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Project Spark

Back in May, Microsoft had Team Dakota announce that they would be pulling the plug on Project Spark. The user-generation creation tool is no longer available for use online and gamers have been advised to download as much content as possible before the doors shutter for good.

As reported by Gamespot, without the online component, it won't be possible to update Project Spark, nor will it be possible to share user creations, upload files, download files, or check for new content. Both the Xbox and PC version of Project Spark are shutting down for good.

Back in May, they made it known that you could no longer download the client for the toolset, and they announced that starting August 12th, 2016 the online service utilities would no longer be accessible. They advised gamers to download as many of the user-created projects as possible, because once the servers go offline you'll no longer have access to any of that content.

The upside is that for anyone who does have the user-generated content downloaded, it will be possible to play the games offline.

Project Spark originally came onto the scene as one of the early titles for the Xbox One, launching back in October of 2014. The toolkit was released in various packages, one of which was freely available for download.

The basic gist was that you could use Project Spark to make games. You could make 3D games, platformers, action-adventure titles, role-playing games, even platformers.

Some of the more impressive creations included a clone of Super Mario Bros., along with a decent, working version of a Dragon Ball Z game. Literally, the sky was the limit for the kind of projects that could be made using Team Dakota's creation suite. We saw Conker make a return to form through Project Spark, along with Linkin Park's "Guilty all the same" being paired with visuals made in the toolkit.

There was a lot of potential there, but admittedly, it was difficult to get into due to the high-skill requirement to make things work. While just about everything was easily accessible from pull-down menus and a contextual GUI, the main issue was that it required a lot of technical know-how to get things working as intended.

The best way to describe Project Spark is as a more limited version of the Unreal Engine 4's Blueprint system. While the tools were very powerful they were also very crude. In a way, if you had the technical prowess to navigate Project Spark it just seemed more convenient to just use the Unreal Engine or Unity 3D engine instead.

Sadly, Microsoft's experimental game creation tool was too simple for advanced game designers but too complex for a lot of people with zero prior game-making experience. It ended up failing to find an audience and Microsoft decided to pull the plug.

For everyone who did manage to create something worthwhile, those projects may live on through the hard drives of people who downloaded those projects or uploaded footage to YouTube. For everyone else, this is just a prime example of what happens to games (and tools) that are tied to online servers and when they go kaput, so does all their functionality. And after today, you won't be able to use Project Spark's online features anymore.