For those of us eagerly awaiting the release of Spore, from The Sims creator Will Wright and his Maxis studio, Tuesday was a day for whetting the appetite.
That's because Maxis, an Electronic Arts studio, released a little crumb for us, a video from the cell-stage of Spore.
The game, as you may already know, is an evolution game: It tasks players with growing their characters from little spore-level creatures step-by-step up the ladder to the tribe level and then on to cities, whole civilizations, and eventually on to the galactic level.
And it's clear that one of the reasons people like myself are so excited about Spore is because, one, how often do you get to play a brand-new game from Wright? And two, how many games do you get to play that let you work your way all the way up the evolutionary chain from nearly meaningless microscopic ooze to galaxy-conquering demi-god?
Not so many. In fact, just this one.
So what is the cell stage? Well, I could explain it. Or, I could let Maxis give you the goods: "Cell stage is your introduction to the fundamentals of Spore. You play a simple organism which is dropped onto your planet by way of meteor. The stage takes place in a top-down 2-D environment and you can play as an herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. You earn DNA and collect parts to improve your creature's abilities...Avoid larger, carnivorous organisms while feeding on smaller organisms or algae--all while being tossed around in strong ocean currents. Eventually you will grow large enough to sprout legs and crawl out of the water and up onto land."
With Spore, the innovators at Maxis have created what they're calling a massively single-player game. This is a way of explaining that though the game is for one player only, it allows people to create all kinds of content--creatures, spaceships, odd buildings, and so forth--and then upload that content into the larger Spore universe. And that means that everyone gets to share in the entire community's content creation, even if you can only play the game by yourself.
Now, with the cell-level video, Maxis is letting the public see a little bit more detail about the game, which is slated for a September 7 release.
One of the other cool things coming down the pike in the Spore-osphere is the June 17 release of the creature creator. This will be a piece of free software that will allow people to create creatures for the game, even before they own Spore. And that's really smart because, having played with this tool before, I know that it is a lot of fun. And people will be able to save their creatures, share them with others, and then use them when the game comes out.
How cool is that?
On June 10, Geek Gestalt hits the highways for Road Trip 2008. I'll start in Orlando, Fla., and visit many of the South's most interesting destinations. Stay tuned, and be sure to keep up, both now and during the trip, with what I'm doing on Twitter.