Saturday, March 14, 2009

Meet Ferber

Last Saturday, I bought a brand new bottom-of-the-line iMac. It's amazing what passes for bottom-of-the-line these days: 20-inch screen, 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB memory, a 320GB hard drive, and OS 10.5.

Considering the Mac I just migrated from was a G4 running OS 10.2, with a 40 GB hard drive and a 17-inch screen that I had considered plenty big, the sheer awesomeness of my new iMac is dizzying. I like it. Yes sir, I do.

To go with my shiny new computer, I got a shiny new game: Spore. If there was ever a game for creative people, this is it. You guide the evolutionary path of a creature from single-celled organism to space-faring super-race. Yes, you're using "off the shelf" body parts instead of rendering your creature from scratch, but there are several axes along which you can modify the parts, as well as the textures, colors, and patterns. So no two people will end up with exactly the same alien.

My creature is currently still a beast, but it has developed enough sentience that I can graduate to person and form a tribe at my convenience. I'm a little reluctant to move on, because once you transition from animal to person, you can't modify the appearance of your creature anymore. (Although there will still be much creation in the form of vehicles, buildings, urban planning, civic structure, and so on. You even get to compose a national anthem.) But I really enjoy tweaking my creature. I suppose I can always start a new one from the amoeba stage.

My creature's name is Ferber, after FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), a frequent topic at work. Here are the highlights of Ferber's evolutionary path.

Fresh from the ocean, first time on land. At this point, I was still thinking of making a cockatrice or a manticore.

Look, Ma, I have arms!

Much as I like purple, I decided it was time to move on. Also, I've found some eyes and jaws I like so well that they'll stay in place through Ferber's final form.

Those now-useless fins have been replaced by some sweet insect wings. And those big, honkin' claws show how fearsome a predator Ferber has become. Think of a velociraptor that can glide and shoot poison.

About time he learned to stand upright. You can't see it from this angle, but I believe he still had that ridiculously long stinger tail at this stage. At least he finally got some ears.

And here is Ferber's current form. Bigger antlers, leathery dragon wings, and a more respectable tail. This might be final, unless I decide to make some last-minute changes before leaping into the Tribal Stage.

Also, today I noticed that you can use the Creature Builder outside of the game. So, just for the fun of it, I made Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir from Norse mythology.


Mom said...

Super cute! I wish I had time to play with Spore.


Mom said...

Do you think I could create Wenceslas with Spore?