I really like the idea that we can painlessly in fact, quite entertainingly extract an entire imaginary world from a players imagination, remarks game designer Will Wright. When they step back and see what they themselves have actually created, they are quite surprised and delighted.
He adds: I think most players can easily imagine a game where they play the role of Luke Skywalker and fly an X-wing fighter or wield a lightsaber. On the other hand, most people have no idea how someone like George Lucas ends up inventing Star Wars. SPORE gives you the chance to feel like youre wearing a flannel shirt, its the early 1970s, and youre dreaming of a galaxy far, far away.
A Sense of Scale
Will reads voraciously and wanted to bring some of his fascination with the science behind life and the universe to the game, notes executive producer Lucy Bradshaw. She and Wright both acknowledge the influence of the movie The Powers of Ten, which takes viewers from an Earthbound scene to the outer reaches of our cosmos and back again, finally diving deep into a mans arm to the atomic level. Using the 1957 book Cosmic View as its inspiration, the short film begins with an image one meter square and increases its viewpoint by a power of ten every ten seconds.
Capturing the sense of scale that this film depicted was central to the vision for SPORE, explains Bradshaw. Im really proud of what our team accomplished: that sense of breathtaking awe you feel as you fly your newly engineered spaceship away from your home planet and into your solar system.
We want players to get a sense of this epic journey that spans eons of time.- Lucy Bradshaw, executive producer
In addition to the influence of everything from the SETI project to biologist Richard Dawkins to seminal science-fiction movies, Wright notes that SPOREs five stages draw from different genres: PAC-MAN and other early arcade games for the Cell stage; action games, including first-person shooters, for the Creature stage; real-time strategy games for the Tribe stage; empire building games for the Civilization stage; and massively multiplayer online games for the Space stage.
While space exploration allows you to interact with the inhabitants of other planets, SPORE remains what Wright calls a massively single-player experience. The SPOREpedia, however, contains all of the content created by other players who wish to share it, and the game draws on that dizzying array of creatures, buildings, vehicles, and spaceships as you play. Bradshaw points out: The fun part for me is that once my species has reached the space stage, I can take my current game and interact with one of my saved games. I can form an alliance with them, for instance. That feature takes SPORE full circle for me.
The Magic of SPORE
SPORE includes not only the Creature Creator, which was released before the main game, but also Cell, Building, and Vehicle Creators. In addition to designing unique cells and creatures, you can build and paint city halls, houses, factories, entertainment centers, land, sea, and air vehicles, and starships. You can even create a national anthem that plays during the Civilization stage. Through the SPOREpedia, you can subscribe to your friends content as well as create and subscribe to SPOREcasts, which filter out content based on specific criteria, such as all ships inspired by certain science-fiction movies.
A recent favorite of mine was a creature that looked like a Viking longboat, complete with an oarsman and sails, says Wright. It crawled around as the oars paddled.
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I really like the idea that we can painlessly in fact, quite entertainingly extract an entire imaginary world from a players imagination.- Will Wright, designer
SPORE: Galactic Edition
The SPORE: Galactic Edition includes SPORE, The Making of SPORE DVD (an exclusive behind the scenes documentary on the making of SPORE), How to Build a Better Being DVD (a 50-minute evolution documentary by the National Geographic Channel featuring Will Wright and SPORE), The Art of SPORE (a 128 page hardback book featuring Spore artwork and stories from Maxis artists), and much more.
Available separately is SPORE Origins: Eat or be eaten with versions for your iPod and iPhone/iPod touch. Guide your spore through its evolution and shape its destiny. Devour smaller creatures, explore primordial worlds filled with bizarre organisms, and avoid larger, lethal life forms.
SPORE Creature Creator
Creature Creator comes included with SPORE, and allows you to mix and match body parts and color schemes as you seek to create the ultimate in higher or perhaps not-so-high intelligence. Put your alien through the paces, commanding it to do anything from laugh to throw a punch, and summon baby versions that mimic its moves. When youre done, share video clips and pictures of your pride and joy with everyone in the SPORE community.
Father of SPORE: Will Wright
Will Wright made his mark with SimCity and The Sims, but his greatest adventure may lie in the science-fiction simulation SPORE. Ultimately, Wright sees all of his games as open-ended toys. Find out what inspired his early career and who influenced his toys.
Bradshaw adds: One of our testers created an entire series of creatures that looked like letters of the alphabet. I got chased by the letter R and it took me out! I also allied with another alien race whose spaceship looked like a four-poster bed.
The ability to share all of those wondrous creations with others will remain a focal point of the game for a long time. That really is the magic of SPORE, says Bradshaw. It is just amazing, stunning, and downright silly at times to see what you encounter in the game. It is always surprising.
Play Your Way
All of that work comes to fruition when you reach the open-ended Space stage, Bradshaw notes. If you are motivated by the creative aspects, you might gravitate toward populating new planets with creations of your own, she says. Or you might want to explore, colonize, terraform, collect artifacts, ally or go to war with other races, sculpt planets, interact with inferior species, take on diplomatic missions, or trade with other space faring races. We wanted the player to have a rich landscape to explore but allow them to approach it the way they desire.
The final stage even features a storyline that you can elect to follow, although it wont bring your game session to a conclusion once you reach the ending. It involves a mysterious, combative race known as the Grox, who guard a secret at the center of the galaxy. Its something that unfolds as you encounter other alien races and explore distant worlds, explains Bradshaw. We really want players to unearth that thread, so thats all I can say about it at this time.
In the end, she says: We want players to get a sense of this epic journey that spans eons of time.
If you liked this game, check out:
- Black & White: Creature Isle
- Civilization IV
- SimCity 4
- The Sims 2: Seasons expansion pack
- The Sims Castaway Stories
- The Sims Pet Stories