Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spore Creature Creator

A demo for the very hotly anticipated video game Spore was released yesterday in both a "limited" version(25% of creature creation options) and a pay version ($10) for both PC and Mac(actually I think only the trial version for Mac is out). You can get either here, but I would probably recommend Direct2Drive if you want to pay for the full version to download it, since they don't have a ridiculous "pay us 5 more bucks and you can re-download it for longer than 6 months." Also, if you think it's a rip off to pay for a demo, D2D does offer $5 off your preorder of the full game (where I see no evidence of a similar deal on the EA site).

Anyway, I did download the full version, and the first thing I'd tell anybody to do is watch this Maxis tutorial:

It gives you keyboard commands that are not obvious from the interface(though are in the read me file) and are quite useful for customizing your creature. There are two other parts of the tutorial, but they're not quite as useful, as those modes seem more or less self-explanatory, but YMMV. This advanced tutorial of creating a praying mantis is pretty neat, but she goes so fast it's a little hard to follow (for me at least)... but it's still cool.

Other than creating a creature, there isn't much of a "game" here... you can take them out for a test drive, which can be amusing with the more precarious designs, but there isn't a whole lot to do with it. If you like trying to replicate X-wings or Marshmellow Peeps then you probably think the creature creator is just about the best thing ever... and it is incredibly easy to use and very flexible... but it's really hard to know how it translates into whether the full game is going to be fun. For pretending to be a Pixar artist it's pretty unprecedented though.