Microsoft is launching a beta version of Project Spark for its Xbox One console today. The game-maker project originally launched in test form on Windows 8.1 in December, and the expansion to the Xbox One today allows allow developers, enthusiasts, and gamers to build a game within a game that runs across PCs, tablets, and Xbox consoles. Players can build custom worlds, characters, and animations from the Xbox One, and continue editing or playing them on a Windows 8.1 PC. It's similar in concept to Sony's LittleBigPlanet, but Microsoft continues to make use of its Kodu platform efforts, while pushing SmartGlass integration to allow players to interact with games from a tablet while they build and play on an Xbox One.
Like the Windows 8.1 version, Project Spark for Xbox One allows gamers to create different characters, worlds, and missions. The Xbox One version of Project Spark adds the ability for gamers to capture animations, audio, and custom moves using Kinect, but any Project Spark games can be shared with others, and edited further. Project Spark automatically converts controls from mouse and keyboard to the Xbox One controller, and vice versa. The platform is fairly flexible, allowing gamers to create third-person shooters, 2D platforms, tower-defense games, and action games similar to Zelda or Fable. Each element in a game is fully customizable, with a "brain" interface that controls movement of actions of objects.
Microsoft requires gamers to sign up for the Project Spark beta to access the Xbox One version, but if you’ve been using the Windows 8.1 version over the past few months then you’ll automatically gain access. Microsoft is expected to ship a final version of Project Spark later this year.