The Right Angle? Spore Adds Cubic Planets

By Kieron Gillen on October 20th, 2008 at 12:33 pm.

There's cuboids on the starboard bow, etc.
The newly released v1.02 patch of Spore has actually caused a minor furore with one of its changes. Is it that you can hold down control in sporepedia to select multiple things? Nay. Is it the improved gait for two legged creatures? Nope. Is it the fact that there’s an occasional cubic planet thrown in? Why, yes, that’s it entirely. Here’s an enbiggened image of the planet. What do you make of it? A poll and my own thoughts on this clearly crucial PC gaming issue beneath the cut…

The argument against it is that its thrown all the laws of physics out the window. Which is true, but that’s not really why people are angry with it. The game’s already well divorced from any real scientific underpinings. What this is really about is its symbolic nature. First real content added to the game, and it’s something that is from the cute rather than simulator side of the issue. This means that they can take this as evidence of where Maxis’ priorities lie.

Perhaps more importantly though is the fact it’s an easy, obvious thing to go for. When a fanbase is angry at a game, they choose an aspect of it and magnify it so it encompasses everything that’s wrong. If they’d just slipped in cuboid planets without bringing attention to it in a patch, it’d have probably just been a fun occasional Easter Egg that fits in with the fabric of the general cartoon-heavy approach of the game. Since they’ve trumpeted it, it’s a flashpoint. As loot-glint was to Thief: Deadly Shadows and scaleable enemies was to Oblivion, I suspect Cube Planets will be to the disappointed parts of Spore fans.

They’ll be an added “n” here, but there’s nowt we can do about it. Some manner of bug in our poll system. Man! RPS so needs a patch too.

n
{democracy:18}

My take? Option 3. Of course, this is all based upon it not being a gag from Maxis, as the only screenshot I can find online is one a Maxis chap lobbed up online. That’d be very mean.

So – your take? And obvious subtleties in your position can be explained below…

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121 Comments »

  1. Gap Gen says:

    Until they add magnetohydrodynamics to the space stage, I refuse to buy this game.

  2. Adam Hepton says:

    I’m more bothered about being bored senseless by the game itself, to be honest.

  3. Urael says:

    Oh no you don’t, Maxis! We’ll take this fight to the four corners of the Earth!

    (sorry)

  4. Sideath says:

    I am relatively bored of Spore already, so I guess, I don’t really care?

  5. Cataclysm says:

    I don’t mind particularly, its more content, as such. But I think they could of spent their time on something a little more important for this patch.

    It kinda bugs me a bit that they started off with an idea of a game that was very scientific and very deep and over the years of development, strayed to a rather cartoony – not so scientific game.

    When they put the release date off time and time again I imagined it must be getting fine tuned with the amazing mechanics and instead it felt like it was only half of what they intended on creating.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the game and find it fun to create new creatures and play them through the ages, but it was rather dumbed down from its original idea.

  6. Surlyben says:

    Cube planets seem to be pretty rare in-game… I certainly haven’t seen one yet.

  7. Harmen says:

    It looks like a dice. A we know god’s view about those :)

  8. Dinger says:

    It would be cool, if Spore had any sort of notion of how environment affects the life it produces. I mean, wouldn’t a flat, cubic planet produce interesting right-angled critters, who built spherical cities and flew around in blocky spaceships? That’d be cool.
    But Spore doesn’t allow for that sort of meaning. So the net result is: what difference does it make?

    (Scaled enemies in Oblivion, on the other hand, make it one of the few games that rewards you for not going up levels).

  9. The Sombrero Kid says:

    give me money and i’ll turn all the stuff in your favorite game into crates!!!!!! Time to Crate reduction is never a good thing damn you, even if they are the biggest crates ever seen!

  10. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @Cataclysm
    believe me they didn’t spend any time on this whatsoever! that i imagine is what people take offence to ‘you’re charging me for this????!!!!????’

  11. Seniath says:

    Where’s the “I stopped caring about Spore ages ago” option?

  12. Man Raised by Puffins says:

    Looks like they still haven’t fixed the planet transition crash bug which is currently stopping me from playing the bally thing. :sadface:

    Also, yay for cubes!

  13. futage says:

    *collects up all the yawns and builds a yawnocopter*

  14. Heliocentric says:

    Spore is to science what lolcats are to art. Spore is a display of scientific concepts. Not all concepts, not properly. But lolcats are not the benchmark of artistic application. In short, STFU*! Spore has terrible problems, this is not one of them. The meaninglessness of design past the bacterial stage. The limited topology of the game, the digital wrongs management. Square planets are funny, go make some square people in square houses who drive square cars!

    *directed at the complainers.

  15. StalinsGhost says:

    Voted Playful Content. Though I think it would be better implemented as some kind of “Cuboidization Array” – an item you place on the planet (ala’ Spice Stores) that allows for this dramatic physics reconfiguration.

  16. Dizet Sma says:

    Will there be a d4 world as well? Perhaps filled with Gygaxians?

  17. Meat Circus says:

    The Sporelash is so last month.

    But we haven’t had the Sporelashlash renaissance yet.

  18. Rob Lang says:

    I don’t mind the square planet, it’s a bit of fun. I’m with StalinsGhost in that it should be a nice terraforming thing.

    I’d perferred that they put some game engine changes out but they tend to take longer to test and check balance before throwing it out there. Imagine the irate fans if they rushed out a series of poorly tested engine changed to find that they aren’t ideal.

    Still enjoying Spore, although the Mrs lost interest after Tribal. She just starts again and has fun with a new utterly unlikely creature.

    I’d still like to see some assistance in keeping a small empire running. After you have only small number of colonies, you seem to be battered with things you need to do, often with time limits. If they could reduce the rate of that, it would be fab or give me planet improvements that stop those things altogether, then it would allow me to explore and trade more, which I what I like doing.

  19. Jerricho says:

    How long before someone terraforms a cube to be their giant space companion? I wuv my cube!

    COMPANION CUBE 4EVA!

    Seriously though, there is so much wrong in Spore that this is a bit galling. Trivial game tweaks are of little use to a player unable to play past game breaking bugs lke memory leaks causing the planet transition bug. I have several planets in a savegame that I can’t land on now. Luckily I save before I land on a planet.

  20. Drakkheim says:

    Man, I was hoping they would add ‘Fun and / or Compelling reason to play’ to this patch.. maybe we’ll get it. Oh well.. back to X3:TC for me.. at least that’s a universe worth exploring.

  21. Ginger Yellow says:

    “First real content added to the game, and it’s something that is from the cute rather than simulator side of the issue. This means that they can take this as evidence of where Maxis’ priorities lie. ”

    For fuck’s sake, this is Maxis we’re talking about. We’re lucky they didn’t charge us £15 for the privilege of having cubic planets. Anyone who didn’t think Spore was going to be a vehicle for endless content packs is a fool.

  22. Morph says:

    Aren’t options 1 and 3 on the poll kind of the same? I want to vote for both.

  23. MacBeth says:

    At this point I’m feeling vaguely justified in never getting that interested in Spore… however my main reason for commenting is…

    MORMON CHURCH BANNER ADVERTISING WTF!??!?!?

  24. Richard Beer says:

    The most critical update Spore needs is a way for people who ordered the game through EA’s digital download service to get their money back for being fooled into thinking this was a deep, rewarding and enjoyable GAME, rather than a child’s toy.

    Bitter? Pint of Old Peculiar, please barman.

  25. MacBeth says:

    Without the editing facility I am compelled to add:

    MORMON CHURCH BANNER ADVERTISING ON RPS WTF!??!?!?

    in case anyone thought I meant ads within Spore.

  26. ChaosSmurf says:

    I agree with all the statements asking for a “Spore is shit” option >.>

  27. Bobsy says:

    Eh.

    If it’s one cube to every thousand spheres it’s fine. If it’s any more it’s an unnecessary Silly.

  28. Bobsy says:

    Oh, and to everyone who’s decided that this is an appropriate place to assault Spore as a game, it isn’t.

    If people continue to like something that you don’t like, it’s not good behaviour to keep moaning about it as if it’s an affront to you.

    People like Spore. This is not a problem.

  29. Turin Turambar says:

    Yeah sure, as if there are spore fans in the first place to have a fanbase angry at the game who dislike cubic planets.

    :P

  30. Ben Abraham says:

    ALL HAIL THE ADDED ‘n’!!!!!

  31. Heliocentric says:

    World of goo adds square goo!

  32. simonkaye says:

    I’m not sure I’d compare the silly fun of cuboid planets to the INTRINSIC AND FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM that is scaling difficulty in Oblivion.

  33. George says:

    I didn’t get the impression they were moving in a particular direction on the cute/gameplay conflict yet. The two announced expansion packs seem to focus on the different sides of the struggle, and I’d imagine comparative sales figures will determine where they go from there.

  34. rocketman71 says:

    As long as it’s free and not one of those BS packs they’re going to start shoveling…

    Spore is stupid anyway. And so is Riccitiello.

  35. Tom says:

    This has got to be one of the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I can’t believe this is even considered news.
    In the famous words of what’s-his-face “IT’S A PUPPET!!!”

  36. Leon Lederman's Weenie Shrinker says:

    Gag from Maxis? As I recall, Maxis was originally making a game that would have been a groundbreaking simulation engine with at least one foot in the realm of possibility (you know, to keep it interesting). This stinks of EA, not Maxis, and is just more salt in the sucking wound.

    Oh well, as long as the rest of the game turned out to have little or nothing to do with science, what the hell?

    We are not as amused as one might think. This is a cool-whip moustache on a smirking quasar. Here we have EA mocking the people it suckered into a big fat bait-and-switch, just as they now mock their entire customer base, claiming that only a handful know what DRM might actually be.

    By the way, this is the same Electronic Arts that turned the potential title of the decade into “Peggle: God Did It.”

  37. Theoban says:

    Ech it’s a free update. I’m quite ambivalent about this. (Although not so ambivalent that I’m not willing to comment on the matter.)

  38. Ergates says:

    [-INSERT WEIGHTED COMPANION CUBE JOKE HERE-]

  39. AbyssUK says:

    Do you like Phil Collins ?

  40. yhancik says:

    I’m slightly more annoyed by the fact that the game keeps crashing with every released patch. I really don’t know what the heck they’re doing here..

  41. yhancik says:

    *crashing more

    (my galactic empire for an edit button :p)

  42. Joe Average says:

    Firebomb Maxis!!

  43. AbyssUK says:

    ignore my comment above…. replace with

    Do you like Huey Lewis and the news?

    and then it makes sense…

  44. Zuffox says:

    Almost 50 comments and no Borg reference?

    Your community sucks, RPS.

  45. Leon Lederman's Weenie Shrinker says:

    By the way, after wasting a quarter ounce of fairly nice cannabis during the fortnight following the release of spore, I’ve found myself reinstalling Sims 2. Guess what I found?

    Sims 2 (and all the Maxis games prior to Societies) have infinitely more depth and replayability than the puddle of piss that Spore turned out to be. Now they want to give us cubic plants with a wry grin? Why not cylindrical or toroid heavenly bodies then? Why stop there? Where are all the flatworlds? You know, the 6,000 year-old varieties.

    This is EA openly mocking us, because they believe they paid out enough for the surprisingly positive mainstream reviews to keep the spin spinning, while in the same breath they’re just as likely to introduce something cutesey and pretend gravity works sideways 50% of the time as well.

    They’re just mocking us because they believe they’ve gotten away with it. No remorse whatsoever after fooling us all into paying perhaps a billion dollars for pokemon when we were promised something completely different.

    Sure, I wanted to believe, even after getting the shaft. I waited long enough to insist on giving it the benefit of the doubt, but a month later I must admit there’s nothing beneath the surface but more surface. There are fan-boys out there, legion in number, who still refuse to admit they got screwed. EA is simply capitalizing on that, and they’ll stop at nothing to maintain the momentum of their false positive spin, so long as they think they can get away with it.

    Every respectable game critic on the planet should re-review spore now that it’s perfectly clear what EA is doing with it, and give it the marks it deserves, before more suckers (RPS’s readers especially) waste another dime on those cubical snake-oil swindlers.

    What’s wrong with you?

  46. Ergates says:

    It does?

  47. Gap Gen says:

    I can just imagine an EA exec, cackling in his oak-paneled office “If we sell products, then people will give us their money! BWUHAHAHACAPITALISM!” and then they have to have a lie down.

  48. Leon Lederman's Tinfoil Hat says:

    Everywhere I’ve looked, editor reviews have been mysteriously positive, while player/viewer/reader reviews have been invariably weighted toward the conclusion that the game barely qualifies as a game at all.

    How do you account for this cognitive dissonance? Payola. That’s the only reasonable answer. Nobody liked it but the reviewers and a handful of delusional customers who are still trying their damnedest to get their money’s worth, and anyone who’s played this load of dingo’s kidneys knows they never will. Every mainstream review was far too kind to be true.

    You, the professional reviewers, are all complicit in the theft of countless dollars wasted by gamers on this steaming pile of beta demo. I hope you can sleep at night.

  49. Theory says:

    I’m not mad! You’re all mad!

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