Spore is back in the news, now that an edited version of Wil Wright’s presentation is available on YouTube and Google Video.

We’re all gushing superlatives (myself included), but it’s actually quite difficult to overemphasize how important this game is. Games used to use generated (instead of pre-created) content all the time – read this excellent Guardian article on the creators of Elite for an instructive example. (Try to ignore the completely irrelevant Reagan and Thatcher-bashing.) They did this simply because they didn’t have enough room on their media to store all the data for their worlds.

Then CDs came along, and suddenly that room existed, so we (as game developers) ditched generated content for the much prettier custom-created content. Now we’ve got games on DVD, and we’ve got the opposite problem – so much room, and such high player expectations, that the content takes forever to produce, driving the cost of the game up and driving the actual game playing time down (witness all the games that can be beaten in ten hours or less).

If this game comes out and is successful, it will prove that triple-A titles can be made with generated content. Generated content will become easier and easier, and finally it’ll become another standard tool in the game development toolbox, like first-person controls and streaming levels. This is something that has been needed for a long time.