I’ve recently been playing the new Wil Wright game Spore. I’ve waited years for this game, and so far it has delivered on most of the early promise. The procedural characters are exactly that. The editors are incredibly intuitive and easy to use; an excellent example of good design. I’ve really only scratched the surface of the game though, and this after probably 20-30 hours of play.
I’ve reached the space stage of the game, and I already want to go back and replay some earlier sections of the game so that I can do things differently. The gameplay seems to be quite open-ended, but with some pre-set challenges and goals. I’ll be very interested to see just how far out into the galaxy you can explore before hitting arbitrary limits, assuming there are some. Perhaps the Spore universe is finite, but (relatively) unbounded?
The game isn’t perfect. Some aspects of the user interface are a bit clumsy, or perhaps I just don’t know the appropriate keyboard shortcuts. Having to zoom into a planet all the time to trade or take action, and having to go past the same “Welcome your Magnificence!” screen each time, is a bit tedious. You can’t add a new colony to a planet you have other colonies on without buying a magical “Colony Dropper” thing. You can travel through interstellar space, but you can’t load up a truck and go pitch a tent?
The game hasn’t consumed my life as I thought it might have, but that’s mostly thanks to my other half not letting me spend every spare moment playing it. And work, of course.
If I had my way, I’d be spending a lot more time conquering the galaxy, and a lot less time writing documentation.
Or blogging, probably.