05 April, 2006


I don't right about video games much; I don't think I have ever, actually. And I don't really play them all that much, since I find most modern games boring. There's only so many variations on Wolfenstein-3D you can play before you realize that Id pretty much sucked the FPS genre dry by the mid-90s.

Anyway, so I was pretty excited by this video of Will Wright (creator of SimCity and The Sims) presenting a game called "Spore" at the 2005 Game Developer's Conference. He's managed to fold together many different games into a single one - SimCity, the Sims, Civilization, Pac-man, Space Invaders, etc. But what's really neat is the introduction of what he calls "procedural" elements. E.g., much of the game involves designing creatures. In an editor you may fiddle around with creature design, add body parts, reshape skeletal structure, etc. The behavior of your creature is then computed by the game itself - that is, if you build a creature with five legs, the game will figure out how a five-legged creature will walk and build on that. This makes the game incredibly fluid in terms of what you can create - and in fact in the game is populated by creatures taken from a player-created database (it's asynchronous, not massively multiplayer, though - you just download other people's creations and the game animates and controls them), meaning that an intricate world grows out of your own (and other's) creativity and interaction with the game itself, not from armies of unimaginative animators.

Pretty cool. If you're not up for watching a 35-minute video, this Gamespy article has a good summary.


I almost never, ever, ever play video or computer games, and never really did, with the exception of Tetris and Brix. But I'm pretty interested in trying out Spore. The buzz has been intense. He's/it's the current cover of Wired Magazine, too.  

Posted by Saheli

"see, this is really cool. i'm going to click and lead the soldiers to put the people in the prison. there they go through the gates. now i'm going to click again to start the interrogation. isn't this amazing? the system is already responding to the guards - which we've created - and it's populating the prison with experts from other prisons and tactical schools, and you can actually watch the guards adapting to the situation. now i'm going to click to authorize the guards to discipline the prisoners while interrogating and because all the verbs here are procedural, look at this, there's a new verb being created, based on the physical and cultural attributes of both the prisoners and the guards. okay so now as the ecosystem is populated, now we have a dog, and new possibilities are created. really really hot stuff." 

Posted by hibiscus

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