Spore Updated Hands-On

We build cities, harvest resources, and vanquish competitors in the Civilization phase of Spore.

As the passing days bring Spore's September 7 release date ever closer, anticipation for Will Wright's newest brainchild continues to rise. The recent release of the creature creator and the subsequent proliferation of user-created aliens is a testament to Spore's appeal, and we were fortunate enough to get our hands on a near-final build of Spore at a recent EA press event. In our short time with the game we delved into the Civilization phase and played out a real-time strategy scenario, Spore-style.

Spore spans the dizzying arc of life, from the primordial ooze to the vast reaches of space, stopping along the way to engage players with new gameplay modes and new challenges. You can begin your adventure at any one of the five distinct phases, so we jumped to the Civilization phase to get a taste of what it's like to develop cities populated by the bizarre creatures of our own creation. We decided to create our own creature, which was a breeze, thanks to the remarkably deep yet intuitive creature creator. Whether we were molding the size and shape of our creation or adding limbs, eyes, and other bizarre appendages, it was easy to figure which icons would effect which changes. From there it was just a matter of clicking, dragging, and watching our alien take shape before our eyes.

It's easy to create all make and manner of monsters with the creature creator.

Once our creature was complete, we had to determine whether our civilization would be militaristic, economic, or religious. This choice, we were told, would affect what buildings and vehicles we could build and would be a general guideline for our world domination strategy. Since our creature had some nasty teeth and a few other mean-looking features, we went with militaristic.

We were then prompted to design the palace that would serve as the hub of all our cities, but our time was short and we were eager to get to the actual gameplay. Fortunately, there were already plenty of premade buildings ripe for the picking. We opened up the in-game browser and watched as it quickly populated our screen with a full complement of architectural oddities. Most, if not all, of the buildings available to us were created by the development team, but once Spore launches, the browser will bring in the creations of users all over the world. After choosing a building, we went through the same process to choose our first vehicle. Then the browser closed and we were launched into the game in earnest about seven minutes after we sat down. Take out the time we spent creating our creature, and we could have started a fresh game in about two minutes, thanks to the smooth-loading and dead-simple content browser.

We began with a circular city ringed by walls with our chosen palace towering high in the center. Outside the city walls waited our first vehicle, an insectlike walker with a mounted gun. Taking it out for a spin was as easy as selecting it and then right-clicking on our destination, which was the nearest colorful gas geyser. We captured this resource point by squatting next to it for a few moments, and then we headed off toward the next one. The entire continent was visible to us from the get-go, though whether this was a result of our presumed exploration from previous phases or just the way Spore presents the world was unclear.

Back at our capital city we began to poke around in the build menu that dropped down on the left side of the screen. Flush with newfound income, we started by installing some relatively cheap defensive turrets at a few of the set build points along our outer wall. Then we started churning out some more vehicles, only to have our stockpiling abruptly halted by the unit cap. Factories increase this cap and can be constructed inside your city at one of the many preestablished build points. This seemed like business as usual until we constructed another factory and were rewarded with a productivity bonus for putting the two next to each other. It seems that the placement of structures within your cities will have certain effects on their functionality, though our time was too short to further explore this interplay.

You can try to convert your neighbors to your side, or take the military route and crush them beneath the wheels, treads, or feet of your assault vehicles.

Now in command of a good number of vehicles, we set out to deal with the pesky civilizations that had popped up on our continent. Though our species was the only one to make it out of the Tribal phase, there were still many different factions vying for dominance. Different-colored vehicles had begun poaching our resources, and what better way to put a stop to such mischief than a good old-fashioned conquering? A few clicks later our walkers were bombarding their lone city, which quickly fell to our assault. Having vanquished them completely, we moved right into their city and redoubled our production efforts. As city after city fell beneath our crushing might, we realized that while continental domination was at hand, global domination was still out of our reach. So we headed to one of our coastal cities and, with a quick selection from the browser, created the first ship in what would soon become a powerful armada.

Though brief, our time with Spore was enough to give us a good feel for the familiar and accessible real-time strategy action of the Civilization phase, and we caught a few glimpses of complexities to come. The game played smoothly, and the creation browser was a snap to use--our appetites are definitely whetted for further Spore action. In two weeks we'll be down at E3 bringing you tons of new content, and you can bet we'll have plenty more on Spore then.

Written By

With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Y

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Discussion

236 comments
cupcake_JR
cupcake_JR

@unigoono so im not the only one thats most interested in tribal? =P

unigoono
unigoono

@voldebutt21 You must of never waited for a game before it came out huh? No game these days is ever released on date. @thefreeman Yeah it is going to be great. I remember Will saying some thing about how it will take a life time of a real human being to explore every single planet in the game. Whether or not that is true, I hope this is not one of those done in 24 hour games. I hope you can stay on a phase as long as you want because I foresee myself being on the tribal stage for some time :)

w33vil
w33vil

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

aid890
aid890

There is no Wii Version of spore currently, it is only being released for PC and MAC, a different game spore creatures is also on DS and there is a mobile game called spore origins for the cell phone, but from what i've heard no console versions are set to release

Bugsrock120
Bugsrock120

Is the 1 for Wii going to be exactly like the PC version?

The_Free-Man
The_Free-Man

I thought it would be very quick to take over planets but after reading this im really happy cause it'll take a long time. Plus there are supposed to be milions of planets, yay im soo happy. This will be worth infinite posibilities and endless gameplay. By the way its gone gold so that means it done and if anything it will be released before Sept. 7

typeRseries
typeRseries

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

typeRseries
typeRseries

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

xialon
xialon

Just can't wait.

lucebuce
lucebuce

voldebutt21 this is for u ... they've promoted this fact too much , and they've pushed it back too much AND they've shown too much about the game .. i mean come on even the creature creator is available if they push it back , no1's gonna buy the game

voldebutt21
voldebutt21

guys guys guys...stop saying its comming out on september 7th..thats what he said about may and look what happened, 2 weeks before its release it was cancled. i dont trust this guys word on release dates anymore...after being shafted for 3 years.

Roobarb2003
Roobarb2003

I've been looking forward to this since it was firs conceived. Can't wait for September!

Neodigiphyte
Neodigiphyte

This looks like a fun game. Look forward to release. Taking over the world is always a good time.

Sunrie
Sunrie

Well I'll be damned. I originally thought this game was going to be tedious and repetitive: boring like The Sims. After reading the article and seeing the creature creator, I'm very interested. In the end, I'll probably pick this game up.

km1498
km1498

At first I was on the fence about this game but it just looks better and better with every update.

jfpime
jfpime

This game looks very promising with its innovative concept. Can't wait to check it out!

sakaiXxX
sakaiXxX

Nice.....specially Conquer The Planet seems rocking damn good!

IncipitOmega
IncipitOmega

I hate pre-set build points in RTS games.....

shadowx90000
shadowx90000

cool, i can't wait to get this...the full game version!

xbox_cow_man1
xbox_cow_man1

I have waited for this since it was first announced. I too got the full Creature creator and was blown away by the scope of what you could do with such ease. My intrest in this game has only gone up in the last 3 weeks because I learned it was XP compatible. Now it is my most desired game!

driubi
driubi

I got the full creature creator, and I have to say, I thought their would be at least 3 times the amount of prefabricated parts as their is. I'll still get the full game, I just hope they release more.

gamer_easy
gamer_easy

SPORE is something fresh we all need. Great game play and innovation are going to clear the way for this game to the top. I can bet on that.

Icicle_MX
Icicle_MX

Can't wait about this game.... The long-term waiting is killing me.... I've waited since 2 years ago! Hope this game equal to my patience.... I'll surely buy this game when this game entered my country~!

bowl_cut
bowl_cut

Holy crap. I don't play many PC games, but I will definitely buy this.

Arvendragon
Arvendragon

Oh boy oh boy oh boy.... I'm excited for this game. Only 2 more months and 1 day...

kent6650
kent6650

This is one of the most innovative games. I'll just keep myself updated on this one awesome game title! Nice previews by the way. Can't wait for it's release date.

Fyre93
Fyre93

Can't wait for E3 videos to be released!!! going to be an awesome game!

bladez89
bladez89

amazing game..this one gonna rock! can't wait to play it..

ultralesus
ultralesus

I just thought... I'd love it if I could make a planet of lil Skully's and Mikes from Monsters Inc.

it009x9281
it009x9281

I get very bored with games very quickly but with this game i dont think it will be the case:D.

ultralesus
ultralesus

So if I'm understanding this correctly, this is Black And White x 100?? Sounds good.

Psycold
Psycold

This game gives you the most fantastic feeling, truly the closest thing we have to playing god.

jamesallenyz431
jamesallenyz431

mmo rts? can u just go to someones planet and attack or is it for exploring just to check what they have created

e1337prodigy
e1337prodigy

Sounds fantastic, one of my top wanted games. I think most people will benefit from having some kind of multiplayer in this game, although maybe just the civilization phase. I wouldn't use it as I'm not much of a multiplayer fan.

doughboy93
doughboy93

Wow this is like no other game I've seen before. This will definately change gaming. Might even make like a sub-rts game genre lol

TotalWarHero
TotalWarHero

This game looks incredible; it looks like everything an rts hould be. Im a 19 year old guy and i think this looks sweet not gonna lie. Hope it lives up to the hype, but it looks like it will. The spine can def. be horizontal; ive created a few that way (it defaults horizontal).

Seto_Akari
Seto_Akari

Spore will be a big hit when it is realeased....^_^ Let's see...I'm a big fan of Ben-10 so maybe I will create one of Ben's 10 super alien heroes...hehehe or create my own creatures which I've created in the spore creator tools ^^ p/s : uhm....Can we make other creatures in our plannet or just our creature?

dshipp82
dshipp82

haj01, If your creative and inventive enough, you can. I've created 3 different kinds of humans so far, and i'm pretty damn proud of them. But the real fun is going totally crazy with your creature design. The only thing I'd have to complain about so far, is the spine must be vertical. I wanted to create a horizontally spined creature, but as of yet I haven't been able to do that, maybe I just need to experiment more.

Shuniman
Shuniman

I want a time machine and go to the september 7 haha .... :S

grim22x7
grim22x7

I DLed the CC yesterday and made my first creature. That was fun. Now i want to see it take over worlds that will be more fun :) very excited about this game.

mysterylobster
mysterylobster

"mysterylobster did you even read the system requirements?" Everyone knows that minimum requirements just tell you what it takes to install and run the game. They have yet to publish any real recommended requirements. I only have one requirement: a Wii. :-) I stand by my comments I made regarding price.

u8nogard
u8nogard

Sounds interesting. I wish that I could get my hands on it sooner.

haj01
haj01

can u make humans?

blairstheman
blairstheman

sounds & looks great - possible purchase

Nuclear_Kernel
Nuclear_Kernel

mysterylobster did you even read the system requirements? It will work decently on a Core 2 or Atthlon X2 64 with a 1gb ram and 7600GT card. I don' t know why every console fanboy comes on the pc section and complains about the price of pc components. Most of them: RAM, video card, mainboard are lowest prices in history in terms of price/quality. Be more informed before posting.

mysterylobster
mysterylobster

"You'll be able to max this game out on an $800 PC or less, for serious." If you think you're going to be able to max out a future game with $800, then you haven't been playing with PC games very long. Spore probably takes advantage of hardware that won't even be out till the release date, so good luck "future proofing" (a lost cause, for sure), because you're just going to end up spending even MORE on top of what you paid for your PC. On the other hand, Spore has already been announced and confirmed to be coming to Nintendo's Wii.

"My friends, this isn't Crysis nor FarCry 2; this is Spore"

Um, okay. Keep in mind that Spore is coming out almost a full year after Crysis. That's an eternity in terms of PC hardware.