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Exactly a year after we were first introduced to Spore, Sims developer Will Wright's amazingly ambitious evolution game, we've had a more detailed look at two stages of gameplay. There are six stages in total, beginning with the cell stage - which Wright says is a bit like Pac-Man in style - and evolving through the creature, tribal, city, civilization and space phases.
At creature level, Spore uses the same creature editor we saw last year, which enables you to throw together varied bits - arms, legs, heads - and form your own Frankenstein's monster. The game then decides on your creature's abilities based on the bodily choices you've made, from how fast it moves to how powerful an attacking strike it can perform.
Wright played the game before our eyes, taking direct control of one of his newly made animals. Your driving goal throughout the early stages of the game is to amass DNA points from fighting and killing other animals, collecting food and forming herds. You can then spend these DNA points on tweaking and improving your creatures with each new generation - Wright spent points on new arms, stronger attacks and more menacing eyes.
Next, Wright showed us the social interaction controls, performing a friendly roar with the character he controlled. This caused nearby scatterings of fellow creatures to gather round and follow him. Packs are vital for outnumbering other animals, protecting your hatchlings and progressing towards the tribal stage of the game.