Jump Into the 1st Project Spark GameJam

By Ashley Woodcock, 4 years ago
Gamers enjoying endless hours of drafting, designing, and watching their own gaming world come to life in Dakota's free title, Project Spark, which is currently available on Xbox One and Windows 8, might just want to check out the team's first "official Project Spark GameJam powered by Ford in the U.S.A".

Before we dive headfirst into the deep sea of details, let's take a look at the video released alongside the exciting announcement for a quick briefing on what's in store:

Dakota have detailed what the categories are, with five different ones to choose and enter. Participants can enter into as many of the categories as they'd like as many times as they'd like to, so there's no limit to the amount of masterpieces you are undoubtedly going to submit! Helpful resources are on hand as we check out some brief details and useful videos in the overviews of each category.

Rube Sparkberg
Inspired by great contraptions and odd machinery using sequential or chain reactions. Can you build a better “Mousetrap”?
Pro Tip 1: Placing Objects During a Game

Pro Tip 2: Powering Objects

Life’s an Arcade (Original Arcade Game)

In the days of yore, there were these places where you could go and use coins to play video games (it’s true). This category personifies easy pick up and play style games that often have easy to understand rules, but game play that is not only hard to master, but brings out feverish competition around getting things like a high score.
Pro Tip 3: Creating a Side-Scroller

Pro Tip 4: Enabling Power-ups

Lights, Camera, Spark (Original Movie)

Take full advantage of Project Spark’s camera system, pathing, Kinect animation and voice recording, emotes, and more to tell your story. Whether it’s a short story, a great Indie flick, or a big budget summer blockbuster type movie – tell us an amazing story.
Pro Tip 5: Basic Camera Types

Pro Tip 6: Creating a Cutscene

Pro Tip 7: Scripted Camera Movement

Let’s get Primitive (Best Use of Primitives)

We’ve recently release an add-on pack of primitives (available via the in-game Marketplace). These are core shapes that have a ton of flexibility in how you can use them to create entirely new things not prebuilt into Project Spark. Glue them together, attach them to characters, and more. Make these the star of your level by creating amazing and unexpected things, or anything else you can imagine with these basic architectural pieces.
Pro Tip 8: Moving Attachments

More details on the primitives can be found in this article right here.

It Moves Like That (Best gameplay mechanics)

Running and jumping is too predictable, so make the next grappling hook, boomerang, or line swinging. Anything is possible, and this category relies on creating a new, fresh, and innovative game mechanic and game play examples of its usage.
Pro Tip 9: Terrain Destroying Projectiles

Pro Tip 10: Creating an Energy Shield

Pro Tip 11: Slowing Time

With a nice selection of categories to get involved in, those interested in entering will have already seen videos detailing the GameJam event as well as details on the inspiration of Project Spark itself, on the dashboard of the game and in "various other places." Within the game's main menu, the Team Dakota feed will showcase five Template "Starter" levels. Dakota states that if players want any of their creation submissions to be eligible in the contest, "YOU MUST use the correct category Template Starter and remix it". The team even go as far as providing a recap in a nutshell too! Check it out:

• Use the Starter Template featured for the desired category of entry on the Main Menu and remix it to be eligible.
• Edit that level and Share it to the community within the contest entry timeline.
Winners will be decided simply by sheer creative awesomeness, obviously. There's also plenty of little details to bare in mind as well. The same core criteria will be used to judge player creations regardless of what category they are in. Dakota's criteria will include the following:

• Creativity
• Innovation
• Entertainment Value
• Presentation
• Discovery
Those with the equipment, patience, and time to promote their work can do so via the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and plenty of the other social media sites we can take advantage of. Dakota will be on the lookout for videos and screens of player-made creations sporting the hashtags "#ProjectSpark" and/or "#GameJam". Just before you dash to create, share, tag, and submit your creations, Dakota have provided a lengthy chunk of the T&C's that details the Submission Evaluation/Winner Determination and is definitely worth a quick read:

4) SUBMISSION EVALUATION/WINNER DETERMINATION: This is not a game of chance. Odds of winning depend on the number and quality of Submissions received. All Submissions will be evaluated on a 100-point scale as follows: a maximum of fifty (50) points will be awarded by the Editorial Judging Panel (see Section 4(a) for details); a maximum of thirty (30) points will be awarded via voting by the “Project Spark” community (see Section 4(b) for details); and a maximum of twenty (20) points will be determined by the number of times a free Creation is downloaded (see Section 4(b) for details). The Submission with the highest point total will be determined as the Grand Prize winner. The Submission with the highest point total in each Category will be determined as that Category’s First Prize winner. The five (5) Submissions with the next highest point totals in each Category will be determined as that Category’s Honor Roll Prize winners. In the event of ties in point totals among potential winners, the Editorial Judging Panel will revisit the tied Submissions and choose as the potential winner(s) the Submission or Submissions (as needed) that best reflect all criteria as a whole. Limit one (1) prize per person/Xbox Live Gamertag.
Lastly, but most certainly not least, the prizes! There is a grand prize up for grabs, along with plenty of runner-up prizes for participants in each category:

• One (1) Grand Prize: A trip for the Grand Prize winner and three (3) guest to the Team Dakota studios in Redmond, Washington plus an autographed Xbox One
• Twenty (20) First Prizes (four (4) for each Category): One (1) Xbox One + Kinect console autographed by Team Dakota
• One hundred (100) Honor Roll Prizes (Twenty (20) for each Category): One (1) $20 Xbox Promotional Gift Card.

*Prizes cannot be converted to or have any cash value, prizes also subject to any applicable taxes. See official rules for further details.
*For a full list of eligibility requirements, see official rules for details on www.projectspark.com
The contest is already live and will end at 23:59 Pacific Time on December 19th, 2014. Good luck to all those taking part and be sure to check out this link for the full details on all of the terms and conditions.

For those anticipating Project Sparks' release on the Xbox 360, unfortunately, a date is still yet to be announced.
Ashley Woodcock
Written by Ashley Woodcock
Assistant News Manager for TrueAchievements and member of the Newshounds team since 2010. Lover of completions, tough achievements, shooters, action, adventure and racing titles, hip-hop, Wu-Tang, NBA, and my Scooby. I can be found working on the never-ending backlog which you can see my progress on via my TA blog.