A% Moderator: Hi guys! Lucy's made contact and we're going to be good to go at 5.30 sharp. Get your questions in now and you stand a good chance of being in the first few we feature. Obviously.
Maxis' Lucy Bradshaw
Your chat with Spore's exec-producer.
Welcome to Eurogamer's live interview with Spore executive producer Lucy Bradshaw!
Lucy will be online with us from 5.30pm UK time (6.30pm CET, 9.30am PST) for half an hour of quick-fire evolutionary banter.
Feel free to post your questions in advance, or during the live interview, and we'll do our best to get to them. If you need some inspiration, check out our Will Wright interview and Spore PC hands-on preview.
Our live coverage of this event has finished.
A% Moderator: And we're off!
A% Thumbles: Will said this week that atheists have been more vocal critics of Spore than religious gamers, contrary to his expectations. What are your beliefs, and did they influence the decisions you made developing the game?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: I think that Spore takes an approach that can be interpreted by the player. The religious devleopment of your species as it reaches its civilization stage is one of the choices that you have as a player. The team itself had some strong opinions about this and it is something we discussed at times during development. Our POV was to keep this approach as it is rich for the potential story and narrative but we worked to make open to each player's interpretation.
A% Jeffton: Do you think Maxis' next "big" game will be on a similar scale to Spore?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: Wow! I can hardly think about that right now. Spore has been a mighty big endeavor, from the design to the tech underlying it. I frankly can't wait to see what people make with the buiding and vehicle editors. The team is an pretty amazing group, with so many ideas, however, so I'll just have to say that we have inklings of ideas to pursue.
Q%AdamHall%119823% In spite of how large it is at present, are there any plans to expand the Spore universe through expansion packs or DLC?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: When we started Spore, we were thinking about how we'd make an engine that had the possibility of expansion, so yes, we'll add to the experience. I think, however, we have a very cool opportunity to take Spore in a few different directions too. The editors are so cool and fun, that we want to advance those as well as the gameplay that we put into the core game.
A% Nextstep: Spore's PC focus puts it at odds with a lot of its contemporaries, and a lot of developers (including John Carmack, Cevat Yerli and others) have voiced their concern that the PC is no longer a strong enough market to sustain marquee products. Is that a concern now that you're finished? Do you wish you'd gone for other formats like 360 and PS3 too?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: I don't see that. There are many, many new ways to play on the PC. MMOs, free games, MSG's etc. I think there is a ton of territory to explore here. I love that the consoles have the online capabilities that they do now though and that is something I'd love to take advantage of.
Q%dickrickulous%117877% Aside from the well-known comedy creatures, what are some of the more imaginative offerings you have seen or heard of?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: Some of my favorites are the creatures that are based on real creatures. We've seen some really talented creators out there. My all-time favorite though is the whack-a-mole creature. By the way, I fought that in the creature game, during our push to final, it was hysterical.
Q%Monkeychow67%163160% There are supposed to be many many easter eggs within the game, honestly, about how long do you think it will take for the players of spore to find them all? Also...will one of them involve llamas?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: I can't reveal the secrets of our easter eggs! We do have some treats in there, and we do have some fun effects etc that you can find in the cheat console that will be fun - stuff like effects that can change the look of the game.
Q%rswindoll%162076% How do you think the aesthetic of Spore will influence the stories gamers produce?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: I think that the game does have an approachable aesthetic. The planets have always seemed like these beautiful little toys to me - sort of little prince-like or the end of MIB. The creatures are a bit comical looking. I think that people will take these as hints for their stories, but we will probably add to the style by adding new paint styles and bulidng blocks for your creatures down the line.
Q%hikispore%163158% In the EGTV show today we saw a little note hanging in Will Wright's office and on it was written: Spore the Musical. When can we expect this great show? And will you play the lead roll? Love to hear you sing!
A% Lucy Bradshaw: Well, we have a big job ahead as we launch Spore the Game. Let's stick to that for the moment! [Smiley]
A% Hamburgler: You have the Creature Creator, so I haven't seen anyone rule out an actual Spore demo that shows off the game generally. Is that something you plan to do?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: We're not planning a demo of the game. Just the CC. We've released a number of videos to show off the game.
Q%CosmicD%163156% I'm hugely anticipating this game. Needless to say I'm going to be immersed in this maybe "too" free world for months to come. But an aspect of the game that hasn't really been talked about so much yet is the day night cycles. So I have a few questions about that really. Do the planets rotate around their axis? And is there gameplay involved with this? Can you stand on a spot and see the dawn of the day or dusk? And are there things happening at night which aren't at day?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: Yes, the entire galaxy is simulated. Planets rotate around their suns. Day/night cycles take place and some of the AI of the creatures is triggered by this cycle. For example, night can be a bit more dangerous in the creature stage.
Q%Jowsuf%163155% In the ESRB Content Rating it says 'Animated blood', but in all the latest previews I have not seen any blood. Is there blood in the game/is there an option to turn it on or off?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: There really is not blood per se. The only stage that has this is a little in Space if you laser creatures on the ground, but it is very limited, not graphic.
Q%DoggySpew%163168% I've heard a rumour that you can only have X amount of planets per save. Is that true, or are the number of planets you can have unlimited?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: The way the game works is that you save a game on a specific planet. You can have many, many, many saved games/planets. We do not have a limit on the saved planets.
Q%xab583%163169% Will said originally there was going to be a plant editor. Is this feature still in the game?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: We are not shipping with the flora editor. Sorry. It's something we eventually want to get out there as it is fun to work with.
Q%Kendeura%163170% So Lucy, I have two questions. I hope you have time for both! First one - Can you choose the colour-scheme of your planet somehow, like say, I want a blue and green planet like Earth or a more goofy one that we've been seeing in presentations that are say purple are orange, or is this preset with the moment you are a cell?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: Planet colors - you begin by choosing from a set of planets to start your creature's life on. These have various color schemes. When/if you reach the Space Stage you can specialize as a terraformer. You get tools that allow you to change the colors of the land, sea and even atomosphere of your planet. Oh, by the way, keep searching your galaxy, you might find some familiar elements there.
Q%Kendeura%163170% Second one - Will you be able to abduct epic creatures, throw them into an enemy city, and see the epic creature slaughter the whole city?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: You can find a tool in the space game that allows you to Epic-ize a creature. And you can find one that allows you to make a creature or abduct and modify a creature in your spaceship, so the combination of these tools make it so you can create an epic on any planet, and sic it on an unsuspecting alien race if you so desire.
Q%soarous%118453% Spore seems to be a game of many parts, what has been done to make sure it all feels like one cohesive whole and not a bunch of evolution themed mini-games?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: The arc of the journey was something that was always on our minds. How do you feel like you are creating a species that evolves over time. One of the key features of the game is the History. A timeline of your actions and evolutionary choices for your creature. These choices have repercussions. It's kind of like the who you are making as well as the what. Who is your species, what is their culture etc. And you will earn traits as well as unique abilities based on how you play. When you get all the way to Spacefaring you can click on the history button and see your species entire timeline, its own personal account of how it became what it is.
Q%DoggySpew%163168% Can stars be destroyed?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: Planets can, if you have the powerful tools that you earn during the Space stage. You can also transform planets form barren landscapes to inhabitable edens, if you like the flip side of destruction.
Q%AdamHall%119823% What constitutes a 'Game Over', if anything?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: Much like SimCity or The Sims, there is a goal in Space that you can elect to pursue. It does not necessarily end the game if you complete the goal but it can add texture and capabilities to your race at that stage. It is really a quest that you can take on which the inhabitants of the galaxy will clue you into.
Q%Nikos1337%163176% I'd like to ask you about the additional information that were in the Creature creator, that were related to the game. Were they released by mistake or was it intentional?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: if you mean the text that was not related to the CC, yes, that was mistake. It was not even final.
A% Nextstep: What kind of anti-piracy measures have you taken to try and stop Spore appearing in the wild?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: We do have copy protection, it is a necessary part of our biz, but we've worked to make it something that does not punish the legit owners. You need to authenticate once at the first install. This happens online. You can install on three separate computers and you do need to register for the online features.
Q%xab583%163169% The aquatic stage was pulled from the game but is it still possible to go underwater or is this territory for an expansion?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: Yes, I sometimes laughingly say we scoped the game. It's still huge in terms of the territory we covered. Aquatic life is something we'll continue to think about in design.
A% HenryTimes: I think people were surprised when Will said some of his favourite games recently have been GTA IV and Advance Wars. What sort of stuff do you play?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: He's always been a fan of games that let you explore a ton of design space. You should see his character in GTA. I've been playing a ton of DS games myself. I'm always on the move. Believe it or not, I got hooked on Puzzle Quest. I've always been a fan of Sid Meier's games. Love Civ. And now Wii games are top on my list because my kids like to play. Mario Kart, Super Mario Galaxy, Arena...
Q%bugmenotforever%138682% Can creatures made in the creator really be too complex to be used in the creature phase? If so, to how many of the more popular creatures in the sporepedia does that apply?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: We did have to make some changes to the complexity for the game but you canstill open these in the CC and make any mods to take them into the game.
A% Moderator: Lucy only has time for one more as she's got to be on a conference call shortly! So it's our classic finisher - Would you rather be invisible or have lasers for eyes?
A% Lucy Bradshaw: I'm going with lasers for eyes, it looks like someone is making progress on invisible fabric, so we might get that in reality. Lasers for eyes so I don't have to walk around walls, and instead just through them sounds like fun to me.
A% Moderator: That's it! Thanks to everyone who joined in, and sorry if we didn't get to your question today.
A% Lucy Bradshaw: Thanks Tom, and thanks to everyone on the chat. Was fun typin with you!
A% Moderator: And we're out.