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Spore - Interface, Community, and the Sporepedia

by: Michael Hartman ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

This review of Spore moves onto some of the nitty gritty elements. The user interface, community, and Sporepedia are the focus of this section.

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    User Interface

    When I first started playing Spore I was very frustrated by the inability to define my own keyboard commands. I did not think it was even possible for a modern, major studio game to lack this feature. But once you play through the game you start to understand why this is the case.

    Spore is very nearly 5 games in one. Each game has its own interface and its own commands. Providing for customization of each game within the game would be difficult and cumbersome. Also, the developers clearly want each stage to feel very distinct. They don't just want things to look different, they want them to feel different. One way to achieve this is by making sure the way you control your avatar looks and feels distinctive.

    The default interface is quite good. The UI stays out of your way when it is not needed and mouse and keyboard controls are logical and organized. I do have a few gripes, however:

    1. The process of zooming in and out of planets or systems is far too slow. A single button to quickly zoom to the next step up or down would have been much appreciated.
    2. There needs to be a way to re-order the inventory in your cargo hold. Getting creatures and plants grouped together makes terraforming a lot easier.
    3. Players should be able to reorder the powers and abilities they pick up.
    4. Players should be able to rename their systems and planets.
    5. The process of spice gathering gets a little tedious in the long run. An automated system that yielded lower output would be a huge boon. This could even be an unlockable economic option.

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    Community and the Sporepedia

    The Sporepedia is the central hub for community content related to Spore. It is there that all the user created creatures, buildings, and vehicles are uploaded and downloaded. If initial response is any indicator, the community around this game will be enormous. Millions of creatures, buildings, and vehicles have already been uploaded, and more pour in by the hour.

    Sure, some of them are terrible, some are grossly inappropriate, and some are just plan wacky. But a lot of them are amazingly creative, and will either provide you will inspiration to create your own or will simply be things you begin using immediately in your own game.

    You can create a buddy list and only accept content from buddies, or you can ignore all the online content completely. Your level of participation in the community is completely up to you. So far, it looks like the community will be extremely vibrant and productive - similar to the community around The Sims.