Spore

Here’s a thirty-five minute long video of Will Wright’s presentation of Spore at the Computer Game Developers’ Conference. Whoever wrote the description is right; it does look like it’s going to be the best videogame ever made. (If you don’t want to or can’t watch the video, GameSpy did a write-up of it). And here’s another longer video of the entire presentation.

Pretty much every time I’ve seen a demo of the game, I’ve been hugely impressed. But what impresses me the most about this demo, even more than how amazing the game looks, is the philosophy behind it. Not just the stated premise — you can have a game that allows infinite content without an infinite budget — but the philosophy of pushing the limits of what games can do and what games are about. From what I’ve seen, the game delivers on what it promises, and each component of it (for example, making an arbitrarily-designed creature learn how to walk) is impressive on its own. And that could end up as either a shallow tech demo with a slick front end, or a traditional RTS or Sims type game with some new features tacked on.

Instead, you get the impression that the philosophy is to do whatever it takes to make the core idea (a simulation of life from the cellular level to the galactic level) work, instead of cutting corners and doing traditional stuff and taking the easy way out.

And even more impressive, doing all that without being so damn arrogant. Wright acknowledges influences wherever they come from, and every time I’ve seen him talk, I never get the impression that he sets his games off as superior to other games. They just end up, more often than not, being that way. It’s really nice to see a guy and his team and his project getting attention based on merit instead of hype.

Now I just really, really want to play the thing. I’m not so arrogant to assume that I could’ve gotten a spot on the project if I’d tried — at Maxis, especially after the move to Redwood Shores, people talked about Spore like the people in Logan’s Run talked about Sanctuary. But I did have a few people ask if I were interested, and my take was that I didn’t have anything useful to contribute to the project, so I shouldn’t even attempt to get on it. After seeing the video, I have to say I’m glad I’m not working on it, so I can just enjoy it when it comes out.

But maybe, after this Disney job ends, I can try to weasel my way onto the expansion packs or the sequel… Anybody got any contacts for me?

3 thoughts on “Spore”

  1. Thank god for small favors — my laptop’s video card is crappy enough that I can’t play Civilization IV, much less something like Spore. If I could, I’d probably curl up into a ball playing it until the cops beat down the door to evict me. Sigh.

  2. You’ve got more self-control than I do, then! I bought an entire new computer mainly for playing one game (Half-Life 2). I will say, though, that even the biggest time sinks for me — Civ IV and the Sims 2 — haven’t taken up nearly as much time for me as my damn RSS feed reader. If only I could get a computer that wasn’t powerful enough to browse the web, I’d have tons more free time.

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