I'm a videogame addict, I must confess it. Since I've got Spore, I've been playing a lot with it. I'm in the galactic stage now, and I've restarted the game three times to perfect the score, get all the creature parts and maximize points.
But having numbers in the game (DNA and money mostly) made me remember a good tool I usually have at hand for "miscellaneous uses". That tool is Cheat Engine. Cheat engine is a freeware memory analyzer and address freezer used to cheat in videogames (in the past, we had GameHack but it got discontinued).
The tool allows you to search for specific values in memory (for example, your money in a game) and then mofidy it's value and freeze them (obtaining unlimited money ;)
I will use Spore's DNA value from the initial Cell stage as an example of how to use this tool.
Having launched Spore, we start a new game, eat something and mate with another creature to enter the creature editor. Inside it, we look at our "DNA points":
We ALT+TAB to windows, launch Cheat Engine, and choose Spore's running process ("SporeApp.exe"):
Then, we place the current DNA points number, and press "First Scan".
A lot of addresses will appear on the left, so we start buying and selling parts (try different combinations to avoid having always the same values), searching between each value change in Cheat Engine (we enter the new value and press "Next Scan").
We will eventually come to few addresses that always have the desired value. We then double click one or all of them to add to the lower list. Now, we double-click on one of the addresses' value field, and change it to 999 to see if we're modified the correct memory position:
We return to spore, buy or sell any part... and here we are, 999 DNA points, now we can build any creature we want ;)
It is important to notice that not all games will "allow cheating". Even launching the application as Administrator under Vista, Cheat Engine might not be able to search some memory pages, so you might not be able to cheat in an specific game.
Also, it works too for non-game applications, just in case you need to modify a specific value ;)