Monday, March 20, 2006

We have seen the future, and its name is "Spore"


Everybody's talking about "Spore," a new video game about to be released by Maxis/Electronic Arts and hailed as taking gaming to a whole new level. And it's easy to see why (video, 36 min). A key feature of the game is what the developers refer to as 'procedural language' used within the game's programming architecture that enables users to create their own spores through to highly evolved creatures by tweaking different components, but in keeping within the universe parameters set by the indoskeleton or exoskeleton, mobility functions of different body components in relation with other components, defence and attack features selected for the animal etc. The connection between creature component, shape, ambulation, food, etc. and how that animal behaves in a given environment (from the microscopic to oceanic to lush forest terrains) is mesmerising and certainly beats cause-and-effect flowcharts kids do in science and social studies hands down!! Each 'game' lasts the lifetime of the creature created by the player, and includes mating, procreating, forgaging or hunting for food (depdneing on whether the creature is carnivorous or herbiferous etc.), and tweaking offspring to produce different kinds of creatures etc. (via Phil Jones). We're not doing the complexity of the game justice here in our summary of it. Watch the video. Get the game. It'll forever change how you think about gaming.

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