Thursday, September 11, 2008

Disappointed with SPORE

I ran out and bought a copy of SPORE last Sunday. After work, I installed it and played it a bit. It was a general disappointment. Last night, their commercials started saying something along the lines of "Buy SPORE, create your own universe!"...etc. I was hoping for a game along the lines of real evolution. Something like design your creature and then let evolution take its course, but the game never works along those lines. The creator not only creates the creature, but adds traits the creator picks and chooses that the creature earns to it. The creator/ gamer is doing all of the work. There is no fitness test per say. One's creature can't live and die on its merits. The evolution is Lamarckian at best, not Darwinian. Animals don't obtain traits via evolution from structures and functions they already have, but the new traits are chosen from a parts list. There's a design bias as well. The creature has to be an animal, and it can't switch it's diet as far as I can tell. So, you can't start out as a herbivore and become an omnivore like humans did. You also can't have sentient plant life. Intelligent designers and creationists will love this game, but I can only see biologists cringing unless the game piques people's interest in learning about living things and evolution. Given that people fear genetically modified foods and the LHC being turned on, or at least that is the perception of the media, I am not hopeful.

The Register has an article accusing Oxfam, a charity, of hypocrisy. Basically, preventing poor people from using GM crops modified to survive harsh conditions and provide better nutrition, as well as other modern agricultural technology to improve people's lives because of irrational concerns will keep them poor and voiceless. Oxfam being the voice of the voiceless supposedly knows what's best for the poor by preventing them from having what the developed countries already have - plentiful and cheap supplies of food. The current policies also cause more harm to the environment. If you don't need fertilizer or pesticide to protect your crops, you won't pollute the water or poison the wildlife as much.

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its worse then you think...spore was actually suppose to be better. 5 years ago it was. they kept stripping down the engine to "dumb it down" but now its just garbage. EA's probably gonna take all the stuff they had and sell it in expansion packs for money
 
The Sim designers actually gave a talk about evolving code back in 1992 or 1993 at UCLA. I heard their talk, though I can't remember much about it. I was impressed at the time. I believe they were touting Sim Planet at the time, but nonetheless, any time you can get code to evolve, it must be a happy day for a programmer. This was another reason why I was disappointed with SPORE. Those innovations seen with the earlier MAXIS games were gone.
 
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