Will Wright's Spore > Spore: General

Will Wright's Spore FAQ


Gaming Steve:
This FAQ is based on what we currently know about Spore from the demo shown at the Gaming Developer's Conference 2005 by Will Wright. text in black indicates things known for sure about the game from the demonstration, either from what was seen on screen or from comments made by Will Wright. Text in blue indicates inference and speculation based on what we know, and from a realistic assessment of the way the game will work.

1 General

Q. What exactly is Spore?
A. Spore is the next game from Will Wright/Maxis, probably best known for being the makers of Sim City and The Sims. Spore takes elements from many of Maxis' previous games such as Sim Earth, Sim Life and Sim City and blends them into a simulation that allows the player to influence the development of a life form from a single-cellular stage, through multi-cellular life in the oceans and on land, to the development of sentiency, tool-use, and eventually interplanetary and interstellar flight. All of the information we have about the game at the moment is from the talk/demonstration "The Future of Content" given by Will Wright at the Gaming Developer's Conference. More information and pictures can be found at Gamespy's article on the presentation here , and from Gaming Steve's own podcast available here.

Q. When will Spore be released?
A. No release date has been announced, and there is nothing official hinting at any time frame. The game did seem near completion at the GDC minus a few things (the music seems to be a place holder at the moment); however we'll have to wait for E3 for any more official information.

Q. What will the system requirements be?
A. Unknown at this time.

Q. Is Spore the final name?
A. Unknown. The name "Spore" was featured on the menu screen that was seen at the end of the demonstration, but this could easily be changed before release.

Q. Do you require an internet connection to play?
A. No, although having one would greatly increase the longevity and enjoyment of the game as it allows you access to all the custom content created by other players. However, as Will Wright stated during the demonstration: "we can include tens of thousands of creatures on the CD for people who don't have internet access."

Q. Do I have to pay monthly?
A. Spore is a single player game which takes its data from an online "library" which consists solely of player data.  So while perhaps one of the most important aspects of Spore is how everything is basically player-created and designed (for the most part), it is not an MMO. It is unlikely that a monthly fee will be charged after you buy the game.

Q. How exactly does the multiplayer aspect of the game work?
A. The game has been described as a "MSOG" - Massively Single-player Online Game. There is a central database which collects creatures/buildings/objects that where custom created by players, stores them, and then distributes them to other players. The creatures are compressed in size to about 1k; using methods inspired by the "Demo Scene" to compress complex graphical information into very small sizes.

Q. How will the nature of the content that is added to your world be decided?
A. In the demo Will Wright said the computer would pick and choose what to add based on the computer's categorization of the content it recieves, and based on the created content in your own world. How exactly this works is unknown.

Q. How will saving work? Will there be savegames?
A. With no official information at hand, the current understanding is that saving in Spore will work similarly to Sims: that is, there will be an option to save one's progress, but there will only be one slot available per creature (think Diablo II). Archival/multiple savegames will most likely not be part of the game.

Q. Can you cheat?
A. The situation on cheats is in the dark too. Previous Maxis games have all had cheats; although how this will work with an automated online database of creatures is unknown - Creatures having unfair advantages over others may unbalance the game of those not cheating.

Q. Who owns my creature?
A. It's almost guaranteed that all creative output from Spore will be owned by EA one way or another.

2 Gameplay

2.1 General
Q. How does your creature evolve?
A. The general consensus seems to be that this is done by hunting and killing other creatures (this was certainly the method used during the demonstration). Eating gains you "evolution points", which allow you to enter the character creation screen. To what extent you can change your creature is unknown.

Q. What happens when you die?
A. We don't know, it was never brought up in the demo.

Q. Does combat act like a cut scene, where we just watch your creature fight with another, or will we actually control it?
A. From the descriptions we have, fights are neither, or at least not fully either. Fights may be similar to the interaction between characters seen in The Sims -- you tell them what to do, and the individual does it. Considering that algorithmic evaluation is the core of Spore's programming and AI, combat will most likely work in an "Give Creature Attack Order" -> "AI fights" kind of way.

Q. What does the UFO do?
A. Wright called it the "Swiss Army Knife" of the Spore universe. The demo demonstrated that when the interstellar drive is obtained, it can fly all over the galaxy and contact other life forms; establish interplanetary settlements and terraform and even destroy planets. Other features mentioned but not shown include the ability to "Uplift" and even cross-breed creatures.

Q. Will you be able to enslave other races, or create pets or other domestic animals?
A. The intergalactic zoo is pretty much confirmed for the UFO stage of the game. Domestication and slavery have not been confirmed or ruled out as of yet.

Q. Will there be weather, like rain, snow, hurricanes?
A.There was definitely weather when the Genesis (terraforming) Device was used during the demo: thunderclouds and lightning. If that was specific to the genesis device or whether there is normally weather is not known for sure. No other weather-like effects where shown during the talk.

2.2 Creature Customization
Q. Can you make a species of creature sentient without leaving the water?
A. No one's sure. This wasn't brought up in the demo. Clues might be found in an earlier Maxis game, Sim arth and the fact that sentient, tool using species could only develop on land - the thinking going that fire is required to start civilization. What is known is that during a later stage of technological development cities can be established underwater, much as they can be established on other planets lacking a breathable atmosphere.

Q. Can you create a vegetarian creature?
A. This wasn't brought up in the demo. Plants where definitely shown on screen, but whether or not they can be eaten in the same way other creatures can be is not known.

Q. Can my creature fly?
A. This wasn't mentioned in the demo, so the jury is still out.

Q. Can you create a [insert other whacky idea for creature]?
A. The creature creator is apparently extremely dynamic and versatile, with a simple interface similar to the creation software in The Sims 2 but allowing for much, much greater variety in design. Beings ranging from the reptilian, tail-handed tripod created by Will Wright, to the infamous Carebear where seen during the demonstration. Depending on how whacky your idea is, it seems likely that you'll be able to create something at least approximating it.

Q. Will we be able to choose abilities or behaviour patterns for our creatures, like venom or hibernation?
A. There doesn't seem to be an option for Abilities in the creature editor, and it could potentially unbalance the game. As a balance issue, we can only wait and see what the Spore team decides.

Q. Will there would be any variance between individual members of a species?  Perhaps small changes in colouring, size, or specific markings?
A. Judging by the screenshot of the tribal stage, the members of a given species only differ in size, which most likely is an indicator for age. Individualization is one of Will Wright's biggest points however, so it's not totally out of the picture. The question of how hard it is to implement is the pivotal issue in this.

Q. Does each species have a different "personality"? How will this be determined?
A. Civilizations definitely have separate emotional characteristics even within the same species. In the demonstration Will Wright mentioned that different cultures could be trained to be more 'emotional or logical' during the tribal phase, as made evident by the varying differences in the architecture of the two cities shown during the 'civilization' phase of the game. The one other species seen in the demo (during the interstellar phase) also appeared to have a distinct "philosophy" - it responded violently to the UFO, firing missiles at it. The demonstration seemed to imply that the personality of the creatures was influenced by the various items given to them in the tribal phase such as spears and musical instruments, rather than a more concrete 'point' system such as that used in The Sims games.

2.3 Other Customization
Q. Can you customize plants?
A. It was implied in the demo that certain plants where player created. How far this customization goes is not known.

Q. Are the items customizable? Can you actually go into their properties, or is it just their appearance that can be changed?  How well could the game handle the animations of animals interacting with your custom made objects?
A. Unsure on this one. Everything else in the game seems to be either created or generated by the computer dynamically, which implies they are. In the demonstration the UFO was used to visit another sentient species, who where wielding tridents; this seems to indicate a certain level of customizability in the items. As for custom properties, this is again mostly conjecture and no small amount of wishful thinking. It can't be ruled out, but as it is not a confirmed part of the game, I wouldn't get hyped up about it.

Q. Can the UFO be customized?
A. Although UFO customization was not shown at the demo, it seems likely that this will be a feature. The design of the demo UFO seemed to be similar to that of the city that produced it; implying that it was custom designed just as the city architecture was.

Q. How many different kinds of vehicles will we be able to design?  Tanks and planes seem confirmed, but what about boats or submarines?  Also, will we be stuck with one design per vehicle class?
A. Boats seem to be confirmed, and submarines are likely. It is possible that one design specifies an entire vehicle class, just as one design specifies your entire species.

Created and maintained by the GamingSteve.com Spore forum community

Date Started: 3/21/05
Last Update: 3/26/05
Version: 0.1 

Copyright (c) 2005 Stephen Glicker, all rights reserved.

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special thanks to Gaming Steve, who has given us so much information about Spore and has given us this forum to discuss it in  ;D



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