Sporedum Adventure Camp Exclusive: Gryphon57’s Report
Posted by ballightning on May 18, 2009
Galactic Adventures Camp, Thursday May 14th and Friday May 15th, 2009
I just wanted to share a bit about my trip to the Maxis Studio during the GA adventures Camp. First of all, for those who do not know me, my name is Deb and on the sporepedia I’m known as Gryphon57.
Recently I was surprised by an invitation to attend the Galactic Adventures Camp at the Maxis Studio in sunny California. I was delighted and honoured to accept this fortunate opportunity. I haven’t traveled by myself for a long time so I was somewhat apprehensive about that part of it, me being inept in finding my way around airports and big cities. Fortunately the good people at Maxis had everything under control and thankfully Randy (slartibartfast3 was easy to pick out! I fully intended to ask every fella over 6 feet tall with a shaved head if they were Randy and I found him on my first call out! Hahaha…yelling across the baggage area “Randy? are you Randy? Bingo! within minutes of finding him..Randy’s phone rings…with a mystery person on the other line (the maxis secret service…MSS) “Randy, did you retrieve your baggage? Deb’s plane has landed have you found her yet? Dan (dananddna) has landed, have you located him yet?” Yes, the MSS was doing their job!
All of the gang eventually trickled in at different times etc from around the globe. It was great fun to actually meet people who had previously only been a name on the sporepedia and now were fleshed out into actual people…so I can assure you that none of us are computers! Although, sometimes I wonder if a couple are androids..hahah..by the way they pump out such perfect and superb creations with so little effort. We all retired to our rooms eventually to try and catch a few winks before meeting the team at Maxis.
The following morning we gathered in the lobby to be greeted by Maxis Cactus and we all walked over to the studio from there. Unfortunately Parkaboy’s plane was severely delayed and he would not be with us until later that afternoon.
First thing on the agenda was to have a tour of the studio and then on to another building with even more things to see. We toured by Will Wright’s office….i found the telescope used to spy on us at the airport there..hahahaha…and then to a conference room to be given a look at GA adventures and the opportunity to ask questions etc about the program. Back to the main studio for lunch and chit chat with each other…all of us anxious to have some hands on with the new game. Directly after lunch we were introduced to the “Aquarium”. Nicknamed that by the team at Maxis. A large dimmed room with 10 Asus machines…laptops, all inviting us by their lovely blue glow to come and spend time with them..hahah..beautiful computers donated to Maxis for this event (not to keep, just for the two days). Can I just say “WOW” very nice! Can’t you just imagine 10 computer addicts starring at these computers…..chomping at the bit to get started?!! They could have just locked us in there for two days…(with a johnny on the spot of course…and some food dispensers) and we’d have all been happy.
Okay, enough about all that. On to the game. Where does one start to describe this monstrous, epic , titanic edition to Spore?
Lets see, there is so much to do that one can’t even focus on making a mission yet….well, except for the androids. Surrounded by developers that are at our beck and call should we have a question or need assistance, our adventure begins. The room is a buzz with devs coming and going, I’m sure everyone at Maxis had wondered through the room at some point to see what we were up to.
Starting with the planet itself. One can make the planet any colour or combination of colours using a spectrum colouring tool. The colour changes based on the height or depth of valleys and mountains etc that you can manipulate using the terraform tools. This alone could have eaten up 9 hours for me! You could make a skull planet…a pokeball planet…a sporeTV symbol as the planet..a baseball…you name it… all the editors were seamlessly melded together to make switching as simple as a click. you can do things in whatever order you desire. You can select a planet from a large selection and go from there, choosing to terraform and change colours or just use that planet as is. There is a good choice of plants to draw from…no…no plant editor…thankfully, in my opinion…I spend far to much time in all the other editors if you know what I mean. A large amount of pre-made objects to draw from…very nice objects…great props pre-made by maxis. There are objects such as keys and fences, health kits , teleporter plates, granaides , mines…it goes on and on. Keys and other things can be visually edited. Example..you need a white key to pass the white gate…but you can edit the key to look like say…someones head, or a club or a donut or banana or whatever you like. The gates can be set to invisible so you could not pass an area..but you can’t see the gate. There is so much to tell you!
Special effects can be added to your game. Everything from fire, northern/southern lights, storm clouds and lightning to water falls…yes, actual falling water effect…place it on a fountain or make a large rock outcrop …you can enlarge or shrink all these effects…right to dappled sunlight on your dark forest to emphasize a chest or item you want the person to find. Then there are sound effects..everything from an orchestra blaring out action or horror movie music to evil whispering sounds to drop into your scary dark forest. You can set the music to play in a specific area…or a creak as someone walks over a rickety bridge. Set the ambiance to whatever you want and grow or shrink the area it will affect…it shows the sound waves and what areas its affecting. I didn’t get a chance to check out all the sound effects..basically I felt like I’d been dropped in front of a huge table of items…so just had to grab something here and there to try out…in each editor…i was pretty overwhelmed and wanted to just mess around at leisure with everything and not really do much mission building…but thought…oh no…when they ask me what did I do for nine hours on my mission…yikes! hahahah…how ’bout…oh, nothing…..to busy playing with stuff. And all the devs…so what’s your mission about? um…well, how bout…..nothing….to busy playing with all the fantastic special effects etc …haven’t gotten around to it yet…give me about a month and I will get back to ya. It was at this point that I realized that all my grandiose ideas and planning…..could be dumped…I’d need way more time..not to mention that although I do play other games,I’ve never made or edited one like this!
On to missions… here is where I was stumped by the plentiful instructions that you could give to your characters. A very simple yet on the other hand, complex matter. I had troubles with my silly goats attacking my props…..I was in need of serious help in this area as I had wanted to do far to many things without having a clue about what I was doing in game…I NEED THE MANUAL! hahaha.. anyways..you silly goat, quite attacking the lighthouse, and the troll..quite attacking the bridge! Yes, my hopes had crashed…not the game..the game is enormous…I just had no concept of what to do yet…head spinning with to many things. There is no chance I will lose interest in this game anytime in the next decade…possibilities are endless..but first…I need to understand the whole concept of if this then that….what team…how strong is my character/creature i want you to kill…looks like a herbivorous but I can make him as dangerous as I wish! I can set paths, patrol, remain still, be friendly or territorial. There are also more advanced controls to set priorities ie: first pick up key, then attack only white bunnies or adventurers. All this has my head spinning…oh no..I’m a waste of space! help! I need to rethink and dump my preconceived ideas! I can’t wait to be in the comfort of my own home and start learning all these things and playing with it. Oh, and I need to add this about the props we built before hand. Example…yes, i can sink multiple buildings into one or…like the mouse maze I’d made….a solid construction single building…i can enlarge this and have my guy run around in it! Make a building…..place and make invisible the teleporter…somewhere else you’ve made the inside of that building but the person just seems to go inside…walk through that interior building..be mindful of tight spaces and turns..that could create issues with the camera….make it relatively easy to walk through with a large opened up area….and drop another invisible teleporter at the back door or where ever you choose to take the person out. You don’t have to make the teleport plate invisible…its an option.
There is so very much put into this game…for people who like to create…and I know there are tons of people who love to do that, you will not be disappointed. My advice to people….if you are like me….make your first missions simple. Make fun and chunky props that will stand out and have fun things for people to jump around on and find or fight.
You can even make your planes follow a certain path so I suppose you could have it seem to run along a track if you can get the scaling right on your buildings etc. The possibilities are endless…
Oh, and one more thing…if Maxis shares my er…mission..hehehe….don’t use it! I have brand new plans that will be fun and simple to start with…I shall be grabbing that off the server when the game comes out in hopes to save you all from a dismal time through my disjointed and bizarre attempts. Hahahah….
Regarding the team at Maxis…wow, what a great bunch. They love this game…they are doing all they can to make our experiences on the sporepedia and in the game as enjoyable as possible. We need to cut them some slack folks… they are a hard working crew….and a great bunch of people who love to see us making things with their game..just like proud parents they enjoy watching us take their game and do things with it that they didn’t know could be done! So, get GA, and look out…plan some holidays as you won’t want to leave your computer for a very long time. Of course..not everyone likes to mess around with building games…there are those who just want to experience a variety of missions…so to those of us who create missions…lets try to give them a good show!!!!!!!
I’m sure I’ve missed a lot but be sure to check out reports from the rest of the ga camp gang for more insight. We all had the opportunity to see and learn of things that we cannot share with you in fear of all our creations being deleted off the sporepedia by Cactus..haahha, just kidding…but we cannot share some things …and wow..they were pretty impressive!
And, hey… to all the gang that attended, it was a great experience and joy to meet you guys, thanks for being such wonderful and fun people, you all made my trip all that much better. Thanks all!!