E3 2013: Project Spark Preview

June 20, 2013

One of the games shown at E3 this year that was sure to get tongues wagging was Project Spark, a Microsoft-exclusive title focusing on creation. It’s a game that calls back to Minecraft but isn’t┬ájust about creative cool landscapes; it’s also about creating missions and dynamic environments. Essentially, Project Spark is a game-creating game.

In Sandbox Mode, we found that you can create any number of environments from a blank slate – hills, valleys, rivers, jungles and more. You can also determine the look and texture of the environment with foliage, trees, rocks and snow. You can change the time of day and even position the sun. There really is limitless potential for creating any kind of world you desire.

Of course, players can also spawn characters, props and other items. It isn’t just about creating the environment, but ‘programming’ the behaviours – or as the developers refer to it as, the ‘brains’ – of the things you place in your world. The brains of each individual item can go all the way from basic to advanced. If you do not want to create behaviours, you can also just select from pre-determined ones. For example, you can program an item to simply attack or dance. Our demo showed how you can create a rock that follows you around. We were then shown how the rock can ‘roll’ after you, dance around you, attack, and can even make birds fly away from it and then explode midair.

The amount of options for world creation are astonishing and it’s clear that dedicated players will be able to create amazing worlds. You can start out with pre-made world settings, like a desert and from there, you can put structures into the world, like a tavern or bridge, and the game automatically compensates for their placement. We were shown how worlds can be created on a touch-screen too, though we where shown on a screen the size of a TV.

Good news for players who just want to play though – they will be taken care of too, with premade content. We were told that a campaign of sorts will also be available. For example, we were shown a level where someone had created that was near identical to the Nintendo 3DS game Pilot Wings, and another that was exactly like a turn-based RPG. There’s certainly a lot of potential for great, creative minds to make something incredible.

Project Spark will be free-to-play, available on Xbox ONE, Xbox 360 and Windows 8 devices, with a release date yet to be revealed.

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