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Archive for August, 2009

Rumor: SPORE Creature Keeper coming to Nintendo DS

Posted by ballightning on August 31, 2009

Thanks to Judson from SporePrograms who has noticed that the ESRB ratings site has details for a Creature Keeper game coming to DS. Is it going to happen? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Chris Hecker and 23 other spore developers laid off.

Posted by ballightning on August 30, 2009

Chris Hecker has revealed that 24 members of the spore team have been laid off, including himself.

I would like to personally give tribute to Chris who not only creating the procedural animation, various prototypes many years ago and successfully developed assymetry, he also has helped the modding community with various problems on many occasions.

Chris and the other 23 members of the spore team will be missed, and here at sporedum, we wish them all the best in the future! Watch this space for news on Chris Hecker’s new indie game SpyParty.

I just got laid off from Maxis!

I can’t say that it was a shock, but it was still somewhat surprising. It’s funny, you occasionally hear about people who were laid off, and from the safety of your job you can’t help but think, “Even though it’s not supposed to be merit based, that’s gotta be in the mix; they wouldn’t actually let the good people go.” Then it happens to you, and you’re like, “Hey, wait a second…”  🙂

I had a truly great time working on Spore. I was lucky to get to contribute to some really amazing stuff over the past six years. In the past few months, I chose to work on smaller things that generated lots of goodwill but no revenue, which tends to be a problem when you’re expensive and the economy is down! Still, we got asymmetry into a patch, which has enabled some really incredibly insanecreatures and vehicles. Next I was going to do some research on improving searching and browsing assets in the incredible resource that is the Sporepedia. I think there are some amazing opportunities to mine the user created assets if the browsing and tagging facilities can be improved. Will and I used to debate the best way to classify the assets, and hopefully we’ll see some neat stuff going forward there.

I also got to work with some excellent game developers, many of whom have become my good friends. I hope the others who got laid off (there were 24 in all, I think) will land on their feet and do great work, and I hope the folks who are left will try to carry the Maxis torch and keep making games that are different and expand the boundaries of our art form.

What’s Next?

As for me and my future, if you attended the always-interesting Experimental Gameplay Workshop this year at the Game Developers Conference, you may have seen the indie game I’ve been working on in my spare time. I believe the idea is quite strong, so I was thinking about quitting to work on it more seriously in January. Now I guess the choice has been made for me, so assuming I can get the financial numbers to add up, I will start cranking on it.

Continue Reading

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EA Maxis-Spore Hit with Layoffs

Posted by ballightning on August 27, 2009

The Maxis headquarters in Redwood, California have been the host of the latest job cuts as the gaming industry faces the global recession. In the home place of spore today, Maxis have confirmed that members of the spore team have been layed off.

“Often in the video game industry, the size of a studio fluctuates in response to business conditions. In this case, EA has taken action to reduce the workforce at Maxis as we focus the business and focus Maxis,” an EA spokesperson told IGN.

EA is still fully backing Spore, mentioning some of its upcoming titles.

“EA remains fully committed to SPORE and other IP within Maxis, with games planned for launch in the next few months, including Spore Hero, coming to the Wii for the first time, and Spore Hero Arena on the DS. All eligible employees will receive severance and outplacement assistance.” 

EA wouldn’t comment on how many employees were let go, however.

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

Arthropod Adventure: Team Challenge: Vote now

Posted by ballightning on August 26, 2009

The finalist for the Maxis Arthropod Adventure Challange have been posted, vote over at the official forums.

Finalist Adventures Announced!

Click the thumbnail to download and play the adventure. Click here to subscribe to the Challenge Sporecast to easily download all the adventures. Play them, then come back here to vote on your favorite by 11:00 am PDT September 1st!

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New Spore Hero / Spore Hero Arena screens

Posted by ballightning on August 25, 2009

WorthPlaying has posted up some new screenshots for Spore Hero and Spore Hero Arena.

SporeHeroArena_NDS_029 SporeHeroArena_NDS_026 SporeHeroArena_NDS_027 SporeHeroArena_NDS_028

SporeHero_Wii_035 SporeHero_Wii_034 SporeHero_Wii_032 SporeHero_Wii_036 SporeHero_Wii_033

Source: SporePrograms

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Spore Screenshot Challenge

Posted by ballightning on August 22, 2009

MaxisCactus has posted the latest Spore challenge, this time its a screenshot adventure challange! If you have any questions, head over to the official thread and post in there.

Shutterbugs get ready. Load up your Galactic Adventures game and take a screenshot of an incredible scene you’ve created in the Spore Screenshot Challenge!

Post your screenshot, along with a link to the adventure here to enter.

What will the challenge winner get?

A chance to be featured on Spore.com!

We’ll post our favorite submissions here, then YOU get to vote for which one is your top pick! The winner may be featured if it meets our criteria for featured creations.

• The adventure must be originally created by you. No other authors are allowed in the lineage.
• It must not contain any creation with an offensive creation in its lineage (any parent or child creations).
• It must not contain any creation with any 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 the poll.

Rules:
• Your image should show off a cool scene you’ve created with Galactic Adventures
• To submit, publish and tag your adventure with mcscreenshotchallenge, and post a link to it here along with your screenshot
• You can submit as many screenshots of as many of your own adventures as you like
• Adventures can contain creations by other players
• All submissions must be in by 11:00am PDT Sept 17th 2009

Resources:
How to post an image on the Sporum
Check out this thread for some gorgeous screenshot inspiration.
How to use the adventureLook filters

Tips:
• If you normally run your game at low or mid range graphics settings, consider maxing them temporarily while you take your screenshot.

FAQ:
Q: Can it be an old adventure? Something I’ve already made?
A: Yes. Don’t forget to add the tag mcscreenshotchallenge to it, though.

Q: Does the screenshot have to be from a published adventure?
A: Yes, part of the rules state that you must publish and post a link to the adventure.

Q: Can the adventure just be built for the screenshot, or should it also be fun to play?
A: While the focus of this challenge is to create an amazing screenshot, we will pay some attention to how fun the adventures are when narrowing down the finalists, so put some fun gameplay in there, too.

Also, don’t forget that you can always revise your entry up until the contest deadline. For example, you can build your scene and even publish your adventure now, but then go back and revise the gameplay so that it’s more fun later. You have a whole month for this challenge. Just don’t forget to update your link post if you publish a revised version later down the line.

Q: What happens if the adventure I use is already featured?
A: Adventures that are already featured won’t be featured again… so use a fresh adventure!

Q: Can we use stylefilters/adventurelook/a combination of the two?
You’re encouraged to use the adventureLook cheat in your adventure.
See this guide for adventureLook info.

The styleFilter cheat is not recommended for use in adventures. Use it at your own risk, but this cheat was not created for adventures and may cause publishing issues. If you must use it, I recommend that you back up and publish a version of your adventure before using this cheat.

Q: Can we use Photoshop or other image editing programs to doctor up our screenshots?
No. The screenshot must be an unedited capture straight from the game.

Q: Can we have two screenshots from the same adventure?
Yes. Only one will be chosen as the winner, but post as many as you like.

Q: What are the minimum dimensions of the screenshot?
The screenshot must be 800 x 600 pixels or larger.

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Gamespot Spore Hero Hands-on

Posted by ballightning on August 22, 2009

Check out Gamespot’s Spore Hero Hands on!

During the past few months, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to check out Spore Hero, including at a recent Electronic Arts press event in San Diego. The game has come a long way since we first checked it out in May, and now that we have our own preview build, we’ve had a chance to spend some quality time with it. For those who haven’t been following our coverage, Spore Hero is an action role-playing game built from the ground up for the Wii. It doesn’t play like the PC game Spore, but they do share some similarities. They both have a robust creature creator and excellent animation, which gives the game a ton of personality. But Spore Hero is primarily targeted at an audience that is looking for a lighthearted adventure in which they can ultimately save the day.

Representatives from EA stopped by to walk us through some of the changes that they’ve made to the game. The opening cutscene was tweaked a bit to help tell the story better. Two meteors, a blue one and a red one, are streaking across the sky, heading straight for a lush and beautiful planet. Each meteor carries an egg, but when they crash into the planet, blue and red meteor shards are scattered across the planet. We learn from the start that the red meteor bits have some kind of evil hypnotic effect on the locals, but the blue ones don’t. You play as the little Sporeling that hatches from the egg of the blue meteor and quickly befriend a local creature named Meejee. The creatures around you realize that for some reason you are immune to the red meteor’s strange effects, so you’re now in charge of helping them with all of their problems.

It’s a simple story, told through written dialogue and a garbled alien language. The voices are cute, and the animations add a lot of personality to each of the tribe members that you’ll wind up meeting. We were able to create and customize our own adorable little Sporeling, and new parts were constantly being added to the inventory. Fossils are located throughout the world, and by shaking your Wii Remote at them, you can excavate more parts for some cool new upgrades. Each of the six areas that you explore will have a variety of quests for you to undertake. There are quests in which you will need to fight, but not everyone on this planet is violent. There are singing and dancing challenges, as well as evolution quests, in which you help a particular creature evolve a certain way. For example, we came across a creature with no ears or wings who was trying to obtain a delectable moonfruit from the top of a tree. The quest will direct you to the creature creator, where you can provide the helpless critter with the appropriate parts so that it can fly and find its meal. The dancing quest is like a rhythm minigame, in which icons will appear onscreen to tell you what to do with your controller. Singing is similar, but it involves tilting your remote and holding the A button at the right time.

Continue Reading

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2 new Spore Hero – Spore Hero Arena videos

Posted by ballightning on August 22, 2009

Check out our Spore Hero page for more info!

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Spore.com site update: Sporepedia landing page

Posted by ballightning on August 22, 2009

The main Sporepedia page has been updated!

You may notice that when you visit the Sporepedia now, you will see a new Home tab. The main purpose of this tab is to make it easier to find some of the cooler stuff in the Sporepedia, especially for new visitors.

Check it out to quickly get to the MPN and featured creations, top rated Sporecasts, new challenges, and more!

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New Spore Hero/Spore Hero Arena screenshots

Posted by ballightning on August 21, 2009

Thanks to SimsDominations for finding these new screenshots of Spore Hero and Spore Hero Arena!

simsdomination-screen-b-10 simsdomination-screen-b-03 simsdomination-screen-b-05 simsdomination-screen-b-08 simsdomination-screen-b-02 simsdomination-screen-b-01 simsdomination-screen-b-09 simsdomination-screen-b-04 simsdomination-screen-b-11 simsdomination-screen-b-07 simsdomination-screen-b-06

simsdomination-screen-b-12

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Gamespot Spore Hero Arena Hands-on

Posted by ballightning on August 21, 2009

Gamespot has had a hands on for Spore Hero Arena.

If you were expecting a little more action from the PC game Spore, then you’re in luck, because Spore Hero Arena is all about arena-based combat instead of primordial evolution. Because of Spore Creatures’ success on the Nintendo DS last year, Electronic Arts is hoping that Spore fans will want to take their customized gladiator on the go. You will still continuously upgrade or “evolve” your creature, but the bulk of the game is honing your skills to face galactic champions. The 3D creature creator in Spore Hero looks great, especially when compared to Spore Creatures. We had an opportunity to play through a preview build to get an idea of how the game works and see what the arena action is like.

The story takes place in the same universe as Spore Hero for the Wii, except in this case, you’re a creature that was happily flying its spaceship until a blue meteor knocked you off course. Luckily, you land on a planet where a cranky grasshopper-like creature with huge feet named Yeedo is eager to help you fix your ship. But before you collect all the necessary parts and go off on your merry way, he tells you about the tainted medals that he had once created, which were made from the shards of a red meteor and given to the winners of a galactic championship. Unfortunately, the medals possess some kind of evil power, which makes the wearer do bad things. Because you are immune to the effects of the red meteor and seem to increase in power when you come across blue meteor bits, Yeedo wants you to take on the brainwashed champions and win back the medals.

Continue Reading

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VideoGamer: Spore Hero Preview

Posted by ballightning on August 20, 2009

Another of the previews for the next Spore game is from VideoGamer, which looks at Spore Hero.

There are many important life lessons to be learned from Spore Hero. To get anywhere in this world, you need to grow a mouth – and you better learn how to use it. Kicking random strangers will make them want to fight you, but fighting is in turn the best way to make them respect you. Blue things are generally good, but red things are generally bad. Has this game been designed by the Chelsea Headhunters, or am I just missing a trick?

In actual fact, Spore Hero has been designed by a gang of massive Nintendo fans. You can tell this because at least one of the guys at EA Montreal has a tattoo of Luigi on his arm, but it’s also fairly evident just from looking at the game itself. This is a bright and cheerful third-person action-platformer, with a Metroid-like structure that allows you to access new areas and perform new feats as you develop. The key difference here is that you don’t just gain new equipment – you are the new equipment.

As I observed the last time I saw this game, the cool thing about Spore Hero is that EA has managed to port almost the entirety of Maxis’ superlative creature creation system – along with the procedural animation that determines how things move. Naturally the transition has demanded a few minor adjustments: you now select your animal’s body from a list of pre-set shapes rather than bending its spine, and slug-like beasties are no longer an option. On the whole, however, the game seems to do a pretty grand job of offering all the creative freedom of its PC-based predecessor. Given that monster-making was arguably the highlight of Spore’s multi-tiered gameplay, Wii owners should be happy indeed.

Posted in Spore Hero | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

GamesCom IGN: Spore Hero Hands-on

Posted by ballightning on August 20, 2009

Here is the IGN preview for Spore Heroes.

While Spore Hero Arena on DS is a hybrid of adventure and arena battling, Spore Hero on Wii takes things in a much larger adventure-focused experience. The story between the two games is similar, though there’s a definite twist to it as well. With Arena, players are tracking down the world’s strongest battlers who have medals made of a mysterious red crystal. The concept of these crimson gems is retained for Hero, but the story is far from cut-and-dry. After crash landing on a new planet you discover that a strange force has apparently followed you there, corrupting the planet with evil as it scattered on impact. It’s your job to create a hero, embark on a quest to find answers, and unlock new parts to further strengthen your creature.

As always the biggest question surrounds the Spore creature creator, and just how robust/expansive it is. Like the DS game, the creature creator is back in action, and it’s much larger than what you’ll find in the pocket offering. Over 250 parts are available for your tweaking pleasure, and the creator itself feels as robust as the PC offering was in the original Spore. You can scale limbs, add in extra extensions, add on horns, wings, claws and the like, and each of the choices you make will determine what skills you have in the game. When you fist kick off your adventure there are only a few options – which, even still, can create plenty of monster types since you can scale and use different body shapes as well – but after even just a few minutes of play you’ll start to discover new parts across the world. Beat a boss? You’ll get parts. Go off the beaten path? You’ll get parts. Dig in suspicious areas around the world? Yup. Parts.

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GamesCom IGN: Spore Hero Arena Hands-on

Posted by ballightning on August 20, 2009

Theres alot of action over at GamesCom relating to Spore Hero and Spore Hero Arena. Today i’ll be bringing you all the latest updates and news.

Check out the IGN Spore Hero Arena Hands-on!

Both Spore Hero and Spore Hero: Arena have the same overarching concept, though their execution and finer story points are all their own. Both games focus on the concept of red crystals that have fallen from the sky, and you – the hero – evolving as you explore the world and collect them all. With Spore Hero: Arena, however, the gameplay is far more… well… arena-based. After you’re forced to crash on an alien world you discover that the solar system has been shrouded in evil, with the power of myseterious red crystals being harnessed by the galaxy’s strongest fighters. After a little prep and training the game kicks you into a quest to track down the greatest fighters in the world, defeat them, and harness the power of the red crystals. This, of course, is done through the game’s self-titled arena combat.

For those that played Spore Creatures already on DS you’ll be pleased to know that the experience is entirely 3D this time around, and it certainly makes for a better pocket Spore offering. Creating creatures is extremely easy, using the touch screen for camera manipulation, part movement, and also movement when in the actual game. The game’s story progression also lends itself well to unlockable content – namely new parts for your creature – so as you explore you find new pieces, can then go back to the creature creator and evolve, and then use your new powers against bigger and tougher foes. Each time you find a piece or complete a challenge – be it in the game’s stage-like adventure portions or in the arena battles themselves – you’ll not only have a chance to acquire new pieces but also more DNA points. If we learned anything from Jurassic Park, it’s that Mr. DNA is an important person, and that rings true here as well. You won’t be borrowing code from frogs – at least I haven’t personally come to that part yet – but each collection of more DNA means you can equip those larger pieces you find.

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Spore Hero Arena and Spore Hero Release Dates

Posted by ballightning on August 17, 2009

The official release dates for Spore Hero Arena and Spore Hero have been revealed. Maxis today in a press release officially announced the coming of Spore to the Nintendo for the first time, with a worldwide release date of the 9th of Octerber, and the 6th for North America. Both games have been built from the ground up to provide exclusive gameplay for each consoles special controls.

Spore Hero delivers the unparalleled creative freedom of Spore in an action-adventure game created exclusively for the Wii. Set in a rich and vibrant 3D world, Spore Hero empowers the player to become the hero as they embark on an epic quest to save their creature’s home planet from destruction. Along this journey, players engage in fun battles, and solve puzzles to collect and unlock more than 250 new creature parts, all with unique abilities. These parts, which can be used to customize creatures in the revolutionary Spore Creature Creator, can change the way creatures will play and fight in the world. Players can also utilize their brawling skills in a dynamic multiplayer mode, where they battle their friends with their own customized creature to become the ‘baddest’ Spore hero around!

Spore Hero Arena catapults players into a galaxy filled with fun and intense arena-based combat. Featuring an all-new story set in the same universe asSpore Hero, Spore Hero Arena takes players on a quest to save planets in their galaxy from an evil force. Throughout the game, players create their own unique gladiator hero creature and guide it from planet to planet as they fight enemy creatures, collect new parts, gain upgrades and unlock special abilities that will benefit their hero. Developed with multiplayer capabilities in mind, Spore Hero Arena also allows players to battle with up to three friends locally or play with a friend over Wi-Fi, taking the Spore gameplay experience to an entirely new and interactive level.

Available for $49.99 MSRP, Spore Hero is rated E10+ by the ESRB. Spore Hero Arena is available for $29.99 MSRP and is rated E by the ESRB.

Posted in Spore Hero, Spore Hero Arena | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »