1up.com gives an indepth look and explanation of how the following prototypes (ParticleMan and BIOME) for Spore function. I admit, I played around with the prototypes but since I didn’t read the instructions (shame on me) I didn’t get the best results from the tools. Perhaps when I have some spare time I’ll jump back to giving both of them a whirl.
And “tools” is a pretty apt description. The two prototypes currently offered, BIOME and ParticleMan, are visually primitive digital erector sets, the kind of raw simulation programs Spore captain Will Wright builds his games around. Though adhering to no particular release schedule, Maxis says that they will post more prototypes in the coming weeks before the game’s launch.
While a fashionable act of open-source kindness may be one of the reasons players now have access to these abstract, somewhat baffling programs, the project is also an effort to document important stages in the making of a game that, from the start, has angled for a place in the history books. Wright and company are building an archive of their creative process.
Maxis estimates they have 40 prototypes to help design the game, but only 15 to 20 are on the level of ParticleMan and BIOME. Whether or not they plan to release them is still up for discussion.