Project Spark Should Go Beyond Gaming

This year at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft revealed a new game, or rather game making game, called Project Spark. Project Spark is a game that allows you to create your own game from the ground up, literally. From the landscape, to the characters, and their respective behaviors, Project Spark gives you the tools to build your own game. You’ll be able to play/design on the Xbox 360, Xbox One, and a Windows 8 machine. One demo I saw showed a guy using, what appeared to be, a 50″ or so touch display. He was using both hands to create a new world, drawing, dragging, inputting interaction parameters, etc.

Ok, so it’s a cool game, but why just a game? My first thought was this type of technology needs to be applied beyond gaming. Imagine city planners being able to draw out neighborhoods, business districts, entirely new cities even, with a tool like this. “Ok, how about putting city hall here, a business district here, some housing here, a few freeways…”. You can quickly design, visualize, and brainstorm ideas. If it doesn’t make sense, quickly change it or explore multiple scenarios.

Just doing a little brainstorming, here are some other ideas:

  • Traffic engineers could model out new freeways or expansions, the impact of surrounding surface streets, traffic light patterns, etc. (could overlay on top of satellite imagery)
  • Physicists could model out the universe, from planets, to stars, the impact of black holes on nearby galaxies, etc.
  • Architects could quickly model out new buildings
  • Fashion designers could mock-up new designs and digitally fit them on models (imagine a life-size touch/design screen)
  • Automakers could put together scale models of new concepts on a large touch display
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Since the underlying computing and graphics engines are there, you’d “simply” need to overlay whatever parameters are specific to the task at hand, like traffic pattern algorithms, garment hang/flow calculations, standardized and customizable automobile components, etc. Sure, all of these things can be done with existing software,  but Project Spark brings to the table a new, much more user-friendly, touch-friendly, and I think creative way, to design.

Take a look at Project Spark and brainstorm some ideas of how you think it could be used. I think the possibilities are pretty limitless.