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.