Spore Hands-On

As Spore finally reaches the end of its long gestation period, the developers came to London to show a nearly finished build.

It's a sign of the anticipation surrounding a game when you're a developer visiting a foreign country and passport control asks you about its release date. That's exactly what the developers of Spore were met with when they entered the UK for the London demonstration of their game. Thankfully for both immigration officers and the gaming public at large, Spore is now "pretty much finished" according to EA, and a worldwide release date of September 7 was recently announced.

The game itself is looking much more complete now, although it has been six months since its last showing at Leipzig in August 2007. With the game now in fully playable form, we got to see the life sim as its gameplay progresses from single-cell organisms to intergalactic warfare and everything in between. It was also a good opportunity for us to put our questions to the development team about Spore's many community features, and to take a look at the Nintendo DS version of the game.

Life can get scary at the cellular level...

Jumping straight onto one of EA's demo PCs, we wasted no time in getting a hands-on with the game. Spore will offer five evolutionary stages in its duration, and given that we've covered the early parts of the game in other previews, we decided to jump forward and check out space exploration. As with the creature-creation tools, you can customise your spaceship to a highly advanced degree. We chose to use a flying-saucer-shaped vessel as a template, and from there we altered the proportions, applied different colours and patterns, and adorned our creation with various cannons and lasers. Although there was no way that an advanced civilisation would be caught dead in such a monstrosity, it's clear that the tools will let players create pretty much anything they can imagine.

When it came down to playing the game, our hastily designed creation was no match for the toilet-shaped vessel that had already been designed by the Spore team. The game holds your hand with a tutorial on the basic controls and abilities of your ship, both those needed for flying low over planets and abducting creatures, and for interplanetary travel. Controlling the ship in the air was simple. You use either the WASD keys or a right-click of the mouse to move around, and the mouse wheel to ascend or descend. You select weapons and tools by clicking icons at the bottom of the screen. Equipped with a tractor beam, you can click on unsuspecting creatures and pull them into your ship with the left mouse button.

Not all your spaceships need look like bathroom fittings.

Spore has a very dry sense of humour, and it calls on you to collect creatures for your own nefarious ends. However, there's a downside to your scientific experimentation, and in our demo we managed to introduce a rogue infection to our city by collecting bug-ridden creatures. The result: You have to eradicate the surrounding colonies with your onboard laser, using the left mouse button to fire. Before you can start exploring and colonising other worlds, your final task on your home planet is to colour it purple, although we couldn't quite understand why.

The first planet that we visited was completely barren and needed development before life could inhabit it. We equipped our ship with a variety of plants and used the tractor beam to drop them on the ground. With vegetation available, the next step was to introduce herbivores, with the setup complete once carnivores were dropped on the planet.

Aside from actual gameplay, the big theme of EA's presentation was user-generated content. It's clear that Spore has learnt much from Facebook and MySpace, and instead of being a separate component, the online community features are very much woven into the fabric of the game. In fact, much of Spore's terminology borrows directly from Web 2.0 vernacular; sporecasts let you subscribe to other users' creations, whereas sporepedia is the in-game directory for all of your content. Sporecasts will let you transmit and receive user-generated content, and you'll be able to search the entire Web based on ratings or specific tags (for example, "Doctor Who" or "purple"). We were shown how one of the designers had created a series of animals based on letters from the alphabet, and then put them in a set that can be downloaded by any Spore player online.

Don't expect the online aspect of Spore to be limited to the gameworld, either, because the creators want it to spread to your browser as well. Although no specific announcements have been made, it's clear that the team wants to develop a variety of badges and links that can be embedded into blogs and social networks to show your activity in Spore. Of course, with so much encouragement for user-generated content, it presents an interesting proposition for the creators of The Sims. With so many add-on packs helping to make their previous game one of the best-selling of all time, can we still expect the same sort of support for Spore? The answer that's being hinted at by Maxis is that rather than directly making stuff for the game, the company will release more tools to help users produce it instead. But whatever happens, Spore is clearly a franchise title for EA, and the game is bound to be heavily supported once it finally makes its way to store shelves.

Speaking of franchising, Spore is also being released on the Nintendo DS. Though you can still build creatures and explore new worlds, the handheld version is much more task-oriented than its PC counterpart. The character-building aspect of the game is used to solve problems. The game boasts Phantom Hourglass-style cel-shaded visuals, and the characters have some of the colourfulness of the animals from Viva Piñata. You control your creature by touching the screen, and you use the stylus to shake trees for fruit or attack other creatures.

Spore is shaping up very nicely, and from what we saw in London, it's well on its way to completion. EA has now announced a worldwide release date of September 7--in the meantime, should it drip-feed any more information, we'll be sure to keep you updated.

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Discussion

325 comments
raeganomics
raeganomics

oh and there is a glitch to make flying creatures

raeganomics
raeganomics

robson, its a evolution sim. And jason19 learn to spell! it's like your a six year old!

sMeAgOl_VaDeR
sMeAgOl_VaDeR

i have a mac and a pc, but i seem to be having trouble which version to get?

VGButton_Masher
VGButton_Masher

Please check out my Spore YouTube video entitled, "Human Anatomy Class with Spore" at the following web address - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1N_evtjs1k No, it's not pornographic in any way, shape or form, but it is quite unique and very funny. Please leave a comment on the video page, and if you really like it, please vote for it to win the YouTube Ultimate Spore Creature Creator Dance Off Contest in August. Thank you in advance for checking my video out, and I hope you enjoy it! :)

Zarcon94
Zarcon94

Robson, this is why this universe simulator(nicely put arfo) is so ambitious. It plans to not just be one thing. It's trying to be different things and still be fun. Even if it's not extremely fun, it's still a milestone. Another thing about the story. YOU create the story. It's not preset. You could have tiny guinea pig like creatures take over the galaxy. Or you could create your dream race and develop an interstellar empire. But first you start off as a tiny unicellular organism! It's very ambitious. If you want to be cynical, fine. You don't have to buy the game. I can't wait for the game personally. Oh, and jason19, you can't make underwater or flying creatures, so your flying fish are no-gos. sorry. =(

arfo
arfo

Who can say this is just a game? This is a universal in a software. and will wright has shown us he is a person who make impossible possible.

Robsonbmw
Robsonbmw

When I look at those screens I see both: Settlers,Civilization,My little Pony game and whatnot.I read all this stuff and all this hype about the game and I have one question....WTF! what the hell is it gonna be?what kind of a game is it? Because for me this game is a mix of sims,civilization,Settlers,Megalomania from Amiga 500 + all this fancy shmunsy creature creator in You Tube.I just don't get it.Is it a hybrid of all genres?Because if it's a mix of all types of games then it's a game about nothing.Usually in a any given game you know what it was created for.This is the first time I have no idea what kind of a game this is.For me it looks like this game was created for show offs who will spend most of the time creating creatures and uploading them to You Tube to show how great their taste is rather than actually play it.And if you want to play it then what the hell is going on in this game?what is the story about?About creating a creature with 6 legs,5 eyes,toilet instead of mouth and what then?This creature will evolve...Big Deal.I have civilization for that.No need to create some deformed pathetic bulb like creature to send it fighting.Oh yeah..I really have sporegasm right now...Bollocks

T-Bone95
T-Bone95

I've had my preorder down since last September, only 2 months to go!

ssj4_worminator
ssj4_worminator

HEY GUYS IT WOULD BE COOL IF YOU COULD PLAY AS CLOUD FROM FINAL FANTASY7!

lilj0e777
lilj0e777

i hope the mac version is ported, instead of being a cheaper version...

GariSnail
GariSnail

This game looks great and I can't wait to play it. I do however see some problems. Mainly that most computers won't be able to support an entire galaxy full of stars, planets and life. There is a point where you can have too much content. I bet tons of computers are just going to freeze up or crash. This game is going to be great, but I think it might be a bit too big.

jason19
jason19

i have peo over games to i went it now cant walti i hops i can build unter water cilti be nice i made fish can fly i hops god surei do frist

Nakor
Nakor

I've been looking forward to this game for so long. I can't wait to finally play it some day lol. I just need to get a new computer so I can play it (and other PC games) so much better :)

K1rb
K1rb

Game is gonna be hectic...I cant wait!

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

There wont be any monthly fee's its a singleplayer game (with a database, but that requires little to no maintenence) . only games that have the right to charge monthly fee's are MMORPG's Anyway been following spore for ages, should be a brilliant game ^^ just hope it doesnt get delayed again!

gokuuu
gokuuu

Im gonna put a link to this from my website www.gameexperience.tk (ATM ITS ALL ABOUT SPORE :P)

khariss
khariss

not long till i can create a race of Yoda's yes :)

damariofan
damariofan

Undeniably will be Game of the Year, on every gaming website and magazine

sc_ajk29
sc_ajk29

Looks interesting. I may very well buy it.

cardswipe
cardswipe

this is gonna be friggin amazing!!!

blackrook
blackrook

This is the last PC game I will ever need to buy.

UnusualSuperFly
UnusualSuperFly

Assuming it will become a Must Buy!!! Say goodbye to your Social Life... again !

SwitchBlade4474
SwitchBlade4474

Just can't wait, i think this will provide unlimited hours of gaming and i its a great idea having multiple games in one, you can find the one you like most and just play in that

hordekillah
hordekillah

This game looks to be a game all unto its own and may change the face of gaming to come. I will wait in determined anticipation for th release of this game!

EnriqueMJK
EnriqueMJK

Although I'm dont think Spore is going to pay to play or anything like that...there is nothing that indicates that's the direction they're going...yet Just keep in mind that EA is the publisher. EA= Greedy Bastard. They would like like nothing more than microtransactions to be the norm for every game. thunderboltx7 - You have an integrated graphics card. It Blows. You need to buy one. Look at newegg.com. The nVidia Geforce 8600 GT is cheap and will play Orange Box(cost about $70-100). If you want a good one that will last and actually be good for a few years look at the 8800 GT(about $230-250- best value for your dollar. Period.)

ghost870
ghost870

It wont be pay to play. Anyone who's saying that is simply paranoid.

Lord_Midas
Lord_Midas

thunderboltx7 = your graphics card is sh*t As for spore, i will wait and see. Ain't floating my boat at the mo.

oblivionmod
oblivionmod

this game seams to revolutionise interactive revolutionary gameing however it does not make my but look big yes i am insane:~(

Epiphany12341
Epiphany12341

People who think it will be pay to play are clueless. There will be an offline option, how can you pay to play an offline game? The answer is you can't. You think their going to charge a monthly fee to autodownload some criters for you instead of forcing you to go to the website and download it yourself and play offline? I don't think so.

Heylin_Force
Heylin_Force

i've gotta preorder this it looks incredible!!!! i can hardly wait. :D

thunderboltx7
thunderboltx7

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

eheid
eheid

looks great, and hopefully will be because it seems to be very promising.

V----V
V----V

Pay to play? I don't think so. i have never seen any mention of them charging for anything but the game itself. They may offer new upgrades and tool sets as add ons we may have to pay for though. Just seeing a hard release date is enough to get me excited. Like many of you, I've been following the progress of SPORE for what feels like a decade. I am happy to hear they unlocked the game so players can start at any point they want to, instead of having top play through every phase first. Personally, I plan on starting at the very beginning and progressing through each phase at least once. Not everyone wants to do that.

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

This is going to be the most epic game in existence!!

sik567
sik567

im quite sure that the game is gonna be p2p....

vito_128
vito_128

i just hope i dont need to pay to play not just buying it...

AAAAAAnonymous
AAAAAAnonymous

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

eater445
eater445

IT SHOULD FOR PS3 and XBOX360! WHY NOT!

HaRiZ420
HaRiZ420

3rd paragraph, last sentence, check your spelling :)

Klyern
Klyern

for DS too huh? with all the stuff the PC vercion is gonna have i expect/suspect the DS one being aimed at kids mostly.

H0RSE
H0RSE

With the news surfacing that EA will make some sort of spore "pay to play", this once highly anticipated game, has become a, "I'll wait for the review" title. Kudos to you EA!

geigehenry19
geigehenry19

I had no idea they were making it for DS too! It'll be great to have a portable version of Spore!

Evil_Insane
Evil_Insane

I really can't wait for this game, it is truly going to be the most awesome game of all time. Or at least the most awesome Sim game. Unless you can hide from Genome soldiers, it'll have to be, like, third or fourth best. Seventh, tops.