View Full Version : Spore? or Toontown?

06-19-2008, 04:34 PM

This is starting to look very cartoonish. I'm having second thoughts about buying it....

Original teaser at GDC 2005:

What happened?

06-19-2008, 04:56 PM
Yeah, I saw the newer previews a few months back and thought the same thing. Looks like the producers make them kid it down quite a bit. I don't know if it won't be fun, but it certainly feels less scientific and more pop-culture.

06-19-2008, 06:23 PM
I downloaded the creature creator trial and I must say it's very cool. It appears that each piece has its own internal skeleton which allows the programmers to just plop the pieces down anywhere that's appropriate. This makes a lot of sense since the only thing left to do after this is to blend the vertices to match where the piece attaches to the body.

The creature creator doesn't seem to care much about how the character is balanced since I can create a creature with legs far behind it's center of gravity and yet it can still stand and walk.

I highly recommend that those interested in the game download the creature creator trial from their website.

Mario F.
06-19-2008, 06:34 PM
What confuses me on Spore is the whole procedural generation thing. From what I skimmed through, the environment is meant to be whole procedurally generated. But this can't happen on the fly can it? I mean, they must have some other servers generating these worlds and stacking them for the game servers to feed on. How else could the game servers sustain such a load while addressing millions of players requests every second?

So... it's not really procedurally generated, right? But pre-generated. Or do you see how this could be done?

There's also the problem of synchronism... what dictates the generation of a world? The first player that enters it? What will happen to the second player who enters just a micro second later? I just don't get the whole thing...

06-19-2008, 07:07 PM
The pieces seem to be pre-fabs that have parameters than can be altered...to a point. Basic things like rotation, scale, translation, etc. But they all have their limits. Still with enough pieces you can produce some very interesting creatures. I want to see how these creatures fare in the real game, however.

06-20-2008, 04:37 AM
I'm totally in it for spore, this and Starcraft two are going to get me back into pc gaming for a while (not that I'm giving up console gaming).

From what I've heard from early early (this game has been delayed for a while) interviews and showcases, the skeletal animations are indeed procedural, based on the overall structure of the creature, it creates an animation for all it's movement. From what I understand of the environment is generated based on your character's needs as an evolving lifeform, including other lifeforms. If you are a dominant carnivorous species your terrain will mirror that, having weaker and smaller vegetarian creatures to sustain your population.

In the early game they were saying that you have your own little galaxy and as you visit the other ones, you see creatures that evolve differently from yours and thati s also generated procedurally. I'm thinking there are attributes or scores that's kept in a database locally or something and that determines how your environment and neighboring planets are going to look.

However it is, they showed some crazy stuff. I just wonder if all the planets will be similar to earth or will we have strange planets which are of different atmospheres.

06-20-2008, 01:24 PM
Yeah, I saw the newer previews a few months back and thought the same thing. Looks like the producers make them kid it down quite a bit. I don't know if it won't be fun, but it certainly feels less scientific and more pop-culture.

You could kind of see it going that way in the old video. Actually, it seems a bit of a reversal to my eyes. As you hit the civilization stage in the old game it changed to being all rounded edges and exaggerated city sizes, more so when you got to space, iconic I think he said in the video. But now it's the other way. The lower levels are cute and the higher levels are serious.

06-21-2008, 03:04 AM
One of my creature creations. It's my favorite so far. I just call them Totem, for now, until I can think of a clever name. This is it sitting down.

06-21-2008, 01:39 PM
Sly, I'm sure you can see why I don't think this is completely procedural as they say it is. The paint schemes are following a template to be sure and the skeletons are never different in any of the pieces you attach. In fact you can alter their shape and the underlying skeletons never change. IE: Pre-fab pieces with underlying skeletons already attached. I do think the way the system figures out how the creature walks is procedural.

I'm also experiencing some odd popping and buzzes in my sound effects. I hope the game does not suffer from this. I've got an Audigy 2 so perhaps it may be incompatible or something.

06-21-2008, 01:45 PM
Here's my inappropriate creation playing with its babies! :o

Mario F.
06-21-2008, 02:37 PM
I think I can see the fun factor for some, but not sure if I really like the artwork choice. The theme seems very interesting. Heck, even I could give it a shot ("even I", simply because I've lost interest in most games these days). But if it's to just successfully evolve 3-headed, or 3-footed, cartoonish creatures without introducing fundamental biological rules and to move them to a basic strategy game once they reach space age... then probably no.

I long for a complicated even if pointless game.

06-21-2008, 09:52 PM
I've lost interest in most games these days.

Weren't you working on a multiplayer roguelike project? I was quite hyped up at the time.

Mario F.
06-22-2008, 04:41 AM
I still am. In fact I plan to post something related to it soon.

My loss of interest relates instead to not finding games these days to be that much interesting. A debate probably I don't want to get into since it's going to lead nowhere. Regardless, war and in-depth turn based strategy games where always my favorite - and Mediaeval sits right in there.

What I don't like is how games are developed these days. Not games as a whole. From the several 4 player variants of Mahjong (my favorite being the Japanese rules) to older computer games (like NWN, Half-Life 2, Diablo II, the Operational Art of War and Hearts of Iron) to even jigsaw puzzles, which I will always be hopelessly addicted, I still play or entertain myself with those.

EDIT: On a side note, something I just remembered...

There is one family of games that I was never interested in, except for ONE. MS Flight Simulator. It's probably my biggest blunder not having followed this game from the start. Today it became a massive game, quiet entertaining from what I see and that I probably have no hope to learn how to play anymore (it apparently takes an inordinate amount of time and dedication, qualities you tend to lose as you get older) and it also became very confusing to pick on a store... one just doesn't know exactly what he needs to play it. I regreat not having became a fan earlier on.

06-22-2008, 04:52 AM
Ever play company of heroes? It's a WWII RTS, Awesome game.

06-22-2008, 05:15 AM
Ever play company of heroes? It's a WWII RTS, Awesome game.

That is by far the best RTS ever made. For once you dont win by buying X of unit Y and rush the enemy base.

Mario F.
06-22-2008, 05:25 AM
And it's also an RTS. Fast and furious point and clicking....nah! Thanks.
Unless, by any chance they covered that aspect of the game. Did they?

06-22-2008, 06:46 PM
one just doesn't know exactly what he needs to play it. I regreat not having became a fan earlier on.

No worries. The computer needed to run Flight Sim X at full detail hasn't been invented yet. Everyone gets crappy frame rates compared to other games. However the game is very fun even though you never fight anything. Having flown in real life (small Cessna's, Piper Cub's, Cherokee's and Arrows) I can say that FSX is the next best thing to actually flying. The ATC is spot on except perhaps for forcing you to declare IFR before you get radar assisted approach. Usually the tower in real life will ask you if you want radar assist or just pure VFR. If the situation warrants and often it does they will bring you in on radar to accomodate for other aircraft wanting to land. This usually happens at airports with 1 active runway.

The flight model for Flight Sim X is very very good. There are certain things it does not simulate but the armchair pilot will never notice. Spins are actually simulated fairly realistically which is nice given that even the best engineer on the planet can't tell you exactly what is happening during a spin. Most of the equations of flight fall apart during a spin which is why old FS games used to behave very erratically during spins and even moreso during inverted spins. But edge cases of flight aside...if you can take off and fly the pattern and land on FSX you can do it in real life.

The hardest transition from FS to real for me was...looking out the window. I was so used to scanning the gauges on the game that when I got into the real thing my CFI was like.....hey man it's called VFR for a reason so look out the window. :D

Overall Microsoft's flight sim (originally Bruce Artwick's and Sublogic before they lost the source code to MS) is spot-on and tons of fun to play. Their new terrain system is breathtaking and I'd give my right arm to know how they render from horizon to horizon, add in the clouds and weather, ATC, gauge updates, and flight dynamics all at interactive (sometimes) framerates.

Mario F.
06-23-2008, 04:46 AM
But edge cases of flight aside...if you can take off and fly the pattern and land on FSX you can do it in real life.

This is what troubles me most. I there was a "game" ever created that was meant to torture me, Microsoft Flight Simulator is that game.

I love flying... with a passion. I'm window-seat-or-nothing type of passenger. Having flown from very early on and flying on an average of 4 times an year, very often long distance, I've became a good miles collector on my favorite European company, Swiss Air, which even allowed me to once, I suspect after becoming a pain, visit the cockpit of an Airbus during a Lisbon-Zurich flight while en route to Hai Phong, Vietnam. This... before the sad events of 2001. But I have never flown my own. I don't know how to. And FS is not going to teach me from what I understand :)

FS, just feels like the type of game that I would spend a lot of time in and enjoy myself. Having the chance to fly over the NZ Southern Alpes everytime I wanted, on a Sydney-Christchurch flight, or view New Deli lights and in the distance on a Singapore-Zurich nocturnal flight... or even grab a Cessna and just fly on a quiet spring day over the Grand Canyon or the rice fields of vietnam... all fabulously and faithfully rendered, as I understand from satellite imagery and topographic information...

It pains me somewhat I didn't follow this game from the early stages. I seem to remember very early versions which gathered quiet a following and allowed for some level of freedom in that even someone who couldn't drive a car, could fly a plane. I belive that is not the case anymore, although I could spend hours just looking at clouds in a real-time 14 hour flight.

06-23-2008, 10:27 AM