For today’s SporeDay, Maxis has gathered the questions and posted the answers of your questions regarding the Mission Creator. Stone Librande, Spore Galactic Adventure’s Game Designer responds to quite a few of them, hopefully yours has been answered! Check out the Sporum to read the whole interview, or just click the “Read the rest of this post” link to check it out.
General Mission Questions
jackkawaski: How will these missions be made exactly? Will we set objectives and then make a map around the planet and then go through the objectives?
Stone: The adventure editor is quite flexible and can be used in different ways, depending on how your personal style. In many ways it is like the other Spore editors; some authors will play around and experiment, while other authors will plan out every detail in advance. It’s up to you!
In general, the process works like this: You start by picking a planet and then adding objects onto it. Objects can be terrain features (like mountains and rivers), cast members (any creature or vehicle from the Sporepedia), buildings, flora, audio or visual effects. One key object that every adventure needs is the “Captain”. The author can choose to “lock” the Captain (all players have to use it) or to allow an “open” Captain (the player can use one of his or her own Captains). The placement of the Captain is important, because it determines where the player will start your adventure.
At any time you can attach goals to objects. Goals are not required, but they are useful when you want to force a player to do something, such as “Move to Castle” or “Kill Dragon”. Objects can also have text attached to them. This will appear inside comic book style speech or thought balloons.
The adventure editor has a “Test Drive” button (just like the Creature editor) that lets you walk around your world at any time. You can quickly go between Build and Test modes as often as needed until you are satisfied with your adventure. At that point you click a button to upload it to the adventure section of Spore.com for other players to try out.
I’m just skimming the surface here. There will be a lot more details coming soon.
party9137: After completing a mission will you be able to give rewards like sporebucks, badges, weapons?
Stone: Players earn rewards by successfully completing adventures. The author of an adventure can’t set the rewards; they are automatically determined by the game. There are a few different types of rewards, depending on whether you play from the Space Phase or from Quick Play.
In Space Phase you find adventures by talking to other Empires. This process is the same as the existing Space Phase missions, but instead of flying around the planet in your spaceship you get to beam down and walk around with your Captain. When you complete the adventure you beam up to your spaceship and fly back to the Empire that gave you the mission. They will give you Sporebucks and your relationship with that adventure will increase.
In Quick Play you can earn gold, silver and bronze trophies by competing with other players to get the best score on that adventure’s leaderboard. Trophies are not permanent! If another player beats your score they take the trophy from you. You can track your trophies on your My Spore page.
Both Space Phase and Quick Play adventures also reward you with “Spore Points”. These points are used to buy new accessories for your Captain. (Things like shield generators, poison daggers, energy generators, and missile launchers.) The interesting thing about Spore Points is that they are dynamically calculated based on the difficulty of the adventure. The more players that complete the adventure the less points it is worth. If very few players can beat the adventure then it is worth a lot of points.
TeaOmen: Will the flora editor be incorporated in GA?
Stone: No. But you do have access to over 300 pre-made plants.
Lanthanide : What types of objectives can we set for missions?
Stone: There are many different goals. You can kill, befriend, talk, move to, hold, give, collect, bring, block and protect. Some goals, like bring, require two objects (for instance, “Bring Magic Wand to Frog”). Some goals have counters that you can set (for instance, “Kill 10 Oogies” or “Collect 99 Gems”).
Ezis9: How Many goals can you set per mission?
Stone: 24. You can have up to 3 goals per act, and there can be up to 8 acts in an adventure. During an act the goals are displayed in a panel in the corner of the screen for easy reference. If you don’t want the player to see a goal then you can hide it. This is useful if you want the player to explore and find clues that lead to the goal, instead of giving it away at the start of the adventure.
Flaming’Snake: Can you choose how much health your creations have?
Stone: Yes. You can set the health on creatures, vehicles and buildings. You can set it to 0 (it appears in the game dead) or you can set it to indestructible, too. You can also set a health multiplier on the Captain.
DrGravitas: To what capacity will GA satisfy those of us who wish to compose detailed, deep worlds beyond just visuals? Will there be any more room for descriptions? Will mission composition support dialog boxen? Would we perhaps be able to create dialog trees?
Stone: If you are a writer I think you’ll love making stories with GA. Keep in mind that our format is closer to comic book writing than it is to novels. Instead of writing long paragraphs of text you will need to break up your text into shorter chunks.
Each object in your world can have up to 5 “pages” of text per act, and there can be up to 8 acts. A page can contain about 100 characters. A page will appear as either a caption, a speech bubble or a thought balloon. Text is not limited to creatures, but can be attached to any object (rocks, buildings, trees, etc.). Text also appears when an adventure starts, during each act, and when the adventure ends (both win and fail text can be written).
Unfortunately, we do not provide support for branching text or dialog trees. This was a feature we discussed but we had to cut.
Kashai: Is is possible to make a defense style of game, where you need to build defenses and spawn units?
Stone: Yes! You can drag a “Protect” goal onto any object (or objects). If that object is destroyed the adventure will end. Then you can use spawners to send endless waves of creatures and vehicles towards the player’s base. In this type of adventure I also like to set a victory timer. If the player can survive until the timer runs out then the player wins.
lucyb: Can missions be set for specific philosophies, in order to avoid things like shaman creatures getting tasked with extermination missions.
Stone: The author can set a genre tag to help players find missions that match their philosophy. But the player is free take on (or reject) any mission for any reason. For example, a Diplomat can accept (and possibly beat) a Warrior missions.
Vilageidiotx: To what extent will we be able to use triggers in missions?
Stone: There are two types of triggers in GA: Act and AI.
An act switch is triggered whenever the player completes all the goals in an act. During an act switch you can hide/show objects, change creature/vehicle behaviors, and make new speech text appear.
AI triggers can be set using the advanced AI. Advanced AI is used to control creatures and the system is very flexible. For instance, you can tell a creature to attack only when it is carrying a red key. Or make it dance only when the player is nearby. These individual behaviors can be combined in hundreds of ways and we look forward to see the creative ways that the community will use this powerful feature.
FutureFilms: Can missions be failed?
Stone: Yes. If your Captain dies then an adventure automatically fails. As an author, you can also set “failure goals”. For instance, you can place a “Protect” goal on a building. If that building is destroyed the player will fail the adventure. You can also use count-down timers and the player will have to accomplish another goal (say, “Move to finish line”) before time runs out. Failure isn’t permanent though. When you fail just click “Replay” and try again as often as you like.
Raythor100: Is there a limit to the number of different creatures/vehicles/buildings you can put on each mission planet?
Stone: Yes. An adventure has a complexity meter that works just like the creature editor’s meter. I can’t give you an exact number because it is based on a variety of factors. But you can get about 100 units on a planet before the meter fills up.
Thomas24695: Can we place buildings on water?
Stone: Yes. You can also place them in the sky or bury them into the ground. Just hold down the Control key while you drag.
murtagh1135: If your creature has wings, can you fly?
Stone: Yes. Your creature will behave just like it did in the Creature phase. You can also earn a Hover Pack and a Jump Jet for even higher flight.
Protoderm: Can you have other creatures speak?
Stone: Yes. You can’t control the spoken voice but you can write any text you want. When a creature speaks the words appear over its head inside a comic book style speech or thought balloon. You can also make the creature emote when the text appears (you can choose from happy, sad, angry, scared or neutral).
Text isn’t limited to creatures. You can attach it to scrolls, rocks, buildings, or vehicles, too. This is a useful trick when you want to hide clues around the world. For instance, when the player clicks on a scroll they might see the text, “I’m waiting for you behind the tavern. Come at once!”.
Words5: Will the creator be able to create cutscenes?
Stone: No. There are automatic cut scenes that appear when you beam down, win or fail an adventure. When you talk to creatures there is also a special cut scene.
agar32: I’m thinking of putting a structure on a mission top of a volcano, it will be possible?
Stone: Yes. Buildings don’t take damage when in lava, but creatures and vehicles will. So you probably won’t have too many visitors.
Coryn: Will we be able to stack building editor made creations to create floors or towers?
Stone: Yes. You can make some awesome structures by combining different buildlings together. One thing to realize is that buildings don’t have to stack exactly. You can push one building partially inside another. You can even float one over top of another. And each building can be scaled and rotated individually.
gulpinking444: Will you be able to do underwater missions?
Stone: No. Creatures and boats have to stay on top of the water.
Seiniyta: Will we be able to link missions together, as some really will try to make epic stories that requires a lot more then 5 acts?
Stone: Unfortunately, there isn’t a tool in the editor that automatically links adventures together. If you want to make an epic story then you need to make each adventure separately, then publish the whole set together as a Sporecast. (By the way, the act limit has been raised to 8 acts per adventure.)
Felix78: I have started to create several interior modules which I want to connect to a big interior setting in GA. Is that possible, or might there be problems regarding camera view or light effects or whatever?
Stone: Yes, it is possible to do interiors, and yes, there may be camera problems. It can be tricky to get the camera to work well in small, tight corridors. Big rooms with high ceilings work better. It would be nice if we could come up with a perfect camera that works in all situations, but the adventure editor is so flexible that we can’t account for everything that authors will build.
Skidd777: Are you able to ride vehicles on the surface of the planet?
Stone: No. If you have good dexterity you can jump on the back of a moving vehicle (or epic!) but you can’t steer it around. (One of our producers made a fun level where vehicles on patrol paths pushed the Captain around.)
ODS7Recruit: Also will there be automatic weapons, semi-automatic weapons etc.?
Stone: No. The eight new weapons are energy claws, lightning sword, pulse rifle, missile launcher, poison blade, summon swarm, freeze and mind meld.
zaraquex: I was wondering if all of these creations of mine for specific planets could fit onto 1 planet, or if I would have to make sevral of the same planets with diffrent content in them?
Stone: An adventure has a complexity limit (just like the creatures and vehicles). You can put about 100 creatures on one planet before you hit the maximum complexity. I can’t give you an exact number because it depends on the complexity of the individual objects. But if you have 100’s of creations then you are going to need a several planets to hold it all. I recommend grouping your stuff up into different categories and making themed planets to enhance the mood. (For example, put all your scary creations together on a dark, foggy planet.)
Zaraquex: Are some of the new flora ‘poisonus’, or could they be made to be posinous to cirtian creatures (like… a creature would eat a fruit from it and emediatly die)?
Stone: No. For Galactic Adventures there is no eating. (The hunger bar has been removed and replaced with an energy bar that is powered by generators, not food.)
kaploy9: In “Mothership Down” I’ve noticed at least two things that I wanted to ask about it: There was a segment where you got a glimpse of a group of buildings around the area the “mothership” was hovering over. When the mouse was held over one of the buildings, the symbol with two swords showed up along with health and attack stats. (instead of a building symbol) The building also had parts belonging to the vehicle editor. Does this mean we can have vehicles stand-in for buildings?
Stone: Yes. You can set a vehicle to be “stationary” and it will remain in one place. You can also do the opposite trick and use buildings to make things that look like vehicles. In fact, the Mothership itself was made in the building editor. (It is actually several different buidling pieces all lifted up off the ground and pushed together.)
kaploy9: Will we have placement control similar to the Building Edtior? (example: Will I be able to hold tab and get all the axis controls? Can I have objects hover(or start out) in the air with the ctrl key?)
Stone: Yes. Tab and Control both work in the adventure editor. Creatures and ground vehicles can’t start in the air, but buildings can.
opop64: Can you walk into cites? if so, can you walk into buildings?
Stone: Yes, you can build any city you want. You aren’t limited to fixed slots like in Civ. You can’t walk inside buildings that you make in the building editor, but you can make interior spaces by placing a bunch of buildings together to form walls.
PacoPaco: How robust with the AI editor for the Adventures be? – For example, will the Player be able to set a creature to always attack targets with certain tags?
Stone: Yes. There are three levels of AI editing. The easiest thing to do is throw a creature from the Sporepedia into your world. It will get a default behavior, attack, defense and speed attributes based on its parts. The next level is accessed by double-clicking on the creature to open the behavior panel. This displays sliders and other options that let you override all the defaults. The third level of complexity is to open the advanced AI panel. With this panel you can set exact low level actions such as “Move to base when health is less than 50%”, or “Attack Player when he is carrying a blue key”. You can also set the priority order of these actions. It is a very powerful feature, but not for beginners.
Steffanic: Re-sizing creatures to make them bigger was interesting, but what else can you do? Make buildings/vehicles bigger? How about smaller? Making an adventure similar to the ‘Honey I Shrunk/Blew Up Some Relative’ would be most amusing.
Stone: You can make any object bigger or smaller by selecting it, then holding down Shift while you spin the mouse-wheel. You can make babies, adults or epics. You can also scale vehicles, buildings, trees and just about every object in the game.
SniperMonkey: Can you force a player to play as a certain creature or do they always choice who they play with?
Stone: The author gets to pick. You may decide that you want to force the player to use a specific creature so that you have more control of the play experience. (For instance, if you are making a maze you might use a creature that doesn’t fly.) Alternately, you might want to build an obstacle course and have players compete to see who has the best Captain for the job. Keep in mind that adventures with “locked” creatures will not appear in other players’ Space games. They only appear in Quick Play mode.
ATPKS: How many posse members can you have?
Stone: The author of the adventure gets to set the number, from 0 to 3. The author can also force the player to use a specific posse member, or can leave the posse slot open so that the player can choose who to take.
Avianwings: Is it possible to set it so the player can’t have certain tools, such as the jetpack?
Stone: No. If you have an “open” adventure then players can use any of their Captains, without restriction. If you don’t want jetpacks (or weapons, or stealth, etc.) in your adventure then you would have to “lock” the Captain slot. In this case you would select the exact creature from the Sporepedia that suits your needs.
FutureFilms: Can we use the Grox in our adventures?
Stone: Kind of. You won’t have access to the actual Grox model, so you’ll have to make your own Grox-like species.
FutureFilms: Can you destroy buildings?
Stone: Yes, unless the author has set the buidling to indestructible.
FutureFilms: Can the player kill characters it needs to talk to? If so, what happens then?
Stone: Yes, you can kill a character that you need to talk to, but an adventure fails instantly as soon as a goal can’t be satisfied.
FutureFilms: Is there anyway to add your own music to your Adventure?
Stone: No. But GA includes over 150 sounds (including music, sound effects, and ambient noises). Allowing authors to attach their own music would make the adventure files too large. (And invite copyright lawyers to our door.)
FutureFilms: Also, what will the level of interaction between the player and NPCs be like? Will it only be like the creature phase interaction, or can things like word bubbles and conversation paths be possible?
Stone: The creature social game is part of GA, as well as speech bubbles (see related topics for more information). We do not support branching dialog paths.
mybear: Can you play as epics?
Stone: Sadly, no. But you can make an adventure with an epic (or epics) that are on the player’s team.
mybear: Can you create weather?
Stone: Yes. You can make hot and cold planets and add hazards like lightning and lava plumes. Another effective technique is to use the ambient sound effects (like blowing wind) and the visual effects (like gusts of snow) to really set the right mood.
overKast: Can you put life on a snow or lava planet. for example a Terra score-0 planet?
Stone: Yes. There is no terra score on an adventure planet. Any creature or plant from the Sporepedia can be placed on any adventure planet. In Space you can’t colonize adventure planets, so the terra score is irrelevant.
mixtyplix: Will you be able to use the earth as a planet for your adventures?
Stone: You can’t use the earth planet that appears in Space, but using the terrain tools you can make a close approximation.
locobanana: Can we make large battle scenes?
Stone: Yes! Just place a creature or vehicle into the world, then hold down Alt to copy it. In a few seconds you have an army. Do the same with a unit from on an enemy team, press the Test button and enjoy the show.
LordZepherr: Will we be able to give AI to Epics, like make them your allies, or once we create the epics, do they ecome mindless, lumbering, killing machines?
Stone: Epics use the same AI system as adults and babies. The main difference is that you can’t play the social game with them. You can set epics to be allies or enemies, you can control their health and damage, and you can set them to wander aimlessly or route along an exact patrol path.
pizzaboy9109: Will disasters happen when you are playing an adventure?
Stone: The author can control this. Lightning, meteor shower, ice geysers and fire jets can all be toggled off and on.
brian575: Will there be added cheats to GA
Stone: Yes, but I don’t want to spoil the fun yet.
Ominousblader: Will there be ammo for weapons in the expansion pack?
Stone: Weapons use energy, not ammo. Energy recharges automatically over time. (This is similar to the way your spaceship weapons work in the Space phase.) You can add accessories onto a creature that increase the maximum energy storage (a “battery”) and your recharge rate (a “generator”).
Looper222: Are we going to be able to put more than one sentient species on a planet?
Stone: Yes. You can fill the entire world with sentient species. You can decide if they peacefully coexist or if they are at war. One of the adventures I’ve been working on has two different species in nearby castles. They are ready to go to war with each other and it is up to the player to prevent that from happening.
shadowzxv: Will there be any door or something that requires a key?
Stone: Yes. There are 5 different door/key color combinations. By default they look like futuristic force fields with a corresponding key card. But the author is free to substitute both the open and the closed state of the door with any building from the Sporepedia. You can substitute out the keycard with another object, too. (For example, you could make it look like a magic wand.)
DraganDrabic: Can you build bridges or roads for cars to travel on or airports for planes to land at?
Stone: Yes. There are terrain decals that look like roads (dirt, cobbleStone, pavement, etc.) or you can also build your own road parts in the building editor. But air vehicles will not take off and land. They always remain in the air (until shot down).
cplcreator08: I have seen on one preview that you can put miscellaneous objects (such as bombs, grenades, treasure, etc.) in your missions. Will there be some kind of Miscellaneous Item Creator in GA?
Stone: You can’t make up completely new items, but you can “disguise” our existing items. You can pick any building or vehicle to use for your disguise. For example, you could make a grenade look like a yellow rubber duck. One of our programmers recently made a building that looked like a health pack (a white box with a red cross on it) and used it to disguise a land mine.
Falthron: In a GA preview a player is able to put down stuff such as hand grenades and throw them, On the trailer for missions the narrator mentioned exposive barrels. What other kind of things are there?
Stone: gates with keys, bombs with timers (short, medium, long), crates, explosive barrels, grenades, land mines, jump pads, teleporters, power-ups (health, speed, armor, damage and speed). You can put all of these objects on spawners so that new ones appear automatically when the old one is used up. With explosive items the author can control the amount of damage and the effect radius.
Luminar: Are “Museum” planets possible to make, where there is no set objective other than to explore and take in the atmosphere of the place?
Stone: Yes! These planets are like 3D, interactive Sporecasts. You can set your creations to stationary as if they were statues, put them in fenced zones like a zoo, or let them run wild like a safari. Adjust the colors of the sky, ground and water to match the theme of your creations and to set the appropriate mood. When you upload your planet feel free to tag it as a “template”. This means you want other creators to take your pieces and use it as a base to make their own stories, puzzles and games.
qwertyqaz2: How many new parts will there be too the space editor?
Stone: There are 32 new accessories for your space Captain. Each accessory gives your Captain a special ability (like a shield generator, stealth, or missile launcher).
cplcreator08: Is the clothing editor gonna have a seprate complexiety bar?
Stone: No. It uses the same complexity meter that is used in the tribe, civ and space clothing editors.
Integration with Space and other games
itsglenn: Do you still have some abilities from creature stage like jump or fly or sneak?
Stone: Yes. All your creature’s abilites transfer over.
opop64: Will the GA expansion effect any other stages?
Stone: No. Cell through Civ remain the same.
PacoPaco: Will the Planet Editor be separate from the Adventure Editor, or will editing a planet require always making it for an adventure?
Stone: The planet editor is a part of the adventure editor. All the planets you make will be considered “adventure planets”. What that means is that you can’t fly a spaceship down to the surface. You can only beam your Captain down and walk around on it. But you don’t need to add other creatures, goals, acts or text to your planet. You can just make cool worlds for other players to walk around on and explore.
vulnar: Will beaming be allowed on any old planet or just for missions?
Stone: You can only beamd down to adventure planets.
Luminar: How will the adventures be seeded into the Space Stage, with regards to placement?
Stone: To get an adventure in Space you have to first talk to another Empire. When you accept their adventure mission we start scanning your galaxy looking for a nearby planet that hasn’t been visited. This planet is removed from your galaxy and replaced with the adventure planet.
In the event that we can’t find a fresh planet then we replace a nearby gas giant with a adventure planet.
ErgoMantra: Does GA have a impact on other planets that aren’t mission planets,with new content,new tools etc?
Stone: No. The adventure planets are their own self-contained “instances”.
Sealy McWhiskers: What benefits will completing a mission have in the space stage?
Stone: You get Sporebucks and relationship bonuses with the Empire that gave you the mission (this is the same system we use for current Spore Space mission).
stephensmat: Are missions all voluntary, or will some be required for advancement?
Stone: They are all voluntary. Depending on how you outfit your Captain you may find some adventures trivial and others impossible. Do the ones you enjoy and abandon the ones you don’t. The galaxy is big, so be prepared for a lot of variety.
gulpinking444: Are missions able to get banned?
Stone: Yes. A player can ban an entire adventure and it will be removed from his or her galaxy.
chrisl232: How will the mission creator handle that fact that someone might not have all of the creations required for the mission?
Stone: If the player doesn’t have a required asset then it willl be downloaded automatically from the server. If the object doesn’t exist on the server (or the player has banned it) then a substitute object takes its spot. In this case the player can still play the adventure, but cannot collect Adventure Points for it and will not be ranked on the leaderboards.
LSunday: Do pieces we make for Adventures have to be loaded onto the site for the mission to work, or can we just have the mission without the buildings on the Sporepedia.
Stone: For you local adventures you only need to have the assets on your computer. But when you share your adventure all the required assets will be uploaded to the server automatically.
Falthron: Will there be Mission sporecasts?
Stone: We hope so! If you make an epic story that is too big to fit on one planet then feel free to bundle up all the individual “chapters” into a Sporecast. We look forward to seeing your planet spanning sagas.
Thanks for all the great questions! Keep an eye out for more chances to interview the developers in the future!