A Spore Sneak Peak (2)


Almost everything in the game is editable. The most obvious is your creature, which you can give arms, legs, eyes, mouths, weapons, twigs, leafs, helmets and many other accessories - some less useful than others. As all editors are very similar it's not hard to get the hang of the other editors in the game, with which you can create your own buildings, vehicles and UFOs. Pick a base - for the creatures it's a stretchable spline - add the parts you like, and when you're happy you can confirm the changes. Every addition does cost some points though, so you'll need to unlock and gather points to edit the creature to your liking. Every part and accessory you add has its own properties, defining what your creation will be like and how your creature will behave. As things stand now it will not be possible to create your own custom accessories for your creatures.

Painting is also easily done. Pick a texture (paint style) and just paint the parts of the building you like. You can also decide to use just a single style for the entire building or vehicle. For the creature you can put on a number of layers which will define the looks of your beast.

The creature editor is special in other ways, as you can get a fully animated preview of your creature situated in a nice or dark background. You can check out some of the animations (like attacking, jumping, etc) by clicking buttons at the bottom panel. You can also pick the background to put the creature in, spawn a few babies and even record a video of your creature. You can upload the video straight to YouTube, without even going to the website, and share the video with your friends.

Another special one is the music editor. This one is in-game and all you have to do to create your music is selecting the tones and style you want to hear. The game will procedurally compose unique music according to your settings.


Everything you create and download is stored in Sporepedia, which is always just a few mouse clicks away. You can subscribe to sporecasts - think podcasts, except that they contain creatures - and so download the creations you like. If you don't, the game probably will just automatically download content from the EA servers, so you'll be surprised at what you end up with in your game. You can also use the content in Sporepedia to start new games.

Searching the content you want is pretty easy. Everything is taggable, and you can simply search those tags to find content you like. If you ever notice something inappropriate in the game, you can click the "Bad Content" button and report it. Your own content will also travel around the world and you'll be able to see how popular it is. Much like a social networking site, the game allows you to control what gets shared, where it goes and track its progress. All content is placed on a pollination server. By default EA will provide one large database of creatures, but it might also be possible that EA releases the server software so custom servers may become a possibility. That is NOT definitive though, and currently it seems more likely that EA will keep control of all content.

Nintendo DS

Besides the PC and Mac versions, which are identical, of Spore, the game will also be coming to the DS and mobile. Don't expect the game like it's on the PC on your DS though. Instead, the DS version is a linear adventure game. You can edit your creature but the game won't go beyond this creature stage. You're in a set world, and you won't find creatures made by other players. You need to follow the story as you go along, befriending other creatures and protect the planet from the enemy evolving on the way. The creatures look flat - 2D - but otherwise good, and they live in a 3D world.


The Mobile version is a recreation of the cell phase of the main game. You have 18 levels in 6 different worlds to go through. After completing each world (3 levels) you can slightly customize your creature, adding offensive, defensive, movement or perception parts. Offensive will make it easier for your creature to eat others, the defensive parts protect you against the larger enemies. With movement parts you can give yourself a speed boost, and perception bonuses will make it easier to make combos (eating several smaller creatures in one go). All parts can be added to either the head, body or tail, and you can change their size and position, although in limited ways. You can share your creature through a code, or directly through EA.com (if your mobile has an internet connection). You can also find your friends' spores and battle them. Battling is not interactive - the game generates a game based on the stats of both species. If you win you can leave a message to your friend, or if he isn't in your friend list yet you can add them. That's about as far as the game goes though, you won't get a more complete creature editor whatsoever.


Altogether the game is shaping up very well. The changes made since 2006, when I last saw the game (mostly the creature editor) in action at the E3 in LA and the GamesConvention in Leipzig, are huge. The game is very colorful and the control and interface is generally intuitive. Sporepedia is a great element which makes sharing your creations very easy. The DS and Mobile version are alright for what they are, but they are just not my cup of tea. They won't be able to keep my attention for very long, unlike the full PC version which has everything. It is disappointing that you probably won't be able to create and share custom accessories for your creatures and buildings, though that is also understandable given the claimed complexity of those elements.

The game gives a lot of freedom and allows for plenty of creativity. You can spend all your time in the editors and never play the game if you like. If you're not feeling too creative, you can also just download and play somebody else's creatures. It doesn't matter at all, since whatever you do in your game doesn't affect any other people's games. And as usual with Maxis games, there's plenty of humor to make you laugh regularly. Despite the delays it looks as if Maxis will be able to deliver what they've promised since 2006.

The game will be released in the first week of September this year. System requirements have not yet been given, but according to EA the game scales well and shouldn't require very high-end PCs to run properly.

Thanks go out to EA UK and Netherlands (especially Anita) for making the preview event possible, Thomas Vu for showing us the PC game, Tim Carter for showing the mobile game and the other attendees (love you Rosana) for being part of the experience.

Written at 02:51 2008n Monday 25 February 2008 by ChEeTaH.

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