What is Project Spark good for now?

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bpottle
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What is Project Spark good for now?

Post#1 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:53 pm

Something that I have been wondering about. Project Spark is an amazing tool. I think I might perhaps be able to appreciate it more than some - I originally started game design in high school on the TI-82. Here were the limitations.

All games, images, user data, etc was a TOTAL of 28K. One time I found that I didn't need an end " on text, so I scoured through 30 pages of code to save 400 bytes.
We got 6 images total, which had to be made pixel by pixel.
"Animations" were figuring out a mathematical function to turn pixels on or off to create the shine on a sword or a tear falling on a face.
No loops, just goto statements.
"Distribution" required physically hooking up your calculator to another person's and transferring all the data.

Because I came from that, and haven't worked on game design in a decade, I've been blown away with just how easy it is to accomplish things in project spark. I fell in love with it from the day I tried it. (unfortunately I joined late because I was waiting for Windows 10)

But, like any tool it has proper uses. So what is Spark great for now?


1. Teaching Kids to Code - My daughter is just getting old enough to start playing with Kode. While it would have been awesome for her to share her own levels in 1-2 years from now, .... she doesn't really need to share. She can still learn by just playing locally on either Xbox or PC. It's just concepts, but that is still very valuable.

2. Playing existing community games - Thanks to SparkShare, we aren't limited to the games on our device. There have been some amazing things made, and I hope to play them years from now, especially with my kids. Heck, we still play Oregon Trail and Number Munchers. Also, sparkshare should be much 'cleaner' than the feeds, without the 0% remix spamming for achievements.

Those two alone are very worthwhile. I really wish PS had given players the option of creating exe files from their levels for distribution outside of spark. That would have made things so much easier.

I do wonder how many new games will be created. As we all know it takes a ton of work, and if there aren't a lot of people downloading, people might better spend that time on other engines. I guess time will tell.

bpottle
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Re: What is Project Spark good for now?

Post#2 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:21 pm

I never used spark for making videos, but I guess if that was your thing there is really no loss of function with the servers down at all, as you can still capture whatever and share it on youtube.

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Psychokiller1888
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Re: What is Project Spark good for now?

Post#3 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:56 pm

Wow, you came from a long way! Nice to see some old school still being around. While I do not have any experience on game designing on older devices, I still remember using some 33mhz computers with no hard drives at all, spending my nights just creating little programs in DOS 1.0

Project Spark brought something interesting in game designing, where all the hard part was dropped giving the users the ability to focus on their gameplay without worrying about mem allocation, core allocation, real code and stuffs. It's very far from programing, but Kode is a great tool, as you point it, as an entry in the programing logic. It teaches you procedural programing, logic flaw among others and that's what made it a great tool that didn't get the attention it deserved unfortunately.

SparkShare was originally created because I had enough of seeing the "Coming Soon" on the assembly share option. By creating 0.0.1 I decided to add more functions like sharing brains and assemblies and gave a shot at sharing kinect captures (that didn't work, removed) Many other function came, like image importing, chat, messages, liking, stats, links etc etc. And thanks to zgloug, I could make something looking nice too (I'm a programmer, not a designer, you can tell). A couple of events, a demotivation from my side left it the way it is right now. I did not finish the polishing, did not finish the php server side, but it works. You know, I didn't want to inject 200 more hours into it for something like 10 users a month. We tried hard, had some great streams from Team Dakota (thanks Brian and Thomas) and different tries, it never really caught up.

Time will tell, as you said, if it is worth continuing or not. We have a lot of assets in SparkShare's database, and in case it should not continue I will make them public so they don't get lost. SparkShare is just an interface that makes life easier by doing the hard work but is not mendatory to keep ProjectSpark' legacy.

Project Spark was a great game, a good entry into programing, and it can continue even though the servers are down. We can always download it and play it and it's not gonna stop in the near future even though the major part of the community moved to other games, for the gamer part, and to other engines for those that got infected with game development.

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LucidStew
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Re: What is Project Spark good for now?

Post#4 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:26 pm

You can use it as sort of a 3D photoshop substitute. A few examples I did...

Star Wars logo in starfield
Image
background for the PS wiki
Image
Deforestation
Image
spaceships
Image
End of line.

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