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Will Wright Interview with YourSpore

Posted by ballightning on November 3, 2008

YourSpore.de recently did a video intervew with Will Wright about Spore, Oddity’s Spore blog was asked to create a transcript of the interview and here are some great extracts.

YourSpore:I would like to ask you something about the add-ons. Now we have the creepy and cute pack, and Lucy has said the you will release a Space-phase add-on. Could you tell us something about that?

Will Wright: Well, we are looking at doing expansions, different types of expansions for Spore. And it is kind of experimental. We are going to watch which ones the fans like the most. And, kinda, keep going in that direction. When we did the Sims, we did, like, our first expansion pack and we saw what players were doing with it and that kinda drove the other expansion packs, based on what we saw what fans were doing with the game. And eventually that kinda led us to The Sims2. So now we are at that point with Spore where the fans are gonna start driving the evolution of it, almost more than we do. And…, except I think in terms of expansions were going to expand Spore in a lot of different directions. So, the first few expansion packs are all going to probably be very different types of things. They won’t be that standard Sims expansion route. So, like, the Cute and Creepy pack is primarily a parts expansion, the Space expansion is where we’re going into one level and make it much deeper in certain ways. And the other expansions are going probably in other directions as well. And well you know we see these as kinda experimental really.

YourSpore: Are we going to see expansions around other levels as well?

WW: Yeah, but those would be like the space one, that’s like one kind of expansion, making one level deeper. Another type of expansion is adding more parts for an editor. Another type of expansion might be taking one editor and making it an entirely different game experience. That’s what I mean by different types of expansions, rather than all making one level deeper, or extending more parts. I think we’ll be looking for a more diverse set of expansions for Spore.

YourSpore: So what we could expect you could not tell us so…any…?

WW: Well, the next expansions will be something beyond just parts and making levels deeper, you know, so we’re looking at…

YourSpore: So more missions or… ?

WW: Parts of the Space model will be, you know, more missions. So we looking for to expand Spore into unexpected areas.

YourSpore: And are there any other ideas for Spore?

WW: Oh, lots of ideas! *laughs*

YourSpore:Something else than the Sporepedia or community events, something else?

WW:Right now the biggest challenge is that, you know, forty million creations in the Sporepedia, that the players have made and I think what we need to do now is think about how to organize that. Forty million is a lot, it’s just a huge, huge number. What I’m really interested in right now, is making the Sporecasts easier to build, which is just one form of organization. Right now it is really cumbersome to make a Sporecast on the website or in the game. And so we are looking how to improve those tools on the website so that you can make a really large Sporecast, containing several hundred or several thousand things, which right now is kinda impractical. And then, I think we need to investigate ways to get better tagging on the content as well. Because I think we get a lot more value out of these forty million things, if there was a lot more organization. So we want to get the fans to be able to get in and make really interesting sets and organizations in terms of topologies of that data.

YourSpore: In the development of Spore what was the biggest problem you encountered?

WW:The two biggest challenges really were, no maybe three biggest were, technical in terms of procedural animation and texturing and all the procedural technologies. You know whatever the player makes we have to bring alive, moving around and behavior. That was a big technical challenge. There was a big design challenge, how to make all these different levels work together without the control scheme and the camera getting too strange. And the biggest usability challenge was how we make the editors really easy to use. And so we spent a lot of time testing the editors and different interfaces for how to use the creature creator or the vehicle creator across a wide number of people, you know to make them really, really easy. So those were probably the three biggest challenges.

YourSpore: And what was the first part that you developed? The editor or just some test group engine?

WW:We did a lot of prototyping. Some of the prototypes are on the website to download. Sometimes we were prototyping parts of the gameplay. Sometimes they were prototyping the editor. Usability issues or underlying technologies, like graphics. But we were doing that alongside of the editor development. So the editor development and the procedural animation were some of the earliest pieces of code while we were prototyping the gameplay.

YourSpore: Are there any disappointments? Was there anything you needed to cut?

WW:Nothing because EA said so! We did do some cutting of things for other reasons. Like originally we were gonna have underwater be available all the way to Civilization, so you could build an underwater civilization. And we started prototyping that, which is now an RTS, three dimensional RTS, you know were you got a tribal stage civilization stage underwater and none of the prototypes we very amusing to use. They were very, very hard to use because you may have things swimming around at many different levels, it was very hard to collect things and stuff like that. So we ended up cutting underwater civilizations for usability reasons. There were a few things we would have expanded more on, except we wanted to ship the game one day. *laughs* When you get out of the UFO, we wanted to have more stuff that you can do walking around on the planet. That is something that we probably will be adding on to in the Space expansion. So we had a lot of ideas along the way that for things that we had to cut, that we will probably be slowly start putting back in to the game.

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