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Spore Hands-On Preview 192

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the frothing-at-the-mouth dept.
cardjoe writes "The release date for Spore has just been announced and what better way to celebrate than to check out the latest build of the game? That's just what bit-tech.net did, spending hours with the full version of the game. The article covers all the different editors and stages in the game as well as providing a brief on the pollinated content and how it may well introduce an entire new genre to PC gaming — that of the Massively Online Singleplayer. The article is in-depth and has a whole load of brand new screenshots too, showing the various stages that the player will go through as they play the game and move their creature from single cells to galaxy-hopping space freaks."
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Spore Hands-On Preview

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  • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot@exitUMLAUT0.us minus punct> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:30PM (#22408178) Homepage
    This will make VG Cats [vgcats.com] happy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by alexgieg (948359)
      Don't forget Spore's team version [vgcats.com] using in-game graphics.
    • The Next B & W (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Flere Imsaho (786612)
      Does anyone remember the fuss around Black & White? That was a huge, open god sim that promised so much... Is Spore the next B&W? Don't get me wrong, I'll torrent it along with everyone else when it comes out, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
  • by Darundal (891860) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:32PM (#22408216) Journal
    ...until I have created a race of suicidal paper clips, and have them wage war on all the fruit-producing fauna in the universe.
  • Or... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    maybe its Massively Singleplayer Online
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)
      I don't understand what that's supposed to even mean. If you're not playing with other people, what does being online get you? Downloadable content? Haven't games been doing that for years? What's so revolutionary here?
      • Re:Or... (Score:5, Informative)

        by orclevegam (940336) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:14PM (#22408720) Journal

        I don't understand what that's supposed to even mean. If you're not playing with other people, what does being online get you? Downloadable content? Haven't games been doing that for years? What's so revolutionary here?
        It's not so much revolutionary as in providing a completely new technology, as it's revolutionary in combining a number of existing technologies in a way that's never been done precisely the same way. The online portion comes from the fact that the other creatures your creature will compete against in the world will be more or less randomly selected (you can specifically select them as well) from the pool of creatures created by other players. It's sort of like as if instead of having a bunch of NPCs in a game you instead interact with all the characters created by other players. The catch is that the creatures aren't controlled by other players, merely designed by them. Really kind of a cool idea. Think of it as the ultimate downloadable content, where it's not just a bonus, it's a core part of the game.
      • Re:Or... (Score:5, Informative)

        by irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @03:01PM (#22410386) Journal
        The revolutionary part is that by playing, you're creating the content and sharing it. You don't go out of your way to download Worldcraft and spend a week creating a nice bsp with some custom textures, you design your species in game as part of the game and if you're online then that species you create is going to end up in someone else's game.

        The difference is in that custom content IS the content of the game for the most part. Not an external entity you go out of your way to get, but something that you seamlessly create and acquire.

        I do hope they let you put some kind of restrictions in there, just because I think it would be more fun to be able to join a pre-made group (say, your friends or wow guild or cs clan or what have you) and have their creations pulled more often and with preference to others, so that you get more of the social feel in. And some way to see who authored something, so you can rub it in their face when you wreck it.

  • by kentrel (526003) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:41PM (#22408332) Journal
    I have never looked forward to a computer game before in my life. Their Cross pollination implementation sounds absolutely revolutionary in not just gaming, but computing in general.



    Only a game that gives you that much control over life can satisfy my ego.

  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:44PM (#22408380)
    ... if third parties are getting to try it, it's not vapour anymore, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by orclevegam (940336)
      Yeah, pretty much confirmed at this point. The article says it's more or less ready to ship, they're just ironing out a few bugs and adding a bit of polish at this point. Of course, that whole exporting and importing of other creatures thing I think will either make or break this game. Personally I bet that within a month of the release there are already at least 6 races designed to look like genitalia due primarily to the greater internet fuckwad theory [penny-arcade.com].
      • by eht (8912)
        http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=199 [vgcats.com] original
        http://www.vgcats.com/news/comic_spore_Will.jpg [vgcats.com] the Spore team's interpretation

        way way too late
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        "Personally I bet that within a month of the release there are already at least 6 races designed to look like genitalia due primarily to the greater internet fuckwad theory."
        An entire month and only 6 races? That's not much of a bet. For a lot of people, that's going to be the first goal they hit when designing a species.
        • by PitaBred (632671)
          Maybe. But you have to wonder how far those races will spread, unless they're evolutionarily stable. A giant vagina or penis doesn't really lend itself to hunting, any kind of protection... much of anything, really. I'm betting that you'll make them, but it won't spread far.
          • by d3ac0n (715594)
            Well, the Penis-shaped creature would actually be fairly easy. Essentially a large armored centipede-type creature. Multiple legs on the bottom and an armored top. I don't know how well it would do overall, but you COULD make the creature.

            Or a Dachshund-type 4 legged creature, only with a very small head and two large ears.

            A giant Vagina gives new meaning to the term "Vagina Dentata" though. YIKES!
        • by dintech (998802)
          How do you know the alien Jak Tomsin of the planet Esrb M isn't offended by the 'inoffensive' creature you create. It might look like genitalia on his planet...
  • by AndGodSed (968378) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:45PM (#22408384) Homepage Journal
    Can I make my spore avoid the whole Microsoft debacle during their evolution?
  • High Hopes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ectal (949842) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:46PM (#22408408) Homepage

    Everything I read about this game makes it seem like this is either going to be the greatest game ever released or the most disappointing.

    The thing that fascinates me the most is that the progression through the game's stages seems in some ways to mirror the evolution of video games themselves, from simple Atari games to the modern day. Or to look at it another way, the idea of having an arc throughout the game in both the objectives and the style of gameplay itself sounds amazing.

    • by Captain Splendid (673276) * <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:52PM (#22408462) Homepage Journal
      The thing that fascinates me the most is that the progression through the game's stages seems in some ways to mirror the evolution of video games themselves, from simple Atari games to the modern day. Or to look at it another way, the idea of having an arc throughout the game in both the objectives and the style of gameplay itself sounds amazing.

      You could have saved yourself some typing by just saying "Spore is so Meta!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jollyreaper (513215)

      Everything I read about this game makes it seem like this is either going to be the greatest game ever released or the most disappointing.
      Remember how cool the concept was for Black & White and how shit the reality was? I'm officially anti-hyping myself by anticipating another Daikatana. I will be pleasantly surprised if I hear otherwise. The concept is so cool, I just know I'll be disappointed if I start looking forward to it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ectal (949842)

        Remember how cool the concept was for Black & White and how shit the reality was? I'm officially anti-hyping myself by anticipating another Daikatana. I will be pleasantly surprised if I hear otherwise. The concept is so cool, I just know I'll be disappointed if I start looking forward to it.

        I don't think Spore will have the problems Black and White had. Will Wright has referred to Spore as more of an "evolution toy" than a game. B&W's problem was it wanted to be open-ended but wasn't. It was like having a nice convertible on kiddie rails. Spore might still end up sucking, but it'd be in the details, I bet. Things just not clicking together, poor execution... B&W was fundamentally broken at a much higher level, in that its key promise was simply missing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        While I'm a big fan of being anti-hype as well, it's a little disingenuous to make that comparison. I mean, just look at Romero's credits before Daikatana, and Will Wright's before Spore. Not quite the same thing, is it?

        Also, I've yet to see an ad that says "This Christmas, WILL WRIGHT will make you his SIMBITCH."
    • With the declining quality of games released these days, I think I would make the following prediction: Spore will be the greatest game ever released, and it will be the last good game of any kind ever released. Flame if you like, but in a few years you'll know I am right.
  • Text of the article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:04PM (#22408608)
    Spore: Hands-on Preview
    Author: Joe Martin
    Platforms: PC, Nintendo DS, Mobile, Mac
    Publisher: Electronic Arts

    Spore. Games don't come any more ambitious than Spore and although the premise of the now in-famously delayed game and magnum opus of Will Wright is fairly simple, the actual realisation of that concept has proven incredibly difficult.

    The idea behind Spore is this; you are God, the Alpha, Omega and Almighty. You are omniscient, omnipresent and capable of creating a rock so big you can't possibly lift it. Then you can lift it. You're God and that type of feat is your bread and butter.

    Specifically, you are the God of a particular species that you will design, craft, sculpt and guide through from primordial ooze to inevitable extinction.

    You start off small, designing a single cell and guiding it through the cesspool in which all life must begin. As time passes you use evolution as the tool by which you will shape the destiny of your creature for better or worse. A mouth here, a leg there, and a twist to the torso - you slowly create the creature you want. You can do that. You are God.

    From there, the game expands ever outwards and you will move from guiding a single cell or creature to encouraging a small tribe, then a city. In the climax to this universe in a box you'll be aiding your civilisation in spreading to other stars and planets.

    Such game concepts are truly the things of dreams - open, sandbox worlds with almost limitless possibilities and completely open setting. The game says to you; "Here are the tools, now do as you wish."

    Unfortunately, with such an impossibly complex design even getting the basics of the gameplay right can be a daunting task in and of itself and, even with the full might of Electronic Arts behind him, Will Wright has struggled to get Spore working. The game, which he has reportedly been planning for the last decade at least, has suffered numerous delays. At the start of this year we gave it an honourable mention as a game which we thought would definitely turn out to be vapourware.

    Now though, it looks like we may have to admit that we were wrong. Not only has EA confirmed that Spore will be out in time for the holidays, but the game is now in a fully playable state. All that is left to do is polish up a few glitches, test it and load it with content before release.

    How do we know that, I hear you ask. Simple; we've played it--nearly all of it.

    There are five stages or levels to Spore and we've played them all on the PC, as well as playing on the DS and Mobile versions of the game - though the latter failed to make as much of an impression, to be frank.

    The first level is a basic arcade type game where players guide their single cell about its existence, helping it eat other creatures and grow. When it has grown enough it jumps into the Creature Stage, where players zoom their view out and manage the more complex needs of their creation. Survival skills must be complemented by socialisation skills as players enable their creature to build a tribe.

    In Tribe stage the game zooms out once more and players are no longer controlling a single alien. In this stage it's more like The Sims as you monitor the needs of a small tribe as they carve out a niche in the alien landscape. The penultimate stage of the game is the Civilisation Stage where it transitions from The Sims into Sim City and you'll be controlling whole cities in cultures.

    The last stage is the Space Stage where you hop off your polluted little rock and find new playgrounds to party in.

    Share and share alike
    Before we delve deeply into the well of never-ending gameplay that Spore claims to offer, we should talk about the Pollination System that Spore uses to keep the game full of brand new content at all times. Pollinated content is something that Electronic Arts and
    • The idea behind Spore is this; you are God, the Alpha, Omega and Almighty. You are omniscient, omnipresent and capable of creating a rock so big you can't possibly lift it. Then you can lift it. You're God and that type of feat is your bread and butter.
      [...]
      In the climax to this universe in a box you'll be aiding your civilisation in spreading to other stars and planets.
      But what does God need with a starship?
  • So far, the only thing about this game that I'm disappointed with is the visual style.

    I liked it so much better in the early stages, like the 2005 GDC video. It was really beautiful then. Now it just looks too cartoony.
  • by VValdo (10446) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:14PM (#22408730)
    Wasn't this game around more than twenty-five years ago? I mean, I remember clearly that you'd--

    Oh, wait... I guess there were some minor differences [youtube.com].

    Whoops.

    W
  • How long after the release date do you think it will take for people to make an exact duplicate of the Mos Eisley Cantina? 3 hrs?
  • I'm sure it will be fun for a while, but it seems overhyped. Nothing in the game is ground breaking, every aspect of it has been done in other games already, its more about the combination of game play elements and scale that sets it apart I guess. Wright is a fantastic designer so I'm sure it will be great, but the best game ever made, no way.
  • by RichPowers (998637) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:36PM (#22409108)
    The social networking elements in Spore do look truly stunning and already there's a wealth of content available from the testers and developers - everything from flying toilets to animals that look like letters

    Stop right there pal, you had me sold on "flying toilet"!

    I look forward to exploring new worlds and encountering other players' utterly ridiculous creatures. Of course, I'll be disappointed if someone doesn't create creatures/civilizations based on every internet meme ever (oh how I'll enjoy destroying the LOLcats with my spaceship's death ray).

    Oh yeah, Spore's Wikipedia article mentions how the galaxy will feature active planetary nebulas, black holes, rotating spiral arms, etc. After acquiring a spaceship, I fully plan on plotting a course to the black hole's event horizon. I wonder how the game will model that experience...
    • by nschubach (922175)
      No way. The Letter People were so much better than some silly flying toilets.
    • One guess, tounge in cheek, is that upon entering the event horzon, you'll find yourself hearing the music of Rush as you land upon the surface of their "hemispheres' world; and susequently interact with a couple of Greek Gods.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by RealGrouchy (943109)

      After acquiring a spaceship, I fully plan on plotting a course to the black hole's event horizon. I wonder how the game will model that experience...
      You can do that with the demo on their website.

      After installing the demo, turn off your monitor.

      - RG>
    • by steveo777 (183629)
      You're just waiting for the inevitable inter-stellar war between the planets of Petrified Natalie Portmans and Hot Grits. Admit it.
    • by DrEasy (559739)

      After acquiring a spaceship, I fully plan on plotting a course to the black hole's event horizon. I wonder how the game will model that experience...
      If we're lucky, maybe it will look like that psychedelic sequence in 2001 A Space Odyssey...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Spore: Hands-on Preview
    Platforms: PC, Nintendo DS, Mobile, Mac
    Publisher: Electronic Arts

    Spore. Games don't come any more ambitious than Spore and although the premise of the now in-famously delayed game and magnum opus of Will Wright is fairly simple, the actual realisation of that concept has proven incredibly difficult.

    The idea behind Spore is this; you are God, the Alpha, Omega and Almighty. You are omniscient, omnipresent and capable of creating a rock so big you can't possibly lift it. Then you can lif
  • by StefanJ (88986) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:38PM (#22409160) Homepage Journal
    After your race has risen from the primordial slime, competed with other critters, evolved to sapience, built cities, and achieved spaceflight and reached the center of the galaxy, you can submit proof of age and $45 to receive a key to open up a new level . . .

    SimGalaxy Interspecies Brothel

    Just remember . . . one race's intimate lubricant could be another's caustic death sauce.
    • You are not Orz! We are Orz! Orz are happy *people energy* from the outside. Can you come together with Orz for *parties*?

      you can submit proof of age and $45 to receive a key to open up a new level . . .
      SimGalaxy Interspecies Brothel
    • by sapgau (413511)
      Wow!! play SL much???
    • Just remember . . . one race's intimate lubricant could be another's caustic BBQ sauce.

      That's better. Remember: if nothing died, it's a snack not a meal.
  • This thing looks so cool I might just go out and buy a computer to play it on. I hear you can get on the webbernet and play on the video games with those.

    No really. I really might have to buy a windows PC to play the game on... because I don't have one. I only have Linux workstations. I'm not joking... stop laughing...
    • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)
      Go buy a Wii. You'll be more happy with it. And, given 6 months, you can run linux on that, too.
  • Why does the reviewer constantly refer to his creature as an alien? The whole point is that it evolved on the planet.
  • Every time I see something about Spore, my mind twists it into Spoor.
    Must have watched too many nature shows on TV.
  • If Spore delivers what it promises, shouldn't we be able to use it to create Duke Nukem Forever?
  • I really hope that this'll run via WINE. Then I could teach my spores how to evolve with each kernel upgrade.
  • Have I missed the system requirements for this game. My computer can barely handle HL2ep2 and dies on Bioshock... so I really hope this isn't as graphically intense. From what I've seen it doesn't look like it- no reflective water or smoke effects or what ever... but I'd like to know in advance if I need a new graphics card.

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