E3 2008: Spore Updated Hands-On - Space Exploration, Editors, and Social Content

We get our hands on this highly anticipated game at E3 2008.

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The E3 2008 Business & Media Summit is under way at the LA Convention Center, and one of the games we headed for first was Spore, the upcoming hybrid strategy game from the mind of designer Will Wright and his hardworking team at Maxis. The game is extremely far along in development, and we took the opportunity to try out some of the space-based gameplay, as well as some of the editing tools. Interestingly, the demo version of the game we saw was the Mac version, which is scheduled to ship day-and-date simultaneously with the PC version.

You can jump into just about any of Spore's evolutionary phases if you prefer to skip ahead and not play the game from the primordial ooze. We skipped ahead to space-based gameplay by quickly choosing a race of critters and then choosing a predesigned spacecraft. When your race of critters enters the space race, your designed ship will be launched with much ballyhoo in a brief cinematic sequence, and you'll be given the chance to play through a brief tutorial that requires you to fly your ship through glowing orbs hovering over a handful of cities on your home planet. The idea is to get you used to the control scheme, which lets you right-click your mouse to move to where your cursor is pointing and use your scrollwheel to simultaneously zoom in and out of your world view, as well as to change your ship's altitude.

Once you've completed this brief tutorial mission, you'll be awarded your captain's badge and be fully cleared to travel to deep space, which you can do simply by zooming out so far that your home planet becomes a tiny orb--this will jump you and your ship to an outer space view. You can then start clicking to fly to different planets, which may contain various objectives. When we first made our jump into space, we noticed that our home planet had a small moon orbiting it. By heading straight to this moon, we were given a brief mission to follow our onboard radar (a toggle-able power in one of our ship's ability menus, which also includes weapons and miscellaneous tools, such as tractor beams that can be used to abduct other life-forms) to a crash-landed spaceship, which we then scanned for data. As you explore the galaxy, you'll receive other missions in the form of distress calls and, eventually, diplomacy with other races. Apparently, the primary goal of the space-based game is to discover the center of the universe. (As it turns out, your home planet is located on the outer fringe.) This voyage of discovery can be completed in a few hours and will eventually let you discover certain "truths" about your race's development and place in the universe. It will end with the acquisition of a fantastic new power that EA's developers declined to discuss. If you care to, you'll be able to continue to explore the universe after completing the space game--but that will take a while, since the space game will offer, according to EA, half a million planets to explore.

We also took some time to try out the game's editing tools to create various vehicles, such as spaceships and land vehicles. The tools seem just as easy to use as the creature creator (which has been available to the public for some time now). They let you stretch and morph your vehicle's chassis however you please, then add wheels, cockpits, wings, and weapons by spending a limited number of points that are represented in a status bar on the right of the screen. For instance, more wheels on a land vehicle make it move faster but leave you fewer points overall to equip heavier weapons. In addition, the vehicle customization tools let you paint any and all parts of your vehicles with various colors, gradients, and patterns, and you'll even have the option to pull up any existing creature in your database and match your vehicles to that creature's skin tone with a single click.

We're told that the game's social networking tools are constantly being worked on. The "Sporecast" functionality, which lets you group various created content (creatures, vehicles, buildings, and so on) and name the group (or, alternately, label it with YouTube-esque tags), is already in the game. You'll also apparently be able to share other types of information, including a stat-heavy timeline of your critters' evolution from the bacterial stage to the space age. This timeline will show how your creatures developed as more carnivorous, omnivorous, or herbivorous critters and also developed various abilities relating to those tendencies (carnivore races will have predatory powers available at different stages of civilization, such as threatening roars at the creature level and hunting traps at the civilization level).

Spore is clearly coming along well and may very well deliver on its tremendous potential. The game is scheduled for release in September.

Discussion

94 comments
exiti
exiti

This game has been delayed for so long I can't believe it's almost out!

HollyTerror
HollyTerror

Outer Raven its a single player game not an online game.

Outer_Raven
Outer_Raven

Question: Can the other players attack your nest/tribe/city/planet when you're not online?

unigoono
unigoono

@wswedin incorrect. Will has stated he has no problem with sporn as its being called. After all he is giving players the tools to make what ever they want, and as of now they are doing nothing against it. However you can ban that type of creature from showing up in your game but... here let me just quote what he said. "On the topic of giving creative power (and lots of it) to players, Wright explained, "When you give players creative control, you have to expect they're going to do the unexpected," but he was quick to add, "We just have to make sure those people aren't messing up the experience for others." To this end, Wright told the AP that there will be a system in place whereby players can "ban" content from ever appearing in their own Spore universe. Elsewhere, we fully expect there to be entire universes populated solely by undulating naughty bits." Go look it up, it wont ban the player, it will ban those creatures from showing up in your world.

voodoo0502
voodoo0502

i love spore. i love it more than crunchie nuggets

wswedin
wswedin

@ iplaygameses - Yeah you can report "mature" creatures and that player will be banned from uploading their creatures. You can also just block creatures you find stupid from your planet, galaxy, whatever. And it will find a replacement, the blocked player does not get banned. I spend a lot of my time hanging out in the sporepedia looking at creations and reporting mature content. I say there is a 1/1000 chance or lower that you will encounter unbanned mature content.

iplaygameses
iplaygameses

There is an option to ban creatures,I read it somewhere.

shadowreaver73
shadowreaver73

I don't know, I rather have all those horrible creations in my game so I don't feel bad when I completely obliterate them off the face of the galaxy.

enix165
enix165

I agree with Ngoz-this game is gonna be the game of games. But....like he said, I don't want crotch-monsters prancing around my planet, so there should be some sort of accept-decline thing for creature downloads.

Ngoz
Ngoz

I do believe that Spore will be the best game of all time. I don't think i will go to school for a few days after this game comes out lol. The one thing i am dreading though is if the game is hooked up to a network. I don't want to have a really cool species then giant penises start attacking my civilization. Hopefully you can choose which creatures go into your game. BUt all in all this game is gonna rock.

wswedin
wswedin

Haha warhammer online open beta starts the day this game comes out! This has been my most anticipated game for over a year!

jamsterpf
jamsterpf

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

w33vil
w33vil

SPORE!!!!!!!!!!!

ignamatador
ignamatador

Its gonna be amazing!!! WAit for my spore

Phatmista
Phatmista

"Mass effect could only be installed on 3 comps at the same time, not limited to just 3 installs and thats it, just no more then 3 different computers, u can uninstall and get the install count back." -elricbane21 I sure hope you're right. Otherwise, I'd be pissed and not buy the game and be a party pooper about it...what if your computer crashes? How do you get back the install count then? Call them about it?

Saiko_Mania
Saiko_Mania

"such as threatening roars at the creature level and hunting traps at the civilization level" Surely the hunting traps would be for the tribal stage, not the civilization stage? Maybe a typo but idk.

MiiWiiNumber2
MiiWiiNumber2

i didn't know about creating veichles so now im very,very excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Outer_Raven
Outer_Raven

this game looks really cool. Too bad I won't be able to play it though. When I downloaded the creature creator it said that my computer could't handle the graphics :(.

BlazeEagle
BlazeEagle

I'm really looking forward to Spore so I hope Spore lives up to it's full potential ... So many games promise so much & then turn out sub-par.

ninn1000
ninn1000

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

X_MANIAC_X
X_MANIAC_X

Im so glad i just bought a top of the line computer :D

typeRseries
typeRseries

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

elricbane21
elricbane21

Mass effect could only be installed on 3 comps at the same time, not limited to just 3 installs and thats it, just no more then 3 different computers, u can uninstall and get the install count back.

typeRseries
typeRseries

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

I feel something in the Force, I sense a big 10 and an EDITORS CHOICE.

stappy
stappy

It's designed to work on Mid-End computers, so it should work. As long as they keep their promise about the dynamically generated planets, i'll be happy.

Sonic7777777
Sonic7777777

It looks good for sure but if you have a crappy computer than your screwed.

Merlanni
Merlanni

The problem whit games that promise everything is that they do everything not good enough. I hope Spore makes it though. It will be boost for pc gaming.

wyvrenofdoom
wyvrenofdoom

this game looks awsome ive played the demo so geting it but can't w8 :'(

wings-and-gills
wings-and-gills

I really really want this game SO badly. I'm reserving a copy this weekend at Gamestop.

vicboy129
vicboy129

wish i could get it but i cant even run the creature creator and plus my parents hate computer games i can only get ps3 and psp games

vicboy129
vicboy129

ya you can create creatures the creature creator is just so you could get a feel for it and so the maxis team could opulate the world with user creatures

shamba22
shamba22

can you create your own creatures ect with this or do u need 2 gt the creature creater message me with answer please

bankyoyo
bankyoyo

I can't wait for it NOW!!!

Vampiro_HuntT3R
Vampiro_HuntT3R

I can wait for this game. If you can't wait, then you should not be here. You should go and line outside the shop for this game. Lol! And I, on other hand, am gonna wait here.

Noodle001
Noodle001

a highly evolved game! can't wait!

AOM_Ian
AOM_Ian

I can't wait for this game!

rpgsuperfan
rpgsuperfan

Ugh... all this talk about EA EA EA. This is a MAXIS game. Without Maxis this game would never be made. Without EA it would've just taken a few more years.

bankyoyo
bankyoyo

Great Space Game. I just seen a another space image told about a wreck city.

xialon
xialon

This is a game that anyone can play, and they can enjoy it immensively. Can't wait.

raeganomics
raeganomics

the creature creator is awesome, i've made alot of creatures (mostly explicit ones heh heh) spore does look good, i will buy it, and hopefully it will keep me occupied until fallout 3 comes out.