Image courtesy of Manticore Games

Built on Unreal Engine, Core aims to make game development accessible to the masses

Jimmy Thang |
March 25, 2021

Manticore Games is the developer and operator of the “portal to the multiverse” called Core, a digital playground and community designed to unleash imagination and explore new play experiences.
Currently, in open alpha and coming to the Epic Games Store on April 15, Core is a free PC gaming platform from San Mateo, California-based company Manticore Games. Built on top of Unreal Engine, Core is both a game-construction kit and playing destination. Perhaps its most groundbreaking aspect is that it makes game development significantly faster and easier. 

To begin playing and making games on Core, users simply need to download the client, which not only houses all of the games on the platform but assets as well. Facilitating accessible game creation without requiring users to know how to code, Core offers numerous gameplay templates and genres such as first-person shooter, battle royal, MMO, and more. Core does much of the heavy lifting and handles 3D modeling, game logic, and even networking. More technical users do have the ability to start empty projects from scratch, however, and also have the option to code. 

When games are ready, they can be quickly hosted and shared with other Core players around the world. Not only are users able to play and create games, but they are also able to generate community content and share revenue. 

To learn more about the platform and how it’s making game development more accessible, we interviewed Manticore Games CEO Frederic Descamps, Chief Creative Officer Jordan Maynard, and Chief Technical Officer Steve Timson.
 

What is Core? 

CEO Frederic Descamps: Core is a groundbreaking user-generated content (UGC) platform for creating and playing games.
 
For creators, it is the easiest and most powerful UGC game-creation, publishing, and monetization platform; for players, it is an endless digital playground and arcade.
 
Core is an open multiverse of creativity, self-expression, and economic opportunities for all. A world where anybody can play and create, and also make a living. With Core, Manticore’s mission is to democratize and open gaming to a whole new wave of creators from all backgrounds.
 
Core is, of course, developed in Unreal. One of the greatest benefits of Core is that it gives everyone the ability to access the power of Unreal with an accessible interface.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
Portals are an integral part of Core and can be used for gameplay purposes.
Can you provide an overview of some of the ways that Core makes game development easier and more accessible?
 
Chief Creative Officer Jordan Maynard:
One important point: Core is not just for developers but for all creators, even those with no gaming or technical background. It is hard to overstate how fast and efficient Core is when it comes to creating, launching, and operating games.
 
Core is drastically lowering the barriers to entry into gaming with no code/low code/high code options that truly allow anybody to express their creativity. We have top creators in Core who have never made a game and have no technical background yet are making some of the top experiences on the platform.
 
Core does that by providing an all-in-one, full-service platform that’s free to all creators. By all-in-one and full-service, we mean that Core provides everything a creator needs, end-to-end, in a single service to create, iterate on, collaborate, publish, market, monetize, scale, and optimize AAA-quality multiplayer games. Instead of the dozen or so tools usually involved in the game development pipeline, you have just one to build, model, animate, and program.
 
Part of the magic of Core is its access to a vast, ever-growing, and free array of community content that includes game frameworks, assets, scenes, objects, even full games.
 
Core also comes with high-end, ready-to-use multiplayer code, on-the-fly scalable servers, creator dashboards, and integrated payment. 
Can you talk about your approach to making a development user interface that would be easy-to-use for novice creators?
 
Maynard:
Absolutely — this was one of the toughest challenges in creating Core. We wanted the editor to be so easy to use that a novice creator could make an entire game without writing any code. On the other hand, we wanted it to be so powerful and flexible that another creator could create an entirely new genre that no one has ever thought of before. We call our approach “opt-in complexity.” The editor is easy to get into and approachable, and creators can dig into it in as much depth as they want or are able to. This makes it the best of both worlds for both novice creators and seasoned mod makers or professional developers. I have been making games for more than 20 years and I’ve used just about every engine there is, commercial, and proprietary. It is no exaggeration to say that Core offers a truly unique experience.
Armed Forces is a real-time PVP tank-battle game.
Considering Core offers different game templates out of the box, can you delve into what genres the platform currently caters to? 
 
Maynard:
Core does offer game frameworks such as team deathmatch, king of the hill, and even battle royale, which allow creators to quickly create games in those genres. With just one click, you can also easily switch between those different modes and, in a matter of seconds, re-publish your game to playtest to see which mode works best. However, we have found this to in no way limit the kinds of games we have seen in open alpha so far. People have made shooters, of course, but also RPGs, adventure games, survival games, obstacle courses, and even entire MMOs.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
The Core Editor is designed to be used by any creator.
Considering creators won't be able to import external assets into Core, with all of the assets being located within the platform itself, why was this the right move for the platform, and what advantages does this offer?
 
Maynard:
This is probably one of the most important yet misunderstood aspects of Core. We have actually found that rather than being limiting, using the built-in assets to “kit-bash” together custom models in Core, rather than in some outside tool-chain like Blender or Maya, is not only more creatively freeing, it opens creation up to everyone, not just those well versed in those more complex modeling programs. We have seen things made in Core, using the built-in assets, that even we didn’t think were possible. Additionally, because all the base component assets used in any game on Core are guaranteed to be built-in, there is no download per game, and games on Core can load and run nearly instantaneously. As an example, the off-road vehicle below was kit-bashed by a creator almost entirely out of our built-in gun parts.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
Here’s an example of a complex vehicle made using kitbashing.
How many assets currently exist on Core and what are your long-term plans for adding content?
 
Maynard:
This is a great question. While we plan to continue adding all kinds of new content, what has really struck us is how much the community has added already. Even while we’re still in open alpha, the community has already contributed tens of thousands of pieces of “community content.” These are things like kit-bashed models, scripts, up to entire game frameworks. It is safe to say that while Core has thousands of pieces of built-in content, the community has already generated well more than ten times that amount, and it’s only growing.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
Strike Team is a 6v6 first-person shooter. Many different art and gameplay styles are available in Core.
Can you elaborate on Core's capabilities to create and share user-generated assets within the platform? 
 
Maynard:
Core makes it easy to both create and share user-generated content, right from within the editor. Creators can kit-bash together custom models, and pair them with custom scripting and test them out in their own projects ultra-rapidly. Once satisfied with the content, creators can choose to share their creations (be they simple models or entire complex game frameworks) with the community through a system we call “Community Content.” Without leaving Core, and with a single click, creators can share and browse thousands of pieces of community content.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
Community Content gives you access to thousands of assets, frameworks, and games for free.
Manticore has stated that developers who use Core to create games will be able to share revenue with the company. Can you delve into how monetization on the platform works?
 
CEO Frederic Descamps:
Core’s creator economy is built around Perks, which makes it easy for creators to monetize their games on the platform. With Perks, Core is giving creators who are in the payouts program a 50% share of Perks’ revenue.

The Perks system not only offers the best payouts but is also designed to give creators full control over how they monetize their games, whether it is in-game cosmetics, IAPs, passes, memberships, subscriptions, or a premium model. 

By sharing 50% of Perks’ revenues, we pass earnings onto creators. With Perks, we think Core will create an explosion in creativity as well as tremendous new economic opportunities for game creators worldwide, similar to what has happened with other UGC platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
The Core Editor allows the creation of any type of terrain and environment.
Who would you say Core, as a development platform, is for?
 
Maynard:
This is one of the most important questions. We truly feel every video game player has the potential to be a creator, but until now, the barrier to entry has just been too high. To make a game takes months, if not years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions). Core changes all of that. With Core, a single creator can create and publish an entire MMO, for free, in their spare time; we actually have examples of this from our open alpha. This has the potential to completely change how games are made and shared, the same way YouTube changed how videos are made and shared. We have seen a game made by a 14-year old in Sweden, who would have otherwise never had the opportunity to create, and who might otherwise never have thought of themselves as a game creator. 
 
Can you shed some light on the range of community creators Core has gotten thus far?
 
CEO Frederic Descamps:
Core’s community is one of the most important elements of what we do. Our community is welcoming, collaborative, supportive and, of course, extremely creative. Core has welcomed many types of creators to date: complete newcomers, indie developers, experienced modders, artists, non-technical folks, students, and more. One of the most exciting developments so far is the very vibrant, diverse, and international community of creators that have made Core their game creation platform; we have folks from over 40 different countries, and many of them are new to game creation and have no technical background. We have also seen a lot of experienced creators coming from the Roblox, Fortnite Creative, and Minecraft communities.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
Mergelandia is an example of a strategy “merge” game.
Can you talk about who owns the rights to games created on Core?
 
CEO Frederic Descamps:
The creators retain any original IP rights in their games. By publishing them on Core, creators grant a license to Manticore and other players to host and share those games.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
Home World is the central portal to the Core multiverse.
Can you talk about the work that went into handling complex features like 3D modeling, game logic, and networking for creators on the platform?
 
CTO Steve Timson:
Our goal was to make complex features as easy to use as possible, or even optional while retaining power for power users. For 3D modeling, this meant focusing on the user experience in the editor, making authoring as smooth and fast as possible, as well as supplying a large amount of free artwork for users to incorporate in their creations. For game logic and networking, we handle as much as we can internally so that users don’t have to deal with the complexity, but we also expose power to the scripting system so that interested people can tackle these topics themselves.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
While Manticore asserts that you don't need to code to make a game using Core, could you create scripts and code on the platform if you wanted to?
 
Timson:
Yes, Core uses Lua as a scripting language. There is a built-in script editor and debugger. Creators can also use their own external editor if they prefer. The scripting API is fairly extensive and allows access to gameplay concepts, networking, scene manipulation, etc. Community content features many frameworks and templates which are built on top of the scripting API. Users who don’t want to code can use those “as is,” while more technical creators can use them for inspiration or build from scratch.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
Why was Unreal Engine a good foundation for Core?
 
Timson:
Core is fundamentally a multiplayer gaming platform, and as a result, Unreal was a natural choice. Unreal’s complete solution for networking, including dedicated servers, security, and more gives Core a solid foundation. Additionally, we want Core to be available on as many platforms as possible, and Unreal includes support for essentially everything. Finally, visual fidelity is a Core cornerstone, and Unreal’s first-in-class visuals allow us to deliver that.
 
With Core currently in alpha, what are some of your big, overarching goals to bolster the platform for creators moving forward?
 
CEO Frederic Descamps:
We have a lot of new features and systems coming up in the next few months. First off, creators should get ready for our Early Access launch on the Epic Games Store happening on April 15, which is going to bring a large influx of players who can enjoy their creations.
 
Second, we are adding a slew of new features such as vehicle controls, animated mesh “skins,” server lock, game queuing, and more. Creators can check Core’s latest roadmap and milestones here.
Image courtesy of Manticore Games
Thanks for your time. Where can people learn more about Core?

Core is accessible on our official website right now or you can wishlist it from the Epic Games Store now to be notified when it launches there on April 15.

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