The first programmer on the Spore team was a Maxis veteran named Jason Shankel. Prior to joining Wright on his evolution project, he’d been working on a project known as SimMars, which was essentially a Mars terraforming game that was supported financially by NASA before the plug was finally pulled.

“Even though SimMars never quite jelled for us, much of the technology we developed there made it into the early efforts on Spore,” Shankel said. “We had systems for simulating planetary climates and things like that.”

All told, Maxis produced between 30 and 40 prototypes, of which Shankel said between 10 and 20 are “unique and interesting.”

I’ve always wondered about SimMars, I’m glad we finally have a confirmation of where it went/what it turned into!  I am curious to see what prototypes (if any) they had for that game.  Or better yet, did SimMars turn into a prototype for Spore?  Regardless of what happened, I’m glad that Maxis finally put out a space-related game!  If you curious to read more into the prototypes of Spore, then I suggest you to check out the following article:

cNet – Behind the prototyping of Spore