxis (or possibly EA). It is weak and lame and in no way does it express the intelligence, uniqueness and creativity that was behind the original and true concept of Spore.

This is why people are complaining. This is why others like me have stopped playing your dumbed down shadow of a game and will most probably not be buying your sad attempts at expansions (aka parts packs).

However I very much hope that the actual content expansion packs that do come out (if they come out) quickly get us closer to what this game was meant to be. Until then, or until Will abandons all of you and makes a proper Spore game with another, uncorrupted team, I say adieu and farewell. Do not expect me or many of us to continue promoting this disaster of a game.

My Spore Page

The Best of My Yem Collection
ColdFever


Microbe

Joined: 09/13/2008 21:37:22
Messages: 6
Offline

Yes.

To me as a videogame veteran it extremely frustrating to see how some of the most revolutionary programming techniques in gaming history (editors, procedural concepts, internet creativity sharing) are wasted on extremely trivial gameplay. For example there is an incredible creature editor - made for a trivial memory game with the "Evolution" options Sing, Dance, Charm, Pose. C'mon???

Soren Johnson, the game designer I admire most besides Sid Meier and Will Wright", left Firaxis to work with Maxis lately, so I still have hope. Soren's games "Civ3" and "Civ4" are masterpieces of thoughtful gameplay, and "Civilization" probably is the best example of an extremely entertaining, complex and still accessible game built on science - without being a scientific game. The idea there is just using science for making decisions easier to players. The best thing: once knowledge becomes power, it becomes fun learning something. For Civ I would dream about having the kind of procedural programming Spore brings for making dynamic terrain, units, leaderheads, music and so on. This game engine Maxis developed is just too good to be true. In contrast for Spore I can only dream about some real gameplay. And where a Sid Meier actually has been grilled over years about the faint possibility of a "Spearman defeating a Tank", I wonder what Will Wright really thinks about "Evolution as a four-option memory game of Singing, Dancing, Charming and Posing"?

Soren Johnson’s Game Design Journal
"Seven Deadly Sins for Strategy Games"
1. Too much scripting
2. Too much stuff
3. Limited play variety
4. Black box mechanics
5. Locked code/data
6. Anti-piracy paranoia
7. Putting story in the wrong places
source: http://www.designer-notes.com/?p=106
So how much of that do we see in Spore?


To me Spore is incredibly rich in material - and poor in gameplay. This is where I would like to see improvements instead of addons like "Cute & Creepy Parts". I really wonder how designers can look into the mirror producing even more dute & dreepy parts while we are starving for the gameplay. With Will Wright, Soren Johnson and the other geniuses MAXIS/EA now have a team of best game designers in the world. Please give them their creative freedom. Please do not waste your "Lennon/McCartney - The Beatles" creativity team for just creating ringtones.

Please give us some real songs instead. We know the designers can create gameplay from their former games - So when will they finally be allowed to do so? At least, while you produce a "Cute and Creepy" expansion for customers willing to pay for such nonsense, please allow your best designers doing a "Science and Evolution" expansion for people who still believe in this game and expect more than Barbie stuff. Or release the gamecore code and open the gamecore DLL for modding, like Firaxis/Take2 did with Civ4, so that fans can develop games on top of the incredible game engine.

Conclusion: Spore is plain revolutionary in the underlying mechanics. But many people feel sorry seeing this engine wasted on a Barbie game of "sing, dance, charm and pose". Game engine mechanics: 200%. Gameplay mechanics: 20% Evolution mechanics: 0%. The only evolution Spore tells about is in the movie "How to build a better being" included with the Galactic Edition. Wow, so many great thoughts there. Tons of ideas for building a game about Evolution instead of Barbielego.

Maxis - we know you could do it.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 10/30/2008 23:07:04




Kai · Team http://civilized.de
AnotherPoster


Multicellular

Joined: 09/28/2008 22:18:31
Messages: 155
Offline

Guineh wrote:

Look at how the legs/feet/arms move. It's all procedural. You can have any number of configurations and it just works. The thing is, it works so well that it's virtually transparent to the end user. You don't notice it.


Sorry, no. They created skeleton animations and mapped the creatures to that. That is not procedural, that is just an exercise in mapping. Just because an arbitrary creature is animated does not make it procedural.

Have a look at the slide set:

http://chrishecker.com/How_To_Animate_a_Character_You%27ve_Never_Seen_Before

Example based, not descriptive. Animate on one creature, the software applies it to the others...somehow"


An example based algorithm is not procedural, a descriptive algorithm is.


This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 10/30/2008 23:37:05

oboreruhito


Microbe

Joined: 09/12/2008 09:16:40
Messages: 1
Offline

http://www.spore.com/ftl
http://www.spore.com/ftl
http://www.spore.com/ftl
http://www.spore.com/ftl

Edit by SporeMasterNumerator:
Please don't post huge text like that and don't post profanities.


This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 10/30/2008 23:26:25

econundrum


Multicellular

Joined: 09/19/2008 10:47:11
Messages: 192
Offline

AnotherPoster wrote:The current animation system is nothing more than selecting the closest animation from a set and using that. What part is procedural? Parts selection makes no difference. Sorry, its not procedural. Procedural would be if I put a weapon on the tail and it used that to attack a victim, sorta like the GDC2005 demo.



Wrong, to quote from the absract of Chris's pdf on the Spore procedural animation system;

"This paper introduces
a novel system for animating characters whose morphologies
are unknown at the time the animation is created. Our authoring
tool allows animators to describe motion using familiar
posing and key-framing methods. The system records the data in
a morphology-independent form, preserving both the animation’s
structural relationships and its stylistic information. At runtime,
the generalized data are applied to specific characters to yield pose
goals that are supplied to a robust and efficient inverse kinematics
solver
. This system allows us to animate characters with highly
varying skeleton morphologies that did not exist when the animation
was authored, and, indeed, may be radically different than anything
the original animator envisioned."


If you want to know in which way Spores state of the art procedural animation system actually works I suggest downloading and reading the PDF from Chris's web site.

The branching animations you mention are only used where a model lacks a characteristic part which the standard animation would use. e.g. if a creature has no hands it can't grasp with them so another animation using the mouth as a grasper is branched too.

Otherwise what happens is the animation tool is used to create a general animation and the game the procedurally binds this animation to specific parts of a creature model at runtime based on how the animation is setup and how the model is configured.

It's a very complex and interesting system. Chris also talks about the problems they could not solve, like detecting and preventing self-clipping. It's a very interesting read if your technically minded and we should show Chris some respect, because without this there would be no Spore.


"An example based algorithm is not procedural, a descriptive algorithm is", as a programer I strongly disagree the authored animation provides key frame metadata (e.g. move a front left grasper through these key frames in relation to the ground), needs to be procedurally mapped to an arbitary topography to generate the actual animation data for that model. That is a non trivial procedure.

The actual specific animation bound to the model by the procedure that does this is not the same as the metadata animation created by the animator and is procedurally generated from the generalised example the animator created.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 10/31/2008 12:00:38

Virakotxa


Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 09/15/2008 22:14:11
Messages: 1276
Location:
Year 3? "after Will"...

Offline



We know they did the thing... We saw it, some of us wonder why it was taken out. Also... notice the number of parts he had there. Quite some mouths to choose from... just take a look at the animation there.

 
Forum Index » Spore General Discussion
Go to:   
 
Powered by JForum 2.1.8 © ( EA Dev Build 2013-06-21 16:12:06 ) JForum Team