Spore API Contest Challenges Developers to Have Some Fun

If you like online games and you like programming, the growing number of games with open APIs is a boon. We now over 20 games-related APIs in our directory. The latest entry is for the new API for Spore, the Electronic Arts Maxis game where players can create their own creatures. The API provides developers with the capability to create mashups and applications that access the Spore database of user creations and information about the creators themselves (see our new Spore API profile for details).

For those of you who are not familiar with Spore, Steve Hodson introduced the game and its new API in a recent post:

Spore is a game from Maxis that lets you create your creature universe. Through the various stages of your creatures growth you can also explore the world it is a part of. As part of the growth of the game Maxis has now released a web based API that developers can use to create their apps across a variety of programming languages utilizing the Spore database of creature creations.

Developers who get to work applying the new API in the next month or so can win prizes by entering the SPORE API Contest 09. The contest runs through April 6, 2009, and offers prizes including an NVIDIA graphics card, a copy of Spore, and/or a copy of Galactic Adventures. Regarding the prizes, CNET's Daniel Terdiman commented:

while those prizes may not be worth all that much, Maxis is likely betting that fans of the game will participate in the contest for the simple pleasure of seeing what they can build with the API and in the hope of being recognized by the "Spore" community for their creativity.

The Spore API is REST-based and data can be retrieved in XML, Atom, or RSS formats. There are no signup requirements, no API usage limits, and a developer key is not required. This is an open API that is freely available to anyone who wants to access the Spore database or develop a Spore application or mashup.

The Spore API documentation includes a reference sheet and code examples in many different languages, including Flash, PHP, Mathematica, and Python. The Sporum (the official Spore Forum) is available for asking questions and discussing API issues. The Spore API Developer Gallery provides many examples of Spore API applications that developers have already built, for instance the Spore Buddy Browser (our Buddy Browser profile).

Spore Buddy Browser

Or another mashup, the Sporepedia Widget which also uses the Google Gadgets API to let you browse popular creatures (our profile):

If you'd like to enter the Spore API Contest you can either develop an application from scratch, or use the Source Code from one of the sample applications as your starting point. See the official rules for the complete details about the contest.

For information about the Spore Contest and other programming contests, visit our Mashup Contests Guide.

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