Spore (computer game)
Spore (English, [ spɔːɹ ]) is a computer game developed by Maxis based on an idea by Will Wright , the inventor of the Sims games . The aim of the game is to play a species in different phases from a single single cell to highly developed space travelers. You start with the single-cell stage in a Pac-Man -like game principle in 2D. By winning so-called “ DNA points” you expand your still rudimentary creature and reach the creature mode, which is displayed completely in 3D graphics.
The game is divided into several separate game sections that simulate different phases of the evolutionary development of living beings and differ from one another in terms of design, style of play and game goals.
In this initial phase of the game, the player controls a single micro-organism. The player can choose whether his microbe should be herbivorous, carnivorous or omnivorous. The goal is to eat weaker organisms and avoid stronger ones in a 2D environment in Pac-Man style , but you can also eat plants. The "DNA points" earned in this way improve the properties of your own creature, such as speed and attack and defense skills. In addition, the microbe grows when it eats enough food. As soon as the living being has reached a certain size, the second phase of the game begins.
The improvements are not awarded as points, as in a role-playing game, but are added to the next generation of the creature in the form of additional, freely placeable body parts.
In contrast to the cell phase, the creature phase takes place in a 3D environment.
The basic gameplay remains the same: Here, too, the player must obtain food for his creature and flee from stronger creatures. There are two types of food: plants and other creatures, with the appropriate food varying depending on the being's physique and weapons. Omnivores can eat both types of food. Furthermore, the player can earn “DNA points” by completing missions. You can u. A. Make friends with other species or exterminate them. With increasing intelligence, the player can have a pack of up to three members. Both conspecifics and allied creatures can become pack members. These remain in the pack until the end of the creature phase, unless they are released from the pack or killed. However, there are species with which you cannot befriend (you can recognize them by the red smiley symbol when you click on them). These tend to attack if you get too close to them. You can only make friends with them if you use the ability "siren song" (you get when you have completed the cell phase as a herbivore) and then immediately start making friends. Only in such cases do you have to make friends with four creatures per species in order to win the entire species as an ally (green smiley face) (with others there are three). You can make friends with creatures with orange smileys, but you should be quick because otherwise they will attack. When you notice the character, orange lightning bolts appear around their heads.
The earned "DNA points" are reinvested in improving the creature. For this purpose, the player must find a suitable conspecific and mate. The egg then laid leads the player into the editor to design the next generation of the creature.
The following things are edited:
- body shape
- Limbs (hands, legs, fins, claws, etc.)
- Sensory organs (eyes, ears, noses, etc.)
- Weapons (horns, poison glands, etc.)
- Other (increase social values and mobility)
Unlike in the Spore Laboratory, skills acquired through parts are no longer cumulative; for each ability only the highest value that is contributed by a part counts. However, not all parts are available, only the parts that can be won during the game by making friends or exterminating or found in skeletons.
The animations of the creatures are not predetermined, but are calculated automatically based on the position of the limbs and the structure of the skeleton.
The so modified offspring hatch from the egg and learn the skills of a parent by imitating them, after which they immediately grow to the size of an adult animal.
In the creature phase, so-called epic creatures appear for the first time. These are much larger than normal creatures and almost always hostile to the character. If you get too close, they can kill you with one blow. Epic creatures often appear where there are particularly many large skeletons. Its piercing roar indicates whether an epic creature is nearby. It is advisable to flee from it on heights, or if possible to seek refuge in a huge fossilized skeleton. The skills “slide”, “sneak” or “sprint” prove to be advantageous here. Despite its 1,000 health points, the epic creature can already be killed here, but this can be very difficult or very time-consuming. If you attack epic creatures they will run after you immediately, even on hills if they manage to climb the slope, but you can cut their way through trees or rocks. If you make friends with normal-sized conspecifics of an epic creature, they will leave you alone, but you cannot take them into the pack, even if you are allied with them.
An epic creature, whose name is unknown, lives in the deep seas of the planet. It only appears when the player is too far from the coast. Then the creature emerges from the water without warning and eats the player and his pack members. These creatures also live in inland lakes or in sea bays, the "entrance" of which can be safely passed by the pawn. Even if you fly, the water creature will catch you. It is therefore impossible to leave the continent on which you have landed.
Also in the creature phase you meet "villains", stray creatures with 250 life points and powerful social and attack abilities. Becoming friends with or defeating a villain earns 100 DNA points. Allied villains can become pack members.
For the first time you can see spaceships from other species at this stage. A flying spaceship is often announced by a noise like a theremin and panic behavior by creatures in the vicinity. Spaceships often abduct creatures, but the player is never among them. You can also find crashed spaceships.
The spice geysers can be seen for the first time. They have no effect on the player, but they can give flying creatures a lift.
Condition for the next phase: Increase the creature's intelligence to the maximum.
In this phase, the creature's physical development is complete and can no longer be changed. However, they can wear decorations and clothing (so-called tribal clothing ). The player no longer controls a single creature, but a whole group with a tribal hut. The camera is now free to move, you can see what is happening all over the planet. You can click on a single creature or choose several from the tribe list and command them at the same time. The selected creatures can go to a place on the continent on command, collect fruits, hunt, fish, tame pets, give gifts, attack, and make music for other tribes. Despite the unobstructed view of the camera, however, they cannot leave the continent. The tribal creatures use Stone Age tools such as spears and are able to communicate verbally with one another. The sounds of the creatures are generated based on the size, shape and type of their mouth or mouths. A creature with a beak will therefore make more bird-like noises, for example. In tribal times, the sounds become more complex to simulate speech. Nevertheless, the languages of the creatures all sound a bit rough and primitive and inexperienced, as if the language was not yet fully developed.
The player can buy different buildings to equip the tribe members with items. There are nine buildings in three categories:
- three music buildings (to form alliances)
- three weapon buildings (to wage war)
- three food buildings (to fish, speed up the gathering of fruits, or heal your own tribal members)
The “opponents” of this phase are other creatures from the previous phase, which have developed into an independent tribe in the course of the tribal phase. In contrast to the civilization phase, these tribes belong to other creatures than their own species. During this phase, five tribes emerge, two of which are neutral (yellow smiley), two do not like their own tribe (orange smiley) and one sees the tribe as an archenemy (red smiley) and sometimes attacks. As in the creature phase, the player can interact with these groups and, for example, wage war with them or form an alliance with them through musical performances. What is new is that you can give gifts to other tribes or steal food.
The "means of payment" in this phase is food. It can be harvested by herbivores from nearby trees or fished from the sea as algae. Carnivores, on the other hand, have to hunt other animals in the area or catch fish to get their food. Omnivores have both options, as well as fishing. However, if you kill creatures, you have to expect that conspecifics can attack the trunk, which can be very dangerous for babies. Anyone who has completed the cell phase as an omnivore can call the epic water creature from the creature phase while fishing for help. The procured food is laid out in front of the tribe so that hungry tribe members can feed on it and do not die of starvation. However, this also harbors some dangers as other hostile tribes tend to steal food from the player and add it to their own. Wild animals can also steal food and attack babies and other tribal members. The player can also steal food, but this worsens relations with the other tribes, even if the thieves are not caught.
The player is automatically warned if animals or other tribes intend to steal food or if another tribe attacks. You can immediately de-escalate an attack with fireworks when you have completed the creature phase as "social". Depending on the level of difficulty, the attacking tribe is either neutral or a friend (blue smiley). You can also improve relationships with gifts, but in smaller (but equally successful steps)
On the other hand, it is also possible to tame other animals from the creature phase and keep them as farm animals. Rogues no longer appear in this phase. Pack members from the creature phase who did not belong to their own species (including villains) are automatically present as pets from the start. The pets can also defend the village against stealing animals or attackers. Sometimes it can happen that the pets are stolen from spaceships. Tribal creatures can also feed on pets' eggs regardless of diet. The player can then use the food to buy buildings (see above) or produce offspring, which makes the tribe grow and become more powerful.
The tribe always has a chief who has been there from the beginning. This must always be there when you touch and make music. All other tribe members are free to choose their profession, depending on which tools, instruments or weapons they pick up in the buildings. You can also change it several times. Babies cannot equip themselves with objects and neither can they fight. If the tribal creatures can fly or sneak, they do so automatically when the situation requires it.
Also in this phase there are epic creatures that do not attack the village, but tribe members when they encounter them. They often stay near a trunk. You have more life here than in the creature phase, but are easier to kill with the new weapons.
Condition for the next phase: Alliance / destruction of all other tribes.
The player initially has control of a city. In this phase, the opposing groups belong to their own species, but have their own culture and architectural style. The player can interact with these cities by military, religious or economic means. In addition to means of transport such as vehicles, aircraft and ships, the editor can also be used to build houses, which are divided into factories, entertainment buildings, residential buildings and the town hall. Profits are made by taking over spice geysers with vehicles, over which spice drilling rigs are erected, or by building factories.
Epic creatures are also represented in this phase and can attack cities and vehicles. At this stage they can breathe fire. The water creature no longer appears.
The technology and language are very advanced in this phase, for example one communicates via 'optical global telephone'.
Condition for the next phase: "Submission" or unification of the entire planet into a single, large state.
With the construction of the spaceship - which can be designed by the player again - the space phase begins, the last and endless phase of the game. The design of the spaceship has no effect on the skills in the game and can therefore be done completely freely. The spaceship is the most powerful weapon and the most versatile tool of space-traveling civilization. It enables travel within the game galaxy, which contains millions of planets, including the terrestrial solar system. The data of the creatures of other players should be able to be transmitted to this galaxy via the Internet. Many objects designed by the players - creatures, civilizations, buildings, vehicles - can be shared with other players as long as they are connected to the Internet. There is no direct interaction between the players, the players only receive copies that are controlled by the game's artificial intelligence . The destruction of your own civilization by another player has no effect on your own game.
The game will automatically request random items when connecting to the internet and these will be used randomly by the computer in the game. By choosing a theme when starting a new game, the player himself can give the creations of a certain player, whom he has added as a friend, a kind of priority when choosing the creatures and creations that will play along.
In this phase the camera cannot move freely, but depends on the position of the player. However, you can zoom out with the camera so far that you can see the whole galaxy. The home planet and colonies can be seen through markings.
At the beginning of the phase you can leave the planet, but not your own solar system. The first mission is to investigate a crashed spaceship on a neighboring planet. Once you have completed this mission, you can also leave the solar system and travel from star to star. The second mission leads to the neighboring star system. There the player finds the mother colony of the crashed spaceship completely destroyed. A security drone mistakes the player for a Grox spaceship and attacks, but it is easy to repel.
The Grox are small red cyborg creatures that have built their empire in the numerous systems around the center of the galaxy and are blocking it. In the galaxy, they are considered cruel and warlike, and not without reason, and are enemies with almost all other species. Even before the first contact with the Grox, it can happen that they attack their home planet, colonies or other empires and have to be chased away.
There can also be attacks by pirates who steal money or spices. Sometimes pirates from alien planets also send out signals, usually from artifacts (see below), to lure the player into a trap.
After the first two missions have been completed, the further action is freely selectable. This endless game phase offers various play options:
- Artifact Search
- On some planets the player can find objects. There are two types: On the one hand valuable artifacts that can be sold at high prices, on the other hand design and color tools with which the appearance of a planet can be changed. The latter have almost no influence on the game itself.
- The spaceship can use various tools to transform lifeless planets into habitable ones. The tools include B. a volcano-generating device, a kind of tractor beam that can pull hydrous comets onto the planet, and a terraforming tool, similar to the Genesis machine from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan .
- After completing a terraforming process over a stage (e.g. from T0-T1), the planet must be populated with a certain number of animals and plants. For this, the player “kidnaps” flora and fauna from other planets and releases them on the planet to be populated.
- Planets have four terraforming levels (T0 – T3). The better the terraforming level, the more colonies can be built on the planet:
- T0 (Lifeless): A colony with no buildings.
- T1 (limited viability): A colony with a few buildings and three plant and three animal species.
- T2 (viable): Two colonies with around a dozen buildings each, and six plant and animal species each.
- T3 (Terra): Three colonies with the maximum number of buildings, as well as nine plant and animal species each.
- The spaceship enables colonies to be established that produce spices that can be sold for money. A dome colony can be established on a T0 planet. The oceans of the home planet can now also be colonized by cities under such domes. Colonies must be positioned on land and set up a certain distance from spice sources and other colonies.
- Colonies can be upgraded with entertainment, factory and residential buildings. In addition, up to eight towers per colony can be built for defense. Factories hurt morale, but produce spices (without factories, no spices are produced at all). Entertainment buildings increase morale. The maximum morale level is five.
- Residential houses increase the population (up to 120) and, depending on their placement, help to produce spices and / or improve morale.
- Conquest / Diplomacy
- In addition to non-intelligent creatures and planet-bound civilizations of creatures, the galaxy also contains other interstellar civilizations. These can be used for trade and diplomacy, but they can also actively attack the player's worlds.
- The player can destroy enemy cities with the weapons of the spaceship and destroy entire planets with a special weapon. He is supported by a maximum of five spaceships, whereby the spaceships can only be obtained by allies and only one per allied at a given time. The terraforming tools can also be used to destroy enemy cities.
Developer Will Wright was inspired for this game by teacher Maria Montessori .
The game SimEarth is considered the predecessor / source of inspiration for Spore. Some terraforming machines, such as atmosphere generators or the monoliths borrowed from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey , were taken directly from SimEarth.
Spore was presented at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2005 and 2006 , where it received various Game Critics Awards for two years in a row , including the award for the best PC game at the fair on both occasions.
The game was released on September 7th, 2008, or in Germany on September 4th, 2008. The game itself has been available for download from the EA Store since August 28th. However, it could not be activated until September 4th. The creature editor called Laboratory, which is also a part of Spore, was released before that date, namely June 17th, 2008. A demo of the laboratory, which contains only 25% of the creature's components, was for June 19th, 2008 planned, but was released on June 16.
Galactic Edition and Extensions
Along with the normal version of Spore, a special edition, the Galactic Edition, was released. In addition to the game, it also contains a making-of DVD, a poster, a 100-page manual, a DVD report How to Build a Better Being from National Geographic and an art book with conceptual drawings and drafts.
At the end of 2008, the "Sweet & Terrible Supplement Pack" was released, an expansion for the main game and the Spore Laboratory with 72 body parts and other additions for the Creature Editor. In mid-2009, the expansion " Galactic Adventure " was released, which provides an additional game mode with which you can land on planets from the space phase and have adventures there.
The game received very good ratings (Metacritic: 84 out of 100). However, measured against expectations, it is considered a commercial failure.
Since September 7, 2008, many buyers have been criticizing the SecuROM copy protection used by the manufacturer , which is supposed to prevent the game from being distributed illegally. When installing the game, EA uses product activation via the Internet. The company guarantees five activations on different computers. If “more than one important hardware component is changed at the same time” in a computer, it is considered a new system. If, for example, frequent hardware changes necessitate further installations, customer service will make a decision on a case-by-case basis.
There is also great criticism in Germany. In addition to the above Assumption, other points of criticism are often mentioned in this context. Many voices point out that possibilities for circumventing copy protection were offered for Spore even before the official publication.
The fear is also often expressed that Spore may no longer be used in a few years, because the publisher could have switched off the activation server for the game by then. However, the publisher EA has already announced that a patch will be released in good time if this occurs so that the game can still be installed afterwards.
- Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering (won)
- Outstanding Innovation in Gaming (nominated)
- Computer Game of the Year (nominated)
- Category Technical Achievement (won)
On April 26, 2011, a series offshoot with the title Darkspore was released . It is an action role-playing game in which the player has to fight opposing creatures with three creatures according to a diablo-like game principle, collect experience points and thus improve his creatures. The game received only average ratings (Metacritic: 65 out of 100).
The free game Thrive (eng. "Flourish, bloom") is largely inspired by Spore.
- Official German site of Spore
- Spore at MobyGames (English)
- Article about Spore & other video games: In the shark tank of evolution: simulation games with genes (Christian Horn, Fluter.de)
- rebell.at: With a lot of imagination (accessed April 4, 2008)
- Geemag.de (accessed April 4, 2008)
- Article about Spore at Spiegel online (English, accessed April 4, 2008)
- Brian Crecente: Maria Montessori: The 138-Year-Old Inspiration Behind Spore ( English ) In: Kotaku . March 29, 2009. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
- Archived copy ( Memento of the original from February 17, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Spore finally evolves to retail Sept 7th 2008
- - ( Memento of the original from February 17th, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Spore is out on September 5th!
- http://www.spore.com/getSpore#ccgetspore Creature Editor will be released on June 17th
- Metacritic.com , PC Average Rating, accessed October 31, 2011
- Michael Orth: Darkspore in the test : Save yourself this spore . In: GameStar . IDG . March 26, 2009. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
- EA retools 'Spore' DRM activation features. Retrieved July 17, 2010 .
- Chip.de ( Memento of the original from January 31, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. : "Spore: Illegal download record thanks to copy protection"
- pcwelt.de : "Illegal downloads in record highs - DRM to blame?"
- PCTipp.ch : "Spore: Copy protection will be relaxed"
- - ( Memento of the original from July 13, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- - ( Memento of the original from February 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Mathias Oertel: Test: DarkSpore . In: 4Players . freenet AG . March 29, 2009. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
- Metacritic.com , PC Average Rating, accessed October 31, 2011
- FAQ for the game Thrive on the official website. Retrieved January 19, 2020 .