During the Xbox One section of Microsofts E3 Press-Conference, Dave McCarthy – Microsoft Game Studios’ General Manager – took to the stage to reveal Project Spark.
Project Spark appears to be a Kinect and SmartGlass based map creator and editor. Dave stood on the stage using SmartGlass on a Surface tablet with an associate standing at his side, initially his associate used voice commands to bring up a basis for their map, showing options such as an Arctic or Forest terrain and setting the mood to day, evening or night.
After the basic terrain was established Dave stepped in using his tablet to change specific details, such as elevating some land and adding a moat. They then zoomed in closer to develop a fresh new town, as well as showing off the mechanic of adding “behaviours” to the “brain” of specific objects, in this case a rock. Doing so let the rock move around, making it active in the town.
Finally enemies were added to the map, although numerous enemies were shown, they picked Goblins, placing a Goblin village shortly outside their own which quickly spawned some enemies. Dave then applied a “fighter” behaviour to the aforementioned rock making it defend the player and battle against the Goblins.
Dave then showed an example of a world created three days ago, this map was on a much larger scale and immediately the walls of the town were demolished by a flaming boulder falling from the sky. As the camera tracked forward numerous Goblins flooded over a hill in the distance. Dave and his associate then appeared to team up to tackle these enemies, with one morphing the terrain and the other summoning fire attack. Other characters with names above their heads also appeared in the town, which suggests Project Spark will incorporate multi-player elements both on-line and in the living room, where players using Kinect and SmartGlass can assist each other in fighting challenges made by themselves or others.
The climax showed a highlight reel of multiple different maps including physics based challenges, where balls rolled through tubes and an enormous snake-like skeleton bosses bore down on the players avatar. Project Spark definitely appears to have potential to allow players to create their own games with some fun tools, how it will work in practice however remains to be seen.