With Microsoft’s Project Spark, Anyone Can Build A Video Game

Microsoft wants gamers build their own worlds—playable game worlds, in fact. Microsoft’s Project Spark, in open beta now for Windows 8 and the Xbox One, splices together a Minecraft-like sandbox with actual developer tools, enabling budding game makers to actually build a playable game from scratch with no technical know-how whatsoever.

In other words, everyone likes to build stuff. So let’s give everyone a shot, why don’t we?

Developed by Team Dakota and published by Microsoft Studios, Project Spark empowers anyone (with the right hardware) to weave the sprawling interactive video game of their dreams. It doesn’t matter if you’re 12 years old or if you’ve never written a line of code in your life. Pour your imagination into Project Spark and see what happens. Awesome.

Pinning Down Project Spark

So what is it exactly? Having spent a solid chunk of hours with the “game” on Xbox One, that’s still a little tricky to answer. According to an early post from the Xbox Blog:

“Project Spark” is an open-world digital canvas that enables anyone to build, play, and share whatever they can imagine. It’s a powerful, yet simple way to build and play your own worlds, stories and games. Share all of your creations to a dynamic community, and play what the community makes.

That definition is on, if a bit abstract. Rather than a game-within-a-game, Project Spark is sort of a game without a game. Much like Minecraft (and the ensuing tidal wave of Minecraft-inspired titles), Project Spark is about world building.

It’s an imaginative hybrid experience combining a traditional, more technical developer kit (think lines of code) with a graphical interface that plays like a game itself (think elves and goblins). The result is “user-friendly” but not by any means simple—unless you want it to be, of course.

Make your terrain (and paint it too).

Step One: Choose An Elf, Duh

Getting started with Project Spark—for the non-devs among us, anyway—begins with a fast-paced tutorial teaching you the basics of programming your very own little world. You’ll choose a character, a generic foresty-type elf in my case, and learn to build conditional rules to govern gameplay mechanics.

Framed as “when x, do y,” these conditions let you program your elf to shoot a fireball when you press the A button, for example. Anything you choose to place in your game world acts as a prop awaiting your command, which you issue down through a clever system called the “brain editor.”

It’s simple enough so that a kid (think age 10 and up) could get the hang of it—and complex enough to keep a budding game developer plenty busy. For programming n00bs, the act of opening up a thing’s brain and tinkering around is a perfect visual way to represent the conditional statements that make everything in the coding world tick.

Step Two: Whoa, I Think I Just Coded

Adding on more conditions to be met means these rule sets can gets a lot more complicated if you want them to. By the time I — For more information read the original article here.    

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