October 22, 2008


Over the past few weeks I've been tinkering with a game called Spore. The idea of the game is to evolve a creature of your own creation from a single cell, onto land, and eventually into the space age. This game is adorable to say the least, and is a great fit for me.

I started the game by creating the "mottled cephalopoids", which are based on a squid anatomy tailored to living on land. These cephalopoids are devoutly religious vegetarians who get along well with their neighbors, unless those neighbors try to eat them of course. I have since created a whole fleet of vehicles for the later stages. Both the creature and its vehicles are posted below.

The Creature

mottled cephalopoid dancing tribal mottled cephalopoid posing civilized mottled cephalopoid

The mottled cephalopoid managed to maintain all of its deep sea style when migrating onto land.

Left: Basic mottled cephalopoid
Middle: Tribal mottled cephalopoid (dancing)
Right: Civilization and space-age mottled cephalopoid (posing)

The Vehicles

Vehicles in Spore are broken down into religious, economic, and military. Each coincides with one of the 3 playstyles you can choose in the game. The cephalopoids are religious, but each city they convert is able to retain its own specialty, so it pays to be prepared.

Cephaloprophet 3000L™ Cephaloprophet 4000S™ Cephaloprophet 5000A™

Cephaloprophet 3000L: Designed with style and performance in mind, the Cephaloprophet 3000L™ delivers religious persuasion from comfortable bucket seating. See your local dealer for accessories, such as a 5.1 underwater music simulator and extra cupholders.

Cephaloprophet 4000S: Sleak, stylish and most of all, convincing, the Cephaloprophet series takes religious fervor to the seas with the 4000S. Ask about our "no money down" financing options.

Cephaloprophet 5000A: Religious zeal takes to the air with the Cephaloprophet 5000A™. Complete with cutting edge trumpetacle technology, who can resist its musical message?

Squid-Pro-Quo Caravan Squid-Pro-Quo Fleetmaster Squid-Pro-Quo Airship

Squid Pro Quo Caravan: Style, style, and more style - that's what the Squid Pro Quo Caravan brings to the negotiating table. Who can resist plush leather seating, rear rocket boosters, and 6 tentacle drive? Not you, that's for sure.

Squid Pro Quo Fleetmaster: The Squid Pro Quo Fleetmaster takes economic power to the place Mottled Cephalopoids know best - the seas!

Squid Pro Quo Airship: Fashionable, fun, and far *more* than simply affordable, the Squid Pro Quo Airship delivers a return on investment in no time. Featuring a perma-shine™ gemstone coat, the Airship is sure to be noticed by friends and competitors alike!

Humboldt 31A Land Predator Humboldt 71R - The Iron Tentacle Humboldt 65D Flying Mollusk

Humboldt 31A Land Predator: To those who believe Mottled Cephalopoids will never truly master the land, watch out! The Humboldt 31A Land Predator delivers a punishing payload while maintaining all the comfort and flare expected from the patented Cephalopoid design.

Humboldt 71R - The Iron Tentacle: Due in large part to the Humboldt 71R, codenamed "The Iron Tentacle", the Mottled Cephalopoids are the undisputed masters of sea warfare. Unlike most enemy vessels, the Humboldt excels at diving deep and striking from below.

Humboldt 65D Flying Mollusk: Built with a solid titanium mantle and superior targeting optics, the Humboldt 65D rains death from above on uncooperative targets. The 65D was nicknamed the Flying Mollusk by test pilots early in production, a name that has remained popular ever since.

... and finally...

the Squidship Enterprise

The Squidship Enterprise! Our 5 year mission: to seek out new life, and new civilizations. To boldly go where no squid has gone before!

Posted by Andy at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2007

Finally, Some Visual Proof

As promised, here are some pictures of Gnoella and Sprockette from World of Warcraft. Mom plays Gnoella and I play Sprockette. That's right, I'm playing a gnome girl.

Gnoella and SprocketteGnoella and Sprockette riding

Posted by Andy at 03:43 PM | Comments (3)

September 04, 2006

Warcraft Blowout

Last night, Pat and Amanda came over and Mei joined us remotely for a full night of Warcraft playing. Broken up only by a timely ice cream run, the evening featured lots of killing and destruction as well as a healthy amount of confusion due to the fact that we're all now terrible at this game. The only thing missing, in my estimation, was taunting and trash talking. Perhaps I can help that process along for our next Warcraft night by calling all of my friends huge wusses.

Yeah, that's right, you!

Posted by Andy at 07:20 PM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2006

A Nice Evening with the Dolber

Jess Dolber, a Goucher buddy, flew down to visit for the weekend, which prompted the whole Goucher crew to get together for dinner tonight at the Cheshire Crab. As expected, this was a great evening, and it was great to see Jess, Andy Cole, and the rest of the somewhat more usual gang.

Mei, Pat and I closed out the night tinkering around with youtube and enjoying a few exciting rounds of Dwarf on a Wharf, another one of the little flash games that has caught my eye of late. Feel free to give this one a go instead of doing real work.

Posted by Andy at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2006

For You Office Gamers

This interesting little site might prove to be a fun alternative to the usual card playing, word inputing, and puzzle building games you're used to.

... and this logic puzzle is pretty neat too, though probably better suited to a home engagement due to the inability to save your place. Don't worry about wasting your entire day - it ends after level 30.

Posted by Andy at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2006

If You Had a Rough Day at Work...

... play this game for a little while. It'll cure what ails ya.

Hilarious. Hilarious I say!

Posted by Andy at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2006

Who Wants In?

Titan Quest, a game I've been following for about six months now, has just been released. It's an "action RPG", which means that you kill lots of monsters in a magical fantasy world, only in this case, you're cutting your way through ancient Greece, Egypt, and China.

I think it looks super sweet, but I need multiplayer buddies to really take advantage of this. Who's in? If I get a few takers, I'll grab a copy and get going. Otherwise I'll probably wait a while.

Posted by Andy at 03:55 PM | Comments (1)

June 28, 2006

Speaking of Pikmin

I actually beat the game a few nights ago but was too tired to post about it. That final boss was crazy. Crazy I say!

Over the course of the game, I unlocked a few new features, including a 2 player cooperative challenge mode and some great commentary by Louie in the "Piklopedia." Yes, there is a Piklopedia. It's great. You can read about all the monsters you encounter there and test their behavior with Pikpik brand carrots. Louie contributes with cooking suggestions for each. It's brilliant.

I thought I would be putting the game aside for a while, but it turns out that challenge mode is pretty fun. Lots of new stuff to handle there, and a movie to unlock in theory. If only Wimbledon hadn't started this week...

Posted by Andy at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2006


Using my handy dandy StumbleUpon plugin, I happened across Frogger a minute or three ago. Go slack off at work and give it a try.

Posted by Andy at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2006

Pikmin and Passions

... don't mix! Well, that's not entirely true. Amanda Olear swung by yesterday and I introduced her to both, though fortunately not at the same time. It is amusing to see the change from amusement at cute and useful flower workers to horror at the machinations of soap opera morons I must say. Actually, that's only amusing if you're doing the watching. I know firsthand.

I experienced a hefty dose of both today after my wakeup routine as I finished out the "Hole of Heroes" in Pikmin 2. This was the longest and one of the two toughest caves in the game to my knowledge. I have just one cave to go in this final region. If it's harder I'm going to need to be committed to a mental institution.

Posted by Andy at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2006

Pikmin Plus

I just turned off the Gamecube after successfully paying off the full 10,000 poko debt owed to creditors by Hocotate Freight, Captain Olimar's employer. At first I was a little concerned, because the game ended just as I left the cave in which I collected the last of my debt even though I had more caves to explore in other areas. My worry vanished quickly, however, as co-worker Louie fell out of the ship on the way back to Hocotate, prompting a return visit by Olimar and his boss. Now I can finish those caves and explore an all-new region that promises to be extra challenging. As an added bonus, my ship is now gold-plated! It's hard to beat that.

In pikless news, I've been pounding away on websites since my last update, making some decent progress, but having to fight for it pretty hard. This week has been more difficult for me for some reason. Mentally I'm not really functional till around 8pm, and physically, I'm in this new sort of perpetual pain from my waist down. It is frustrating and always slightly scary when something new crops up, but I plan to keep workin' and hope to feel better soon. I am definitely on top of it mentally, even if I don't get decent access till 8. :)

I am looking forward to the big aquarium trip with friends this coming Saturday. Don't forget to buy your tickets in advance, and grab the version that gives you access to the dolphin show unless for some reason you would rather wander aimlessly while the rest of us check out the dolphins. I have nothing against aimless wandering, mind you. Go nuts if ya want.

If you read this and didn't get an email but want to attend, just send me a comment or email and we'll remedy the error.

Posted by Andy at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2006


I battled past a rather nasty headache today and recovered Captain Olimar's 30th and final spaceship part. I had to repeat this stage a fair number of times, but finally found success by allowing my bomb-carrying yellow pikmin to be eaten by the big snail/lady bug hybrid boss. This reduced its health low enough to have a shot at defeating it with good old fashioned flower power. If I were to repeat, I would probably reverse the process, attacking first and bombing second so as to avoid this critter's nasty jump attack. My final tally - 30 parts in 22 days. I might play it again to see if I can beat this mark, but I'm not sure yet.

Posted by Andy at 10:01 PM | Comments (6)

March 15, 2006


Ok, I was in fact able to finish a level within my time limit... two in fact. I was able to grab three, count 'em, three spaceship parts on the second of the two days, and got in some handy scouting as well. It seems that I got much of the difficult part out of the way early on this section of the planet. The next piece I'm eying looks pretty tricky, but if my preliminary plan goes well, I may come out with two again tomorrow. Woo!

Posted by Andy at 12:53 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2006


I managed to blow all of today playing this game (right now that's a good thing), and I now have 15 spaceship parts in 11 days. Not bad for a beginner if I do say so myself. I still have demon-hedgehog birds to contend with, but I am making steady progress otherwise and have plenty of lands to explore free of said demon-hedgehog birds.

I avoided some of the nastiest health backlash today by camping in my Reclining Command Center™ for all but a few minutes here and there. My eyes didn't like it and I developed a nasty headache, but I still felt a lot better than yesterday as a result of this decision. I will have to continue experimenting I guess.

My post tonight reminds me of a law I created over the past two weeks or so:

When faced with serious adversity that places you in a position of helplessness, you are allowed to toot your own horn a total number of times not to exceed five over a two-month period.

I think I might have used mine up. :)

Posted by Andy at 12:46 AM | Comments (3)

March 12, 2006

Pikmin is Tough

I got my third spaceship part tonight in Pikmin after going through the process about five times. This game is positively adorable, but it is also pretty tough. I guess you're supposed to reload a lot. Without doing that you'd have to have some remarkable accuracy and guesswork abilities in order to finish under the time limit in an area you haven't seen prior. I think I know what I'm supposed to do to get my fourth part, but I wonder if I will be able to pull it off without help.

See, there is this box blocking land-bridge across a stretch of water. It appears I need to move it by pushing it back toward me, and I got a tip-off from Mei that this would happen at some point. Well, I tried chucking my little yellow guys over the gap, but they never got close to far enough. I want to blame communism but I think this one is on me. Hopefully I'll have better luck tomorrow, because if I can't handle that part the whole thing will have to go on temporary hold due to a lack of other places to explore. I can't let Olimar down like that! Maybe I can have him work out in the ship between days three and four. Yeah, that'd do the trick.

Posted by Andy at 01:03 AM | Comments (3)

March 05, 2006

Tired but Happy

I started today much as I have for the past week, tired but resolute, with the noticeable difference being that the burden of "the wait" had been lifted, of course. It is amazing just how much that impacted the last few weeks in a kind of "behind the scenes" sort of way. I did not feel panic, intensive worry or anything along those lines really before yesterday, but everything had a kind of heavier, maybe dark quality and an insidious sense of urgency to it on account of that wait.

Friends Pat and Mei stopped in around 4:30 or so and stuck around until just a few minutes ago. As was the case with Kevin and I a week or so ago, we all were soundly defeated on many levels by a video game, in this case the head-to-head mode of Ratchet and Clank, Up Your Arsenal. I see potential in this game along the lines of that found in Mario Kart Double Dash's battle mode, but wow is it hard! I was able to stave off injury by complaining frequently, but I think Pat is going to need surgery. Fortunately I know a guy.

We eventually headed out to eat at Lista's, where both Mei and I tried mole sauce for the first time. I have to say that I expected a bolder taste, but I really enjoyed the dish when I rolled the chicken into a tortilla with the other usual Mexican "fixins", like pico de gallo and guacamole. Each of the components really played off each other to create a great dish. The fried ice cream dessert didn't hurt things one bit either, and that place makes a killer cherry coke. I think I gained 20 lbs easy.

Upon returning to Rancho Mosmillero, we puttered around in a low-key sort of way, which is just what I'm needing about now. Mei showed me a bunch of interesting sites and set me up with a Google homepage that shows the latest content from many of my frequent web stops. I'm going to use this for a few days and then possibly comment on it further in my Links and Tips category along with a few other handy programs I've picked up over the past year.

All in all, a fantastic day. Thanks for stopping in guys! As soon as I complete this teleporter pad I've been designing, we can do this more often. I'm going to need some guinea pigs to test it out, but once it's done I'll be able to ship people across the State using my patented rent-a-pult™ technology. Any takers?

Posted by Andy at 12:31 AM | Comments (1)

October 22, 2005

Game Ruts

Here's a page from an interesting article over at Tom's Hardware about games getting stale. This is an issue I've considered any number of times with any number of games, most recently World of Warcraft, on which this particular page of the article focuses.

Tom's Hardware Guide Games & Entertainment: Tedious Moments In Gaming - Role Playing

For what it's worth, I think game creators get stuck in ruts in their work just as the rest of us do. Constant innovation is a nigh-impossible thing, but that's frankly what we gamers want.

Posted by Andy at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005

More Warcraft Pics

Wiggles' Sweet Ride
Wiggles' Chickens
As promised, here are two more pictures from the game, both showcasing some stylish gnome engineering. Both images may be enlarged with a click.

The first features my new super speedy elite mechanical riding chicken. The picture can't really do it justice, but it has a rear view mirror and horn attached, as well as on-board heating.

The second image displays my mechanical chicken companions. The small one is a pet, much like a cat or rabbit, and the large one fights with me, pecking relentlessly at my enemies. Yes, that's right, I have a battle chicken.

Posted by Andy at 12:21 AM | Comments (2)

April 09, 2005

World of Warcraft Gallery 1

Over the next few days I'm going to post some pictures from within the game I've been playing these past several months. There are some pretty amazing scenes that come up from time to time.

Flight to Menethil

Posted by Andy at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2005

Wiggles Part 3 - Mechanical Chicken

WigglesHere is an in-game picture of me, Wiggles, riding my "mechanostrider." I purchased this beauty a couple weeks ago when I reached the prestigious 40th level. I like to ride this across the land with my mechanical squirrel, Squirrelbot-5000, following behind.

Posted by Andy at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

As Promised - Deepdive Helmet

WigglesBehold, the deepdive helmet! I like to wear this around major cities so that I might be at the height of fashion at all times. I think this clearly accomplishes that goal and then some. I have a new mind-control cap as well, but it does not look quite as good as this one I have to admit.

Posted by Andy at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2005

Wiggles in the Flesh

WigglesI've spent all this time playing this Warcraft game and never posted a single picture! This is my character Wiggles, gnome wizard extraordinairre, sporting his stylish goggles and squirrel tabard. I'll try to get some more pics up here soon, both of my character and his fashionable gear and of the game world as a whole. It's pretty amazing stuff. Up next... the deepdive helmet on display.

Posted by Andy at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2004

World of Warcraft continues

Well, I have formed a guild in World of Warcraft called the VPGA, which stands for the Vicious Pack Gnome Association. It's great. We designed a stylish tabard to display over our clothing and everything. Now we are working on getting each of our members a mechanical squirrel to tag along next to him or her. Quite enthralling. Hee hee!

Posted by Andy at 01:39 AM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2004

World of Warcraft

I got my computer back up and running (sans SP 2) and have been able to get back into the new MMORPG, World of Warcraft. I've stayed away from the massively multiplayer online games until now because none looked that good, but this is absolutely fantastic. I've met a bunch of nice people to play with in only a few days, and even joined a guild with my gnome mage Wiggles.

Posted by Andy at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2004

Greece - Total War

Ha ha, I finished the game with the Greeks now. Those Spartan hoplites are tough units, but overall the Greeks were a more difficult route militarily. Fortunately, I was always flooded with cash from sea trade, so it was mostly a moot point. Who to play next... Hmmm... Perhaps the Carthaginians.

Posted by Andy at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2004

RTW: It's Heating Up!

Right in the midst of my war raging with the Greeks, the Roman Senate has declared me an outlaw. It seems I've grown too powerful and dangerous to the powers that be to remain in my position of influence in Roman politics. Now I have to conquer the Senate itself!

Posted by Andy at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2004

Rome - Total Plague

Well, my conquest of Egypt has been going fairly well, but now the plague threatens the entire region! I've tried to capitalize by sending in plague-bearing spies to infect my enemies, but it's still annoying darn it. This plague has lasted probably 10 years.

Posted by Andy at 01:50 AM | Comments (1)

October 07, 2004

Rome - Total Slums

Well, I was conquering my way to fame and fortune in Rome - Total War, when my cities all started getting unhappy with me for seemingly no reason. Well, there was a reason all right. The people were living in filth! Little did I know that the game included a "squalor rating" for cities, requiring such things as "sewers" and "public baths." I think I preferred my people to be dirty, but I can't very well run an empire that way, can I?

Posted by Andy at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2004

Rome - Totally Hard

After playing the full version of Rome - Total War for a day and a half, I can attest to the fact that this game is not just fun, it's hard! The manual helps, but I'm going to have to do some message board checking to see how to best tackle the various elements of this game.

I'd love to try some multiplayer, but I don't know anyone who has this game. Go get it! Fast!

Posted by Andy at 02:00 AM | Comments (2)

September 27, 2004

Rome - Total War

I've been playing the demo for this game over the last two days and wow, is this game incredible. It took me a few runs through the tutorial and the sample battle to really get into it, but now I'm hooked, or at least I will get into it once I'm playing the full version. The detail level is just fantastic on all levels, from unit graphical detail to morale and physical condition, and this is just the tutorial!

You all need to run out and get this game so we can start up the multiplayer battles.

Posted by Andy at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)