$50,000 Spore Competition

A $50,000 Spore Competition. Those with the Spore Galactic Adventures expansion pack (it includes the game’s construction kit, which may interest Pixar-admiring machinima creators) have until 15th February 2010 to complete the construction of a game adventure that helps kids learn about science. Not sure if it’s U.S.-only — it looks like it might be.

More on that intriguing Spore Galactic Adventures level editor, from reviewers who (unlike many other so-called reviewers) have obviously actually played the game. From the Eurogamer review

“The other part of the game is the lovely editor, and it’s by far the most interesting element as well as the largest. The user interface for the mission editor is really well-explained, with a step-by-step tutorial that an eight year old could complete. I’m a veteran of many map-making packages and in-game editors, from Quake, The Movies and Starcraft to Neverwinter Nights and City of Heroes: Mission Architect, and this is the simplest I’ve encountered – though that’s not to say it isn’t powerful too. […] plants, vehicles, and buildings can all be rejigged to fit in with your plot. Special effects and sounds can be dropped in, and have the same intensity/range sliders as everything else in the game. Then you can terraform your planet, raising and lowering the sea-level, carving out mountains and valleys, and selecting a range of plants to cover it, all to create the perfect backdrop to your plot. Once you’ve added an element you can rescale it, create duplicates of different sizes and set default behaviours, paths and teams for creatures and rely on the cleverly primitive AI to handle the rest. You can also add speech bubbles, dialogue and random thoughts, as well as editing all of their vital stats. Everything has the same user-friendly drag-and-drop interface as Spore, and the limits on level complexity are set very, very high.”

And from the Gamespot UK review

“There’s a much bigger learning curve [in the Adventure Creator] than in any of Spore‘s other creation tools. However, if you take the time to experiment with it, you’ll find that this exciting toolset offers incredible possibilities to players with an imagination. The ways you can customize the planet alone are astounding. Using the extensive terraforming and atmospheric options, you can mold the environments as you see fit. Populate the world with creatures of your own or download what you need from other players; create themed villages and drop in any building you can find or make; throw in special effects, music, and objects. Then, use behavioral buttons and sliders to make them act and interact as you like and give them dialogue.”

The planet editor alone certainly opens up some interesting possibilities for creating iClone video backgrounds for cartoon characters…

   Related blog post: Spore to iClone export.