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RedLightning777


Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 09/13/2008 21:00:48
Messages: 1012
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MaxisLucy wrote: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.


Seems too much time went into this debate... because we have accessibility, character and aesthetic.. and NO game.


The castle crumbles from within. Outsiders will not notice till the last of the walls come down.
Tygamer15


Multicellular

Joined: 11/03/2008 04:05:04
Messages: 158
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California

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why is this topic so popular. Does everyone think hating Hecker will solve anything. Sure it may have been bad but still, you all arent perfect, i think. If not please say so, so i can appologize. I dont think Maxis will even read this topic at all so people should just give it up and go give helpful suggestions or just go get a new game and not be abbsessed over something you hate.

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Herculoids


Multicellular

Joined: 09/13/2008 15:53:17
Messages: 288
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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 utter lack of interesting gameplay is in fact Will's fault?

I agree that the threats and other symptoms of nerd rage go well over the top, but I'd really like my $50 dollars back.
Jackuul


Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 09/16/2008 07:01:38
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Herculoids wrote:
MaxisLucy wrote:-snip-


So the utter lack of interesting gameplay is in fact Will's fault?

I agree that the threats and other symptoms of nerd rage go well over the top, but I'd really like my $50 dollars back.


Exactly. However folk don't want to believe that and thus latch on to a scapegoat.


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SivCorp


Multicellular

Joined: 09/12/2008 13:33:17
Messages: 438
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Epic fail, that's all.... Epic fail.
They tried to make a game to please everyone, and instead ---- EPIC FAIL!

You've got to chose your target audiance, and then deliver on your own built up expectations.

Maybe Will should have never shown off his 2005 model. Now there is an interesting point....

MaxisWill


Developer

Joined: 11/04/2008 21:16:41
Messages: 2
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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
Tutthoth


Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 10/10/2008 19:39:52
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Will Wright hath spoken!

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deity


Multicellular

Joined: 09/15/2008 19:27:05
Messages: 330
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Thanks a lot for the feedback, its very, very, very aprecciated.

MaxisWill wrote:
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.
-Will Wright


This thread might be wrong, but it got you to speak. Also, now we really found who to tar and feather, and that would be Will Wright. Just kidding, how could anyone ever tar and feather Will? The guy invented the simulation genre!

MaxisWill wrote:
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 hope so, but how did you expect gamers to want the game to be this shallow? Also, how does the CC part pack reflect that? Anyways, I understand that mistakes happen and that you are trying to make the game what we want.

BTW, who did you vote for ?

Again, thanks ALOT for the feedback.

EDIT: edited for better quotation

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 11/04/2008 21:36:01




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


Spacefaring Sporeling

Joined: 09/19/2008 22:59:19
Messages: 5991
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MaxisWill wrote: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.


Thank you, sir. I really cannot express just how much it means to me to see you come forward and say, "My bad. Leave my team alone." It is the most respectable thing I have seen on the Spore forum since I've arrived.

There are still many many unanswered questions about how and why Spore turned out the way it did, but I now trust that they will be addressed in good time.

Thank you again, take care, and good luck!

-JW


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


Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 09/12/2008 18:03:08
Messages: 1408
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Look, now you made me feel bad for how I acted today.

While its a brave thing to come out and take the blame, the more sensible and logic oriented people knew already that it was your fault if anyone's.

I hope you can make good on your words.
Because that is what sold this game to the public.
Your words.

Some other mathers still press to be adressed.
But thank you for saying something.
Now there is just the mather of the Q&A thread....

edit: LOL why is that worth a 1 star. Enjoy it while you can, I'll be gone tomorow.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 11/04/2008 22:01:56

draknfyr


Microbe

Joined: 09/09/2008 13:50:17
Messages: 72
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I never really had that big a problem with spores look. I always thought that was a product of the png files limitations (overly complex or realistic looking things wouldn't fit or something). That being said, I would still prefer the ability to make things look more realistic.

As for the game play, it seemed to lose a bit of depth from the prototypes that were released. Primarily GonzagoGL and Space.

In GonzagoGL (prototype for the creature stage) most of the creatures seemed to interact with their surroundings with more depth than they do in the final game. The herbivores would wander about foraging for food and carnivores would actively hunt. I actually had to compete with other animals for food in the prototype.

In Space (prototype for the Space stage) there seemed to be more depth to the teraforming. Some plants and animals wouldn't survive in some spots but would thrive in others. And if they did thrive they would spread from the point of insertion. And they were also landlocked/waterlocked, ie land animals on an island could not populate other land masses on the planet. I was rather heartbroken when I got to the space stage in the final game and found that all I had to do was put down one tree and the whole planet would be covered in them...

The game itself is great if only for its Creators. The ability to make pretty much anything you can think of is truly groundbreaking. Now if only the interaction with those creations could be improved...

There are many other things I would have loved to see in the game play but I'm short on time. I do want to leave with one last thing. My biggest beef is with EA and their DRM. Thats the only thing that is preventing me from installing it on my new comp and playing. I've said nothing ill of what the Maxis team has created.

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Eekwotsthat


MouthBreather

Joined: 09/14/2008 08:47:42
Messages: 677
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It's probably better to move replies to will into the following thread:

Post from Will Wright Regarding the Cute vs. Science just to make things more readable

Virakotxa


Civilized Sporeon

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

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I knew it... It was only Will Right who thought the Fan-base of Spore were five year-old kids... who loved games but hated game-play. Good to know.
Good to have a response. Thanks...

Tygamer15


Multicellular

Joined: 11/03/2008 04:05:04
Messages: 158
Location:
California

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Will, you said almost exactly what i wanted to hear. I just want to know if expansion packs can add more depth to the stages, if so i would really like a civilization stage that takes strategy like command conquer games.

thanks for posting and clearing things up

[MSN]
Webbstre


Microbe

Joined: 09/16/2008 01:37:03
Messages: 17
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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


I am really glad to see you responding on this (I don't know how the blame game got started on Chris, and I don't really care). Still, what we would still like to know is whether or not there is a chance that some of the game aspects we saw and heard about during production will be reintroduced in the future. (Note that this is just the chance, not confirmation that it will happen) There is a LOT of stuff in the game's files referring to things that aren't in the current game, including more tools in tribe and things like farms in civilization, and even the old baby game.

We are glad you are listening to us, but sometimes it helps to come right out and say "We showed you this aspect in previews, but found it was too difficult to implement." Without confirmation people will keep assuming someone dumbed the game down because the average person isn't competent or knowledgeable enough to handle it. Good examples are the underwater stages (too difficult to implement, but no confirmation on whether or not it is still impossible) and free-form cities (too complicated and not fun enough without some structure and linking).

By the way, I think you are the only person who has enough name-brand respect to say whatever you want on these forums and not make people overly upset. Also, even though some of us hoped for more, that doesn't mean we don't enjoy Spore in its current form. I personally will be buying every pack and expansion to the game to play myself and share with my family.
 
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