'Spore: Galactic Adventures' Impressions

'Spore: Galactic Adventures' Impressions

By Brian Leahy - Posted Apr 09, 2009

'Spore: Galactic Adventures' Impressions


Spore: Galactic Adventures is set to add on to the endgame experience of Spore. If you were disappointed that the endgame amounted to little more than flying around the galaxy and visiting planets to see other player creations, this is what you were missing.


In Galactic Adventures, when you visit a planet it will be populated with a mission created by another player. In fact, the entire planet can be customized by the player. You will then beam down your commander and play out the scenario like the "Creature Phase" of the original game. Only this time, you can use lasers! The objectives of each planetary mission is only limited by the imagination of the creator and the powerful editor. This expansion will attempt to give meaning to the 93 million player creations by putting them into situations that add context.




I played a few missions and was impressed with the variety of possibilities. The first mission put me on a planet at war with a group of invading aliens. Allied with the indigenous species, my goal was to infiltrate and destroy the enemy drop ship. At the beginning, I snuck by an ongoing battle between the two factions and fought my way through some guards to find a gate. Blowing up the gate revealed an enemy installation that holds a teleporter to the ship, which was behind a red force field. The head of the guard has the red key, which drops the force field. Once inside the ship, I had to navigate the corridors to find the ship's reactor, and after destroying it I had 30 seconds to escape. Once I escaped and the mission was completed, I was rated on my speed and completion percentage. If the level is shared, times will be compared to other Spore players on a leaderboard. Sweet!


So how complicated is it to create a mission like that? Not very. Assuming all of the assets are already created, a mission like this could be constructed in 20 to 30 minutes. The scripting engine is simple, but powerful. Each mission can have five acts, which advance when goals are met. These goals can be things like "blow up the gate", "use the teleporter", "blow-up the reactor", and "escape the ship" (which is actually just using another teleporter). There are many more possibilities here.


The battle that I saw when I first landed was simple to set up. The two factions were set to continuously respawn and be aggressive toward each other. After that, their awareness radius is set to allow them to see each other. Instant battle. Power users will be able to tweak their stats if they want the battle to play out in a certain way.


To completely contrast this mission, the next one I was shown was Spore's take on football. I beamed down onto a giant football field and grabbed a key, which functions as a ball. The key could also be disguised as another object, but remains functionally the same as a key if the creator chose. Grabbing the key triggers the defensive creatures that charge you and attempt to stun and then kill you, much like linebackers. Your job is to run between the defense to the end zone, which is activated by the key. It plays out extremely quickly, but is very fun.


The last mission I saw before diving into the editor was a bowling-type game. I had to attack a creature that, when hit, would fly off in a straight line along the ground. By aiming my attack, I had to hit objects with the creature. After each object, the creature would reset and I could take another shot.


'Spore: Galactic Adventures' Impressions


The Adventure Editor is run from a birds-eye view of the planet and can be zoomed in for careful placement. The creator will also let you terraform and detail the planet itself. If you want to create a fortress on an island, you can do this with a few mouseclicks. Placing terrain is drag-and-drop and scales the same way Spore scales creatures and objects. Once the planet is to your liking, it's time to start putting creatures, objects, and objectives on the surface. If you want to create or use your own creations, they can be added with a click. You can also browse the Spore Catalogue to use creations from the community.


It's a shame that this new functionality didn't launch with the original game because it looks poised to add the depth and longevity players were expecting from the title. The expansion adds a LittleBigPlanet-ish layer on top of the game, which lets players utilize all the creations of the community in meaningful ways. 

Spore: Galactic Adventures is set for release this June for the PC and Mac.



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