For those that don’t know, I was invited to the Spore Community Day event at Maxis in Emeryville, CA on Friday, August 22nd to tour the studio and get some hands on game play before the release of Spore. This had to be one of the most exciting days of my life as I’ve been following this game for three and a half years. This post will be my actual game play experience, if you want to read more about the tour, then read this article: Maxis Tour.
I was able to log into the game with my user account, LadyM. This allowed any creatures I made to be uploaded to my Sporepedia page as I played. The main menu screen has a galaxy like you would see in the Creature Creator but there are several planets on it. If you highlight over the planet it will say “new game.” Each game you play is saved on a planet. You can have as many games going as you like. If you highlight over a saved game, it is a planet lined in blue and has the name of the planet and what stage you are in when you last played. Someone tried to spin the galaxy like in the CC but it didn’t work. Plenty of easter eggs to find and a hint that we should be sure to look for a llama.
I choose a planet on the upper right and named it LadyMpire. The next step was to choose whether I wanted my cell to be an herbivore or carnivore. I choose herbivore so the game told me to eat the green food in the tidepool. Playing through the cell stage gives you some extra bonus super powers that you won’t have if you jump into the game at a later stage. The cell stage isn’t long, maybe 10-15 minutes and worth the time it takes to play it. When I clicked to start the game, the introduction video played. It was so cool to watch in person, the meteor crashing to the planet, cracking open and out comes my little single cell. It’s so cute… yes, you are, a cute, little cell.
So I had my little black cell with three eyes and it swam around and ate green food, the food was easy to find and the more we ate the more DNA currency we found. There is a meter at the bottom of the screen that fills as you gather DNA and when you reach a certain stage, you progress in your evolution. There are many other little cells trying to eat too so you have to get there fast to get the food. Along the way there are pieces of meteor. Inside are special parts that add to your editor list. There are six items total you can find that help you evolve better, I found 3 of them. You can also kill other creatures for parts but I didn’t kill anyone. The game has a ton of achievements to earn and I earned one for not killing anyone in the cell stage.
When I had some DNA to spend, I did the mating call to attract a mate. They did a little dance, made a little love and up comes the creature editor. From here I could add more flagella and a spike and change eyes. As the cell stage progresses and you eat more, your creature will grow bigger in front of you and will encounter bigger predators along the way. Each time I saved in the editor, its saved my cell but it won’t show in my Sporepedia until the game goes live.
Once I reached the end of the phase I got a congratulations message that I was on my way to sentience and I could progress to the next stage. The creature editor opened up and I could now add legs and more parts. Note that you don’t get all the parts right away. You have to find them or earn them to have the full editor. So in another cool video, my creature who I know named Augusto, walked up on land and made a nest.
Our next goal was to explore around us and find parts and see who else lived near us. There is a mini map in the lower left hand corner and it shows your nest location as well as the location of other creatures. If you haven’t met them, it will show as a question mark. This is the stage where low complexity creatures come into play. You meet small creatures that don’t have a lot of parts and you have several choices. You can ignore them or you can ally with them and be friends or attack them and kill them. Once dead you can eat them as food if you are a carnivore. You can eat the wrong food but your creature will throw up and remind you that an herbivore does not eat meat.
One of the first creatures to show up that I recognized was the Galleni, a creature that I made.
It looked really cool in the game. I was surprised at how a simple creature could look so good. I added Oviraptor to my buddy list in hopes that one of his creatures would show up and it did. The anklebiter was in my game.
It was an exciting moment to come across a creature I recognized. I tried to befriend it but they attacked me so I fought back and killed one, or two. There is a pop up that tells you that you can earn DNA by your actions. If I killed three anklebiters, I could get forty DNA points, so I did. Along the way I also found my very own Mallen.
It looks great inside the game, I tried to be friends but I couldn’t manage it at first but later I did. I also made them pack mates. I also met the Parketor and Mernah that I made and they both animated much better than I thought, neither of them wanted to be friends.
To ally with a creature is tricky. You hit the green chat button and select the creature. A bar comes up that is half moon shaped and is a meter. The creature does an action like singing and the bar fills on the right to a certain point. You are supposed to mimic that action with your creature, so if it sings, you sing. If you are successful then the bar on the left fills part way. There are three or four actions and the goal is to meet in the middle with the bar. If this happens you become friends. You must do it three times with three different creatures to become allies. The difficulty in this is when they want to dance but you don’t have the dance move yet. You will fail to fill the meter and they will shake their head and walk away. You can try again or wait until later.
When you get some DNA points, you go back to your nest and do the mating call. You click on the one with hearts and they do that love dance and the editor comes up allowing you to use the new parts you found. The music for the mating was so amusing, it was like romantic ballads playing. The music throughout the game was awesome. It was earthy and very fitting for whatever scene you were experiencing. I would suggest that you put headphones on and turn it up to experience the whole thing. At one point I could hear water running, crickets chirping and of course the creatures singing and making their usual noises.
Another cool moment was coming across one of the creatures Will made in the demo. It’s called a Horatio and I squealed when I found it, pointing to everyone.The picture below is a recreation as I cannot find the original in a photo but we all should remember it from the demo. It really does exist.
There was a lot of squealing and poking as we found interesting thing in the game. Hydro sat to my left so we showed each other all the cool stuff we came across. The guy to my right seemed to be in the same place as me each time, at one point we encountered the exact same creature. Though the game said I could move on, I could have actually played longer in the creature phase and picked up more parts and met more creatures.
I spent most of my game play in the creature stage. Exploring was just too much fun. As my creature got bigger so did the creatures that I met. I noticed they become bigger and more advanced. Some started out neutral and some were aggressive early on. I did die several times during the game. When that happens you will start over at the nest. One of the events or goals is you have to move your nest by following a migration pattern in the mini map. It’s not hard to do and changes your location. Another random event was an earthquake. I was exploring when I could hear some booming and the ground shook, meteors fell from the sky. I thought it might be a UFO but I never saw one.
The Rocket creature that was attacking me
The most interesting event was when I was attacked by my own rocket creature and I was trying to fight, I was suddenly killed from behind by my own teapot in epic size.
Holy smokes that thing was huge. I asked about it later and there are some triggers to make it happen and it’s usually a silly creature. Hydro had a giant flower in his game. I never thought my teapot would be so scary.
I heard another player say that she had a UFO show up and abduct one of her creatures during the tribal stage. Half of the developers said tribal was their favorite stage of the game. When Hdyro was playing space stage, he showed me that he had a hologram of his creature on the planet. He also had some pod looking things show up around his nest but we weren’t sure what that was about.
I was trying to finish creature stage and then I wanted to jump to space but I ran out of time. Almost as soon as I gained enough DNA to move on to the next level, it was time to stop. It left us all wanting more.
Every time I entered the editor inside the game, it automatically uploaded my revised creature to my Sporepedia page. I know several people were following my game play by refreshing while I was doing it. My page also shows that I own the game which I don’t. It shows up because I have played the final game while logged into my account.
The Sporepedia is so cool; what we see now is such a small part of what it will be able to do inside the game. You can access your creatures and your buddy’s creatures easily, look for other user names and download creatures into the game. It also has stats printed on it with numbers and colors. It’s like a webpage inside the game and is capable of choosing content as you need it. It will also sort your space ships and buildings. Just know that whatever you think of the Sporepedia now, you will love it in the game. There is also a new page that tracks the lineage of a creature. So much information.
I’m so excited now to get this game; I can’t wait to play it. It has exceeded any of my expectations and was everything I had hoped for and more. I wish all of you could have been with me to play this but if you ask me questions, mostly about cell and creature stage, I’ll try to answer. Not much longer now!!