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Posts Tagged ‘maxis’

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.

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Posted in EA News, Maxis News | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

SporeDay: Interview with artists Kate Compton and John Cimino – Answers

Posted by ballightning on August 5, 2009

MaxisCactus has posted the answers from the Interview with Kate Compton and John Cimino, enjoy!

Thanks for submitting and voting on your top questions! John and Kate sat down to share their thoughts on the questions you came up with. Read their answers below.

Q: What was your motivation for working as videogame designers? – Cartoonworks, Irlydontknow, Perryplatypus
John: Well, when I first decided to go to art school to become an animator my motivation was all about storytelling. I had always really enjoyed drawing and I loved the thought of making my own short animated films. After working in the industry for a few years as a more traditional 2-D animator I wanted to make the leap into 3-D. An opportunity came up to work with one of my good friends Bob King who was the art director for the Sims games at the time so I jumped on it. When I started at Maxis I was on the Sims for a few months when the opportunity to work on Spore was presented to me. The team was very small and the game had barely even started, but when Will and Ocean described it to me I was blown away by the scope and ambition. I was especially intrigued by the ability to design my own avatar and have him take over a planet. This game has been so much fun to work on that I’ve been here ever since and I’m very happy that Galactic Adventures has given me the chance to help design something that enables people to create both games and make little short films!

Q: Could you describe a typical day in your job? – CrazyShyness
John: Hmmm, A typical day for me at spore? One of the things I love about working on this game is that my job constantly changes. One day I’ll be animating a creature swinging an axe, the next I’ll be designing icons in flash, and then the next I’ll be creating some concept art or animation for a future project. On especially awesome days my job is to simply to make cool content for the game. Typically though, I come to work, sit at my desk, and churn out animation files. Once I’ve finished one of them I’ll test it on multiple creatures to see how it generalizes, test it in game and then check it into our pipeline to be hooked up. Our office is a pretty fun place to work, on Fridays for instance we all stop work at 4:30, head down to the common area to mingle, eat pizza and play video games. Not a bad gig.

Q: What makes a good Technical Artist? – Rulycar
Kate: A good sense of timing, being able to look at a real-world effect and break it down into its components. Take a look at any explosion (I find youtube is a good source). What color is the smoke? Does it fade from black to white as it rises? Does it throw out flaming shrapnel or just sparks? Is there a fireball and how long does it last. Every type of explosion is different, so if you’re making an exploding oil barrel, it should look different than a grenade explosion. I love going to pyrotechnic festivals like Burning Man or the Oakland fire festival, because I get new ideas every time (next time, more green fire!).

Q: What makes a good Animator? – Rulycar
John: A very good question with no easy answer. I recommend you read “The Illusion of Life” by Disney masters Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas which is probably the greatest book ever written about animation. It says that to become great you need to incorporate the 12 principles of animation. If you can master the 12 principles below and incorporate them into all of your animation you will definitely be very, very, good.

1. Squash and Stretch – the ability to give a sense of weight and flexibility to objects.
2. Anticipation – the ability to prepare the audience for an action, and to make the action appear more realistic.
3. Staging – the ability to direct the audience’s attention, and make it clear what is of greatest importance in a scene; what is happening, and what is about to happen.
4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose – “Straight ahead action” means drawing out a scene frame by frame from beginning to end, while “pose to pose” involves starting with drawing a few, key frames, and then filling in the intervals later.
5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action – These closely related techniques help render movement more realistic, and give the impression that characters follow the laws of physics. “Follow through” means that separate parts of a body will continue moving after the character has stopped. “Overlapping action” is when a character changes direction, and parts of the body continue in the direction he was previously going.
6. Slow In and Slow Out – The movement of the human body, and most other objects, needs time to accelerate and slow down. For this reason, an animation looks more realistic if it has more frames near the beginning and end of a movement, and fewer in the middle.
7. Arcs – Most human and animal actions occur along an arched trajectory and animation should reproduce these movements for greater realism
8. Secondary Action – Adding secondary actions to the main action gives a scene more life, and can help to support the main action. A person walking can simultaneously swing his arms or keep them in his pockets, he can speak or whistle, or he can express emotions through facial expressions. The important thing about secondary actions is that they emphasize, rather than take attention away from the main action.
9. Timing – in reality refers to two different concepts: physical timing and theatrical timing. It is essential both to the physical realism, as well as to the storytelling of the animation, that the timing is right.
10. Exaggeration – is an effect especially useful for animation, as perfect imitation of reality can look static and dull in cartoons.
11. Solid Drawing – The principle of solid — or good — drawing, really means that the same principles apply to an animator as to an academic artist. The drawer has to understand the basics of anatomy, composition, weight, balance, light and shadow etc.
12. Appeal – in an animated character corresponds to what would be called charisma in an actor. A character who is appealing is not necessarily sympathetic — villains or monsters can also be appealing — the important thing is that the viewer feels the character is real and interesting.

As far as I am concerned the best way to master these principles is to practice, practice, practice. I recommend drawing all the time. Another great way to learn is to film yourself acting out a scene and then watch it frame by frame to see how the motion is broken down.

Q: Do you have any tips for manipulating animations based on body shape / parts positioning in the creature editor? (We already know about the centipede /camel type animations) – GoodGame
John: No, as far as I know there are no other hidden animation quirks like the poly-pod technique. For those of you who don’t know if you have a creature with 7 legs or more you can change its gait by adding and subtracting detail parts. When you do this the characters will choose from one of 5 different walks including the camel and centipede as was mentioned. Whenever I make a creature I tend to try and build something that will animate the smoothest. I find a normal biped creature who is slightly lurched forward with a bit of a hunched back works the best. I also encourage people to make sure that their creature appears well balanced in order to get the most bang for your buck. One way to check this is to look at your creature from the side and try to imagine him holding that pose for an hour. If it looks like he’d be uncomfortable doing so it might be a good idea to readjust his feet so that they are centered under the bulk of the character’s weight.

Q: Do you have any tips for getting more precision out of the shapes in the creature creator? Do you use special scripts/computer accessories when you ‘draw’ into the creator? – GoodGame
Kate: Nope! No special magic! We use the same tools as you guys. I do have one tip that I like to use, especially for humans and equine shapes. When I attach legs, I’ll scroll down the vertebra that they’re attached to until it’s as small as possible. This helps the legs sink into the body, rather than looking pasted on, and it creates a more natural looking hip.

Q: Kate, your creations in the building editor are amazing. I have not figured out how to rotate the base pieces and I believe it would be a lot easier to make props, buildings, and eggplants if I knew how. How do you do this? – cHoKo
Kate: It takes a little bit of effort to work around the system. I have to place a connector block, and then place a base piece on top of it. Then you can rotate the connector block and the base will rotate with it. If you drag the base piece off, it’ll keep its new tilt. Make sure it has the orientation you want before you drag it off: after it’s off the connector piece, you can’t tilt it anymore.

Q: When creating your Adventures, what are the steps and processes that worked best for you to put your storyboards into action? – (Example: Did you create the Acts, Goals and creature AI first, then build the environments around it or environment first
John: When it’s my own adventure that I’m making from scratch I prefer to get the basic story sorted out in my head then flush out the details as I’m building the environment. I find as I’m setting the landscape of the adventure, designing buildings, and creating characters, ideas start to present themselves and influence the story. I try not to get too detailed with all the polish items until I like the game play. That way it’s easier to change everything if need be. Once the adventure is working and fun, I do a polish pass where I add lots of visual effects, shrubbery, waterfalls, sound effects, and music. For the Robot Chicken adventures I was working off of a script so the process was a little different. A level designer would build in all the Acts and AI with very basic placeholder creatures and environments. Once it was working well they’d hand it over to us artists and we’d do an art pass to make everything a bit prettier.

Q: When you made the adventures with the producers of Robot Chicken what were your opinions on their ideas? – Cartoonworks
Kate: I realized that a lot of their humor was about the use of profanity, violence of some sort and puns. We couldn’t let them use profanity, so they doubled down on the other two. After we finished the first version of each adventure, we asked them to give us some more “inspect” text for all of the objects, and they really went crazy with the punning. I love puns, so I was happy. My favorite is the “Apes of Wrath” line at the end of Bloody Sundae.

Q: How exactly was the cube planet made? Do you have a planet editor that’s separate from the adventure editor where one day you made a cube? – 20147024
Kate: The cube planet was made in the original terrain editor which was used for the space planet. It was made like the Earth, moon, and Mars planets, in that I had to make a special cube-map (one big texture), rather than making it out of individual stamps like most of the planets. I had to do a bit of geometry to get the exact right shape.

Q: Would you be supportive of Glass Paints? – E25dusk
Kate: I think it’s a really neat idea and would make some really neat buildings. Unfortunately, it’s just not something that most computers could support in real-time. Graphics cards can render a scene really fast when they can ignore any geometry that’s behind some other part of a scene, like a tree behind a house. If any part of that house can be transparent or translucent, it has to draw the tree as well. That’s an oversimplified answer, but it really does make a difference, and it’s one of the reasons that you see transparency so sparingly used in games. When you’re rendering in Maya or Blender, taking that extra time doesn’t matter, so when you render the Collada exports, you can give them really nice crystalline rendering.

A: Kate, will dungeons of spore EVER actually be released?? Please??? – Picarius
Kate: I keep putting in a few hours here and there on it in my scarce spare time at work. Unfortunately, as with most for-fun projects, it’s really hard to get the dedication (and the week of uninterrupted work-time) to get it to a finished state. I’m glad that I had such a hard original deadline because it gave me something to work towards. So the short answer is no, but the long answer is….maybe, but don’t hold your breath.

Q: Have either of you doodled anything recently? If it’s not related to upcoming Spore-goodness, mind giving us a peek? – kaploy9

On the left are two pages of Kate’s meeting notes. On the right are some cards from a cupcake card game she’s developing just for fun.

Q: When you’re practicing drawing you’re supposed to sketch from real life. Or so I was taught. How do you practice making things move realistically? – Coryn
John: Yes, that is very true, drawing from real life is extremely important in learning how to draw more realistically. When I was in college I would go to life drawing sessions as often as possible and now that I’m in the industry I still try and sketch whenever I can to help polish my skills. One break through I had as a student comes to mind. When you’re trying to draw more realistically try not to think of what your drawing as line but as areas of dark and light. I recommend getting some gray drawing paper and some soft black and white colored pencils. Try and recreate what you see by using the gray of the paper as the mid-tone, adding shadows and highlights with your pencils. Sometimes we add lines to our drawings that are more representative of what we see rather than what is actually there. I found that if you avoid abstract lines and instead softly draw in different patches of light and dark it makes it much easier to create more realistic drawings very quickly. I hope that’s helpful!

Q: What inspired you to invent Clark and Stanley? Were you surprised they became the iconic aliens that they are today? Cimino will you make another Clark and Stanley adventure? – wretlind, Coryn
John: Ah yes, the infamous Clark and Stanley. I must say, I was very surprised and flattered to see how popular they became. It never really crossed my mind that players would try to make their own versions of C and S, but now that I look back it makes sense. Those adventures are super easy to make and can be highly satisfying. What inspired me? Hmmm. If I had to think of one source it would have to be the web series “Happy Tree Friends.” Before I worked at Maxis I spent a few years animating those cuddly animals getting slaughtered on a daily basis. I suppose creating cute characters getting killed now comes naturally to me. The original Clark and Stanley was actually one of a handful of test adventures created to show Robot Chicken the types of things they could do with GA. My producer Kip asked a few of us artists and designers to put together some adventures to pitch to Seth Green and the gang down in LA. I thought it would be cool to show them that you can make funny little short comic strip style adventures that have very little game play. So I started brainstorming and then remembered a few weeks before that I had made a test adventure that had a meteor crashing onto a planet. The effect was somewhat amusing so I decided to implement that into a quick and funny sketch. That’s when I came up with the idea of the “Clark and Stanley Go Stargazing” adventure. Everyone at Maxis seemed to enjoy it so I went ahead and created “Clark and Stanley Go Camping” and “Clark and Stanley Go swimming.” If you’re sick of seeing hundreds of Clark and Stanley adventure clones clogging up the Sporepedia, I apologize! Will I make more? Anything is possible.

Q: Have you seen the “famous” (infamous) creatures of the Sporum? (hug monster, Fibea, Susan, etc.) – Zstar20
John: Haha. Yes, I have seen the hug monster. He has a cute and creepiness that reminds me a lot of the infamous Pedo-bear. I think with Galactic Adventures players will have even more opportunities to make their creatures famous or infamous, as the case may be. The ability to frame a story around your character gives you a great chance to make your creature something people can truly identify with. I look forward to seeing many more creatures who, like Clark and Stanley, get so overexposed people start to hate their guts. 

Q: I’ve seen all of the maxis-made creatures, and I certainly don’t mean this in a way to offend. But how come y’all never make creatures that stand out like a body with glowing heycorns or a massive beast covered completely in knurldowns? – Conswella
Kate: I made most of my creatures right before Creature Creator shipped, and so we didn’t know what the creator was capable of. A lot of the most striking creations are made with techniques that you guys invented. Now, when I make creatures, they’re usually to go in a mission, so I need background creatures that don’t stand out. Sometimes, though, I do use techniques I learned from Sporepedia creations. For example, I made the bill in the How a Bill Becomes a Law adventure out of Shellshards, after the 1950s robot show how to use them to make square shapes.
We also tend not to make creatures or buildings that max out the complexity meter. I think this is due to the training that we get as programmers and artists: more polygons is BAD! BAD! BAD! This gets hammered into us over and over, and at least for me, gives me a vague sense of uneasiness whenever I max out the complexity.

Q: Do you two plan to make more Maxis adventures? – VelociBlade
John: I’m somewhat busy working on my next project at Maxis right now but my producer did mention that they might want me to make some more adventures. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to go back to GA and make a few more. They are so much fun to create!

Kate: I do. I really enjoyed making my series of educational adventures, Protein Synthesis and How a Bill Becomes a Law. I have a few ideas for more, like an adaptation of The Old Man and the Sea, and Plato’s Cave.

Q: Where do you see Spore in 5 years? – Domflame
John: I’m not sure I can answer that completely without giving stuff away. But in five years I would expect Spore to still be taking advantage of the massive amount of player creativity that is out there just waiting to be harnessed. Ambiguous enough for you? 

Interview Details:

Kate Compton is an associate technical artist at Maxis. Some of her contributions to the project include creating the effects in Galactic Adventures, sculpting the core Spore and Galactic Adventures planets (including the cube), and designing the original Spoffit.

She also teamed up with Robot Chicken to help create the Bloody Sundae adventure, and made the Dungeons of Spore April Fool’s game.

Some of her other Adventures include How A Bill Becomes a Law and Protein Synthesis. Her notable creations include the Obama and other US Election 08 Candidates, and the Alex Trebek UFO.

John Cimino is a lead animator at Maxis. He’s was responsible for designing and creating all of the animation for the advanced emotional behaviors in Galactic Adventures. He designed the creature parts for Spore and Creepy and Cute, many of the rigblocks in the Building creator, and many of the Spore objects, such as huts, tools, and found objects.

He also designed the achievement icons and the creator play mode animations.

Some of his adventures include the original Clark and Stanley adventures, Welcome to Dancetopia,Robots vs Dragons, and he contributed on The Meaningless Turtle as well as several Robot Chicken adventures.

Posted in Maxis News, SporeDay | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Another EA/Maxis job opening – Lead Simulation Engineer

Posted by ballightning on May 11, 2009

Seems Maxis is hiring more people for a new simulation game. If you remembered last month, Maxis was hiring someone for a fast paced MMO. Now the question is, are these related, are we finally getting a Sims/Spore MMO?

 

LEAD SIMULATION ENGINEER
Location: California – Emeryville
Role: Software Engineer
Specialty: Gameplay Engineer
 
Maxis is seeking an experienced engineer to lead the development of the core simulation 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. 

Requirements:
* 6+ years of game coding experience on at least two shipped titles
* 3+ years of experience writing efficient, shipping simulation code 
* Strong math skills (linear algebra, trigonometry, etc.)
* Fluency in C/C++
* Experience with code and data optimization to improve both memory consumption and performance
* Ability to work productively with other lead engineers and mentor more junior engineers
* Passion for playing games 

Plusses:
* Computer science/mathematics/physics or related degree
* Experience with multi-threaded programming
* Experience working on networked games
* Experience with rapid gameplay prototyping

Posted in EA News, Maxis News | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

EA’s (Evil?) Master Plan!!

Posted by ballightning on April 18, 2009

Sp-Banega-0re from the official UK forum has made a very interesting, and valid point about what might be going through the minds of the people in power at EA. Note that this is not my opinion.

I went for a walk a few days ago when I realised what EA’s evil plan actually is, and now that Will’s left, nobody can save us!

How many of you don’t have C+C? I don’t, and I can tell you that it is INCREDIBLY annoying that you can’t use, edit or even view creatures that use it. It is so tempting to buy C+C to avoid this problem, but if I buy that, I’ll buy all the others that are bound to come, and waste both money and PC space.

So if the problem is this bad after just one small parts pack, what about when another gets released? And another? We can probably expect about 7 different parts packs, not including proper expansions that will probably contain some parts. Imagine what a nightmare it will be with 7 different parts packs in the Spore game, and you can’t view the creations unless you have every part that has been used in the creation.

The top creators will undoubtedly buy every single one, and use a lot of different parts in each creation, so what will happen to the people who can’t afford all the expansions, or have other hobbies to buy things for? Their game will be ruined, unless they buy every single expansion. Yet again, EA have proven that all they care about is money.

SPORE WILL BE RUINED

thanks EA

 

It seems that this scheme works, here is Redunzgofasta also from the official UK forum about how this is the only reason he bought C&C:

That is the only reason I got C&C and the sole reason why GA will be the last I will buy.

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

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

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

BREAKING NEWS: Will Wright Leaves EA/Maxis

Posted by ballightning on April 9, 2009

Will Wright is leaving Maxis…..

https://i1.wp.com/www.wired.com/images/slideshow/2008/02/gallery_spore/Will_Wright2.jpg

Wow…

 

Maxis is finally leaving EA after working with them for 12 years, and even longer with Maxis. He is now going to run the think tank Stupid Fun Club, in a partnership with EA. It is a sad day for the Spore community, especially after all he has done for it. He will still be producing new games, however he will be researching and investigating new ways to do this.

And executive producer of Spore, Lucy Bradshaw, now will head Maxis.

 

Will has also written a note at the Sporums in which I’ll also add to this post:

Hey everyone.

There’s a little press release going out today as we speak (well actually I’m not speaking, I’m typing… (and I guess you’re not even listening, you’re reading (unless you’re having your new Kindle read this to you in which case you are listening) but you’re definitely not reading this “as” the press release is going out, and I’m certainly typing this hours before the fact….) anyway. (I suck at writing)

The gist of the story is that I’m leaving EA (well, not really, I’ll explain) to start (well, not quite start, it’s actually been around for quite a while in a rather different form) … let’s say dive into a new venture, The Stupid Fun Club. The Stupid Fun was actually started many years ago by myself and my friend Mike Winter, we met while competing in Robot Wars and Battlebots. It was apparent to us that one day the robots would take over the world and we decided we wanted to be on the winning side, so our initial charter was to do whatever we could to usher in our new mechanical overlords.

Along the way we ending up building and prototyping a lot of… odd stuff. People would come by our shop and get interested in this stuff for various reasons. Some of this stuff sparked new creative ideas, even (*gasp*) ideas that may have “commercial, entertainment value” (this is how you talk when you’ve been around lawyers and MBA’s too long).

At some point we started showing some of this stuff to the people at EA. They got excited by the prospect of us pursuing these projects commercially (or that’s what they said anyway, I think they just want to be on the winning side of the coming robotic revolution as well). So we started talking to them (EA, not the robots, though we do talk to them as well, but the robot responses are cryptic at best) about getting involved and investing in The Stupid Fun Club (we asked the robots first but they’re all broke).

So as things worked out I decided to jump into my work at the club more or less full time. But at The Stupid Club we’ll be working on new games (along with EA) as well as other kinds of projects with different partners.

I can’t talk about specific projects coming out of SFC just yet (alas, the robots won’t let me), but as things develop I’ll find a way to keep those of you who are interested informed about what we’re doing (but not with a blog…I’ll never have a blog). A major aspect of the projects I’ve worked on has always been the player community, that won’t change.

-Will Wright

Here is the official press release:

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – (Business Wire) Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced today that EA is making an equity investment in Stupid Fun Club, Will Wright’s new adventure. Stupid Fun Club is an entertainment think tank developing new Intellectual Properties to be deployed across multiple fronts including video games, movies, television, the internet, and toys. Will Wright is leaving EA to run Stupid Fun Club.

EA and Will each own equal percentages of Stupid Fun Club and are the principal shareholders. In addition, EA has the right to develop game concepts that spring from Stupid Fun Club projects. Will Wright is represented by Creative Artists Agency.

“The entertainment industry is moving rapidly into an era of revolutionary change,” said Will Wright. “Stupid Fun Club will explore new possibilities that are emerging from this sublime chaos and create new forms of entertainment on a variety of platforms. In my twelve years at EA, I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside some of the brightest and most talented game developers in the industry and I look forward to working with them again in the near future.”

“We believe in Will’s vision for Stupid Fun Club and we’re looking forward to partnering with Will and his team long into the future,” said John Riccitiello, EA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Will is a great designer and he’s been part of a great legacy of globally recognized game franchises like The Sims, SimCity and Spore. The teams that have been leading those franchises in recent years have a lot of exciting content coming.”

“Will has been an inspiration to our teams, and it’s been rewarding for us to bring his ideas to life,” said Lucy Bradshaw, VP and General Manager at Maxis. “In addition to legendary games, Will’s legacy at EA will be the many talented people who worked with him and will now continue to contribute their own vision to the art of game development.”

Will Wright created Maxis with Jeff Braun in 1989, which was acquired by EA in 1997. Will is the visionary designer of blockbuster game concepts like Spore™The Sims™ and SimCity™. Lucy Bradshaw, VP and General Manager at Maxis™, will continue to run Maxis and the Spore franchise. Lucy’s team is working on the upcoming expansion packSpore Galactic Adventures, as well as other game concepts including Spore Hero, Spore Hero Arena and Spore Creature Keeper. Rod Humble is head of the EA™ Play Label and his team will launch The Sims 3 in June of this year.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world’s leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for video game systems, personal computers, cellular handsets and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA™,EA SPORTS™, EA SPORTS Freestyle™ and POGO™. In fiscal 2008, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.67 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA’s homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA’s products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

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

 

Articles about it:

Gamasutra

Wired

Kotaku

Posted in EA News, Maxis News, Spore News | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

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.

Requirements:

* 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 »

BetterSpore update 2-2-09

Posted by ballightning on February 2, 2009

Well today was a successful day with another part rendered and imported with textures and the applying of alpha textures to the blade. 

 

We also were successful in adding a new page to the creature editor which will allow the mod to look much more professional and will allow us to easily have many new parts included. Sadly with the way spore is coded it will not be easy having separate part mods running at once. If you wish to start your own part mod why not think about joining betterspore?

We are also in contact with Maxis about the sharing issue and the sporepedia.

 

So heres 3 pictures of our latest work:

 

 


Posted in BetterSpore, Maxis News | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Spore.com Astronomer Interview: Seth Shostak

Posted by ballightning on January 28, 2009

Recently Maxis opened the floor for the community to ask questions of Seth about astronomy and the SETI pursuit. Here are his responses to thier questions.

10heattj: What exactly does SETI look for?

 

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is just that: a scientific hunt for proof that thinking beings exist elsewhere in the cosmos.

 

Most SETI experiments are efforts to pick up signals from advanced civilizations – radio, or flashes of light. It’s also conceivable that we might find evidence for aliens by tripping across some mammoth engineering projects – structures that a highly sophisticated society might build and that might be visible in our telescopes.

 

LuckyPierre: Besides listening or watching for E.T.’s signal, what else does the SETI Institute do?

 

The Institute has a broad research program in a subject called “astrobiology”. This sounds as if it’s about life around other stars, which of course is treu. But a lot of astrobiology research concerns life on Earth: how did it get started, and when?

 

Other research areas include learning where could life survive, and how might we find hidden biology on Mars or some of the moons of the outer solar system. So the SETI Institute is about more than just looking for communicating aliens — it’s also about extraterrestrial critters that might not be clever, but whose existence would tell us a lot about whether life is extremely rare or very common. The Institute also has extensive programs for education and outreach, including a weekly science radio program, “Are We Alone?”

 

Falthron: Could you elaborate on the Wow signal?

 

The celebrated Wow Signal was picked up in 1977 with the Ohio State Radio Observatory’s large antenna. Ohio State’s “Big Ear” was being used in an automatic mode to search for signals, and one morning, when astronomer Jerry Ehman arrived at the scope to look over the printer output, he saw a big spike of radio noise. He wrote “Wow” next to it, hence the signal’s famous name.

 

But it wasn’t seen again, even though the telescope was set up to look at the same piece of sky only about a minute later. The signal’s not been seen since, either. Most likely it was just some earthly radio interference, although it’s possible it was ET sending us a very short ping. If we don’t find it again, we’ll never know.

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

Spore line up for 2009 soon to be revealed.

Posted by ballightning on January 8, 2009

Kotaku has been given an invite see a special first look at the Spore Expansion: Galactic Adventures which is set to hit store in March. But Maxis also plan to release their line up for all things spore for 2009. Lets see just how many expansions Maxis come up with. There still has been no word from Maxis or EA about the release date for the spore expansion with the invite stating that Spore Expansion: Galactic Adventures will be available this spring. If you know of anyone else who has been invited to this sneak peak please reply. The more info the better!

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

Spore User Testing for Galactic Adventures

Posted by ballightning on January 6, 2009

From MaxisCactus, thread on Spore forums.

 

Hey Everyone! 

We’ve heard your feedback on our official Space Adventures thread and you’ve got some great ideas! We have another new opportunity for some of you to share your thoughts about the upcoming expansion. Since we’d like to get a sense of how players interact with the game, we’ll be inviting between 4 and 6 Bay Area local players to the Maxis Studio in Emeryville for some user experience testing next week, Jan 13 & 14th. 

Here are the kinds of people we’re looking for: 

• Someone who could arrange to spend about 2 hours at Maxis’ offices in Emeryville, CA on Jan 13 or 14th 

• Someone who has finished at least the Spore Creature stage 

• Someone who has done player-created mods for PC games–not only Spore, but for games such as Starcraft, Counterstrike, Battlefield, etc. 

A small compensation will be given for your time. 

If you’re interested, please send your email address to MaxisSaguaro@Maxis.com 

 

 

Also on a side note the spore forums will be down 2am PDT (5am EDT):

 

Heads up to everyone, our Nucleus applications will be temporarily unavailable tonight around 2:00am PDT. 

During this period, you will be unable to log in to your Spore game, Spore.com, or the Spore forum. You will still be able to access all offline features that do not require login. 

If you’re actively using the site before this downtime, and are logged in, you should not be affected. 

We expect this to be down for about 30 minutes. Thanks for your patience during this brief period. 

-MaxisCactus

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