Making Game Develoment Easy and Accessible with Core

Making Game Develoment Easy and Accessible with Core

Manticore Games talked about their innovative product Core, a service platform that combines accessible game development tools and a vast community for creators and their audience. Join Open Alpha today!

About the Team

We started Manticore Games because we wanted to make a new form of real-time multiplayer games and experiences. We were committed to making games with high-quality graphics and gameplay, and we also wanted them to be highly modular, modable, very social, and collaborative. 

We started with a game called SpellShock, which started out as a real-time multiplayer PvP battle game set in a heroic fantasy setting and ended up becoming the framework for what Core is today.

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What Core Is About

Core is a free platform and community that makes game design radically accessible. It allows player-creators to collaborate and remix shared content and makes publishing games possible in a matter of seconds. The experience results in an endless multiverse of multiplayer games to play and worlds to explore. 

As we were developing SpellShock, we wanted to make it possible to create, modify and deploy new content to the game very quickly and efficiently. Not just characters, weapons and maps, but also game modes, rulesets, etc. We knew from past experience, that one of the reasons making games is so hard is because a lot of studios don’t have the tools and capabilities to easily iterate and improve their game during development, let alone post-launch. 

It was also important to us that we made our games, starting with Spellshock, modifiable, which meant sharing all our tools with the community at the beginning. So we got to work and ended up building world-class multiplayer gameplay code and server architecture that we’d eventually make accessible to our community. 

Because we wanted the community to be involved, we knew we’d also need to create a place for them to collaborate and exchange their creations. The next logical step was of course to create a place for them to share their creations and make money. That’s when it dawned on us that we were no longer making a game but a service platform.

Voila! Core was born!

Core’s mission is to empower and discover a new generation of creators and give them the tools to learn, experiment, and create new forms of entertainment. The Core platform combines radical accessibility with the power of Unreal Engine to give creators a fast, easy way to make and publish high-quality online multiplayer games. Programming skills are not required but Core’s opt-in complexity lets more experienced users script game logic, create assets, and more, to produce original games. Or creators can remix and reimagine any content shared by others on the platform, generating new mash-ups within the community. With Core, creators can publish their work instantly.

Game Making with Core

Once we realized we were not just making games anymore but creating a new form of game creation service, our mindset and aspirations quickly evolved. We realized our new mission was really about removing all barriers to creativity in gaming and jumpstart a new UGC revolution centered around game creation.

As many 80 LEVEL readers know, making games today is very hard and limited to a small group of people because of all the inherent barriers to game development: it requires a high level of technical expertise, access to capital, publishing resources, team building, and management capabilities, a lot of iteration, etc. This is the reason that 90% of games fail commercially or don’t launch and why more than 90% of gaming studios close, unfortunately.

This is a tough state of affairs and one we decided to upend with Core by removing as many of these barriers as possible.

Core is different. In a single platform and service, you have everything you need to make great looking games and worlds. It’s like having a game studio in a box. This means that extremely small teams, sometimes even single creators, can make amazing, complex games. We already have anecdotes from people who are UI/UX designers able to make some of the best looking and best playing games. In the past, they weren’t able to bring a game to life by themselves, but now they have a single tool to realize the great ideas they had. 

Another thing that sets Core apart is Portals that allow you to connect your levels, games, and worlds however you want. Using portals you can go from one game to another in a matter of seconds. Games can be vastly different or made by different creators. Think of them sort of like URLs. It’s an http call to load the target game, level or world. We fully expect creators to connect worlds to each other and build a networked multiverse.

Core is different from traditional game making. Typically, game development involves using more than a dozen tools - Substance, Marmoset, Maya, etc. - and then you need to integrate that into an engine. And often, even for an experienced game maker, it’s rare that you can touch the code. When you want to make changes, it takes days, and sometimes weeks to see those changes realized. Core is radically different. You can make a real-time multiplayer game in just a few minutes using already available assets that can be remixed and customized to your liking. The act of creation, collaboration, iteration are all extremely fast and highly accessible.

The beauty of Core is that it includes everything you need to create a fun, great looking game in a single free platform and service. Core is a whole new platform and paradigm for how to make and publish games. It’s built on top of Unreal Engine 4, but it adds a lot more functionality that you can use to publish your game with one click and have it playable for everybody within a few minutes.

Core's Editor

Core’s editor was written from the ground up to be the easiest way ever created to make video games. We removed all the tedious/annoying tasks, but in a way that still retains full flexibility to create whatever one wants. A great example of this is our materials. We have a state of the art “Smart Material” system that makes it so a creator can drag and drop any material on any object and it tiles correctly in the same space as other objects with this material - no longer do creators need to carefully UV every polygon - however, if they want to, they can turn off Smart Materials and set UV scales manually.

Core’s terrain system is also state of the art both technically and in ease of use. All kinds of smooth-voxel based terrains are easy to sculpt and paint - making it easy to create a game that takes place in a complex series of caverns, or on a planetoid in outer space! 

Now, about how Core’s editor is built: Core is like a game studio in a box for free. In Core, there are several ways to make games. You can create a new game from scratch by creating a blank project. Or you can use a Core game framework, which allows you to get any available style of game (third-person, first-person, top-down, etc.) with a click of a button, giving you a fully functional game of that genre with whitebox graphics that you can remix and change to your desire. Everything in Core has been built to have opt-in complexity, meaning if you don’t know how to code, or you don’t know how to do artwork, you can just drag and drop things in and it will work. If you do know how to code, we support Lua as a scripting language, and you can go in and edit everything about the game. 

Creators can use Core content to make games, which is all of the assets that we’ve provided as Manticore Games, including really high-quality 3D models, materials, audio, music, VFX - pretty much everything you need. You can search for whatever you need and drop it right into your project. In addition to the content Manticore has provided, we also offer community content, which is all of the content that the Core community has decided to share. This includes everything from a little model to something as complex as a complete game framework.

What these frameworks consist of is a series of templates that you can use to make your game. All of this content is 100% user-generated. Every element of the game, from the framework to the content, is completely modifiable. 

Monetization

We want Core to offer a strong economic platform where creators will be well rewarded for their work economically and even earn a living. In that aim, we’re building a set of monetization options that will help them find an audience and make money from the popularity and quality of their game.

We are in Open Alpha now and do not have monetization turned on yet. Monetization will start with the Open Beta in a few months. Meanwhile, we invite creators to get an early start in creating in Core so that they have great content by the time monetization starts.

Our head of product, Arash, is releasing a new blog this week specifically talking about monetization as one of the key elements of our upcoming roadmap.

Connection between Creators and Audience

For now, we are focusing all our efforts on reaching out to creators and introducing them to Core. Later, for Open Beta, we’ll focus our outreach more on gamers.

We don’t see Core as an alternative to Twitch but we think it is very complementary. Twitch brought a UGC revolution to streaming and Core brings the UGC revolution to game creation. In fact, we think Core-made games and experiences will become a new category of content on Twitch. One where streamers play games that their fans created, and where streamers play games that they created with their fans. 

The speed of iteration on Core will allow completely new forms of interaction between creators and their audiences such as live game jamming or super-fast prototyping where the community is involved in real-time or can even make its own changes directly to the game. 

We’re already seeing many creators live streaming working in Core, answering questions from their viewers and taking suggestions while the build. When we launched into Open Alpha, we had over 750K views of Twitch.tv/CoreLive, where we have demos, classes, and play games with the community.

But launching Core isn’t the same as launching a game. We’re launching a platform for game creators and game players. Much of our marketing right now is directed at the creator community, helping to onboard, educate and support them. So right now, we’re helping them build great games. With great games created by our community, we’ll naturally acquire more players. Our role will be to highlight and amplify that content to a broader and broader audience of players. 

Afterword

Core is more of a service platform and not a game as you know and it is available in Open Alpha now around the world at CoreGames.com.

We can safely say that Core is one of the most complex projects attempted in gaming today, being a two-sided ecosystem for creators and players, a mix between a game creation engine, a publishing service, a multiverse…

By nature, Core presents a lot of surface area as well as depth considering we have an all-in-one creation, collaboration and publishing service for creators AND a new multiverse-like destination for players.

Therefore, Core is pretty complex from a technical perspective as it includes an Unreal editor, an advanced real-time multiplayer code layer, a publishing service layer, a community, etc. all in one platform and service.

We want Core to allow and support any type of gameplay and game genres (breadth) and we also want to offer this at the highest level, say for instance, for real-time multiplayer (depth).

Our head of product, Arash, will soon publish a blog post about our upcoming roadmap and feature prioritization, which will also highlight the complexity of what we are building.

Manticore Games Team, Developers of Core

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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