Spore is a simulation computer game designed by Will Wright that is developed by Maxis and published by EA Games. Wright has a history of designing innovative, successful games like The Sims and SimCity, and Spore appears likely to continue that trend. It is remarkable both for the innovative technology of the game design, as well as the expansive range of sci-fi game play.
Spore is, at first glance, an evolution game: the player molds and guides a creature across many generations of evolution, until it becomes intelligent, at which point, the scope of the game expands to encompass a broader range of social evolution. This is achieved by first giving the player control over a lone creature (designed by the player him/herself) until the creature begins a tribe of his own, at which point a tribal real-time strategy aspect is incorporated into the game by war with other tribes. The player then begins molding and guiding his creature's society into a space-faring civilization, where the player and his creatures begin to colonize other planets and eventually control a galactic empire.
Spore's main innovation, the basis of its scope and customizability, is that Wright has moved into procedural generation of content.
Answering a question about game-play, Wright said that, "There are games that let their players feel like Luke Skywalker. I want players to feel like George Lucas." The game-play has been described to be a mixture of Pac-Man, Diablo, Mr. Potatohead, Erectorset, Clay, Populous, SimCity, Legos, Civilization, Destroy All Humans, and Kid Pix at various stages of game-play.
Maxis had approximately 70 developers working on Spore, most earning six-figure salaries. It took an estimated US$30 million to develop the game.
Spore can also be played without the CD after installing it.
EA Games has come under heavy criticism for its Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions with Spore as it may only be installed five (5) times on three (3) different machines (a reformatted machine counts as a different machine). After this limit is reached the game will no longer activate. Consumer groups have complained that this prevents people from really owning the game because they are effectively renting it from EA Games for a limited period of time. This decision is reflected in Spore's poor sales figures.
Frequently Asked QuestionsModifier
What exactly is Spore?Modifier
- Spore is the next game from Will Wright/Maxis, probably best known for being the makers of Sim City and The Sims. Spore takes elements from many of Maxis' previous games such as Sim Earth, Sim Life and Sim City and blends them into a simulation that allows the player to influence the development of a life form from a single-cellular phase, through multi-cellular life on land, to the development of sapiency, tool-use, and eventually interplanetary and interstellar flight. See the sources section for first-hand information about Spore. More information and pictures can be found at the official site (which includes links to various gaming sites) and also via GamingSteve's podcasts.
Do you require an Internet connection to play?Modifier
- Although you do not need an internet connection to play Spore, you need one for online authentication upon installation. You can't play the game without authenticating your copy online. You can bypass the internet registration and simply play the game without uploading your creations to SporePedia. However, if you choose not to register, you will miss out on the download of free player-created content. If you don't have an internet connection, then when you install the game, it will start you out with tons of different civilizations, creatures, etc. that will be content shipped with the game. You are better off having internet for playing, because it will increase the overall fun factor with some extra content, but it is by no means necessary.
How exactly does the multiplayer aspect of the game work?Modifier
- The game has been described as a "MSOG" - Massively Single-player Online Game. There is a central database that collects creatures/buildings/objects created by players, stores them, and distributes them to other players. The creatures are compressed from 5MB to a size about 3kB using methods inspired by the "Demo Scene" to compress complex graphical information into very small sizes. How this actually affects the game is that while creations are coming in from other players and the player's world is being populated with them, the player is still playing alone - as soon as the creatures are downloaded and populated, the computer takes control of the creatures. The creatures controlled by the computer have "personality sliders" that were determined when the creature evolved and how the player who created it played.
How will the nature of the content that is added to your world be decided?Modifier
- In the demo Will Wright said the computer would pick and choose what to add based on the computer's categorization of the content it receives, and based on the created content in the player's own world. For instance, if a world is all herbivores, the game might add a race of carnivores to keep the balance. How exactly this works is unknown, though this procedure runs in the background meaning the player doesn't have to go and search for content to download, it is done automatically for him or her. A player can also track his creations by accessing the central database. There are plans to allow manual swapping of data for non-Internet users. It's not yet known if a player can pick content manually to be downloaded from the central database. However, unless it is a balance issue, the probability of downloading content directly is high. Wright has also demonstrated that some content will be tagged with the content creator's name, and that name can be bookmarked so other content from that person will be given priority in the future.
Will you choose your creature from the creature creator or do you make it in the game? Modifier
- You can choose either one, but if you start from the begining, Tide pool phase, you can't pick something from the creature creator. You can make animals for the cell phase as well as for any other phase. In patch 1.01, the cheat EvoAdvantage was added, enabling you to pick a creature from the Sporepedia, thus you can play in cell, and choose another creature.