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Interview: Maxis’ Bradshaw On Freedom In Games, Failure As A Positive

Posted by ballightning on May 30, 2009

Lucy Bradshaw talks to Gamasutra about many aspects in the world of Spore and the Sims. She goes into details about the community and the balance Maxis tried to create in Spore.


Spore And Balance

Finding the right balance was a challenge in Spore, she says, particularly in the area of how much impact and meaning to give people’s visual choices for their creatures. “We thought about that a lot… how penalizing the editing process should be. How much meaning should any one of those parts have? Should we have focused more on the physics, should gravity have played a greater role — should we have allowed players to make unsuccessful creatures?”

Ultimately, though, the team chose a “bias toward creativity and ease of use, rather than having physical attributes being damning of your species.” If it’s so easy to fail because a creature’s the wrong size or incorrectly mobile, Bradshaw theorizes, then players may be stuck going back and forth in the creation loop and missing out on the exploration aspect of the game.

“We’ve gotten some grief for it, because people wanted more meaning behind the editors,” she concedes. “I think there’s more opportunity for us to look at some of those things and give players a little more sense and depth; to ultimately re-examine some of the elements of Spore. With Galactic Adventures, we’re going deeper, allowing players to really invest back in their captain.” 

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2 Responses to “Interview: Maxis’ Bradshaw On Freedom In Games, Failure As A Positive”

  1. Popy said

    Ok… GA is gonna be great I’m sure.. now lets stop plugging it and promoting it long enough to give non-political answers to actual issues that people.. players, want addressed.
    First and Foremost, when do we get to see galactic battles, when do we get to dominate other species rather than assimilating (and magically transforming them into our own species), when does “omnipotent” gain its true meaning, when will we be able to control creatures in space stage (not a captain with tools/gadgets, which only works on special worlds), when do we get to have defenders and multiple space ships, and bombers?
    Yep, all space-stage questions, and all important, because I for one am tired of the spore galaxy. I have been since like November last year. It’s all the same, planet after planet, nothing changes. If you need a reference or something, watch a movie. Star Wars, Star Trek, Lost in Space, I mean the field is wide open. And we have such a limited range of things to do in spore, which seems insane. The game is easily the largest, as far a world-map, that I’ve ever played.. we have an entire galaxy to explore, yet I get more diversity walking out to my back yard, as far as things to investigate and explore. Like I said, GA is probably going to open a lot of doors for exploration, but it still pertains only to that one special planet, or mission as the case may be.
    I just think that instead of promoting your new money-grabber, you could focus on what the game could use more of: Diversity, Customization, Accessibility, Interaction, and Scientific Value.. all while making the game have surprises and challenges.
    There’s my two cents worth.. now lets hear some more about GA… la la la

    PS.. so when are you gonna announce a price for your new expansion?

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