Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Joy of Spore

Everyone seemed to be saying Spore was coming but I hadn't paid much attention to it. But last week the folks from EA Games posted the Spore Creature Creator, a program where you could make some of the creatures that you could play with in the full game. I must admit that I thought that it was a cheap gimmick but with a free trial download decided to check it out.

It was simply incredible. I would have bought the full version immediately but for the fact that there is no Mac download and apparently you can't buy it in Australia! In any case, my 7 year old son took to it as if it was the greatest thing ever. Basically, even in the crimped trial version you can create creatures with stunning 3D rendering and an amazing array of options. This was a program made for his mind. Over the last few days he has created 84 creatures, each with its own name and distinctive features. (I can only imagine what he will do with the full version).

Spore allows you to upload you creations to your own page. My son's is The Honk and you can see 33 of his creatures right there. For instance, here is one based on the Flanimal, Blunging. But most of his creatures are right from his own mind. In all of his early work, it was a requirement that a creature had a non-standard number of eyes, limbs and heads. You really want to be any of these things. Later on, a couple of days later, his work matured into things that might be more practical. The sheer flexibility in the design is just incredible. It will be amazing to see how all this comes together in the full game. I cannot recommend the trial at least highly enough.

One of my favourites is my son's rendition of his Pleo dinosaur (click here). The program allows you to film your creature in action and then to upload the video straight to YouTube. So here is his Pleo and its children doing some tricks.