Demo and Discussion of Will Wright’s “Spore”

I’m always fascinated to see what sorts of crazy new games Will Wright and Maxis (creators of the Sims games) come up with. Wright’s latest project, which has generated quite a buzz online, is called Spore. Players start off as cellular organisms and follow an evolutionary path (all the way up to intelligent lifeforms), tweaking (mutating) their creations as they go. This video demo by Wright at the most recent Game Developers Conference is so awe-inspiring. In a world of endless first-person shooters and racing games, Wright always bring something fresh, intelligent, funny, and creative into the mix.

BTW: Spore is built on a procedural synthesis-based approach (see previous item on the Xenon architecture), allowing tremendous amounts of game data to be stored on the game disc, traded over the Internet, etc. Wright says that he was inspired by the “Demoscene” and their ability to cram as much media data and performance as possible into the smallest amount of space.

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Inside XBox 360 Architecture

Ars Technica has a fascinating, in-depth look (Part 1, Part 2) at the core architecture of the Xbox 360’s Xenon processor and the system’s use of “procedural synthesis.” If you’ve been poking around the geekosphere recently, you’ve probably heard this term. The article explains the technology and what it means to next-gen computing. Here’s an interesting quote from the piece. I wonder how this will differ from the Cell processor?:

Xenon will be a streaming media monster, but the parts of the game engine that have to do with making the game fun to play (and not just pretty to look at) are probably going to suffer. Even if the PPE’s branch prediction is significantly better than I think it is, the relatively meager 1MB L2 cache that the game control, AI, and physics code will have to share with procedural synthesis and other graphics code will ensure that programmers have a hard time getting good performance out of non-graphics parts of the game.

[Via Evil Avatar]