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I've been playing spore for a while now, and I found 2 peculiar phenomenons in the game:

  1. Some graphics (such as the monolith, the construction of a colony and lava on planets) don't show up. By don't show up I mean I can see right through the planet if its covered in lava. That I can live with.
  2. After x minutes of gameplay (could be anything, 10 minutes or 2 hours), the game gets frozen. The screen flickers with black, and the sound keeps on going.

I'm on a ASUS laptop, Intel i5 Core, RADEON HD 6370M 1GB graphics. Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

If you need any more details comment and I'll add them. I really don't know what to do. Thanks in advance.

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3 Answers

This sounds like a graphics card issue. The missing textures might be caused by an out of date or buggy graphics card driver or an issue with overheating.

First, a few general things to check - is the game patched to the very latest version available? Also, if you're overclocking or otherwise have modified the system, turn that off.

The first step to debugging a graphics card driver issue is to try installing the latest drivers from the manufacturer's (in this case, ASUS) website. If you've tried this and it's not helping, try getting the latest drivers for your laptop's chipset from AMD. It's become less possible to do this in recent years; I can't get generic AMD drivers for my laptop's chipset because the laptop manufacturer forbids it, for instance.

The "freezing after x minutes" problem sounds like it could be a symptom of overheating. Is your laptop sitting on something soft, and perhaps blocking the airflow? Make sure that there's plenty of room for air to circulate. You can also place the laptop on a cooling rack (like what you'd use to cool cookies in the kitchen) to see if that doesn't help.

If you've had it for a while and/or it is in a dusty environment, you might want to consider cleaning the fans and exhaust vents with a bit of canned air. You can get canned air at office supply stores. Make sure you keep the can upright, otherwise there's a chance it will blow a super-cold propellant onto your computer, which can cause problems.

If it's still freezing, it might be a good idea to contact customer support for your laptop. They may know of 3D graphics issues with your particular model, although in my experience customer support tends to have a tough time diagnosing these sorts of issues, so consider it a last resort.

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Will a vacuum cleaner on the heat exhaust work as well? I don't really have canned air at hand –  Madara Uchiha Dec 3 '11 at 14:52
    
Vacuum cleaners tend to build up static on surfaces, and static is bad for computers, so I don't recommend it. It's possible to buy a vac specifically for electronics, but I doubt that's what you've got on hand. –  agent86 Dec 3 '11 at 14:59
    
Is there anything (preferably something I would have at hand), that I can use? –  Madara Uchiha Dec 3 '11 at 15:11
    
There's nothing that I would classify as commonly available besides canned air. I'm hesitant to suggest you stick random objects that weren't designed for computer cleaning into your machine, for risk of damaging it. The chances that it's dust in a computer that's relatively new like yours is relatively low. –  agent86 Dec 3 '11 at 15:14
    
Where I live and work, it's plenty dusty, so I can believe it really. –  Madara Uchiha Dec 3 '11 at 15:39
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I had the freezing issue with Spore as well, and believe it's just buggy. A quick search for "spore freezes" indicates we're not alone. The latest patch says it fixes crashes during the Space stage, but I had it happen during the Creature stage too.

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I have the latest 1.5.1 patches. In my desperation, I tried a different version to see if that works, but no. –  Madara Uchiha Dec 3 '11 at 17:16
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I have now played spore across 4 different machines, each with different chipset and even manufacturers. I keep my machines up to date on their drivers, particularly the graphics drivers. What I've found is that Spore always freezes up if you play it long enough. The space stage seems to be the worst, but every stage past the cell stage is troublesome (and I've had Spore freeze up when starting the cell stage after playing for some time in space stage).

While basic technical steps can help mitigate this issue (ie, making sure you have the latest graphics drivers, making sure your machine isn't over heating, etc), I suspect that the base code of Spore has some issues with memory and resource management, while also exposing video card drivers bugs because it swaps around textures and pushes on the cards so much in often unusual ways.

As a long time Spore player, I can only advise you to: keep your game machine up to date and in good shape, and save your game often.

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