I've been following this game for a while now, having discovered it when looking up old Spore stuff in a fit of nostalgia, but due to work and general procrastination I've only just got round to signing up. My name is Alex Goldhill and I'm currently studying an MA in International Political Economy (research route) at the University of Manchester, before which I did my undergrad in Philosophy and Politics also at Manchester. My main areas of expertise are in Political Theory, Political Science, Political Geography, Political Economy (in particular Migration, Globalisation and the Politics of Competitiveness) and Analytic Philosophy (in particular Ethics, Epistemology and the Philosophy of Science/Social Science), but I also have some passing knowledge of Social Anthropology, Internet Studies, Sociology and Social Psychology, as well as a deep love of History and General Knowledge. I have no experience in programming, but I play a lot of videogames, in particular strategy games such as Civilization, Paradox Interactive games, and, of course, Spore, so I think I've got a general idea of how to implement things into game mechanics, even if the precise details should be left to someone more qualified than me. I can also sing enthusiastically off-key if you need some hilariously bad singing.
I've had a look at some of the stuff that's been proposed for the game and the thing that struck me is that, during the evolutionary stages the gameplay and scientific theory blend together quite smoothly, but from the Awakening stages onwards things start to get a bit cruder and more simplistic. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that the social sections of the game are bad, there are certainly the makings of a very fun game, but that's just it, the post-evolutionary stages feel too much like a standard strategy game, with mechanics lifted from other strategy games, rather than the seamless blending of video game, simulation and science that the earlier stages in the game felt like. Given my background in the Social Sciences I feel that I may be able to offer advice on how to blend gameplay with social scientific theory. Full disclosure: I am a Marxist with strong libertarian socialist leanings which heavily informs the way I view and understand the world and social phenomena, and I think that its important that you guys understand where I'm coming from. I look forward to being a part of the team.