Game stages

Spore can be roughly divided into three distinct game-play segments, themselves again divided into stages. An outline of these divisions is as follows:

  1. Evolution Segment
    Characterized by direct control over a single creature, with the game-play aims of inter-species competition, that is to say, survival, accretion of DNA points by way of acquiring food, and access to the Cell Editor or Creature editor.
    • Cell stage
      Simple single- and multi-celled organism in a two-dimensional 'tide-pool' surrounding. The creature editor of this stage seems limited in scope to addition of parts to the original organism.
      After sufficient accretion of DNA, this eventually gives way to the Creature Stage.
    • Creature stage
      After beginning the stage your creature makes its way onto land, where the objective becomes befriending the other creatures or forcing them to extinction.
      After enough other races have been dealt with, the game enters the Tribal Stage
      An aquatic stage bearing similarities to the Creature Stage was removed from the game due to organizational bugs.
  2. Social Segment
    Characterized by relinquishing control over a single creature in favor of controlling groups of creatures (sometimes known as RTS style), with the game-play gravitating towards intra-species competition with AI-controlled groups. The Creature editor is no longer accessible, however, once the player unlocks them the building and vehicle editors become available.
    • Tribal stage
      In this stage, food is still a relevant resource. Its acquisition pits the player-controlled tribe against AI-controlled others. However, since the evolution aspect of the game ends with the transition to the Tribal stage, evolutionary credits give way (conceptually, not game-play wise) to food as a currency, used to 'purchase' new buildings and tribe members. You can then get tools from said buildings, which are used for improving your relationship with other tribes, killing other tribes, healing your tribe, and help with gathering.
    • Civilization stage
      The Civilization Stage is the last planet-centric stage, as the opponents are now other factions of a player's own race in the quest for cultural dominance over the home planet. This stage is characterized, unsurprisingly, by having a Civilization-like game-play.
  3. Sandbox Segment
    Characterized by complete control over all aspects of the game that have previously been sequential in nature. All editors are accessible and new ones unlocked during this segment with the appropriate knowledge, such as genetic engineering, cybernetics, etc. Game-play culminates in the "T-bar", that is to say, branching out into mini-games and challenges rather than providing a concrete final objective for ending the game.
    • Space stage
      Space-faring begins when the player assumes complete control of their planet by eliminating, capturing, converting or buying all other cities. The planet will then start their space program and build a single UFO, the "Swiss-army knife" of the later stages. This marks the beginning of the exploration and colonization of space, starting with the home system of the creature. After a short mission the player discovers the Interstellar Drive which allows for contacting other species and is the beginning of true sandbox gameplay.