I actually have to tip my hat off to the Spore team.  Usually we never get a chance to see any prototypes of the games that are developed, but today that has changed.  If you head on over to Spore.com, you will see that today’s “SporeDay” is just that.

What you will find is ParticleMan, a prototype of their space stage.  Here is a description straight from the horses mouth:

ParticleMan simulates gravitational attraction between particles in a cloud. This system was used to study such gravitational dynamics as orbits, nebula formation, star formation and particle streams from sources like pulsars and black holes.

ParticleMan has the following elements:

  • Particles — point masses which interact with each other
  • Gravity Wells — fixed point masses which attract or repel particles(depending on magnitude, which can be negative), but do not move or change mass without user input
  • Particle Guns — sources that spit particles out at a given angle and velocity
  • Gravity Wells and Particle Guns may only be placed on the green grid in the z=0 plane.
  • The Iso Surface — an isosurface geometry object derived from the positions and masses (which act as field strengths) of the particles.

Turn ‘particle-particle interactions’ under physics off and on to see the difference between the more orderly and predictable independent particles and the chaotic interacting ones.

With particle-particle interactions off, you can create some elaborate streams of particles using the Particle Gun and Gravity Well objects.

Play with physics controls to create different kinds of gravitational simulations. High fusion rates can be used to simulate star birth in collapsing nebulae, for example and low fusion rates can be used to simulate interaction between stars in a galaxy.