At one point or another, I think every video gamer has dreamed about the idea of being a video game designer. I based entire Grade 7 and Grade 8 presentations about that very idea, and had aspirations to go to the Digipen school when it was in Vancouver. That focus later shifted to Broadcasting (which I did eventually get a degree in,) and now I do neither for a living – Go figure. Anyway, for the creative side of you that wants to live that idea of potentially designing your own video games (albeit off an engine already created for it,) you just might want to check out Project Spark, now available for your Xbox One.
Release date: October 7th, 2014
Consoles: Xbox One (Xbox 360 version coming soon / Windows 8 version available digitally)
Project Spark is a game that really goes as far as your imagination does. You have free roam over pretty much everything you can think of – How you want your game to progress, what you want the objectives to be, the landscape, etc. There’s a fair bit more customization than its contemporaries, as you can go deeper and further into your subplots and end objectives. To help invigorate your creative genius, pre-created levels, and a game called Champions Quest come pre-loaded in the software. You’ll get a quick taste firsthand of what the game is capable of doing for you, or give you ideas into what it is you do want to do.
Unlike past game creator software I’ve come across that has the modeling capabilities (and graphics) of SimCity 2000, this doesn’t skimp on any of that. You’re presented with beautiful and lush graphical landscapes, and you’re able to build them the way you like them. Your games can be as simple as a 70s throwback, or as complex as you want to make it. Users can upload their own levels, and the community can download copies of them and modify or add to them too.
Interestingly, you’re going to have a lot of different methods of input at your fingertips. In addition to your Xbox controller, you can use your Kinect, or even Smartglass. Windows 8 gamers can obviously use their mouse and keyboard as well (note: The Windows 8 version appears to only be available through the Windows Store at the moment.) The Kinect features in this game are enough to make you consider purchasing one if you own just a core system. With it, you can do things like create character animations, or record audio for your levels. That’s really exciting, and perhaps the best Kinect features I’ve ever seen in a game. Smartglass takes the Xbox One interface but turns it into a touch environment.
Sound exciting but need to see more? If at all you’re curious as to what exactly you can do with Project Spark, Linkin Park fans got a sneak peek back in March, when the video to “Guilty All the Same” came out, and was made solely through the game. Have a look!
Best of all, the Project Spark community can be comprised of all Xbox Gamers. You won’t need Xbox Live Gold to play the game, meaning anybody has the freedom to pick up the game and get started. Having had my games influenced heavily by community input (especially in the WWE games which have always thrived on create a wrestler sharing,) I have a feeling you’re going to see some amazing creations here, which is exactly how I bet Microsoft wants this to be – An open world for all to share their visions and all corners of their imagination. At a day one price of $39.99, you won’t have to break the bank for your visions to come to life either.
Project Spark is now available for Xbox One at Best Buy and online at BestBuy.ca. An Xbox 360 version is planned for eventual release but release details are still pending.