Sunday, August 17, 2008
Creature (UI) Comforts
Curiosity got to me and I downloaded the free trial version of the Spore Creature Creator. I am most impressed with the UI (user interface) for this thing, and with the way the animation is implemented for anything you can build. If you watch some of the background videos from the Spore development team (especially this one on procedural animation), you can see that you are not as free as you seem to be in what you create - but it certainly covers a wide range.
I played around and created a couple of odd dinosaur-looking creatures without making many changes to the basic parts beyond stretching and orienting them. But as you can see from this demo on advanced creature creation, just about everything is up for grabs. Basically whatever the UI allows you to create, works.
I have vacillated between uninstalling this thing and paying the $10 to upgrade to the full one to see what the full set of parts looks like. What it looks like is a time sink, so I really think I need to remove it. Having seen some of the videos of the different phases of the game, I believe it will be a tremendously creative environment for "kids of all ages" - but I'm not so sure it will encourage science as much as (say) animation and graphic arts. In other words, I'll wait for some reviews and articles before deciding whether to use "educational outreach" as an excuse for buying and playing this thing! Whatever it ends up being, it certainly is impressive.