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Arts & Culture

Exclusive Interview with Spore Creator Will Wright

Will Wright is finally making a game that does not start with the word "Sim," and he's here in San Diego to tell Comic-Con fans all about it. Spore mashes evolution with intelligent design -- and you get to be the intelligent designer (well, you get to be the designer, intelligence is optional). & You start with a single-celled organism that eventually moves out of the water, builds villages, civilizations, and finally a space empire.

Spore lets you build any creature that your brain can imagine, however cute or depraved that might be. & And you don't need years of training in 3ds Max to do it! & "One of our design targets was that in 20 clicks, you should be able to roughly replicate a Pixar character," Wright told me. & I made my first creature, Beelzecub, in about an hour & #8232;.

The mad scientists at Wright's lab have figured out how to make these creatures come to life using a technique called "procedural animation." & "Since we don't know what the player is going to create, we had to teach the computer to do what the animator typically does. & & So the computer kind of steps back and analyzes this creature, looks at where the legs are, and figures out, 'how would that thing walk?' And then it figures out, 'how would it eat, how would it show emotion, how would it be happy or sad?'"