From Spore Series

Darkspore Patch Changelist


Only two more days until Maxis shuts off the last (or presume to be) Darkspore beta as it’ll be releasing on April 29th!  They pumped out a small patch which fixes a few minor bugs within the game:


  • Fixed a bug where some purchased upgrades were not available until after restarting the game.
  • Fixed a bug where full screen resolution was not being set correctly for some refresh rates.


  • Removed objective “Defeat same species in a row”.
  • Temporarily removed the “Destroy all Destructibles” objective.
  • Lowered threshold for “Destroy all Destructibles” objective to 90%.
  • Lowered threshold for “Defeat all Darkspore” objective to 95%.
  • Changed objective “Do damage often” to better scale with difficulty.
  • “Do damage often” and “Do huge damage” now only daily objectives.
  • “Destroy all Darkspore” and “Obelisks” no longer daily objectives.

Darkspore Beta #8 patch notes


Another big patch for the Darkspore beta has been released!  What all did it fix?  Maxis provides the details on their Darkspore forum:


  • Fixed an issue where lag/stability would occur after completing several mission in a chain. We are continuing to monitor this fix, any feedback is welcome.
  • Fixed an issue where Elites were affecting game performance.


  • Fixed a bug where the Cryos boss attacks were not animating correctly.


  • Fixed an “out of world” issue on Verdanth 3 that was causing display problems.
  • Fixed a horde gate on Verdanth 3 that players could not teleport into.


  • During a mission on a planet, players will now be able to exchange loot by dropping items they’ve won and picking up items dropped by others. Use the new “Recent Items” tab in the inventory to drop items. Only items picked up during a mission can be traded.
  • The random additional stats on Rarified and Purified items will now focus slightly more on the eight primary stats.


  • Fixed an issue where the shift key caused the editor sell mode to get stuck.
  • “Show Special Items” filter no longer hides the slot filters or sort dropdown.
  • “Create Detail Parts” button no longer displays a popup if no items are selected.
  • Disabled the Genesis and Slot Type filters in the Detail parts tab.
  • Hid the Genesis Type icons on Detail parts.
  • Using a Genesis Type filter no longers clears the search string.
  • The search field should behave better- no more hidden/leftover text.
  • Fixed an issue where clicking the upgrade/weapons tabs with buyback items selected caused the inventory to function incorrectly.
  • Fixed a bug with UI intercepting clicks, which created a dead zone in the upper left portion of the screen.
  • Fixed a bug with game UI not coming back after boss cinematics.
  • Rearranged filters to match tab order in editor.
  • Fixed clickable area of the “Return to Ship” button.


  • Fixed a bug where diminishing returns weren’t being applied to taunts.
  • Reduced the duration of the plasma mines from Kinetic Mines enemies.
  • Reduced the duration of Seismic Smash’s taunt in PvP.
  • Fixed a bug where healing done by Reconstructionist wasn’t scaling with threat level.
  • Fixed for basic DoTs not acting properly in groups of players with different gear scores or levels.
  • Fixed a bug with Overdrive Duration loot where it was scaling more quickly than intended.


  • Tweaked some objective text.
  • Fixed a size scaling issue with certain destructible objects.
  • Fixed a bug with objectives reporting the wrong numbers.

In rare cases, some users may need to reinstall to avoid a crash when entering the game. You can download from

This Week In MMO – Darkspore


This week the hosts of TWIMMO wade through the weeks news, much like a fisherman wades through the river, seeking not only the satisfaction of catching the elusive bass but also the calm and serenity of the waters’ gentle trickle. ;

Mike B visits Maxis and plays some Darkspore, Black Prophecy beta is broken down, and World of Tanks officially launches.


Will Wright at Inventing the Future of Games


Keynote speaker Will Wright is the award-winning creator of Spore, The Sims, and SimCity. The head of the entertainment think tank Stupid Fun Club, Wright is widely acknowledged for creating the simulation video game genre.

Innovators in technology and design continually reimagine computer games. User-generated content for commercial games (Spore, Little Big Planet), social network games (Farmville), vast simulation worlds with their own economies (World of Warcraft), games using mobile phones to augment reality (Ghostwire)–ten years ago these were dreams, and now they’re part of the cultural fabric. As the imagined becomes real, the question of “what’s next?” confronts both academic researchers and the game industry.

“Inventing the Future of Games,” a day-long symposium April 15 in Silicon Valley, aims to explore the possibilities of the next decade of gaming innovation and technology. Sponsored by the UC Santa Cruz Center for Games and Playable Media, the symposium will gather some of the brightest minds of academia and industry to discuss the advancement of game design and technology.

The inaugural symposium, which starts at 8:30 a.m. at the India Community Center in Milpitas, Calif., will feature keynote speeches by Sims creator Will Wright, Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble (Second Life), and Michael Mateas, co-creator of Facade and director of the UC Santa Cruz Center for Games and Playable Media. Tickets are $100 for the general public and $30 for UC Santa Cruz students.

“We’re looking forward to starting conversations between academics and industry professionals on where the field of computer games might go,” said Mateas, an associate professor of computer science in the Jack Baskin School of Engineering. “Moving toward games that truly pay attention to the player’s actions and generate dynamic responses would allow games to create new types of experiences. It would open up new approaches in interactive storytelling. Multi-player missions and quests could be adapted to specific social play styles. A whole new world of games waits to be discovered.”

The symposium will include four sessions: exploring the relationship between games and cinema, making self-generating games, the future of games and culture, and creating new forms of character and dialogue.

Session speakers will include Jordan Mechner (Prince of Persia), Emily Short (Galatea), Ian Bogost (Georgia Tech/A Slow Year), Tracey Fullerton (University of Southern California/The Night Journey), Robin Hunicke (thatgamecompany), and UC Santa Cruz game program faculty members Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Marilyn Walker, Arnav Jhala, and Jim Whitehead. UC Santa Cruz’s John Funge, Warren Sack, Soraya Murray, and Sri Kurniawan will moderate the panels.

For more information, visit

ZAM checks out Darkspore


We kicked off our day (henceforth dubbed “Darkspore Day”) like most developer studio visits, with a tour of Maxis’ lofty, open-space facilities. Instead of a sit-down presentation, however, the morning was spent visiting with different developers, with each of them giving brief mini-presentations on what they do. It was great to see that the enthusiasm was still running high, even with launch day so near. Executive Producer Michael Perry also noted the different approach Maxis has taken with the development of Darkspore has really helped, including staging a large number of closed betas, as well as pushing back the release date of Darkspore by a month. As a result of this “open door” policy, Maxis has been able to really listen to their player’s needs, and I instantly noticed at least a dozen new features that were added due to feedback.

full story ahead

MMORPG – Darkspore Day recap


Darkspore itself, the lore of it, the art style and the story all lend themselves very, very well to an MMO setting.  To have this wonderful, mystical world available to us where our leveling system is handled through loot drops and affixed by giving us additional horns or eyes or arms to throw on our creature to improve our strength, health, critical damaging rating, etc. would be awesome.  The higher the average of your attributes, the higher your level.  Open world PvP, and instanced MOBAs would fulfill the needs of the PvP crowd, and a rich story with off-beat and untraditional MMO quests would satisfy those PvEers.  Dive into crafting, or housing and adopt the traditional elements of the MMO into the mix and suddenly, a Darkspore MMO could be what a lot of players think might be missing from the games we play.  Then again, it would never satisfy those of us who play Rift, or WoW, to lure those players away   It wouldn’t have the cerebral challenge of games like EVE Online.  What it would have is a fantastic gameplay, mixed with a wondrous world that could encourage creativity amongst the player base like never before, and a character create that could put even the best in the business in a corner.

keep on reading

Ten Ton Hammer – Darkspore Day recap


I love it when development teams invite the average fans into their workplace and show them behind the scenes features on how they bring a game to life.  Sure, playing it is great, but there is always something special about getting a view of what goes on behind the game.  Wish games could include special features like movies do – easter eggs, storyboard art, pics/videos of deleted content, etc!

On the tour of the office, we stopped by the art and level design pit for a sneak peek of TNX, a planet that will be released after launch. Artist Brian Vanderlust began with a graybox of the level and stepped us through the process of realizing the environment in the game’s proprietary engine, revealing a lush environment featuring high vistas and a second vertical layer, pebbled with ruins of what seemed like a lost technological civilization. Though each level represents roughly a 10-15 minute playthrough, Brian explained that the rough cut takes the team about a month to produce, with several additional months for polish.

Level Designer Dale Dowd showed us how he was quickly able to take a map drawn up in a tool similar to Adobe Illustrator quickly to 3D using in house EA tools, saving time on painstaking modeling, and focusing more on tasks like placing mobs and pathing. Mike Perry explained that one of modern EA’s goals is to get to the playable stage as fast as possible to see if what’s in-process is actually fun, and such tools help turn Dale into a one-man level building machine.

continue reading about Darkspore Day over at Ten Ton Hammer