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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Sims creator takes on evolution
Alfred Hermida
Technology editor, BBC News website, in Los Angeles

Screenshot of Spores
Spore is created by SimCity and Sims legend, Will Wright
The creator of the hugely popular Sims game is working on an ambitious title in which you can truly be God.

Called Spore, the game allows players to determine the evolution of a species, from an amoeba to an inter-stellar race.

Sims creator Will Wright offered an insight into the game at last week's E3 expo in Los Angeles.

The PC game is due to be in stores by autumn of 2006.

Reality simulated

Will Wright made his name in the games industry with the computer simulation game SimCity.

When it launched in 1989, SimCity became a huge hit with players who wanted to do more with their games.

Screenshot of Spores
You end up playing a galaxy of 100,000s of worlds. And because players are creating the worlds, everything will be different
Will Wright
Mr Wright went on to create The Sims in 2000, which let players run the lives of virtual people.

It quickly became the best-selling PC game of all time and opened up a different understanding of what a game was and how real life itself was much like a game.

With Spore, Mr Wright is taking this idea one step further, by developing a title based on the evolution of life.

"I want to allow people to create their own world," he said during a demonstration of the game, Spore, at the E3 games Expo.

Generation game

In the game, players start off as an amoeba in a 2D world, reminiscent of some early video games.

The aim is to grow and evolve generations of creatures, with players able to choose the physical attributes of their creation.

Screenshot of Spores
Take your organism from an amoeba to an inter-stellar race
"You get to play every generation of the creature," said Mr Wright. "I want something boys can make scary things or casual gamers can make cute things."

He said the computer would analyse a creature's design and work out how it should behave.

In the demonstration, Mr Wright created a three-legged creature and said the software would work out how it should walk.

"This is the hardest piece of technology I have ever had to solve," he said.

Galactic play

Spore comes across as a mix of The Sims and games like Civilisation, where players determine the progress of a race.

The imagination of players is integral to the game. It is not set up as a traditional multiplayer title, in which gamers play against each other.

Screenshot of Spores
A far cry from SimCity
Instead the aim is to use a central computer to gather players' creations and share them with everyone playing the game.

"You end up playing a galaxy of 100,000s of worlds. And because players are creating the worlds, everything will be different," said Mr Wright

In the demo, he showed how a gamer would end up travelling through space, exploring the universe in search for intelligent life.

"I can play Star Trek and build a federation of planets or I can play 2001 and drop a obelisk to collect information," said Mr Wright.

Spore comes across as an ambitious title. It is still in the early stages of development, so it is impossible to say whether it will live up to its promise.

Fans will have to wait until the autumn of next year to get their hands on the PC game.


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