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Will Wright's Next Game: Spore 41

Posted by Zonk
from the it's-growing! dept.
1up.com has a look at Will Wright's newest game, revealed today at the Game Developer's conference. Entitled Spore, the game promises to be (in a word) unique. From the article: "Wright's latest creation spans the rise of a space-faring civilization from its humble beginnings in the primordial soup. 'It's actually a lot like WarioWare...It features a wide variety of game types as a sort of homage to my favorite games.'" PC Magazine has details as well, as does Gamasutra.
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Will Wright's Next Game: Spore

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  • def:unique (Score:4, Insightful)

    by satanami69 (209636) on Friday March 11, 2005 @11:41PM (#11916994) Homepage
    "It's actually a lot like WarioWare"

    Unique:
    1. Being the only one of its kind: the unique existing example of Donne's handwriting.
    2. Without an equal or equivalent; unparalleled.
    3.
    a. Characteristic of a particular category, condition, or locality: a problem unique to coastal areas.
    b. Informal. Unusual; extraordinary: spoke with a unique accent.
    • Excuse the type, I'm using a tablet.

      Will Wright said it was like WarioWare, but that was a huge stretch (even for him). It is like WW only in the fact that it is made up of lots of game types. Most of those game types have been done before (RTS, God Games, Risk, etc.) but never combined like this before.
    • It's possible to be a lot like something, and still be 'unique'.

      Quoting a dictionary will not help you with your vocabulary, you'll also need to put some thought into it.

      The game is a lot like WarioWare, presumably in that it's a mix of many game styles, but it's not going to be exactly like WarioWare, allowing it the potential to be 'unique'.
  • by game kid (805301) on Friday March 11, 2005 @11:47PM (#11917021) Homepage
    Given the popularity of The Sims and the impressive level of polish and humor customary in Wright's work, Spore clearly has amazing potential to become every bit as huge as its predecessor. (And as entertaining -- when your primitive creature mates, the deed is accompanied by romantic guitar and saxophone music.)

    I hope that doesn't mean the more conservative protozoa will try to give it an AO rating.

  • by Jagasian (129329) on Friday March 11, 2005 @11:49PM (#11917034)
    This game sounds like a combination of several types of games that I love. However, what sounds great on paper doesn't necessarily translate into a good final product. Any screenshots anybody? Is this vapor or are we really going to see a unique game on the PC for once, as opposed to yet another tactical first person shooter?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Though I only saw the second half of the presentation (it took a while for them to get video feed for those of us who couldn't get into the room), I can say for sure that it was *not* vaporware. Though parts were scripted for the presentation, it was really working, and it looked to be not only fun and unique in terms of gameplay, but also absolutely beautiful. The HL2 E3 demo defined a new standard for realism. To me, the Spore demo raised the bar for fantasy graphics in the same way.

      Amazing. Especially g
      • 5000:1 compression ratio? What did he do, tap the Commodore 64 demo scene?
        • Actually, "Wright has teamed up with European demo coders to assist the game's design, capitalizing on their reputation for putting together amazing amounts of content in the smallest data space possible." So, yeah, more-or-less.
        • Absolutely not vapor ware. I believe he can deliver, but it might take a while to finish. Spore deserves all the time and resources required to get it right.

          He had several slides about the demo scene in Europe, which he discussed to illustrate his point about algorithmic compression.

          From my notes [donhopkins.com]:

          Algorithmic compression.

          Games consist of a mix of code and data. Computers use code to compress data. The ratio of code to data has changed over time.

          Games used to be mostly code and very little cont

  • Dangerous Ground (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MagicDude (727944) on Friday March 11, 2005 @11:59PM (#11917088)
    It's a dangerous gambit making a game like was described. Not that it's not intreaguing and has great potential, but rather it will be far to easy for this game to come short in it's attempt to appeal to all people. All the phases of the game have all been successful games in their own right: a diablo style kill-spree type game, a civilation style game, a space-colonization game, etc. I fear that they're going to have to cheap out on all these "mini" games because it's simply not possible to develop 6 good games in the development schedule that'll be given for one game, unless of course it becomes the next DNF. Thus it will be a crappy pac-man game strung to a crappy diablo game strung to a crappy civ game strung to a crappy sim city game, and so on.
    • Re:Dangerous Ground (Score:3, Informative)

      by SimHacker (180785)
      I woudn't call the levels "mini" games, in the conventional sense of games like in Grand Theft Auto that have very little effect on the overall gameplay.

      The evolutionary ladder from bacteria to galactic god is not a bunch of "mini games", it's actually a goal-oriented TUTORIAL and SANDBOX that trains you to play the real game that you start once you achieve interstellar travel. The meta-game is a collection of science fiction story genras, a storytelling game, where the player can surf back down to the l

  • Summary: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Suddenly_Dead (656421) on Saturday March 12, 2005 @12:48AM (#11917267)
    The game goes in phases:

    1) Freeform Pac-man (with E.V.O. and Cubivore leanings, with consuming other things to change the abilities of your own creature)
    2) Diablo-like
    3) RTS-like (think Populous)
    4) City Phase (think Sim City)
    5) Civilization Phase (think Civilization *)
    6) Invasion Phase (go forth into the universe, colonizing, invading, and terraforming)

    At that:

    "The Invasion section of the game is enormous, potentially endless. After hunting for other populated worlds, players can venture into the universe in the manner they think best fits their personality: Whether using the diplomacy of Star Trek or the destructive fury of War of the Worlds. Some races will welcome players, while others will greet instellar visitors with hostility.

    Ultimately, the goal is to help players' comfort with and understanding of the gameplay and tools scale up and evolve in tandem with their virtual progeny. "This is very much contrary to the usual game design," Wright says. "Usually you get the sandbox gameplay as training wheels for the goal-oriented content. Here, the goal-oriented game is training you for the open-ended sandbox." By the time players are ready to conquer the galaxy, they'll have mastered every element of the game interface and will be ready to tackle the rest of the universe on their own terms."
  • by projection (201655) on Saturday March 12, 2005 @01:15AM (#11917374)
    No screen shots (sorry!)

    Game had a toon feel to it, but not completely toon rendered - sort of a mix.

    Seemless, though slow in places, with Wright interacting with the character as he talked. From this, think it was playing in real time, and hence a fairly polished pre-alpha.

    Presentation was at 10:30. At 12pm, it was due to be reshown at a theater open to Expo attendees. This was CANCELLED at the last minute, after some people had been packed in for half an hour. An official stood up and said it had been pulled, as EA said it contained confidential info. Kinda dumb, as 90 minutes before they'd shown it in a room with at least 500 people, cameras flashing all the time!!

  • by projection (201655) on Saturday March 12, 2005 @01:26AM (#11917454)
    One thing some articles I've read misscharacterized, from being at the conference myself. They say Wrights title of "The Future of Game Content" was a guise under which he presented Spore. I really don't think that is completely true. Wright made good points about game content and time to develop. His solution was demonstrated by Spore. Spore uses user shared content and procesdural content to overcome the current limits.

    With other EA divisions claiming 150 person teams, Wright showed their was another way, keeping teams smaller, and allowing user driven and procedural content to fill the gap.

    This was a theme at the GDC this year. In his talk a couple of days ago, Tim Sweeny talked about how good tools can also keep team size down, to a max of 50 in his case. 50 is still large, but if it gets a 25 mil $ game down to 10, thats much more profit to the studio and developer.
    • Yes, the title and presumed subject of the talk was a guise, but not to fool the game developers attending the conference. There were some very surprized EA suits in the audience, who were not expecting Will to show as much as he did. It's no coincidence that the second showing of his talk was canceled.

      -Don

  • Amazing! (Score:3, Informative)

    by neoRUR (674398) on Saturday March 12, 2005 @03:16AM (#11917966)
    I was there for the talk, he showed a demo of the game. It really was amazing. It's the first universe simulator that I have ever seen. All procedurally generated, I am sure there are some limitations to it. He will be showing it at E3, so execpt a xmas release. This is a game unlike any others, if you like sandbox games.
  • What is there to talk about with this? The fact that Will Wright came up with a new game idea? I don't find that very shocking since, well, he has a history of them...

    There's almost no details here other than Will Wright saying he wants to try to make a very complex game with massive scope--but it is just talk at this point, right? When it comes to talk, I think the game industry is especially well known for it.
    • Given EA's media lockdown, you might just have to trust us. It was cool as hell. Not only did he give a good talk (with ninjas!) but he showed an amazing demo. The game looks done. I have a feeling it is already in QA.
      • The general public has about as much reason to trust politicians and they do game devs :)

        And before you blame it on the publishers, you picked them so you share in the blame.
  • Sounds a lot like the old Apple ][ game called Evolution [mobygames.com]. So, even though it sounds cool and all, I wouldn't call it too revolutionary.
    • It also sounds allot like "E.V.O.:Search for Eden" for the SNES, as well as Sim City, Civilization, etc... the point is that Will Wright plans on seemlessly merging these great fun ideas. That is the revolutionary part.
      • Those games had very limited systems for "creating" creatures. You had a "head" part and a "body" part and so on...

        While this has some aspects of that - there are limits to what you can add - the method is much larger in scope. Full skeletal creation, complete virtual-clay interface for modifying sizes of various components, algorithmic ability to determine walking style (he showed off all sorts of bizarre possibilities) and so on...

        So yes, it's like those, and yet, very much not like them. The algorit
  • by SimHacker (180785) on Saturday March 12, 2005 @04:21PM (#11921478) Homepage Journal
    I took notes at Will Wright's talk about Spore, cleaned them up and filled in some more details from talking with him about it and seeing earlier prototypes over the years it's been in development.

    The Future of Content [donhopkins.com]:
    What I learned about content from the Sims.
    ...and why it's driven me to procedural methods.
    ...And what I now plan to do with them.
    Will Wright
    Game Developers Conference
    3/11/2005

    Wired asked for an illustration to print in the magazine, anything he wanted. So he made a diagram of Spore [donhopkins.com] that Wired published, but he didn't tell them what it was. The design docs for Spore have been out in Wired Magazine for a year now. (It's in the Feb 2004 issue of Wired.)

    Here's a link to the web site where you can find out What Kind of Care Bear Are You? [lavendersea.net]

    -Don

  • It is a unique game in that no one has really done anything like it before, at least as far as i know, but it's certainly not anything that no one has ever thought of before. I'm sure everyone who has played both series (or games from any two similar series) has wished that once that got the colony on Alpha Centauri started in Civilization that they could then progress to a game of Master of Orion. I've actually had discussions with others about how far you could stretch the process back in time (i believe
  • My Impressions (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Slyght (784581)
    I was in attendance at the talk, and boy was it good. Jon Hopkins did a very good job above taking notes on both the demo and Will's slides and lecture. OK, so here are some answers to some questions that have come up in the previous comments:

    - Will didn't just talk about it, he gave a 45-minute in-game live demo of all aspects of the game, from bacteria to galactic god.

    - Although I'm sure Will had practiced what he was going to demonstrate to us at the talk, there were times when things didn't go
    • For those of you more interested in a larger overview of the game you can listen to my podcast where I go through painstaking detail of every screen, mouse-click, and item I saw during the Spore demo at the GDC this year.

      It's almost an hour long and I go over each and every screen and action performed during the demo.

      You can listen to my podcast at: http://www.gamingsteve.com/ [gamingsteve.com]

  • For those of you more interested in a larger overview of the game you can listen to my podcast where I go through painstaking detail of every screen, mouse-click, and item I saw during the Spore demo at the GDC this year.

    It's almost an hour long and I go over each and every screen and action performed during the demo.

    You can listen to my podcast at: http://www.gamingsteve.com/ [gamingsteve.com]

  • This lenghty and complicated interview with Will Wright actually contains many of the memes of spore: http://www.gamestudies.org/0102/pearce/ Interesting reading for those so inclined.
  • Check out Gamespy's article [gamespy.com] on this, actually. It is far longer (5 pages!), and talks about how Wright got inspiration from the Demo Scene, and how the animations and such in the game are done cleverly and procedurally. As well there are the consequences of all of this for the video game industry.
  • Click here [jesperjuul.dk]

    I think this sounds like the game I've been waiting for all my life...

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