Maxis producer Caryl Shaw told SCI FI Wire that Spore: Galactic Adventures, the new expansion pack for the PC game Spore, allows players to create their own adventures, much as the original game allowed gamers to create their own creatures, cities and civilizations.
"We've invented an adventure creation tool, much like we had all the creators in the original game that let you create buildings and vehicles," Shaw said in an interview at New York Comic Con last weekend. "Now you're going to be able to create your own adventures. They are going to be multi-act plays where you can set all the actors up, decide what building you want, terraform the planet to make it look the way you want it to look. Changing the color, putting in mountains, putting in rivers. And to be able to set up a whole scenario ... that you'll be able to share on the server with your friends."
Created by Will Wright (SimCity), Spore starts you as a single cell and lets you evolve: growing legs, forming tribes, building cities, exploring the galaxy. Wright unveiled the game at Comic-Con International in San Diego last July and told us that you could play the game for the rest of your life and never see the entire thing. If that seems a bit daunting, the new expansion lets you concentrate on just one portion of the game.
The new expansion pack will deal with only the space portion of the game. "You'll be able to access the galactic adventures straight from the startup screen by just jumping into Quick Play mode," she said. "So you won't have to play through the other portions of the game to get to the space portion. You can just jump right in and start playing adventures right away."
What was the genesis of the expansion pack? "I think there were a couple things," Shaw said. "One of the things is that we like making creativity tools, and we wanted to have a new way for people to tell their stories. But we also know that people want to get out of their spaceships and move their captain around. A lot of people, when they got to the space game, they missed being able to move their characters around like they had in the creature stage. What you can do with the Galactic Adventures expansion pack is take your captain out, own him, run him around the world. He becomes your hero."
You can also share your adventures online. Shaw demonstrated a game that resembled "Duck Hunt," in which a captain shoots at creatures (preloaded or created by other online users) while they're shooting at him.
Adventures can be anything from this short game, which takes about a half-hour to create, to long multi-act campaigns that can take hours. Shaw showed us how to go about it. With the preloaded creatures, geographic features, etc., it seemed pretty simple. You can also add in "flavor text": When Shaw shot a space kitty, its text was "Call PETA". She said the more text you put in, the more fun the adventures are.
There's no final release date yet for Spore: Galactic Adventures, but Shaw tells us that it will be coming soon.