Spore Creature Creator - hands-on

The Spore Creature Creator will launch on June 17, giving gamers a tiny taste of the massive game for the paltry price of $9.99 (9.99 Euros in Europe). Buying the Creature Creator separate from Spore has a couple of perks- you get a head-start on uploading your creatures to the Spore community site, the chance to make your own creature movies for YouTube and a $5 rebate on the full game from Amazon and Target retailers- but more importantly, you get to be God.

As our exclusive vid shows, the creature creator is an intuitive and engrossing system- not all that different from the Sims 2 sim creator interface. By manipulating the spine of the torso (click a vertebrae and drag to shift position, or scroll your mouse dial to shrink or bloat the body), and then adding on individual appendages that you can manipulate from the joints (those big round balls you see on the elbows, knees, wrists, etc.), the creature creator gives Spore-Gods-to-be endless opportunities to make whatever comes to mind. Hours will fly by as you tweak, tone and color your creation, not to mention all the time spent watching them clomp about the test drive environment and spawning them babies to copy their slick dance moves and emotions actions (which you can select from the palette below your creatures during Test Drive).

Above: You can choose a standard coloring for your creature, or go all out and choose specific patterns, colors and textures in the more detailed layering mode of monster painting

The Sporepedia allows players to share their creatures by letting gamers download creatures directly into their game, where they will encounter the creatures as they progress through the stages of Spore (cell to space travel). Chances are no two monsters will ever look alike, even with thousands of Spore creators pumping the Sporepedia full of creatures from another world. By crafting different bodies with different attributes (those flowers aren’t just there to look cool- they provide a Charm bonus which will help creatures Socialize with other creatures instead of attacking them), and adding descriptions to each creature, gamers can search the Sporepedia for any type of thing they couldn’t come up with on their own, or can’t afford to make for lack of DNA points (the currency of the cell and creature phases).

Above: You can spawn up to 3 babies in the Test Drive environment to see what your creature's group animations will look like

Community is the keyword for the Creature Creator. Those unwilling to shell out for it come June 19 will still get a taste of it in Spore- but only after unlocking it by completing the cell stage of the campaign mode. And, after watching our video, why would you want to wait that long?

Above: Eat it,H.P. Lovecraft

May 23, 2008