Spore: First Impressions

I’d LOVE to have written a post on how awesome Spore is, what a great game/simulation it is, and how I’ve been playing it nonstop since it was released.

But I can’t.

I prepurchased Spore for Mac on September 5 – 2 days before the release – and have yet to receive a download link for Spore for Mac from EA. They sent me links to the PC AutoDownloader, and PC installer. But no Mac version. So far, I’ve been ripped off by EA.

To date, all I’ve received for my money is this:

As it is, I have a hard time recommending Spore to anyone, because it means dealing with EA. And all they’ve done is rip me off and not answer my repeated pleas to give me the product I paid for.

Spore Creature Creator

I’ve been following Spore since I saw the first demo at TED. I remember playing SimCity back in the day (on my Amiga 1000!), and SimEarth, and the other variants, and have really been looking forward to Spore.

It’s really a universe simulator, where players interact at various scales separated by orders of magnitude. The full game starts at the single cell stage, evolving up through multicellular life, eventually up to group and society, and finally planetary and galactic scales. What a great way to show interconnections between the various disciplines? Biochemistry through cellular biology through zoology through ecology through sociology through planetary biology and astrophysics. In a format that can be jumped into by anyone, including kids. Especially kids. What would happen if kids are able to develop a sense of these interactions and interdependencies at various scales?

I downloaded (and purchased) the full Spore Creature Creator – it’s the demo app to showcase some of the technology that will be in the final game. It lets you create creatures using a set of biological widgets, and the behaviour and charactistics of the creature are developed based on the properties of the components selected.

I put together a quick creature to see what the full demo would do, and it’s really pretty cool just how detailed the creature is. Based on the limbs and body size, the thing as a believable gate and stance. Based on the head, jaw, and body shape, it has a realistic voice – able to call and roar.

I’m REALLY looking forward to the full game.