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Community Service: Project Spark's Alpha

Good morning. I've just returned from the humble pie and hat emporium with a couple of items I picked up for lunch. You may recall that in between all the XBone exclusives and cars, Microsoft announced a game called Project Spark, which is coming to Windows 8 as well as the Kinected console. It's a flexible game creation suite, similar to Gameglobe, Little Big Planet and my personal favourite in the genre, Klik & Play. The game will rely heavily on community contributions, making it possible to download anything from entire worlds to individual AI routines, but I queried the apparent use of community downloads during the onstage presentation and in the video below. I was wrong!

Project Spark's team have been gathering community contributions for some time now, as Henry Sterchi, the game's creative director explained to me:

“We have been running a closed alpha for a few months with Project Spark, and have also opened our doors to several High School programs. Even with this relatively small initial effort, we have been completely amazed at what our community has been able to make.”

That actually makes the montage video far more intriguing. For those who don't remember or didn't see it, take a look.

Watch on YouTube

A piano! A Limbo-like sidescroller! Irritated Avians! There's even a card game in there and the idea of having such a broad collection of toys to play with is far more appealing knowing that they're more than mock-ups. The game will be free-to-play although paid DLC is expected.

And now I shall tuck into this ten gallon hat.

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