Posts Tagged ‘Spore’

It’s Time For Spore 2

Trees that grow from seeds you plant? Easy. 18 quintillion planets? Whatever. If you want to talk about videogames’ most ambitious endeavors, there’s only one contender for the top spot. Spore, released in 2008, let players control a species they created from single cell organism all the way through to becoming space explorers. That included designing everything from the huts you lived in during the tribe stage, to the spaceships you used to careen around the galaxy near the game’s conclusion. Most importantly, it let you craft exactly what kind of weirdo you’d be taking to the stars, whether six-limbed, beady-eyed monstrosities or fleshky daleks or Homer Simpson, and then it populated your world with everyone else’s creations automatically, so that each planet was filled with delightful, handmade surprises.

Spore was a marvel. It’s crying out for a sequel.

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Games Run Through The Prisma Photo Filter App

You might have noticed all your friends’ avatars and profile pictures turning into comic book drawings or impressionistic paintings over the last few weeks. That’s because of Prisma, a photo editing app for iOS and Android that let’s you apply a couple of dozen filters to images you feed it. The app goes further than simply messing with the hue like Instagram does, using a process similar to Google Deep Dream to warp and twist photographs – without shoving fucked up dogs in every corner.

I spent last night feeding it game screenshots, to find out what No Man’s Sky, Half-Life 2, SimCity and more would look like if their artists abandoned realism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Former Civilization IV Lead On Mars Game, Revitalizing RTS

Mohawk Games is an excellent name for a company. And so it is that former Civilization IV lead designer and Spore man Soren Johnson approaches me sporting the company haircut. It’s a recent trim job for the old headshrub, he tells me, but he wears it well. However, the brain beneath the mohawk – the mind behind some of strategy gaming’s greatest greats – is the real main attraction here. Johnson’s goal is to design “core strategy games” in conjunction with Civ V art director Dorian Newcomb and in partnership with Galactic Civilizations (no relation) developer Stardock.

First on the docket? A still unnamed Mars economy RTS with no units and 13 different resource types. Is it madness? Probably, but it’s the good kind, the kind that drives a man to shave off most of his hair before a business conference, the kind that sounds wicked fun when people exchange fireside tales of their favorite matches.

Go below for a discussion with both men about how the game works, boardgame influences, how videogames might be able to replicate boardgaming’s face-to-face appeal, designing strategy that’s extremely complex but also accessible, release plans, and heaps more.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Suite Science: Paul Weir Talks Generative Music

This is the latest in the series of articles about the art technology of games, in collaboration with the particularly handsome Dead End Thrills.

When Paul Weir gave a talk at GDC 2011 about GRAMPS, the generative audio system he designed for Eidos Montreal’s Thief, the games press took notice. Not so much of the contents, though, or indeed the subject, just Thief. Here, finally, was a chance to get something on this oh so secretive game. Maybe, while prattling on about ‘sounds’ and stuff, he’d toss them a headline or two, get ’em some clicks. Suspecting as much, Weir recommended to his audience that anyone just there for Thief nooz should probably leave the room. Some people did.

We can often seem deaf to game audio in the same way we’re blind to animation. Maybe it’s because the best examples of both are so natural and chameleonic that they blend into a game’s broader objectives. Maybe it has to be Halo ostentatious or Amon Tobin trendy just to prick up our ears; or make the screen flash pretty colours. Or maybe Brian Eno has to be involved, as we’ll come to in a minute. Read the rest of this entry »

Soren Song: Civ IV Designer Founds Mohawk Games

Soren Johnson named it after his hair.

Soren Johnson is a clever man. He was a programmer on Civilization 3, the lead designer on Civilization IV, and then he moved over to Maxis to work on Spore. Now he’s building himself a new home by founding Mohawk Games, a studio dedicated to creating “core strategy games”. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Wright’s Sterling Stuff

Staring eyes - of genius, madness, or just lens flare?

Increasingly nebulous mega-brain Will Wright has finally revealed what the hell he’s up to next. He’s spent his post-Spore years working at an outfit he calls Stupid Fun Club, which has had all sorts of wild ideas about TV shows and toys, but now he seems to be turning those historically ingenious eyes back to games.

He’s working on adapting a short story about a karmic computer, by sci-fi writer and technology ponderer Bruce Sterling, and he reckons he can get it turned around within a year.
Read the rest of this entry »

Darkspore: The Even Seedier Side Of Life

Darkspore. Roughly 75% prettier than these rubbish official screenshots will make it look. Sorry. There are plasma waterfalls and floaty space bridges and really nice looking crystals and everything...

What has eight legs, three eyes, and a nose that spits deadly mucus? Doesn’t matter, just kill it in the face and take its stuff. Richard’s been playing a pre-release version of Spore’s psychotic cousin, where life is simple, death is cheap, and the only good alien is one that drops a particularly snazzy hat.

Read the rest of this entry »