Archives for category: PC

A few days back I got hold of Spore – after minimal wrangling with the EA store, which was strange considering the faffing I had with the Creature Creator – and apart from the time I spent on this post I haven’t been able to tear myself away from the game. The only reason I stopped is because my laptop overheated and made my graphics go all glitchy, which was nice. I’m posting this from my iPod while watching Dragon’s Den, which I guess makes me some sort of Web 2.0 multitasking machine! Well, drafting it. I’m still Web 2.0. The only thing I’m missing is a hipster haircut.

When Spore was in development I really wasn’t too interested in it, mostly because I never thought it would be able to live up to the hype a game like this would inevitably generate. I ignored the development for a while, also for the reason that I wouldn’t have even thought it would even run on my rapidly aging PC. Then my computer imploded in on itself, I got a laptop more powerful than a wristwatch, and Spore got interesting again after watching a few gameplay videos and some lots of tinkering with the Creature Creator. 

So September 5th comes, my Spore preload gets decrypted, and before you know it I’ve pissed away several hours. I had to break off the game for the night because I managed to wake up the entire house after pissing myself laughing at befriending a Portal turret during the Creature stage, who then went on to lead a full and happy life destroying the enemies my creature couldn’t charm the pants off of. Speaking of my creature:

This guy later went on to convert the entire planet with an international jihad.

This guy later went on to convert the entire planet with an international jihad.

One charm offensive later – with help from my best buddy the Portal turret, a Fatty O, and a Crunkle friend – my guys harnessed the power of fire, and before I knew it we had a full blown Tribe going. Not being one to change my ways, we later went on to convert the nearby tribes with a set Broadway musicals. But, because not every tribe can appreciate the finer points of a 12 piece band complete with maracas, didgeridoos and wooden flute things, we had to use spears instead to convert them. Convert them to corpses, I mean. After that, the tribe celebrated with a dance party:

What better way to celebrate your superior charm with a dance party?

What better way to celebrate your superior charm than with a dance party?

After building a city, my guys took it upon themselves to charm their way across the planet using religion. Not content to stick to throwing impromptu musical skits, we soon decided that it would be much more efficient to use 200ft tall holograms to get the point across to these heretics:

The power of Crunkle compels you!

The power of Crunkle compels you!

A planetary scale jihad later and the planet was mine. 

I don’t have a lot to say about the Space segment, but only because I spent most of the time I played on it flying round the planet being awed at this fantastic game.

For the interested, I have a stash of things I’ve created on mootnet. I also go by “mootzilla” on the Sporepedia. Needless to say I doubt I’ll be uninstalling this game soon, and not because of that “Three installs and you’re out” bullshit either.

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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.