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Live Stream Reveals Details On Empty World Mode

As promised, Microsoft aired a 41 minute live demo in which developers gave fans a first-hand look at the upcoming Project Spark. The live stream not only offers a stronger grasp on the concept of Project Spark, but also shows the ease of creating entirely new worlds within its user interface. 

Update: We have added a clarification regarding the differences between crossroads mode and the level shown in the latter part of the live stream.

To start, the game's creative director and community manager show off the blank canvas of the empty world mode.

In this mode, you are able to create an entirely interactive world of your own. In the picture shown above, you can see the world map and the starting playable character chosen for the demonstration.

In order to show off the ease of use with a touch screen, the demo is shown using a PC running Windows 8. In this case, a U-shaped landmass is easy to construct because of the intuitiveness of touch screen controls. The demo, however, is shown using a Xbox 360 controller. The silvery mass is created and guided by the orange circular cursor on screen.

To add more depth to the world, players can construct land masses by expanding or lowering land. This latter option combined with tinkering with water levels is how water masses can be created. In the image above, a massive tree stump is created by expanding land mass upwards and hollowing out the center of the mass. Afterwards, texture is added to the stump to make it look more realistic.

To really bring the world alive, various "biomes" options can be used. A biome is basically a type of environment— like an "arctic" setting or "woodlands" setting — that can be spread onto the surfaces of the map. This includes grass, snow, plants, sand dunes, etc.

The various biomes make the level more noticeably realistic.  Above, a river biome is spread out upon a water mass to give it a more natural appearance. 

Players can add even more detail by creating tunnels and waterfalls. The wrapping option can be used to add textures quickly and easily to even these types of surfaces on the map. 

In between creating, the user can switch right into test mode and see how the environment will look when playing. Just as easily, the user can switch back to designing if it doesn't look quite right.

What makes the level creation easy is that objects like characters and props are pre-loaded with "brains." The brain basically consists of actions that these objects perform. The brains can be set to perform desired new actions by the player.

For example, in the demonstration, a rock is set to follow the player's character.

Just the same, the object can be set instead to attack the player, or even emote certain ways when the player passes by. The method of attack can be anything from a bow and arrows to a missile— and even the size of the projectiles can be modified.

Another example is shown with a set of goblins (which would ordinarily attack the player) instead fall in love with and/or dance near the player. 

Check out more ways to customize levels and see a preview of a developer designed level using Project Spark on page two.

  • Wow... That's awesome!!!

  • This game looks so awesome!

  • This is impressive. It's been very difficult to find games that allow you the level of creativity and flexibility this one does. I still remember RPG Maker on the PS1 (and the subsequent ones on the PC). They don't come anywhere near the graphical lushness this games looks to have. I worry that in having easy tools to use, the player will be giving up depth. I hope this isn't the case. This looks like it'll be a ton of fun and the possibility of sharing (or even joining!) levels with other players will make this infinitely replayable.
  • I've been saying for years now that minecraft was popular because it essentially gave people the tools to build whatever they want, and the next person to make a purely creative game (that isn't blocks) is going to be hugely popular. I am sooo excited for this game. I saw at least 100 different tools in the live stream that they didn't talk about. With no release date announced, my money says that this is a launch title. I can't wait!
  • I can not wait to get my hands on this. This looks like one of the most impressive games/tools I have seen a long time. I can't wait to dive in and see what kind of stuff I can make.

  • Reminds me of From Dust.
  • If this is really as powerful and creative as they say it is, Project Spark is going to be freaking amazing.
  • This game looks soooo good. I would consider this in the "system seller" category.
  • I'm gonna love making worlds with this!!!

  • I am really looking forward to this, I thought is was easily one of the best things in MS conference and wish they devoted a little more time to it.

  • While I admire the fact that you have condensed what happened in the 41 minutes so that people can quickly look at it, and since its pictures and not video they don't have to worry about needing sound if they are at a location where they can't. Might be helpful to also put in the link so people can watch the video for themselves, if they choose.

  • This looks awesome. To bad its not on ps4. One question about it, with all of the fame types will there be a first person gameplay style or is it just third person. Just curious
  • They underestimate how much people want this. Until yesterday, I just thought it was a little action/platformer type game. Now I can't wait for this. How awesome.

    I want to know more about shared editing. Can I open my game up for others to edit? Can I limit who can?

    Related, I want to know if you can set others who join to "player" mode, so if you set up an RPG game for instance, the players can't just edit their way out of a challenge.

    How about anyway of keeping track of a games "lineage" so you know who's had their hands on it and when. I could get in to a long explanation about Starcraft maps and how people would $%^& with them into terribleness. I hope you understand.

    Please ask more questions about this game, GI. It deserves more than it's getting.

    Also, I'm having real problems trying to get to page 2 of this article...
  • Nice coverage, but your mention of the crossroads mode is incorrect. Crossroads wasn't shown in the demo. What you're referring to as crossroads are really just levels that other people have already designed. You're right in that crossroads is targeted towards younger and less experienced players, but it's a completely different mode where a world is created based off of simple prompts given to the player. ie the game will ask "where does your adventure take place?" and the player will choose either "forest", "desert", or "arctic" (Not the actual choices, just an example). Search up the e3 demo on Youtube to get a better understanding.
  • I think the first thing I will try to do is make places that have been described in some of my favorite fantasy books, see how well it works for that and then try to build places from a book I'm working on to help visualize what it looks like.

  • I suck at creating stuff in games like this, but this looks so AWESOME!

  • alright....I'm impressed. finally something different than the games we have seen. I was NOT interested in this game at all until seeing this. I just MAY need to change my pre order to an xboxone if these exclsives keep loking like they do! Ryse, Forza 5, Titanfall....list goes on. PS4 got me locked in the beginning but now I microsoft is pulling me back! haha tough one

  • I watched this livestream and absolutely enjoyed it. Project Spark looks better than I expected.
  • I hope that one day the unreal engine will be so simple to use that anyone will be able to make games with it with a little practice!

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