Well i have been eagerly awaiting the release of SPORE from EA for quite a few months.
After seeing the hype on certain websites and in magazines and after playing about with the pre release 'Creature Creator' i have done nothing but 'itch' in anticipation to get first play!
After a slight delay on my copy arriving, which should have been on the Friday of its release, but Royal Mail decided to deliver it, LATE, on the following Monday (today)! Without fail it when straight into the ROM drive for install.
In true EA fashion however, I'm given NO desktop shortcut, nor do i have Start Menu shortcuts, in fact it NEVER gives you the option, much rather it dumps a shortcut in the Games link in Vistas Start Menu... fair do's but as per the latter, the option would be nice.
So i cobbled my own shortcut to the desktop from the Vista Games folder...
(Before i go on i run Vista Ultimate x64 if you didn't already know)
Double Click... away we go... no we don't!
WSOCK32.dll error appears, in which case you can hit the OK button about 10 times and it will eventually disappear and the game should start.
This is a problem that appears to be caused by Xfire if you have it installed.
I found if i dumped Xfire, then the error does not appear and the game will start as normal, if you CONTINUE to keep Xfire running then you have to keep OK'ing the error until it does eventually get going!
As far as Ive read on the Internet this is not EAs problem but more to do with Xfire. As apparently this happens with more than just SPORE.
Personally i don't think its 100% necessary when there are other VOIP systems, but Xfire does have the nice touch of the hours logging system.
So its up to you, switch it off, or put up with the error message. Obviously SPORE is new at the time of writing so future patches and updates from either party will hopefully sort this!
Anyway... onto the game... no not yet!
After battling through the WSOCK errors i am then presented with a further error box, this time telling me that my graphics driver is out of date!?
Well that's a load of crap, because upon checking, i have the latest and greatest nVidia 175.19 drivers up and running...
No matter what the game will not start, so i turn to Google.
With a stroke of luck, solutions to the problem plague the first page (well done EA!) and turns out that its SLI that is causing the problem!
Great, so i pay all that wad for dual GPUs just for the latest generation games to crap out on? Well... this is an isolated case, Ive never seen it happen before.
So begrudgingly, i go to nVidias control panel and disable SLI and run on the primary card alone.
And finally... success!
I left Xfire on and just blasted through the errors and then everything started up nicely. No other problems have occurred as of yet...
Anyway onto the game... so far, I'm loving it!
Its a whole lot more than what i was first expecting, with my original thoughts being, it may be a revamped version of 'Sim Life' from about a million years ago on the likes of the Amiga 600 and 1200.
Not quite... its more of a 'Civilization' theme, but you start from being just a blob of goo in the sea, and work your way up through evolution. Starting about by eating plankton, grow legs, move on to dry land... evolve and then eventually start moving onto tribes etc...
To be honest I'm not very far in yet so I'm unable to comment on the full content, but i can see myself glued for a few weeks!
The very clever aspect of the game is, the infinite amount of ways you can play. You can either build a harmonious herbivore world where all the creatures get on as one giant whole, or you can go nuts with a snarling blood thirsty pack of killing machines and destroy every other living being... like i did!
But you must be very careful with your early creations of evolution, as once you hit tribal stage, you can evolve no more (i think, don't quote me, I've not got that far yet!) so if you have built something with huge teeth and claws for ripping defenseless creatures apart with, yet no arms or adequate hands for using tools... then your stuffed when it comes to wielding hand weapons!
Hope the problems section may help someone out there, ill return in future with my updates :)