Project Spark beta is available on Windows 8, soon Xbox One

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By Cory Wells – 19th February 2014
Project Spark beta is available on Windows 8, soon Xbox One

Microsoft showcased an entirely new concept during E3 2013. With tools it has used to design games in the past, Microsoft is now sharing this with the world in the hopes that players create gaming masterpieces. Known as Kodu, this visual programming language will let players create and share their ideas and stories with others on Project Spark. Today, the game’s beta is now available for download on the Windows 8 operating system, and eventually will be on Xbox One and Xbox 360. Microsoft states Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners with Windows 8 can go ahead and start designing on the beta, and their projects will be available once the beta hits the consoles.

Microsoft claims that the programming language is easy to use. The game starts with an empty canvas, and it allows for adding simple objects such as houses down to rocks. This allows the player to mold their world. The game supports touch inputs, Xbox controllers, and mouse and keyboard inputs. So far, they state an 18-year old college student was able to recreate Fable’s Oakvale with no prior game development experience. This level is actually available for play via the beta. The same goes for a recreated Minecraft level. More importantly, other people can go in and “remix” specific projects or people can take things from the creator’s game and use it in their own. The support from a strong community for Project Spark could leave games like Little Big Planet in the dust over time.

Beta keys can be requested over at ProjectSpark.com. They will be sent out once a week to everyone who requests them. Those who receive the key will download the beta from the Windows Store and enter in the beta key through there. For more on Project Spark and links with Q&A sessions, check out the Windows Blog here. There is also a tutorial video available here from Microsoft to help give a general idea in case you missed this at E3 last year. There is no official release date set for Project Spark, but if you have interests in creativity and testing your imagination, along with owning Windows 8, it should definitely be worth a try. Games like this with community support in the past, have continued to have ongoing content. Little Big Planet and Modnation Racers comes to mind, as they allows endless replay value, and Microsoft will hope to surpass them in the end.