--- March 2009 ---
Screen Shot: Underwater creature, grown close to the stage where it can leave the water for a short time.
About the game (I know many of you are hungry for more information):
In many important ways it is NOT like our current Spore. Especially the evolution takes a way the player don't need (but can) to influence much, in opposition to Spore.
I could select at which point I wanted to start the evolutionary point. I decided not to start as a cell, but I told the game to start with a worm which lives at the bottom of the ocean, deep sea area, and just two inches long. I was able to design that worm with one of the sophisticated editors. I also told the game that I intend to get the evolution towards the land animals, but I always can change these long-term goals.
There are thousands of possible environmental changes in this game, and inside each ecological sphere. Based on how you react, and also based on the things you let your creature do, it might or might not
develop the one or another possible joints for further extremities. An example: as a worm, I had no fins. But often i decided to move fast forward, and even to jump. The result was often a gliding. Doing this often, somewhen your creature (my worm) develops areas which become to fins. Depending on the kind of movements, like maneuvering or just gliding straight, your creature develops side fins as well, or not at all.
In my case, I got a tail fin at first. since I turned round during the gliding, my worm developed here and there some side fins. Sometimes I turned round at the front, sometimes I curved the body more to the end, so my worm developed three side fins at the rear, and even four side fins at the front. That took me two hours of game play, to come to that stage. You don't know, where you end up with your creature.
I still wanted to develop towards land animals. To reach that aim, I got my deep sea worm, now more a fish, getting used for the water areas above deep sea level. Two times my worm died, because I was too fast. But when i got him used in a slower way, after some generations he could survive above deep sea level. Still, for mating I had to go down again, into deep sea level, but for hunting my worm was already capable to leave the deep sea. It still has that fluorescent light organ on its head.
Finally I was able to had him living in shallow waters, and my worm fish, once only two inches long, measures proud three feet! During dry summers, these shallow waters became mud pits or even dried out. My worm fish still dies when the pit dries out, but he survives in mud. I made him moving with his front fins, and eventually they became stronger and thicker.
That's the stage where I am now. I believe, if I continue my worm fish will develop not only four but eight extremities at the front part of his body (four each side). The side fins at the rear, by the way, started to become smaller. They were been much bigger before. I will continue to play, to see where the evolution leads me to. I hope I can raise my little cute worm fish to an intelligent stage.
--- May 2009 ---
I promised you new screenshots. I made only one. here it is - the Mud Jumper.
--- July 2009 ---
The Game Play:
Unlike Spore, which is made for children, Evolutions! is made for the age group of 15 and older. That shows. The controls are still intuitive and easy to learn and use, but there are plenty, plenty of possible controls. If these controls are not used, they are in a default stage.
You can even set psychological values ("Behavior"). That, too, influences how your critter develops, to which destination and how fast. The behavior shows during hunting/eating, mating, socializing, and confrontations. The more complex your creature becomes, the more space you get to add curiosity points, if you want. Or the game adds them automatically, maybe (and maybe not).
You don't have missions. But you discover the world around you, and do many things like hunting or eating, socializing, mating, aggression, and such. And you react to environmental challenges. By the way, your interaction which other species also changes them the one or another way, during their own evolution.
You can interrupt your evolution, and set a new long-term target, or even change your creature rapidly like in Spore. Still, I enjoy much more to let the game carry me to a destination I just don't know.
There are still many faults in this game, it is somewhere between alpha and beta stage, hard to say. However, creature movement, evolution and textures look great already! The sound of each creature is very unique, and don't depends on the mouth alone, but also on what you make your creature doing, and on the environment.
Size of body parts matters! With bigger eyes, my creature can see more under water. I made the experience, with smaller eyes I lose rapidly sight under water, especially in dark areas. Larger tail fins make me faster, but larger side fins slow me down, but make it easier to change direction or to stop. Loud warning colors keep some enemies away, and if you make your creature having the same color as the environment, less enemies can find your creature. But also, less challenges delay your growth of
It is supposed to be possible to develop intelligence under water, not just on land. Underwater technologies are very different from land technologies, even the psychology of water creatures is different to land animals. There are flying life forms, too.
I am hearing, to build anything your creature must have developed the related skills. An example: to build a house your creature must have discovered that pushing something into something else makes a usable connection of two things. You need to make your creature discovering this (and many other things which I don't know yet) during the early stages of intelligence or late stages of being an animal. At least, this is what I am being told. I have not yet reached that stage, so i cannot say yet.
Also, the more arms your creature got, the more things it can carry at the same time, but that requires a more complex brain, which makes your creature somehow more sensitive to environmental changes or so. Not sure.
Another thing they are working on, right now, is that the chemical make-up of stellar clouds (which made our galaxy) can also be player-edited. There's a list of all existing natural elements, and as the player, you can distribute percentages (or fractions of percents) to each element, that's supposed to influence the type of planets and suns later in that galaxy which the cloud becomes to. And that's supposed to influence the life conditions on the planets of that galaxy. But this feature is not yet there.
The game is not yet publicly downloadable, only the registered developers share the various versions. It started as an IT project for students (make physics visual on a PC), but got an own dynamic, especially after Spore was launched. Since then, the students continue and make it to a game, and have around 200 additional developers in the various groups. The game will become open source and will be freeware, after it has reached a stage where it don't crashes anymore. In my case, I had no crash yet.