Field Studies 1: Sporegasm

sporepedia

No-one seems to have noticed except Eurogamer, who failed to link it, but Sporepedia is already publicly accessible. This is the online field guide to all the creatures people have created with Spore, and the source from which the game will eventually populate the planets you play in with AI-controlled versions of the races people have made.

Right now it’s mostly Maxis folks and a few journos creating, and I think we can conclusively say Maxis are better at it. If you stumble on a Horncrested Bristlefrog up there, though, that’s my first proper stab.

The incredible thing about Sporepedia is that those thumbnail images you see are the creature files. Drag that image right from your browser to the game window, and it loads that creature in all its scampering glory. The creature’s DNA is actually coded into the metadata of a 25 kilobyte PNG image.

It takes a long, long time to get the test-the-limits urge out of your system – which is probably why they’re releasing the editor so far ahead of the game. Because you don’t really appreciate how exciting a prospect Spore is until you get past the “Can I break it?” phase (yes, oh God yes) and create something you truly love. The more personal a protagonist is to you the greater your invest in its plight, and it doesn’t get much more personal than a species you’ve hand-built from clay and vertebrae.

Next: Best creations, My creations.

22 Replies to “Field Studies 1: Sporegasm”

  1. Thank you. Thank you so very, very much.

    I think I’ve just seen the rest of my life laid out before me O.O

  2. What with the APB character creator and this, I may never get into playing a game properly again.

    Also: Put some backstory into your creations Tom, for us poor folks who haven’t got access to the creator – Palmface is disturbing but without explanation.

  3. That link doesn’t seem to take me to a specific creature page, just the general list.

    James likes most basic html. Not sure about images, and probably not tables, but most of the rest of the essentials.

    Grill: roger, wilco. The Horncrested Bristlefrog has some words. Haven’t quite settled on whether I want origin stories, naturalist observations or honest gamer talk. So far I’ve preferred the latter in other people’s creations.

  4. Haha, I immediately typed in ‘Nightmare’, just to see what came up and there was one of yours’ Pentadact.

  5. I think the Earth is my favourite spore in that screenshot.
    What’s the name of the Great Penis Race?
    Also, I think undercroc is pretty cool. It’s got a unhappy-red-face rating though :(

  6. Interestingly the number of creatures has more than doubled since I posted this, so I guess the editor was rolled out to a lot of new people today. It’s release into the wild on Tuesday, at which point: may God have mercy on us all.

    Anon: I suggested ‘Freudian Nightmare’ for Tim’s living phallus, but I think it was deleted from Sporepedia. I suspect cocks and copyright infringement will be viewed dimly.

    Lack: Did you see Pan’s Labyrinth? That thing was loosely based on the dinner table monster from that film. A rather cutesy version, but there’s something about disjointed faces I find fascinating. Also, yes, I like the word ‘nightmare’.

  7. I don’t know any magazines released on a Saturday. Unless it was some form of subscriber copy? I only ask as I was under the impression that it wasn’t on any magazine coverdisk due before Tuesday…

  8. Did you hear which mag, Rob?

    If anyone grabs it and makes something cool, do link it here. Ogling other people’s stuff is almost exactly as fun as making your own.

  9. I actually saw a friend’s creature on that, after many minutes of a gaping mouth I PM’d him through steam saying “LOLOLL I SAW YOUR CREATURE”

    Christ, I’ve never been so excited over seeing something that looks like a victim of Chernobyl.

  10. From the Sporepedia:
    “How do you see one of these Creatures in your Spore Creature Creator? Right Click on the thumbnail image of the creature. Save the image to your desktop. Drag the saved image from your desktop into the Spore Creature Creator. Voila! The Creature is in your game.”
    WHA?!?! How in the world is that possible? I find the idea of simply dropping a png file into the game to create a moving 3d character far more fantastic than any of the characters. Must find out what happens if I drop a non-spore image into it.
    Now that the demo is out, the database is updating at a speed about 1000 creatures a minute.

  11. Basically PNG format images have fields for ‘metadata’ – extra info that doesn’t affect the image. Spore’s creatures are tiny enough to have their entire DNA coded into that space, and the game then re-generates them from that.

    Unlike other games, it doesn’t need to store every polygon or animation frame of a model to know exactly how it should look: all that stuff is ingeniously generated by algorithmic procedures from the basic facts about the creature.

    So yeah, it’s pretty incredible. It’s a beautiful piece of software.

  12. Ok when the first talk from Will Wright came out along with him showing the audience the game…it looked amazing!!
    However when i bought the game they had changed soo many things…n its worse now!
    In the creature stage there is no real hierachy of the food chain…i found myself just annihalating everything in my path! which got a bit boring after a while….

    The amoeba stage is too short..and there are not enough parts to unlock!
    The space stage gets very annoying after a while as i spent ages flying to a distant area…then sudenly a virus breaks out on my home planet and i have to fly all the way back just to kill 6 creatures!!!! WTF
    it just became a bit boring after a while and unexciting…

    However it was a good attempt at a fun, interesting, and chalenging game by Will Wright. You have to start somewhere??

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