It seems that many sites are pouring out their impressions of the Spore event held yesterday at Maxis. Below are a few sites that attended the event.
Wired – Spore is a casual game with a ridiculous amount of depth, allowing you to contribute as much or as little as you’d like. The game’s relatively low system requirements mean you won’t need a brand-new rig to get to work, and interoperability between the Mac and PC versions (which will be released on the same day, by the way) means people can swap creatures, regardless of which operating system they use. The Creature Creator is only the beginning — with the full game coming in September, we’ll be cranking out vehicles of all kinds, and our own buildings, all of which can be shared with the world.
VentureBeat – The early release of the Creature Creator will actually make EA’s job of developing the game much easier. That’s because users can upload their own creatures into a Sporepedia, which can be shared with every other player who buys the game. The players download those creatures into their own games. The game developers concentrate on creating tools and game mechanics, but they don’t have to use tons of their own artists to populate the world with their own creatures.
Gigaom – Perhaps most ambitious, the content-sharing aspects of the Creature Creator can actually be integrated into Spore gameplay. While Maxis has made its own beastiary for the solo game, players can import their friends’ user-created creatures into it too, via a “Sporepedia” buddy list. The game tracks creatures’ meta data, and deposits them where appropriate in the game’s evolutionary timeline. You can even set preferences for the kind of creatures you prefer in your game, and Spore will search the player-made database for appropriate species and send them to your computer. (Sort of a TiVo for monsters.) Bradshaw told me Maxis is hoping to publish aggregated creature data on its site, showing which species are most popular and successful. It’ll be fun to see what creatures thrive in a kind of crowd-sourced simulation of Darwinian selection.
Gamasutra – Spore.com, which is only partially accessible until the free trial release of Spore Creature Creator next week, will essentially serve as a social networking site where users can share their creatures (which, in true Web 2.0 fashion, are tagged and can then be sorted by users) and interact with one another.
And in a clever move, much of the user-generated data from Spore.com is output in RSS or as embeddable HTML, and can be easily integrated into blogs and other social networking sites such as Facebook.
As a side note, the procedural nature of Spore‘s creatures mean that data is enormously compressible; creatures are exported directly to PNG image files, which can be viewed in regular image software but which also contain all the information needed to load the creature up in the game. They are only a few dozen kilobytes in size.