The level editor has come a long, long way. Gone are the days of tinkering with a few preset assets to make your own racetrack or arena. Now, we have things like Project Spark, which cast you as less of a tinkerer and more of a creator.
Project Spark isn’t a game – it’s a platform for you (and everyone else) to create your own games. The everyone else part is important – thanks to cloud saves, creating new games using Project Spark can be a collaborative effort. Or, you can make it a solo effort – either way, there are tons of things to do in Project Spark. You aren’t just limited to a few assets that you can use – you have an open world at your disposal. You can alter terrain by pushing or pulling it, create rivers, streams, and mountains, build up castles, create battles taking place in the background – pretty much anything you can think of. A lot of this can be done with ‘paintbrushes’ that can be resized to make those rivers and mountains larger or smaller – it’s a sophisticated way to create games, but made simple enough to be accessible.
Even animations are under your control, which is really where Project Spark gets ahead of the curve. Kinect has come a long way – Microsoft is really figuring out how to use what used to be a gimmick at best in new and inventive ways. With Project Spark, you can use your own body movements to create in-game animations, making for a game creator that is far deeper and more powerful than anything that has come before it.
Inside Project Spark, you can get started by creating a fresh world or tweaking a template. Using the cloud, you can also access any of the community’s creations, and if you want, you can make a copy of what you find and put your own twist on it. Of course, it’s not just about creation – you can play your own games and the games others have created, and offer feedback on how they can be improved.
Previously, the Project Spark beta was only available on Windows 8.1. It’s now available on the Xbox One, and you can sign up to be a beta tester here. When the official release hits, it will be available for Windows 8.1, the Xbox One, and the Xbox 360.