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Archive for the ‘Will Wright’ Category

ACMSIGGRAPH asks Will Wright, “What’s next?”

Posted by ballightning on August 6, 2009

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Sputnik Observatory: Extraordinary minds shaping modern thought

Posted by judhudson on July 2, 2009

Sputnik Observatory is a brand new website that features over 200 interviews with some of the greatest minds in our day.  Will Wright is one of those brilliant minds – there are a number of interviews published with some of his thoughts.  Here’s what I’ve gathered:

These videos are dated 2003, hence SimCity 4 in the background

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IndustryGamers – Interview with Will Wright on Spore, Sims, Stupid Fun Club and more

Posted by ballightning on June 19, 2009

Will Wright chats with Industry Games about many topics – the Stupid Fun Club, whether we’ll see Spore on PS3/Xbox 360, Artificial Intelligence – and more!

WW: I don’t think it was widely reported, but alongside this whole [Stupid Fun Club] thing, I also entered into a consulting agreement with EA. I’m spending a certain amount of time every month actually working with the Spore team on future versions of Spore and expansions. So I will [still] be involved with EA on developing the Spore franchise as well.

IG: Well, fans will be happy to hear that. With that in mind, considering a theoretical Spore 2, what about the first Spore would you like to change or improve upon for a sequel?

WW: As soon as we released it, because we’re giving so much involvement to the players, we ended up learning a lot from seeing what the players do; we’ve already seen a lot of unexpected stuff happening in the player community that we’re learning from. We’re finding out cool areas the fans want to bring the game in, what direction they want the tools to go, what experiences they’re enjoying in the game the most, which levels they enjoy the most. So I think now we’re at a maximum learning where the fans are going to be steering the franchise as much as we will – they have their hands on the steering wheel too. We’re listening to criticisms of parts of the game, we’re looking at parts that were unexpected successes and we’re going to go in other directions with Spore.

I think part of it is stuff we wish we had done, but it’s more what we see the fans wanting us to do. We’re going to probably add more depth to different areas of the game – and we’re certainly already doing that with the Galactic Adventures expansion pack – and we’re also taking output from the tools in different directions, so you can take your creatures you made in the creature creator and bring them into different experiences.

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Source: SporePrograms

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GameDaily – Will Wright Confirms Future Involvement in Spore Franchise

Posted by ballightning on April 22, 2009

Falsely assuming that his work on Spore and his other previous franchises is done, we asked Wright if he ever would return to them. He responded, “I don’t think it was widely reported, but alongside this whole [Stupid Fun Club] thing, I also entered into a consulting agreement with EA. I’m spending a certain amount of time every month actually working with the Spore team on future versions ofSpore and expansions. So I will [still] be involved with EA on developing the Spore franchise as well.”

GameDaily – Will Wright Confirms Future Involvement in Spore Franchise

Source: SimPrograms

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Lucy Bradshaw on Will Wright’s Stupid Fun Club and the Future of Spore

Posted by ballightning on April 9, 2009

So now that we all know that Will Wright is leaving Maxis to run the think tank Stupid Fan Club (jointly owned by EA), Lucy Bradshaw has become the new head of Maxis. Gamedaily managed to get a phone interview with her.

For now, Maxis remains entrenched in the Spore universe. The game was one of the most hyped titles of 2008 and continues to be quite successful for EA. In fact, Bradshaw stressed that it’s EA’s most successful new IP launch ever. But how does Wright’s departure affect the future direction of the franchise? It should be business as usual, according to Bradshaw.

“One of the things Maxis has is a wealth of very strong creative individuals. They collaborated with Will on his vision for Spore through its fruition to becoming a product. It is a very interesting platform to continue to evolve,” she stated. “We’re coming out with Galactic Adventures in June and that will just be our first expansion pack in the franchise, and we’re taking the franchise in different directions as well, releasing Spore Hero [on Wii] and Spore: Hero Arena [on DS]. Those are announced for this calendar year and Spore: Creature Keeper [on PC] is aimed at a younger audience… someone who had fun with Creature Creatorbut isn’t a core gamer at this stage. So we’re really poised as we were with The Sims to really evolve this property in different directions, and we’ve got the creative talent here to do so. What Will has developed here along with me is a real interesting culture at Maxis… and that legacy will very much continue to be a force as we move forward.”

Read the full article

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Q&A: Will Wright on the rules of Stupid Fun Club

Posted by ballightning on April 9, 2009

After todays shock announcement that Will Wright is leaving Maxis, Gamespot has interviewed Will Wright on why he left, what he is planning on doing, and a bit on Spore.

 

 

GS: Why choose now to leave EA and strike out on your own venture?

WW: It’s something that we’ve been in talks with EA for almost a year now, so for me it’s kind of a long-term plan and I was just in no hurry to do it. We’d been developing a lot of these concepts within the Stupid Fun Club and people would come by over the years and say, “That’s great, I would buy that.” It got to the point where venture capitalists were offering us real money to fund these projects.

With Maxis, I’d already been down the whole take VC money, do the IPO, do the acquisition thing.. I saw a lot of dysfunction in that model that was interesting to experience once but I didn’t want to go through it again.

As I started talking to EA about this, we started realizing they were very interested in the game properties coming out of this. We started exploring the idea of them funding the Stupid Fun Club as a VC would, but because their interest is in the game properties coming out, they have no interest in us becoming liquid and doing the IPO and all that. So we basically got EA to come in as our VC without committing to a path to liquidity. So we can keep the group very small and very focused and not deal with that whole business path.

GS: With your last big project for EA, Spore, there was discussion about whether or not it lived up to years and years of expectations. Did it live up to your expectations?

WW: My own expectations were always more on the toy side of Spore and getting fans involved. And we’re still learning about Spore from what the fans are doing with it. In terms of the content, what the fans have done with it vastly exceeded our expectations.

It’s kind of like The Sims 1.0. When it first came out, we learned a huge amount over the first few months about what players wanted and the directions they wanted it to go and The Sims incrementally improved with each expansion pack. We were adding in features the fans were requesting the most, and we’ll be doing the same with Spore as well. So in some sense, this is the point the fans get to come in and vote on the direction of the franchise.

Actually, Spore’s done very well with EA internally, based on their forecasts within a very tight economy. They seem quite pleased with its performance.

GS: Do you think the years and years of people looking forward to it helped or hurt the game ultimately?

WW: I think it was probably over-hyped, like a lot of games end up being, primarily because the development time was so long. From every project you learn and apply those learnings to the next project. I think there were certain things from Spore that were great, like releasing the Creature Creator early was a big win. But the people who are playing Spore, it’s a very different demographic than we were expecting right off the bat, almost like Sim Ant.

We have a lot of young kids playing Spore, as young as 3-years-old sitting on their parent’s lap describing the creature they want made. This is the type of stuff we learn when we release something. Certain levels weren’t deep enough for the hardcore gamers and we’re going back with the expansion pack and addressing that. But then other markets we didn’t expect at all to be picking it up. We never expected a 3-year-old to be playing with their parents.

Read the full Interview

 

 

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Will Wright favors Web 2.0-like community-driven game design

Posted by ballightning on April 3, 2009

Will Wright shared some of his secrets about Spore and the incorporation of the community in game design at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco today in conversation with Federated Media chief executive John Battelle

 

A game designer at Electronic Arts, Wright has created some of the best selling games of all time, including The Sims franchise, which has sold more than 100 million copies. He shared some of his secrets about the process — and how to incorporate users into game design — at the  in San Francisco today in conversation with Federated Media chief executive John Battelle.

Wright acknowledged that his latest game, Spore, wasn’t the blockbuster it was expected to be. Spore is a mult-dimensional game where you could start life as a single-cell animal, evolve into a creature, grow into a tribe and planet-wide civilization, and then take over the universe. Many people expected Spore to be one of the best-selling games of all time, given Wright’s track record, huge publicity that included a cover story on Wired magazine, and Wright’s seven-year journey to complete the game. .

But the game has sold in the low millions and it isn’t clear whether it will have any of the traction that The Sims did. (A new version, The Sims 3, will launch in June, more than nine years after the first game debuted.)

Wright said that hardcore gamers were disappointed with the lack of depth. But Wright said EA had designed the game to be akin to a toy, which is very accessible to a broader market of consumers but is really only appealing if it taps into as the player’s own imagination. The game includes sophisticated tools for creating characters, so much so that the fun part of the game is playing God. On that front, Wright believes the game was successful. Spore players have created more than 100 million creatures, objects, and vehicles which they share with the universe of Spore players.

To keep Spore interest high, EA is taking the assets and plans to build new Spore experiences. Lucy Bradshaw, who heads the Maxis studio that made Spore within EA, said that the community feedback changed the company’s plans for sequels to Spore. EA has several Spore spin-offs coming and it is releasing an applications programming interface to access the user-generated Spore content so that others can build applications around the database.

Spore the game is one instance of that data set,” Wright said. “The data set is the valuable part. I don’t want to be all-controlling on this data set. I want it to be the nexus of the community.”


In that sense, Battelle noted, Wright’s beliefs about game design are consistent with the idea of Web 2.0, where users drive the content. Wright also acknowledged that EA was forced to listen to the community regarding its “corporate decision” to include digital rights management (DRM) on Spore, which limited how many times a user could install the game on computers. He said EA was surprised by the outcry from angry users (who faced problems such as unsuccessful installs that used up their installation limits). EA has since rescinded the DRM by issuing a patch that essentially removes it.

Read the full article here

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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.

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Analyzing What Robots Tell Us About Human Nature: A Q&A with Will Wright

Posted by ballightning on March 24, 2009

Scientific America has interviewed Will Wright on what robots tell us about Human Nature. There is some great facts from this article about Will Wright and robots. One of these is that Will and the filmmaker Mike Winter created a club based on robots called the Stupid Fun Club and on more then one occasion, they have been known to let their creations loose on the street and to film bystanders’ incredulous reactions.

When did you first become interested in robotics? Was this before you became a software designer?
Yes, that’s actually kind of what got me into software. As a kid, I spent a lot of time building models and, when I became a teenager, I started adding little motors to my models to help them move around. I bought my first computer in 1980 actually to connect to some of these robots and control them. That’s basically when I taught myself to program and got very interested in simulation and artificial intelligence [AI].

What about robots interests you the most?
I think it’s the same thing that interests me about modeling and simulation. Robots really are in some sense an attempt to model human abilities, whether they be physical or mental abilities. We think about robots as surrogates for what we can do. Robots are also interesting for what they tell us about ourselves. You don’t really understand how complicated a human hand is until you try to build one. A lot of things we take for granted—for example, natural human abilities— when you go out and try to re-create them you realize how extraordinary they are. Robots represent our attempts to understand what it means to be human.

A few years ago your group, the Stupid Fun Club, a Berkeley, Calif.–based robotics workshop, seemed most interested in analyzing reactions to robots by taking your creations out on the street for people to see. What are you focusing on now? What’s most relevant at this time?
There are a couple projects we’re working on, but I can’t really talk about them now. Hopefully, that won’t be the case in a few months. We’re still very interested in basically the way people choose to interact with intelligent machines.

What have you learned from your observations about people and technology?
We’ve found that it’s hard to separate humans from their technology, which is developing so rapidly. Intelligence is embedded in the tools we surround ourselves with. Whether it’s GPS (global positioning systems), cars or even automatic light dimmers in our homes, we’re building a technological exoskeleton around us as a species and starting to off-load more and more autonomy into it. We’re basically delegating more and more decisions to the technology around us.

Read the Full Interview

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Maria Montessori: The 138-Year-Old Inspiration Behind Spore

Posted by ballightning on March 24, 2009

Kotaku has a lengthy article in which Will Wright discusses his childhood and his time spent in the Montessori school he attended and how it influenced his learning, and reflected on his career as a game producer.

In Montessori schools, the emphasis is on instilling a desire to learn in children, not in lecturing them.

“In western education we take theories, we deconstruct them, we categorize them and then we teach them in classrooms,” Wright says. “You are going to a school, going to a master, learning theory before you could go practice it.”

“Before that system, it was about practice, it was more of a failure based learning. I think that’s almost a more natural approach. It seems that Montessori is going with the grain in that naturalistic sense. It was later we moved to this narrative method, sitting back, listening-to-a-lecture model .”

“To be creative you have to have the freedom to explore and to master the specific techniques and that leads to unleashing the human spirit so that the process of creating can come from within.”

 

“The structure of Montessori toy is that the kid will discover things while playing with a toy,” Wright said. “Having the kid discover these principals is so much more powerful than a teacher coming up and saying we’re going to learn about this.

“The way we approached Spore was a lot like that. What are the components I want a gamer to discover when playing with this?”

And that’s not an unusual approach for Wright. None of his games are really games, he says.

“I build more interesting toys than interesting games,” he said. “I always thought of Spore as a toy universe. I think there is an interesting distinction between toy and game. I think a toy is more open ended.

“The game is a subset of the experiences you can have with the toy.”

 

Read the full article here

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SporeWiki: 20 Questions with Will Wright

Posted by ballightning on February 20, 2009

Well it is finally here, SporeWiki’s 20 questions with Will Wright. It has been a long wait but now we have the most extensive interview on spore for a long time. He answered questions on all sorts of topics, from what is his favourite stage to a possible MMO for spore.

What was your favorite moment during the development of Spore? A point where you just looked at what you had done and said “This is great!”?

We are just down the street from Pixar, and we had some people we knew just down there that we would bring in for informal play testing a lot and there was one play test when the character editors were really starting to click for the first time, they were very hard to use at the beginning, but at some point they started feeling intuitive and easy and these were Pixar animators level of work and they were blown away. The fact that these were professionals who had to use high level tools to do the same kind of thing but they preferred using this consumer level thing and that they were having so much fun with it, we didn’t have to explain how to use it, they just played with it and figured it out. That was when I kind of realized that if Pixar artists can have as much fun with this as a regular person and visa versa, then we have certainly exceeded one goal, probably the most important one we wanted, for everyone to be able to come in and feel that they could be creative was very exciting.

 

Have you ever considered of making some kind of expansion that will enhance Spore experience by allowing the player to actually “meet” another individual playing Spore, rather than just encountering their creations?

Yes, we have actually looked at taking Spore and the entire galaxy and making it an MMO, which is one avenue we are exploring. But we are also looking in the form of personal experiences, more peer-to-peer, face to face; a simple civil network with buddy lists players can subscribe to forecasts and stuff like. People love to share what they’ve made and it has more meaning if it is from somebody you know. So we are looking at some things where people can kind of in real time share their creatures and have them interact with each other in interesting and social ways.

Read the full interview

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SporeWiki – 20 Questions with Will Wright

Posted by ballightning on January 11, 2009

 

 

 

 

SporeWiki is giving the Spore community a chance to submit their questions in to Will Wright.  They will select 20 questions from Spore fans and at the end of the month will conduct a sit-down interview.  As an added bonus, if your question is selected you will receive a poster signed by Will himself!

For more information, visit SporeWiki!

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Will Wright at Spikes VGA

Posted by ballightning on December 17, 2008

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Will Wright’s next “secret” project

Posted by ballightning on December 16, 2008

“I’m working on a big new project that I’m very excited about, but I don’t want to talk about it yet because if it takes three years to come out I don’t want people saying ‘Wow, he’s been talking about that for a loooong time.’”

So what will it be? Spore 2, or something very different? We can all hope that he doesn’t hype it as much as he did spore, but that looks very unlikely. And off course we hope that it is a good game, one which does not have EA taking everything out.

link

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SpikeTV – ‘The Wright Stuff SPORE UGC’ Contest

Posted by ballightning on November 26, 2008

Spike and Electronic Arts Team Up to Celebrate Iconic Designer Will Wright With ‘The Wright Stuff SPORE UGC’ Contest

NEW YORK, Nov 25, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Grand Prize Winner To Receive A VIP Trip For Two To Spike TV’s Video Game Awards And Meet Legendary Game Designer Will Wright
Users To Submit Entries at VGA.Spike.com Through December 2nd

At this year’s VGAs, video game visionary Will Wright will receive the first ever Gamer God award as a testament to his contributions to the electronic gaming medium, from the simulation genre creating SimCity(TM) and its subsequent sequels, to the more than 100 million unit selling The Sims(TM) franchise, to his latest masterpiece, Spore(TM), which garnered The Producers Guild of America 2007 Vanguard Award, a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award and a Popular Science Best of What’s New Award.

To help celebrate Wright’s latest achievement, Spike and EA are teaming up to celebrate the creativity of Spore with “The Wright Stuff SPORE UGC” contest. The grand prize is a VIP trip for two to this year’s VGAs and some one-on-one time with the legend himself, Will Wright.

“Since launch, Spore players have created nearly 50 million of the most unique and creative creatures, vehicles and buildings the gaming community has ever seen,” said Spore Designer, Will Wright. “The Spore VGA contest takes creativity to a whole new level, allowing budding filmmakers and novices alike to unleash their imaginations in search for the best 60 second Spore film short. I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with!”

Using in-game tools in Spore, or the Spore Creature Creator (trial edition and complete), Spore players can upload their most creative and entertaining 60 second movie to http://www.spike.com/group/spore/landingpage through December 2nd. A panel of judges, including Spore creator Will Wright, will then select the best video, to be revealed on December 4th. The winner and a guest will receive round trip airfare, 2 nights’ hotel stay, and ground transportation for the 2008 Spike Video Game Awards on Sunday, December 14th in Culver City, California.

For official rules please, visit http://www.spike.com/group/spore/rules.

The sixth annual “VGAs” will bring together megastars from the worlds of video games, Hollywood, music, sports and more to celebrate the outstanding achievements within the video game industry over the past year. The 2-hour extravaganza will premiere LIVE on Spike TV Sunday, December 14 at 9:00pm, ET/PT (tape delay west coast) from Sony Picture Studios in Culver City, CA.

About Spike TV

Spike TV is available in 97.7 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. A unit of Viacom , MTV Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV’s Internet address is www.spike.com.

SimCity, The Sims and Spore are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

SOURCE Spike TV

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