Saturday, March 04, 2006

Spore: create your own universe

Will Wright is the creator of Sims, the world's most popular PC game. His latest project is a game where you can be involved in constructing an entire universe, including the life-forms that inhabit (and explore) it.

Spore employs a plethora of gameplay concepts:

Tidepool phase: In the game's initial stages, the action has been likened to Pac-Man, except there's no maze, and you get to change the look and functionality of your character by consuming other characters, and by using a comprehensive set of(3D) tools.

Evolution phase: Once the character becomes more complex, the game moves to a three-dimensional RPG, which many reviewers compare to Diablo. In this stage you run around, fight, feed and mate.

Tribal phase: By this time your creature has matured physically, it is time to develop its brain. At this point the game gears up to an RTS interface (Civilization, Age of Empires) where you begin to groom a tribe of creatures with provisions, tools and social skills.

City phase: This phase is much like Wright's earlier game, SimCityHere the game becomes more like Wright's own SimCity, deciding on what shape your tribe's environment will take, including the buildings, technlogy and society rules.

Civ phase: Once your dwellings are built and law-and-order established, you can start interacting with the 'outside world'. This is where the game becomes more like Civilization, and it can be handled militaristically or diplomatically; on foot, in boats or by airship. The goal is (of course) for your tribe to control the planet.

Invasion phase: With one world under your belt, you take on space travel, colonising and even building your own planets. There is an entire galaxy of solar systems to explore and meddle with. This part of the game is the biggest, and the most open-ended. Many of the worlds are already populated, and you can be diplomatic or destructive as you try and make sure your civilisation propers and grows.

As Wright says. "Usually you get the sandbox gameplay as training wheels for the goal-oriented content. Here, the goal-oriented game is training you for the open-ended sandbox."

Another part of the game that looks like it will be a lot of fun are the character editing tools, an interface that the creator describes as "part Mr. Potato Head, part Etch-A-Sketch, part modeling clay".

Spore players will also be able to go 'online' and share their creations with a central database and fetch others' work to help populate their own 'world'. No simultaneous multiplayer activity is planned (sorry World of Warcraft fans) but each game environment will be able to feature creatures, structures, vehicles and ultimately entire worlds created and exchanged over the Internet.

The original game is PC-based but like Sims, it can be ported to any platform. Wright claims the data shared among users is incredibly compact and should be no trouble to store or transfer, meaning that even a Nintendo DS cart could potentially store an entire galaxy of content.

My immediate thought is that this could be a killer app for mobile phones, combining communication, creativity and competition in one fascinating program.

Visit VideoGoogle to see a fascinating 35 minute demo.

1 comment:

Addicting Games said...

Spore is awesome the game lets you travel the galaxy. There are over 500,000 unique planets to explore! That's just unbelievable! Also you can create any type of creature and all the creatures you run into are from other players. No other game can claim this.. The best part of this game is the space phase, you could spend a lifetime exploring all the planets and meeting new creatures.. This game is limitless, there is no other game that comes close to this one.
Anyway, if you have time, take a visit to my Download Games website.