Spore Creature Creator
Not a Game so much as an Addiction
Posted 4 years ago By - Marcie McIndoe
Spore is the brainchild of Will Wright, creator of SimCity and The Sims. Spore’s original name was rumored to be “SimEverything”, thank goodness for the change, but it was on target. Spore is a simulation game where you take a creature from a single cell organism, and watch it to evolve into a creature, which gains a tribe, wars with it’s neighbors and eventually goes to the stars. Gameplay follows the evolutionary changes as well, the single cell phase of existence is rumored to play somewhat like pac-man, the evolved creature phase is something like Diablo, once you get a civilization it plays something like well... Civilization and so on. All of this will be on-line, and you will be able to interact with other creatures in the Spore Universe, which are all other creatures made by ordinary Joe’s like you and I. But it all has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is the Spore Creature Creator.
In the Creature Creator, all you do is create a creature, there is no game attached. Once you create your creature you can watch it perform various moves, but that is it really. The game will occur when you can implant this creature into the full version of Spore, due for release September 7th, 2008.
He’s so sad... it was probably something you did. (JayCat’s own creation: "Owl Antlers")
So how exactly do you create a creature? The process is both simple, yet has the potential to be amazingly complex. You start with a spine, which you can elongate in either direction, up to a certain length. The individual vertebrae can be enlarged, which effects the mass of the soft tissue around that vertebrae (Thicker vertebrae = thicker body) and it also effects how flexible the spine is in that section. Thicker vertebrae are not as flexible as thinner ones. So: make a spine, bend it any way you want to, then what?
You add body parts. The first and most important is the mouth, as it determines your basic creature type, and is the only body part aside from one vertebrae that is mandatory. You can choose from 24 mouths, and that determines if your creature is a carnivore, herbivore or an omnivore. Note that if you add both a carnivore and a herbivore mouth, your creature becomes an omnivore. Mouths also add the ability to sing, which is needed to find a mate, and biting, which is for defense or offense as the case may be. With mouth attached, you can move onto the eyes and sensory organs. Choose your eye type, add them on. Noses don’t add another sense, but do add to your creature’s charm, which is necessary for finding a mate.
Now that you can see, try adding arms and legs. Each are completely adjustable along it’s joints. Joints are also able to be fused together if that is your wish. Once you have arms and legs, you are able to update the basic hands and feet with more specialized versions.
Then there are weapons, from antlers and horns that add to charging damage, spikes and poison glands that add to spit damage, and spikes for slashing damage. Last but not least are the detail parts, some of which add to your sneak quotient, others are wings for jumping and gliding. Some just make you look cute.
JayCat’s own Creation: "Just Ducky" Note: Tailfeathers bring in ALL the chicks!
There have to be limitations, so that everyone plays on the same field, and in Spore that is DNA points. Basically, you have cash, and DNA points. Each body part comes with a price tag, and you have a certain amount of money. Personally I have never really come close to spending all my money. But the DNA points are another matter. All body parts and configurations come with a DNA price tag, so you can only make your creature so complex. Limbs and mouths are the costliest in terms of DNA points, details are the cheapest. Again, this is just a way of ensuring that you consequences when you add parts. If you want a Spider - like creature with 8 limbs, and six heads, well, you will have to sacrifice on something else.
Once you have a creature that you love, you can change it’s coloring. The interesting thing about the spore “paint job” is that it’s done by a computer algorithm. So no matter what your creature looks like, the paint job always looks “right”. You can choose from a multitude of pre-made themes or you can create a custom job. If you have seen a creature that you liked the coloring of, you can also ask the creature creator to make your creature have th same coloring as another.
Once you have a creature that you love, you can take it through a walkthrough. This puts you in a small “room” where you can ask your creature to perform various tasks such as walking from point A to B, singing, punching, spinning and roaring. You can make it perform various dance moves, and certain staged actions. Have the urge to see your creation go “Ta-DA!”. No problem, just click the button. There are also a wide variety of emotions that your creature can perform, such as fear, laughing, happy and sad. There is also the ability to see what the creature’s offspring would look like; you can hatch up to three of them. Last but not least, you can take pictures of your creature, send postcards of it to friends, take movies and automatically upload to Youtube.
The graphics are very good, there are details on the feathers for instance, that just look so wonderful when your creature shakes. The coloring system is fantastic, and must have originally been quite a headache. How do you paint something when there is an infinite variety to what you can create? Luckily the developers have pulled it off with flying colors (pun intended).
There is an amazing number of different types of parts, each is animated extremely well. This is especially evident when you make your creature go through various emotions. Somehow the developers have made it so that a leech faced, icky thing with sucker-hands can look like it feels fear, joy, anger or is laughing. When you paint your creature, it looks like it is being rained on and your creature reacts appropriately. All in all, just watching your creature react as you add and take away body parts is just good fun.
This is a picture of "Just Ducky" in the process of being painted
The songs, roars and whimpers of your creature is quite cute and well done.
Again, there is no true “gameplay” in Spore Creature Creator, as it is a part of a larger game, but that being said this program is remarkably intuitive, yet has the potential to be remarkably complex. If you can think outside the box, you can create anything you can think of. People have already made an Xbox controller, various pokemon, and a Master Chief. But aside from intellectual properties or inanimate objects, the only barrier to what you can make really is your own imagination. You can either make something fantastic, or something Earthbound... with a twist. You can imagine the environment that the creature will live in, and use principles of evolution, to make a creature or throw that out the window and make something freaky. It can take you 2 minutes to make something quick, or you can painstakingly place each and every feather on your creature’s body. It’s completely open.
The amount of customization with each body part is quite astonishing. Each body part can be made larger or smaller, more or less elaborate, and you can twist or turn it. One thing that this demo could be great is for kids. It’s a creative outlet, but there is a real opportunity to teach kids about basic biological principles.
It is a bit difficult to rate the game with respect to gameplay, since so much of the game is unknown. There are skills that are rated, the highest you can have is 5 for the skills, and 50 for health (as far as I can see). But what we do not know is what it “means”. What does it really mean if I make a creature with a bite damage of 5? How does your creature’s overall body construction effect the viability of your creature? For instance, is it better to have a creature with a huge reach? Is it possible to “win” the game with a truly odd creature, something with 5 mouths, but no arms or hands? Only time will tell.
I do wish that I could easily save pictures of my creature. As it stands, I can only send postcards of my creature. I can’t even save the pictures of my postcards. However, people are getting clever, Zazzle has opened a shop so you can buy a mug and other merchandise with your Spore creature on it. Having an auto-down load onto Youtube is just golden.
JayCat presents to you "Suckerface"
I downloaded the demo, then HAD to have the full version. I downloaded it, and I have been having too much fun ever since. Even if you are not going to get Spore, the creature creator has such amazing design it is a must see for any fan of games. However, again, it really one step up from a demo, so if you like a purpose to your game and get angry or frustrated if there isn’t action, action, action, then you may want to wait for the full version of Spore. However, this will appeal to those people who love playing the Sims, just to build the house... and tear it down so you can build another one.
Get it! But one warning: If you play Spore Creature Creator, you may suffer from anxiety from the LOOONG wait until Spore is released.
Buy the full version: it’s just a great program, and the price is right.
The paint jobs are unbelievable.
Its a very new type of game, you have to see it.
Youtube tie in is golden.
Not the full game. For people who have to have an objective, can be frustrating.
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Release Date : 2008/06/17
System : PC
Publisher : EA Games
Developer : Maxis
Category : Simulation
ESRB : E
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