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Archive for March, 2009

Now hiring for Maxis’ next secret title

Posted by ballightning on March 31, 2009

Have you have always wanted to work with Maixs to create better games? Well now you can.  Maxis are now hiring for the position Game Prototyping Programmer.  If you meet the requirements (see below) then you may want to drop off your resume.  Visit Gamasutra for more details.

Maxis is seeking an experienced engineer to focus on prototyping and building gameplay systems for an unannounced next-generation simulation game. Maxis offers a fun, creative, and technically challenging environment with excellent compensation and a full range of benefits.


* Fluency in C/C++
* Experience with rapid gameplay prototyping
* Strong math skills (linear algebra, trigonometry, etc.)
* Strong data structures, logic, and algorithm skills
* Self-motivation and willingness to pitch in on many areas of game development
* Passion for playing games

Strongly Desired:

* 5+ years of game coding experience on at least one shipped title
* Computer science/mathematics/physics or related degree
* Experience with AI programming
* Experience working on networked games
* Experience with code and algorithmic optimization to improve performance
* Experience with shader and/or graphics effects programming

I wonder what this is going to be…  Thanks to Space Oddity’s blog for discovering this!


Posted in Maxis News | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Petition to bring back pathway conversations

Posted by ballightning on March 30, 2009

In the most recent interview, Maxis revealed that there will not be pathway conversations. This was a major let down to many people who were thinking of making story based adventures. Especially for people who wished to make vast epic campaigns.


Now a group of users on the Sporum have created a petition to get pathway conversations in Galactic Adventures.


You must be a user to vote and talk about it there so make sure you sign up and then vote in the topic.

Posted in Galactic Adventure, Spore News | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Creator Spotlight: Techno605

Posted by ballightning on March 30, 2009

It is not often that I spotlight a certain creator. But Techno605 was just an amazing creator, and probably the best building creator in the world, for me not to feature him. You can find Techno605’s Profile here.


So I ask myself, what is so good about these creations? The colour on all of them has been used to perfection. Techno605 also has used texture along with a smart design to achieve the perfect looking PNG for the Sporepedia. The third image is my favourite with its unique and amazingly coloured spiral design. What is your favourite?


Do you have a favourite creator? Post a comment below with a link to their profile page and we may feature them! In the future, you will be able to find all the past features by clicking on the special category which can be found at the end of the post called “Creator Spotlight”.


If you like any of these creations, don’t forget to go and rate them up!


Creation Detail

Creation Detail










Creation DetailCreation Detail

Posted in Spore News | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Captain Postcard Challenge

Posted by ballightning on March 29, 2009

From MaxisCactus:

Spore Galactic Adventures will allow you to level up your creature as a Captain, but we want to knowexactly what kind of creature you would choose! 

This is your chance to show off a creature you’ll promote to Captain by sending a postcard of it to a friend! 

Send the best postcard to win the Captain Postcard Challenge! 

How to Submit: 
• Create a creature and enter play mode. 
• Take a snapshot, then from the snapshot viewer, send at least 2 postcards. 1 to me: MaxisSaguaro@maxis.com, and at least one to a friend. 
• Along with any personal message, be sure to include the name of your creature in the postcard you send. 
• Publish your creation with the tag mccaptainchallenge 

A chance to be featured on Spore.com and a chance for your creation to be outfitted as a captain by Maxis artists, and displayed in the Meet the Captains Gallery. Check out the gallery here. 

Judge: MaxisCactus 

Your creation: 
• must not have any parent authored by a different creator. 
• must not have any offensive creation in its lineage (any parent or child creations). 
• must not have any offensive material, links or references to other sites in the submission’s tags, name, or description 

Submissions that do not meet the above criteria will not be considered for a feature 

Additional Requirements: 
• Your creation must be made in the Creature editor. 
• You can submit as many creations as you’d like 
• All submissions must be in by 11:00 AM PST Wednesday (04/15/09) 

You do not need to purchase Spore Galactic Adventures to participate in this challenge. Anyone who has Spore or the Spore Creature Creator is welcomed to enter!

Posted in Spore Contests | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Subscribe to Sporedum

Posted by ballightning on March 29, 2009

We have made it very easy for you to subscribe to sporedum, all you have to do is follow the link below and you can get constant spore updates by any Reader out there, or just get it emailed to you. If you are using one of our old readers, we advise you to change to the one linked to from this post as we may not be supporting the others for very long. You can find the link on any Sporedum page at the top of the left panel.

Feel free to give feedback!


Posted in Sporedum News | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

2 new Spore Galactic Adventures screens

Posted by ballightning on March 28, 2009

Spore Vicio (SimsDomination’s Spore site) has found 2 new screens from Spore Galactic Adventures:

sporevicio-sporegalactic250302 sporevicio-sporegalactic250301

Source: SimPrograms

Spore Galactic Adventures

Posted in Galactic Adventure, Spore News | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Spore Galactic Adventures fansite kit

Posted by ballightning on March 28, 2009

We have just got this email from MaxisCactus:


Hey everyone,


We just wanted to let you know early that we’ve posted a new Galactic Adventures fansite kit on Spore.com.  Inside you’ll find desktop backgrounds, banners, a poster and more!




Spore Galactic Adventures

Posted in Galactic Adventure, Spore Community, Spore News | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

100,000,000 creations contest!

Posted by ballightning on March 28, 2009

From Maxis:

Calling all Creators!


We’re blown away by the number of creations our community has shared on Sporepedia.

So fire up your imagination and share some more awesome creations. Be the creator that bumps up that number to 100 million for a chance to win an NVIDIA Graphics card, a standard copy of Spore, 
and a copy of Spore Galactic Adventures when it
becomes available!



About how much is a hundred million?

  • The number of TV sets in India
  • The number of photoreceptors in an eye
  • The number of mobile phones in Japan
  • The number of cows in the United States
  • The number of pounds of air in an acre



Posted in Spore News | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

iGoogle – Spore theme

Posted by ballightning on March 27, 2009

Here is the new iGoogle Spore theme! Click on the images to use.

Posted in Spore News | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Web 2.0 Expo Preview: Will Wright, Sims and Simulations

Posted by ballightning on March 27, 2009

Head on over to O’Reilly Radar, and you will see that editor Kurt Cagle caught up with Will Wright for a short interview.

Kurt Cagle: The other game that you released last year was Spore. I find it interesting because you’re now modeling evolutionary processes as well as societal ones, sometimes in a very amusing manner. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing what I’ve seen coming out of Spore. How was the game received? What were you hoping to achieve with it besides selling lots and lots of copies?


Will Wright: Well, it’s a game that I would say is still very much in development. You know a game like Spore where it’s kind of leveraging off of what we saw happening with Sims and user generated content except going to the next level with it where much higher level tools for customizing content within the game is part of the game play.

So our only thought when we released Spore, the game, was that it was about halfway through development. The next step was to see what the fans do with it. And this is kind of what happened with the Sims. When we did the first version of the Sims, we watched what the fans did. And then we started doing the expansion packs relative to what we saw the players wanting. And we’re starting to develop other experiences and expansions for Spore right now based upon what we’ve seen players do.

The amount of content that we’ve created totally blew us away. It was much more than we expected. I was hoping to see maybe around a million player-generated assets by the end of the past year. Instead, we were surpassing — I haven’t even looked in a while, but the last time I looked, we were passed 70 million. We have 30 million unique creatures in our database and there are only 7 million unique species on earth. So we out-populated Earth in a matter of a few months.

And what’s really amazing is the quality of the assets. I mean some of these are far better than any of our internal artists were able to make even when they tried to use the tools for several years. It shows you kind of the value of having parallel exploration of a solution space.

So in some sense, the game is not just about biology, but the very mechanisms through which we’re kind of generating these worlds for players is very much like a biological process where you have millions of people exploring this solution space in parallel. Now we’re looking at ways to make better use of all the huge data in the worlds the players are creating and give them new experiences with that data. So I’d say Spore is still very much a work in progress.


Web 2.0 Expo Preview: Will Wright, Sims and Simulations

Source: SporePrograms.

Posted in Spore News, Will Wright | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

GDC Panel: Fulfilling the Massively-Single Player Promise – How’d We Do?

Posted by ballightning on March 26, 2009


Spore producer Caryl Shaw had a session at GDC earlier today entitled “Fulfilling the Massively-Single Player Promise – How’d We Do?”.  In the session, Shaw quickly changed the session’s title as not many people showed up (due to Suda 51′S presentation across the hall) to talk about the online development for Spore.

She shares her mistake of buying the servers for Spore too early in 2005 when the online aspects started to kick off.  By the time of the game’s release, the servers aged a little, but it didn’t cause any conflicts.  In fact, Caryl goes on to tell how it benefited the team with time to do load testing so the Sporepedia wouldn’t crash, which is something i have to give credit to the Spore team for, as with nearly any other big Internet release, the website nearly always goes down.

She also listed the stats of how well Spore’s online community is performing:

89,505,660 total uploads since June
1.5-2m uploads per week (1m per day the first week)
2.6m registered users
3500 new users a day
500-600k uniques a month to Spore.com
4.45 minutes (average time per visit)
5 – number of Web Engineers at Maxis (plus Ernie, the part-time database guy)

Source:  Kotaku

Posted in Spore News, Sporepedia | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Chris Hecker Discusses User-Generated Content

Posted by ballightning on March 26, 2009

Hecker split his talk into three sections: what user-generated content is, how to use it, and why to use it. He began by setting up a partial taxonomy of axes for UGC, including aesthetic content versus behaviorial content, parameterization versus raw creation, as well as a more vague axis of accessibility.

As examples of UGC interfaces that demonstrate various combinations of these descriptions, Hecker went through a number of screenshots — Wii Miis and City of Heroes for parameterization and aesthetics; Spore creatures and mods for aesthetics and creation; Final Fantasy XII‘s menu-driven battle queue system for behavior and parameterization; Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts and the Flash game Fantastic Contraption for behavior and creation.

The “edit/test” cycle, Hecker says, is an ongoing loop that users cycle through when creating content — which occurs in gameplay as well as players try different mechanics and approaches, but on a much faster scale. With user-generated content, that cycle can end up lengthening to the point that it approaches game development. That can limit accessibility and shrink the potential audience for such content.

Read here for more.

Posted in Spore News | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

4 new official screenshots for Galactic Adventures

Posted by ballightning on March 26, 2009

Here are the latest for screenshots about Spore Galactic Adventures, to find more screenshots, go to the screenshots page.


captain_action_png_jpgcopy captainandepic2_png_jpgcopy captainandepic1_png_jpgcopy


Posted in Galactic Adventure, Spore News | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

SporeDay: Meet the Captains

Posted by ballightning on March 25, 2009

Maxis have also created a small flash-based application in which it will let you preview the Captains of Galactic Adventures in 3D.  You can only rotate them left and right, and zooming is not an option.  The loading time for each is slow, as it loads 36 images for you to rotate it around. But it is definitely worth it.

In Spore™ Galactic Adventures, now you can get out of your starship and turn your Spore creatures into legendary Space Captains.

Prepare your Captain for infinite adventures across the galaxy, from battling epic monsters in intergalactic arenas to intense planetside races and much more. In each mission, earn experience to rank up your Captain and gain game-changing items and accessories.

Suit up your Captain with over 30 new items, from the Plasma Pulser to the Swarm Magnet. Share your exploits online, as your Creature Card shows your accomplishments, rank, and medals earned.

Every thrilling adventure is just one more opportunity to prove there has never been a greater Captain!

Spore Expansion: Galactic Adventures

Posted in Galactic Adventure, SporeDay | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

SporeDay: Galactic Adventures Community Interview

Posted by ballightning on March 25, 2009

Last week maxis asked people over at the forums to ask questions about the Spore Expansion: Galactic Adventures. This covered a wide range of questions, including ones about missions, how it integrates, and how it will all work with the sporepedia. They have now released the answers in this thread over at the official forums. Here are some of the most important points below, as the read is a long one and we shortened it for you.

Read the full interview

General Mission Questions 

  • 2 types of ways to play missions, Quick play from the main menu, or through the space stage.
  • Quick play missions have 3 trophies (1st, 2nd and 3rd) for the best score, however if someone else beats you later on, then you loose the tropy.
  • Both options will award you “Spore Points”, which will allow you to buy new equipment for your captain.
  • In the space stage you will get a mission by flying to another empire, which will then direct you to an adventure planet.
  • There is no flora editor, however there are over 300 pre-made plants.
  • There are many different goals you can set for your missions. You can kill, befriend, talk, move to, hold, give, collect, bring, block and protect. Some goals, like bring, require two objects (for instance, “Bring Magic Wand to Frog”). Some goals have counters that you can set (for instance, “Kill 10 Oogies” or “Collect 99 Gems”). 
  • You can have 24 missions per adventure. There are 3 missions in each act, and you can now have 8 acts (up from 5).
  • Each object in your world can have up to 5 “pages” of text per act, and there can be up to 8 acts. A page can contain about 100 characters. Text is not limited to creatures, but can be attached to any object (rocks, buildings, trees, etc.). Text also appears when an adventure starts, during each act, and when the adventure ends (both win and fail text can be written). There is no branching text or dialog trees.
  • There are two types of triggers in GA: Act and AI.

“An act switch is triggered whenever the player completes all the goals in an act. During an act switch you can hide/show objects, change creature/vehicle behaviors, and make new speech text appear. 
AI triggers can be set using the advanced AI. Advanced AI is used to control creatures and the system is very flexible. For instance, you can tell a creature to attack only when it is carrying a red key. Or make it dance only when the player is nearby. These individual behaviors can be combined in hundreds of ways and we look forward to see the creative ways that the community will use this powerful feature. “

  • Missions can be failed, by dying, having a goal fail or having a some event happen (you kill the main character etc)
  • The complexity limit will allow you to have up to 100 creatures on a planet.


Mission Specifics 

  • You can place buildings and boats on water.
  • Text is not limited to creatures. You can attach it to scrolls, rocks, buildings, or vehicles, too. For instance, when the player clicks on a scroll they might see the text, “I’m waiting for you behind the tavern. Come at once!”. 
  • You cannot create cut scenes, however there are automatic cut scenes that appear when you beam down, win or fail an adventure. When you talk to creatures there is also a special cut scene. 
  • You cannot create underwater missions.
  • You can place creations from the building editor anywhere, even within each other!
  • You cannot link different adventures together, but you can make separate ones, which are linked by a sporecast.
  • You cannot drive vehicles, however you can piggy back on a pre-programmed one, or even take a ride on the back of an epic!
  • The eight new weapons are energy claws, lightning sword, pulse rifle, missile launcher, poison blade, summon swarm, freeze and mind meld. 
  • You can set a vehicle to be “stationary” and it will remain in one place. You can also do the opposite trick and use buildings to make things that look like vehicles.
  • You can have up to 3 posse members.
  • As a creator, you can choose whether it will be an open mission (players choose the captain), or one where you have to use a specific captain (this is for Quick play games only).
  • You can destroy buildings.
  • You can kill a character that you need to talk to, but an adventure fails instantly as soon as a goal can’t be satisfied. 
  • There is no way to add your own music, but GA includes over 150 sounds (including music, sound effects, and ambient noises). 
  • You can set the weather to be whatever you want.
  • In Space you can’t colonize adventure planets, so the terra score is irrelevant. 
  • You can’t use the earth planet that appears in Space, but using the terrain tools you can make a close approximation. 
  • Lightning, meteor shower, ice geysers and fire jets can all be toggled off and on. 
  •  There are 32 new accessories for your space Captain. Each accessory gives your Captain a special ability (like a shield generator, stealth, or missile launcher). 


Integration with Space and other games 

  • All your creature’s abilities transfer over into adventures.
  • Cell through Civ remain the same. 
  • You can only beamed down to adventure planets. 


Community/Online features 

“If the player doesn’t have a required asset then it willl be downloaded automatically from the server. If the object doesn’t exist on the server (or the player has banned it) then a substitute object takes its spot. In this case the player can still play the adventure, but cannot collect Adventure Points for it and will not be ranked on the leaderboards. “

  • A player can ban an entire adventure and it will be removed from his or her galaxy. 
  • You can have sporecast missions.

Read the full Interview

Posted in Galactic Adventure, Spore Community, Spore News | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »