Gamasutra caught up with Spore executive producer Lucy Bradshaw for a quick Q&A with the Spore Franchise:

Christian Nutt: Earlier, you talked about being responsive to the demands of your audience, and you also talked about different layers at which different audiences can interact with the product. How do you identify those targets? Is it research? Is it data mining?

LB: It’s a combination of all of those things. We do some amount of research, we put telemetry into the game, and even back with The Sims, all of the different games that were uploaded as a house, we could find out what was there, what the size of the family was, and what the average career level was. And we do that with Spore.

With the achievements, we can find out which players have achieved certain things, where’s the depth of play, where they started cheating because they stopped earning achievements, and those kinds of things. We can find out a lot through the basic telemetry that’s not conflicting with anyone’s privacy.

It’s just telling us about where people are spending time, and that allows us to navigate that space. The other thing is just creating a forum and keeping that open channel of communication. Between those two things, it’s sort of a history with Maxis.

read the full Q&A