Archive for the 'Computer Gaming' Category

The Curse of MMORPG’s

How does that line go “Hi my names Sirrob01 and I’m an MMORPG addict”, addict might be a bit of strong word maybe compulsive player might be a better phrase. Either way I’ve found myself sucked into the depths of online games for the past two months and wasted way to much time there hence the lack of projects. Which one you might ask well it’s an old game first released in korea way back in 1996 and then in the US in about 1998, I started playing late in 1999 it’s called Nexus the kingdom of the winds.

I wont go into some long rant about how it’s the greatest or worst game of all time, but after a decade of playing it and trying a lot of other MMORPG’s it managed to drag me back in something no other MMORPG has managed to do. It has very simple 2d graphics and a basic kill grind xp model except no level cap you just keep buying more stats…forever. However the amount and variety of content now available in the game is  huge and I haven’t seen two people dressed the same in the 2 months I’ve been back, of course the player base has slipped back to around 300-400 players at peak so it has a very small community feel to the game.

Okay on the off chance someone wants to try it, it is free to play to level 50 but the game doesn’t really start to 99 and the new player area your trapped in until you either register or reach lvl 25 really bites, it’s a nice area but no-one ever vists the area so it’s a barren waste land…okay on with some pictures:

The game has a very loose basis in Korean mythology and due to the small user base big events etc can be few and far between but they normally manage something for xmas/easter/valantines/halloween + 2-3 other events through the course of the year. Anyways  the upside to this post is I’ve started to cut right back on time spent on the game and have got right back into some paper miniatures.  However if anyone wants to go and have a look around the game it can be a fun diversion for an afternoon or 10000 :).

Spore – Galactic Adventures – Crystal Conundrum

While my wife was unwell I played some Spore and picked up the two expansion packs Creepy and Cute and Galactic Adventures (both went on sale for half price). Once you get a stable install running, by that I mean one that only crashes a few times a week the game isn’t to bad to play. The strongest point of the game is the ability to use the predefined library of shapes and textures to create unique creatures, buildings and vehicles. The Galactic Adventures (GA) expansion pack adds the ability to put together rather simple first person adventures and I was assembling an adventure in GA for Annette to play while sick but she recovered before I finished.  I did sink a  significant amount of time into developing the adventure so thought it deserved it’s own blog post.

I started off scratching out a storyline and then splitting it across the 8 available acts in the game.  Initially I thought I had 9 acts so the adventure  gets a little rushed/compressed in the end 3 acts but at that stage I didn’t want to re-do big chunks of dialogue. The basic story line is that the inhabitants of the planet are all plant based and that they terraformed and setup this planet for themselves to live on several 100 years ago. Then another race comes a long and they wish to dig up some purple spice crystals (Spores main game focus is  on spice gas so I threw in crystals for a difference)) as they are ultra rare and valuable. In the process the miners are displacing the plant peoples and destroying there world. I can see when I thought up the storyline sub consciously I’ve been affected by Avatar…but anyway.

That’s a brief overview, first up I designed the plant city and it’s buildings. I wanted these to look like tree’s as if they had been grown to the required shape. I checked through the Sporepedia and couldn’t find anything suitable so designed up some of my own using existing designs in the Sporepedia as inspiration. I ended up with 5 different market stalls, Well, Street lamp, Two Different Houses, City hall, Windmill, Bakery, Building with a fence, Observatory, City Wall and Gate and an Open Air religious circle.  Below are a few images of some of the city elements:




House Type One

Putting it all Together

Next up came the plant inhabitants of the planet, this was slightly more difficult as spore is configured for more your normal kind of animal rather than your living tree. But I looked around at what had been done in Sporepedia and then Built up my own people using bits from existing critters as inspiration. I ended up with quiet a few different variates of plant people: Cactus, Daisy, Mushroom, Palm and Some odd flower variates. Some of these I used for specific main characters and others were just to provide populace variety. Few more pictures:

Ancient Palm – Who employed you and your main contact

Captain Cutter and One of the Daisy Cutters (right) – Charged with defense of the Tree City

Srgt Fustugal – Looks after the Fungal Scouts

Wiley Weed– Lets just say he causes you quiet a few problems :). He’s my favorite character and design of the lot.

One of The flowers, Cactus Trader and a Daffodil

Now I moved onto the antagonists. I didn’t want your usual bad guy looking critters, more a difference on fundamental cultural level. So I designed up a totally weird looking race to play the miners. I also did a suited version to represent a heavily injured miner.   I was very happy with how they turned out:

Standard miner

Injured Miner in Support Suit

Jartooth – Old retired miner he’s a considered weird by his own race because he loves plants.

To go with the miners I also did some hi-tech robots. I ended up with two variates a defense bot who simply patrols and defends a particular location or thing  and an Attack bot who is used for offensive attacks. I was very happy with how these came out as they appear to float when they move. They are visually the same although Functionally the Defence bot is nastier than the Attack bot, This was something I needed for gameplay:

I did have to change some ideas around due to the Spore:GA engine limitations. The worst bug is the inability to place different inspect text on the same creature for different acts. Due to the complexity limit (basically a file size limit) on adventures and the work around being put a new copy of that creature in your adventure and hide the other copy you waste valuable space to work around the issue.  Saying that the functionality you do get can produce some very interesting results and my adventure reminds me of a very simplistic 1990’s console RPG with better graphics  but only takes 10-20 mins to complete.  Below are some in game screenshots:

Market Square

Roof Top View

Mining Town


Link to Video

Whipped up a quick video for those who don’t play Spore

Sorry about the poor quality, for some reason spore wont take video above 320x240 even adjusting it higher under settings…

I really enjoyed putting the above adventure together although I probably took way to much time and added to much detail at least I ended up with a finished project. I’ve started back to work on my regular project stuff and I’ll be posting more on those soon.

Project Status

WWII Project First Release


B-tech Buildings Five


Design Victorian era City


Something Different


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