A few days back I got hold of the Spore Creature Creator trial – the leaked version, actually – and basically, I couldn’t peel myself away from it the entire time it was installed. I knew eventually that I would have to uninstall it, and in time I weaned myself off of it long enough to begin the process of uninstallation. Of course shortly after that I went and dropped £5 on the full Creature Creator but that’s beside the point.

Even though there’s no trace of the full version of Spore in it, this Creature Creator is one of the most fun things I’ve installed in long time. It’s not like you even have to pour in hours to make the perfect creature, I knocked up this little bastard in about 20 minutes or so:

He enjoys pottery, soft furnishings, and ripping his enemies to shreds.

His name is “Bitey”.

It really is ridiculously easy to make things like this. No matter how many legs, or heads, whatever you throw on it the game will animate it, texture it, and pull all sorts of technical trickery on it. I’ve made some quite literally terrifying things with this, and the game doesn’t bat an eyelid at rendering whatever eldritch horror you come up with. I don’t think you can make asymmetric creatures, but thats really a non-issue. What really gets me going – in a really geekish sort of way – is how the game stores your creature in a 30kb or so .png image. I’m curious how much of that is actually the image and what space is left for the actual creature data. Nigh on everything is procedurally generated so I’m going to assume its the bare bare minimum to recreate it.

I didn’t really give a damn about Spore previously, with everything that Maxis were promising I wouldn’t have thought they would have been able to ram everything they were hyping up into it. After spending some time with the Creature Creator though I’m really looking forward to Spore now. The system specs aren’t exactly demanding either, so you won’t even need a Crysis-spec computer to run it. I would imagine your CPU would need to be suitably beefy for all the procedural content, though.

My only issue is that once I get the full game, my in-game universe is going to be dominated by dancing genitalia. It really didn’t take long for people to start making crudely modelled penises, but what would you expect? It’s the internet.