Will Wright Spore video from GDC

Did a search and didn’t see this posted anywhere.

It’s a video of Spore with Will Wright describing the game.

Pretty interesting.

Interesting for the technology he shows, like the animation engine that figures out how to animate any user-defined skeleton.

As for me personally, though, the video convinced me that this is going to be another one of Wright’s “software toys” that I’m going to skip. Designing and placing stuff appears to be the whole point; as Wright himself said, the goal-oriented game is very simple and merely a tutorial for the Galactic Sims mode in the end.

That’s an abridged version of the video available on this page: http://www.pqhp.com/cmp/gdctv/

Registration required, but you don’t want to miss the part where Will Wright randomly throws in a standup bit about the Care Bears.

I hope a new video comes out this year, if not the game itself.

This game will be awesome, but we have to take things with at least a grain of salt. It might be difficult to deliver on everything Wright promised. I remember the last time I was incredibly excited about an ambitious game - Freelancer - not everything that had been promised was included. No dynamic economy in the final game! Bollocks!

He has a pretty good track record for delivering great games.

Of course, I also happened to love Sim Earth.

That’s what I’m hoping for, a souped up Sim Earth. Not very gamey at all really, but I still had lots of fun using it as a tool for the backgrounds of alien races in RPGs.

Some good points is that he is not hyping the game, the community is. Unlike a certain british guy who hypes the shit out of his games and never delivers.

My one real concern is replayability. Sure taking my first creature from a single cell to master of the universe might be cool, but how about the second and third and fourth?

These problems can be aleviated by unique challenges for each universe that is ‘rolled up’ Maybe in one scenerio your creature starts of on a lava world which limits the worlds he can colonize (even with terraforming). Maybe he will have plant type creatures which can never move or maybe space based critters that never start off in worlds.

Another larger cool feature would be a metaverse kind of like galacitc civ where your creature competes with others and you can see how well it does. This would strongly depend on how you setup the personalties of your creatures (I think its supposed to be modeled by your actions). If the system is senative enough maybe in the virtual 4x end game in such a metaverse your creatures would form alliances. Some would be peacful, others would be war mongers, etc…

I definitely got a kick out of watching the video (and hearing the audience reactions to what was going on), but it did make me wonder about how fun the game will be to play. I’m a little hesitant to put my finger on any one specific thing about it since it’s early yet, so I’ll just keep an eye on it and hope it evolves into something exciting.

“My one real concern is replayability. Sure taking my first creature from a single cell to master of the universe might be cool, but how about the second and third and fourth?”

It doesn’t look to me like the intention is that you start again. Once you reach the end-game, you have the ability to go back and create new creatures in the same universe, it appeared to me from what Will was saying.

Once you’ve ‘succeeded’ at taking your creaure to the stars and ultimate power, you then play god with your little toy world.

Personally I wonder about the depth of the creation mechanics. Sure you can customize your own amoeba / fish / animal / town / city / vehicle / planet. Super cool. But what is the gameplay effect of all the customizations? Beyond nifty procedural animations and different running speeds? How do you control the personality of your creatures, or the kinds of technologies they specialize in, or just generally the behavior of it all?

Right now it looks to be mostly about looks, at least at the editor level. If it winds up being The Sims with lots of customized weird looking alien critters, then fine, but let’s be upfront about it. For example, in the gameplay video, the tanks that drove up and started blasting the Dr. Seuss city… well, they blasted the wall around the city, like, a whole lot. And it didn’t blow up at all! Not implemented yet? Or what?

It could be a very broad but very shallow game by the end of it. Hard to know how coherent the whole thing will wind up being. We’ll find out, I guess…

I assume a lot has happened the past year with regards to game mechanics, so we will indeed find out at e3.

So what are the chances will wright reads these forums? If so, fess up dude and spill your guts!

Nah, we only get crappy game designers like Brad Wardell and Soren Johnson here. If only Derek Smart would come back, then this place might get some class.

I think he is banned.

Who, Will Wright? Good. I heard all that guy ever talks about is making robots that sit on the sidewalk and say “I love you” to everyone who walks by. We don’t need that crap getting in the way of our discussions on “Doom 3 having bad AI” and “You can’t buy a PC game in any store anywhere in the U.S.” and “I hope my 7800GT can handle Oblivion, because I want to read endless screens of text windows at 60fps.”

Well, I suppose it depends on how long it takes for one “rise to power” playthrough. If it takes a solid 15+ hours to do so, then there’s less of a necessity to make the game compelling on every playthrough (IMHO, of course).

I recently had a chance to play the Star Control 2 Remake (Ur-Quan Masters) and even though the game mechanics have not aged very well (the “mining mini-game” is not as fun as I remember it) the oppurtunity to customize your primary ship, to recruit other races (i.e. make alliances), and to build your own starfleet from those races is still fairly compelling. Of course, much of that probably can be attributed to Reich and Ford’s excellent character dialog and storytelling in SC2… which isn’t really Will Wright’s team’s forte, per se.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to Spore simply on a game design level because it is going to be the ultimate in “layered game mechanics” which are slowly introduced/taught to the player over time. To hold the player’s hand as he/she goes from a single-celled organism to an inter-galactic juggernaut is certainly going to be an undertaking in that regard.

But I can’t wait to see how they do it… :)

If the other races can move through space and inter-galactic wars break out, well, I’m sold right now.

Imginage if it was moddable, and you get things like the diplomacy plugin for negociating alliances with other races… it’s never going to happen, but the ambitions of this game is quite something :)

Wow…I’m in total and complete awe.

No, Derek Smart.