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Spore Patch Nearly Lets Creatures Into Other Games 60

Posted by Soulskill
from the universal-elf-care dept.
Dalambertian writes "The release of Spore's Patch 5 lets players export their creatures (and soon vehicles and buildings) in Collada format. This includes textures, bump mapping, and rigging for animation. Maxis developer Ocean Quigley recently posted a nice tutorial for getting said creatures into Maya, and other 3D packages are soon to follow. This could have a huge impact on the games industry, and the indie games scene in particular. Unfortunately, if the patch falls under the usual EULA, then any legitimate use of the art assets outside of the Spore community becomes impossible. EA is apparently just teasing us with its taste-but-don't-swallow policy, and at present it's not clear whether the genius that came out of Spore's development will ever truly be accessible to the game dev community."
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Spore Patch Nearly Lets Creatures Into Other Games

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  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) * on Friday July 24, 2009 @11:22PM (#28815843) Journal
    I'm a programmer and not an artist. I wrote a 3d fighting online game that is fun, but has no art other than boxed meshes that form a fighter(www.roamingdragon.com). I abandoned it because I was like,"I have no money. How could I possibly attract artists to make models and levels for me? I'm not going to do it myself because I have no skills as an artist or model creator.". If someone could explain to me how I can get someone to make me models that would look like Tekken or Virtual Fighter characters, I'll jump back on the horse and finish my game. It only has about 3 more months of work(all I need to do is add moves through my animation maker), and I have spent on and off for 6 years making it.
    • by CrazyJim1 (809850) *
      My whole point was: If there was an easy way to create models for monsters in my game, I could rapidly develop the MMORPG part of it! The limiting factor that I perceived was enemy models. I can't make them, nor do I know anyone who can. If Spore would allow crowdsourcing to make a ton of free models, I'd be back on my feet immediately instead of looking to become a Starcraft 2 pro gamer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I develop games (I do the art and the scripting, use a freeware engine), and I just wanna say if your interested in trying for your self, 3d modeling isn't all that hard to pick up. Even if you don't plan on making models for your game, it's fun just to mess around-hell, it might turn out that your good at it. Here's some freeware I use:
        http://www.gimp.org/ Not as good as photoshop, but it works for me.
        http://www.blender.org/ This thing is awesome. 3d modler, animator, rendering app, you name it.
        Both of tho

    • You would have done better to realize sooner that a game is art, not just a collection of technology. Then you wouldn't have wasted all that time.
    • Why not talk to Artists? I see this shit over and over again from aesthetes and geeks both where one whines, " I could never afford to do x____ really cool project because I can't afford to pay ( geeks/artists ) money. "

      You know what this is the fucking time to go make some new friends. Hell, go out tonight its Friday and artists don't turn down drinks no matter how geeky you are. I suggest art openings in the inner city and start asking around, here in PDX you can't pull out your laptop without hitting

      • by CrazyJim1 (809850) *
        Any advice is welcome. I need to learn how to network. I also have trouble finding a job even though I'm a highly skilled coder. I guess I'll start going out to public places with my laptop.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Bring a Macbook, some coffee (something with at least 6 words in its name), put twitter on the screen and they'll flock to you in droves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mark-t (151149)
        My experience with artists is that they *DO* cost a fair bundle to get decent quality work done... to the tune of hundreds of dollars just for one model. Multiply that by however many unique models and textures that you need and it quickly becomes thousands, if not tens of thousands... Now, I can appreciate that an artist's time and effort is worth money, possibly even justifying such amounts, but it's impractical for a sole developer to finance such work without having a whole lot of surplus income from
        • by linzeal (197905)
          The goal is to find an artist willing to work on the project for school/fame/glory or part of any future profits. This is a lot easier than some people think, especially in this economy with the droves of folks going back to college/unemployed. First Fridays or the equivalent in your town is a good place to start. I have exchanged or been given all the art I have in my hour or needed for my projects, but I have also been in the art scene for 15 years.
      • Have you ever watched engineers and artists try to mix :) Well, ok, have you ever watched engineers try to mix with anyone? but artists seem to be a special challenge.

        I have a few artist friends that I find similar interests to work with, but once you get that next degree of separation to the friends that they made in art school versus the friends I made in engineering, it just gets really awkward :) And if you're really unlucky, someone will bring up Obama or Ron Paul.

        It's a great idea if you can make it w

    • It only has about 3 more months of work(all I need to do is add moves through my animation maker), and I have spent on and off for 6 years making it.

      I checked out your site and from the list of things it "will" do, it looks like you have far more work to go.

      That said, if your passion is for Tekken/Virtua Fighter style of thing then go for it. But if you want it to be tremendously popular, why not make a Babe Fighter? Here's your first models:

      http://www.buy3dmodels.com/3dmodels/bustybabe.php [buy3dmodels.com]
      http://www.the3dstudio.com/product_details.aspx?id_product=78246 [the3dstudio.com]
      http://www.the3dstudio.com/product_details.aspx?id_product=73390 [the3dstudio.com]
      http://www.the3dstudio.com/product_details.aspx?id_product=69243 [the3dstudio.com]

      For a few hundred bucks, you could have a real crowd-pleaser! Or search on those sites for other models. Yes, they're out there and most cost under $100... peanuts really.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Gravedigger3 (888675)

      Thats funny because I AM an artist but have very limited programming experience. You just need to find the Yin to your Yang to help you finish your game, I'm sure there are people out there (like myself) that have the time and enjoy doing it enough to do it pro-bono. You just need to look around.

    • Opening the source has several advantages:
      * if you have no money, you need models for free, and nobody will give you models for free if you aren't willing to give the code for free
      * it will allow you to use code repositories you otherwise couldn't or would have to pay for, such as launchpad, or savannah, or cvsdude. Your current solution for distributing programs isn't working. Error. The file could not be found.

      Here is a small list of sites where you can find free 3D models: http://wntrknit.freeshell.org/f [freeshell.org]

    • by PyroMosh (287149) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @12:13AM (#28816069) Homepage

      Have you even *looked* at any game development community? Ever?

      Modelers and level builders outnumber programmers about 1000:1.

      A typical forum will have the following threads:

      Check out my new MOD!!!11
      PROGRAMMER NEEDED FOR AWESOME NEW MOD MUST BE GOOD!
      Scripter / programmers needed. JOIN OUR TEAM!
      levels almost done, need help with programming!
      Awesomemod 3 sucks. WTF?
      help with scripting
      Idea for Crysis TC. Just need programming help!

      etc, etc, etc.

      The long and short of it is that there are many, many more modelers and level designers than there are programmers in the gaming world. The barrier to entry is easier, and yes, a lot of them suck. But there are probably as many talented modelers and level designers as there are good and bad programmers combined.

      If you aren't developing because you don't want to deal with the art, the only thing I can think of excuse wise is that you don't want to work with a team.

    • Rogue-likes, MUDs, puzzle games don't need sophisticated assets. You're generally only limited by your own ability to doodle or type in those cases.

      Virtua Fighter (the original) characters should be pretty easy to do yourself if you just sit down and work through about 6 or 7 of the Blender tutorials over a weekend.

  • Future generations will look back on this moment with their multifarious eyes as the moment that started it all. You know, the *other* singularity ...
  • I'm glad to see they finally are fulfilling some of the promises they made before release.

  • by sharkey (16670) on Friday July 24, 2009 @11:36PM (#28815903)

    EA is apparently just teasing us with its taste-but-don't-swallow policy

    'Nuff said.

  • Hola, what? (Score:3, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday July 24, 2009 @11:49PM (#28815969)

    at present it's not clear whether the genius that came out of Spore's development will ever truly be accessible to the game dev community.

    Are you telling me they uploaded the developer tron-style and he's in there, right now? Because that's the only way "the genius" got into Spore.

  • think that EA is taking a step in the right direction here. Good Job Mates Keep it Up
  • Can they do that? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dln385 (1451209)

    If I write a document in Microsoft Word, does Microsoft own my paper? If I use Photoshop, does Adobe own my image? If I Auto-Tune my song, does Antares own it?

    I thought there was a law that prevented the makers of the tool from grabbing the rights to its user's creations.

    • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @12:16AM (#28816089) Journal
      That's only because the tools that you mention don't put any copyrighted content that they haven't given permission for others to distribute into what those tools produce.
      • What exactly is copyrighted? The textures? Replace them with your own. The Mesh? How can you even say it came from Spore? Seems to me with a few small changes you have yourself a model with which you can do anything you want. If Spore isn't a modelling application now, it's at least a modelling cookbook of sorts. A starting point. And now I might finally be interested in it.
        • by mark-t (151149)
          Making "small changes", as you put it, to a copyrighted work is called a derivative work, and is still quite covered under copyright.
      • by Val314 (219766)

        That's only because the tools that you mention don't put any copyrighted content that they haven't given permission for others to distribute into what those tools produce.

        What about the fonts from Office?

        Someone has to have the copyright on Arial, Times new Roman,...

        So in some way, i *am* distributing copyrighted material with a printed .doc(x) File

        (the Word license most likely says that this is ok...)

        • by Jedi Alec (258881)

          Actually, I'm pretty sure the document you're distributing does not actually contain said fonts, just an instruction that certain pieces of text are to displayed using that font.

          If the machine that is being used to display the document doesn't have the font in question...it'll revert to a default font or crap out depending on the software used.

    • It is marketed as a game more than a tool, it seems to be a double standard.
    • by MrMista_B (891430)

      You don't own the file-format.

  • Based on what I've seen, this seems to be the primary use of the game. Not sure why exporting this to other programs is a good thing...
  • "Unfortunately, if the patch falls under the usual EULA, then any legitimate use of the art assets outside of the Spore community becomes impossible."

    Impossible! Nobody can penetrate their EULA! EULAs are like the devil's contract. Legally and spiritually binding.

    However, most clauses that have been tested in courts have been found to be not enforceable, and I doubt that EA can actually claim ownership of the creations customers make with their tools.

    • by ZackSchil (560462)
      No, I bet they can. The user might, MIGHT, be able to stake some sort of claim to the arrangement of the parts, but on the whole, the actual creature modeling involves deforming and placing pre-made parts.

      Adobe can't claim copyright to your photo retouchings, but if you made a collage out of their sample photos and started selling it, they might object.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        No, I bet they can. The user might, MIGHT, be able to stake some sort of claim to the arrangement of the parts, but on the whole, the actual creature modeling involves deforming and placing pre-made parts.

        How is that different from using the image hose in Fractal Design Painter? (It isn't)

        I would go ahead and fight this one. I'd bet (literally, ha ha) that you could find a lawyer to take it on. Perhaps a good idea to join the EFF first though.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          If the image you use for your image hosing is copyrighted, then you are still under that copyright. You don't get out of the copyright by using tools like this.

          With spore, all those creature part models are copyrighted. Exporting them to other renderers or modelers doesn't change that.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            With spore, all those creature part models are copyrighted. Exporting them to other renderers or modelers doesn't change that.

            If they give you a tool to get that content out of the game, a solid argument can be made that they intend for you to use it. Further, it could be argued that the game is a tool for making those things, and that exporting them makes them yours. It's not like it's a general purpose modeling tool with a library of sample content, this is all the software does: it evolves creatures, and [now] lets you take them out of the game and bring them into other software.

            If you're not allowed to use them, what's the poi

    • However, most clauses that have been tested in courts have been found to be not enforceable

      This actually isn't true. Most of the enforceability issues have come from how the EULA is presented to the user and whether the user is made fully apprised of the terms before they are out the cash. (Whether offering a refund for those who decline the EULA is good enough to avoid these problems is unknown, since, afaik, this has never been tested in court.)

      Even still, in the absence of an EULA, the defaults provided by copyright law would still cause problems for someone who wanted to export Spore creatu

  • I couldn't get past the first level on Spore - you know the boss that emotes "you have 2 CDROM drives!" and then installs a rootkit. Any tips on how to defeat this boss and get to level 2?

  • (The tool's EULA is the standard EA tools license, also used in games such as SimCity, which is viewable during export) EA TOOLS & MATERIALS END USER LICENSE Electronic Arts Inc, and its subsidiaries, affiliates and licensors (collectively, "EA") grants you a non- transferable non-exclusive license to download and/or install and use one copy of the software tool ("Tool") and/or materials ("Materials") (collectively the "Tools & Materials") solely for your personal noncommercial use in connection w
  • Spore... That would be the game that had the 3-installation limit when it was released, which was such an offensive practice that I decided I'd never buy or install this piece of garbage, and would return for refund (unopened) any copy given to me as a gift.

    EA can continue to suck it.

  • As one of the 3 people that actually enjoyed playing Spore, I'm glad that they fixed the issue where you couldn't completely defeat the grox without cheating. I'll probably get a legitimate copy of the game now.
    • by Morth (322218)

      I like that note about less disasters. That's pretty much what made me stop playing, all that constant tugging me to one planet or another instead of letting me focus on expanding (or at least not shrinking) my domains.

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