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Posts Tagged ‘sporeday’

SporeDay: New mission plus contest

Posted by ballightning on September 10, 2009

Sorry about the late post, i have been working very hard on my portfolio website for school, please check it out! For this weeks SporeDay, Maxis released a new mission called The Metamorphosis. Give MaxisKate, the creator, feedback over at the official forums.

Maxis have also created a Metamorphosis challange for creators. Head over to the official forums for more.

Challenge Details
If you played the latest Maxis adventure, The Metamorphosis, you may have noticed that a disturbing transformation has taken place.

In the Metamorphosis Challenge, make your own transformation with at least three creations that illustrate three stages of a creature’s life!

Not sure what to make? Your creations can represent a realistic earthly creature’s metamorphosis, such as a caterpillar/pupa/butterfly, or you can invent your own twisted alien metamorphosis.

Example Creations:


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.

• It must not have any parent authored by a different creator.
• It must not have any offensive creation in its lineage (any parent or child creations).
• It must not have 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

How to Enter:
• Create three or more creatures in the creature editor. Publish these with the tag MCMorphChallenge.
• Add all creations in your metamorphosis series to a SporeCast tagged with MCMorphChallenge.
• Optional: Post screenshots and links here on the forum

Rules:
• All creations in your Sporecast entry must be made by you.
• Your creations must be made in the creature/accessory editors.
• You can submit as many Sporecasts as you like with as many creations as you like. Remember that each Sporecast should only contain representations of one species.
• All submissions must be in by 11:00am PDT 10/8

Challenge FAQ

Q: Does it have to fit into the bizarre bug-like stages of larva-pupa-adult, or could it be more of a child-adult-weakened adult? I’ve already made a few evolutionary creations that go through the insect cycle, and I kinda want to do something different than the obvious. – jwmd2
A: As with most of these challenges, we aren’t strict with how you interpret the challenge prompt. As long as you explain your more off-kilter entries in the description, they will be considered.

Q: Are finalists chosen based on looks or description? – Westonro
A: Maxis looks at all elements of the creation when choosing finalists. Obviously, the overall aesthetic weighs heavily, but a clever name and description can tip the scales in your favor. Keep in mind that when we post finalists, we do not include the description, however a link will direct others to the Sporepedia where they can view it. It’s up to other players to click the link when they are voting to read the complete description.

Q: Can entries be made in the accessory editors? – Westonro
A: Yes. The accessory editors can be used to enhance your creatures.

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SporeDay: New Spore.com site for Galactic Adventures

Posted by ballightning on June 10, 2009

Maxis have updated the Spore official website in preperation for Galactic Adventures. Explore the new MySpore page and Sporepedia features.

 

New site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New site2

Posted in Galactic Adventure, SporeDay | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

SporeDay – Answers from Chris Hecker

Posted by ballightning on May 27, 2009

Maxis recently got people to ask questions for Chris Hecker to answer about the various areas of spore his has worked on. Maxis choose the top 50 and then users on the official forum voted for their top 10, through Chris has answered many more then that. Here are our two favorites, head over to the Official Forum for more.

 

What do YOU think of the asymmetry campaign? Do you think it may be a good idea? 

Asked by CubeTubeMan, Sgt.Waffles, TexasGamer, ZEE_EXX, poisfig, dinoboy300, nebula27, SPYDR 

I’m really glad this one got the most votes, because it happens to be what I’m working on right now! So, yes, I think it’s a good idea! First, some important caveats: this is research work we’re doing to investigate the feasibility of asymmetry in the creature and vehicle editors. It might not work for any number of reasons, and therefore, there are no guarantees it will ever see the light of day and ship, but please keep your fingers crossed and beam us good bug fixing karma! 

A bit of history about the creature editor and asymmetry to give context: there were actually three generations of the creature editor over the years of Spore’s development, lovingly called CE1, CE2, and CE3. Each successive editor built on the lessons learned from working on and testing the previous one. Obviously, only CE3 ever got to a shippable state, and the others were just prototypes. I think they all supported asymmetry to one degree or another at various points in their development, even CE3. However, as we fixed the bugs, figured out the final user interface paradigms, and polished up CE3 into the creature creator you all know and love, the asymmetry code got less and less attention because resources were limited and it was optional for shipping, while the symmetric editor manipulations were essential to making the editor work intuitively. As we say in the business, the asymmetry code “rotted”. This is a pretty natural process for complex software…the more important features get prioritized, and some cool-but-optional parts sometimes rot and have to get disabled due to time limits and resource constraints. We always hoped to bring it back, but we just couldn’t spend the time to do so before Spore’s release. 

After we shipped last year, Dave Culyba, one of the main editor programmers, and all-around awesome guy, started to resurrect the old asymmetry code and fix the bugs. Let me be clear: the old asymmetry code never actually worked well and it needed to be completely rethought, and so Dave had to do a ton of smart and hard work to get it up and going. He solved a lot of the difficult problems (like “How does the editor economy work when you can delete one of the pair of parts?”, “What do you do if you drag a symmetric part to an asymmetric limb, and then drag it back, without releasing your mouse button?”, etc.). After GDC this year, I decided to take it on, and now Dan Moskowitz, the lead editor programmer, is working with me and we’re giving it a shot. 

We’re really excited by the potential, and we’ll be able to talk more about it later, assuming our confidence in it shipping increases over time. It’s still buggy with lots of edge cases that we need to fix, but we showed it to the Adventure Camp folks last week and they all literally gasped when I did the first asymmetric operation, which was great. If it ever ships, you guys will go crazy with it, and I can’t wait to see what you make! 

Just remember, there are no guarantees this will get released, it’s still a research project at this point, so please be patient and think positive bug-fixing thoughts! 

 

 Why did you get rid of the procedural animation for Spore? Was it a play testing issue? Was it buggy? 

Asked by Bofosho2, Mystfan, TexasGamer 

Also, how did the original, (GDC ’05) Proc. Animation system work? (I know that it wasn’t a working game then, but you did have the editor, according to one of your interns.) It must have been a pain to code. 

Asked by Bofosho2 

First, it’s important to understand that there never was some other version of Spore that got changed at some point, there was only a growing number of technologies that solved problems and a constant learning on our part about what game we were making and how to best use those technologies to make it. To use an biological analogy, it’s not like there was an existing, fully formed species that then went through natural selection yielding other fully formed species over time, and then we finally decided to ship one of them. It’s more like a single creature gestating in utero, starting out as a clump of cells that looks nothing like a game, eventually forming into somewhat familiar shapes (maybe it had a vestigial tail at one point in its development that disappeared, etc.), and finally it develops lungs and a heart and becomes viable and it gets born. Or something like that. 🙂 

As for how the 2005 animation system worked specifically, I talk about it a bit in my GDC 2007 lecture. There’s a screenshot of one of the scripts in the slides at that link if you’re curious, and you can download the mp3 to hear the description. It was basically a scripting language built on top of Lua. There were two main problems with the original system. First, it was very difficult to get expressive motion out of it, because the motions it produced were very linear. In other words, a hand could grab towards a piece of fruit, but it was hard to naturally vary the hand’s speed during the grab, and it was even harder to script movement tangential to the direction of the fruit, both of which are absolutely vital to an animation reading as having anticipation and intent. Second, as I say in the lecture, because it was a programming language, it was unclear who we should hire: programmers who can animate, or animators who could program. Unfortunately, the intersection of those two sets is almost empty, which created a huge production risk because we had thousands of animations to create.

So, to solve these two problems, we redesigned the system to implicitly handle the proceduralism as much as possible, and expose the expressive parts to the animator, as you can read about in the SIGGRAPH paper. The final system has a lot of familiar controls to a character animator, and then it handles the heavy procedural lifting of applying the animations to the different shapes of the creatures. We’re pretty proud of the results, and you can see the animators were able to get a lot of emotional expression that reads even on pretty insanely shaped creatures! 

I also think there’s a misconception about the definition of the word “procedural” when it comes to Spore’s animation system in the first question. There isn’t really a consensus on what “procedural animation” means in the computer graphics community. It’s a pretty blanket term for “non-traditional animation”, so it’s not really very useful to try to label one system procedural and another not. A working definition could be, “is a given animation asset described only by code?”, in which case the old system was procedural and the current one is not, but that ignores how the line between code and data is quite blurry in practice, and so a more useful definition that would better fit the more common graphics usage would be, “is animation data just a recording of joint angles that’s played back, or is heavy processing involved in taking the source data and producing character motion?”, and by that latter definition the current system is highly procedural. 

Rather than labels, I think players are more interested in what the system can do, and although I think we did an amazing job, I also know the GDC 2005 demo showed a couple cool things that really resonated with people that the system we shipped did not do. The two biggest ones are what we callweapons-anywhere, which I discuss below, and drag-carcass, which is something we hope to get back in there at some point. Both were just time/priority issues during development; there’s no inherent reason they would work in one system but not the other. 

I hope that clears up some of the questions around these topics! 

More Questions and Answers

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SporeDay: Polypod Gait Tutorial

Posted by ballightning on April 15, 2009

For today’s SporeDay event, Maxis have created a new tutorial called “Polypod Gait” (a polypod is a creature with 7 or more feet in one leg group).  If you have a polypod creature, you can pick between one of five gaits by changing the number of parts on your creature.  The best way to see the differences is to make a long flat creature with 8 or 10 legs on it, and then put detail parts down the middle of the spine.

By adding or subtracting parts one at a time, you can control how your creature walks. The gait will cycle between five different types, which include caterpillar, camel, etc. The list is below.  It’s easy to play with it in the creature editor once you know it’s there, just remember that symmetry counts as two parts, so add the parts down the middle to do one at a time.

Drop by the Sporums to show off your creation’s animation!

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SporeDay: Sporum Wallpaper Challenge

Posted by ballightning on April 8, 2009

Many of you have already made cool images and posted them on the Sporum. Now’s your chance to battle it out to create the coolest Spore wallpaper. 

Create the best Spore themed wallpaper to win the Sporum Wallpaper Challenge

How to Submit: 
• Make a cool creation in any editor – publish it with the tag mcwallpaperchallenge 
• Create a wallpaper that incorporates an image of this creation (dimensions 1024x678px) 
• Upload your wallpaper to the web and post a link to it on the Official US forum along with the name of the creation used (you may also embed a preview image as long as it doesn’t exceed 670 px wide – larger preview images will be removed) 

Prize 
Glory – as always – and a chance to be featured on Spore.com 

Judge: MaxisCactus* 
*In the event that polling exploits are fixed before the submission deadline, finalists will be posted for the community to vote on. 

Rules
Your creation: 
• must not have any parent authored by a different creator. 
• must not have any offensive creation in its lineage (any parent or child creations). 
• must not have any offensive material, links or references to other sites in the submission’s tags, name, or description 
Your wallpaper: 
• must be an original piece of art created by you 
• must not have any offensive or copyrighted material, 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 to win this challenge. 

Additional Requirements: 
• Your creation may be made in any creator 
• Your wallpaper may be made using any image editing program 
• You can submit as many wallpapers as you’d like 
• All submissions must be in by 11:00 AM PST Friday (04/24/09) 

Resources: 
How to post an image on the Sporum

 

Source: Sporum

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SporeDay: Meet the Captains

Posted by ballightning on March 25, 2009

Maxis have also created a small flash-based application in which it will let you preview the Captains of Galactic Adventures in 3D.  You can only rotate them left and right, and zooming is not an option.  The loading time for each is slow, as it loads 36 images for you to rotate it around. But it is definitely worth it.

In Spore™ Galactic Adventures, now you can get out of your starship and turn your Spore creatures into legendary Space Captains.

Prepare your Captain for infinite adventures across the galaxy, from battling epic monsters in intergalactic arenas to intense planetside races and much more. In each mission, earn experience to rank up your Captain and gain game-changing items and accessories.

Suit up your Captain with over 30 new items, from the Plasma Pulser to the Swarm Magnet. Share your exploits online, as your Creature Card shows your accomplishments, rank, and medals earned.

Every thrilling adventure is just one more opportunity to prove there has never been a greater Captain!

Spore Expansion: Galactic Adventures

Posted in Galactic Adventure, SporeDay | Tagged: , , , | 3 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.

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