Behind the above cut you'll find my latest obsession. They are images of creatures I've created using the Spore Character Creator. Spore is a game due out in about two months. It has been years, literally, in the making and I suspect that this early release of the character generator is an attempt to summon enthusiasm from a group of potential buyers whose interest has flagged.
For me at least, it's working. Spore is a PC game. It stands alone in that it is not a MMORPG, but it is also an "online game" in the sense that others can participate indirectly in what you do. "What you do" is populate, and advance your creatures across the world until they reach a stage of civilization where they can reach other planets and investigate the population there.
It doesn't sound all that exciting until you realize that the creatures you begin with well, let's put it this way when you build a creature in the character creator, you start with a spine. Everything thereafter is up to your imagination. The creatures are varied in appearance and viability to an extreme degree. When they encounter other creatures they will have to survive he encounter in a variety of ways and can eventually interbreed with them creating new species. Creatures may battle, or charm others they encounter, so the game will be what you want it to be.
Where do all these other creatures come from? Well, you create some of them yourself obviously. Others can be had from the sporepedia. You can download the ones you like. Or, and it's a big or, you can let your world be populated from the Sporepedia which as of this date (July 4th, 2008) has more than 1,000,000 (one million) creatures shared online.
Three Cheers for biodiversity!