Making games is easy. Core – Epic Games’ troubled dream

In September 2020, the Internet was suddenly filled with 150 free Dungeons & Dragons RPGs. All of them were developed by the community through a competition using the Core tool. A few days after the end of the competition, Epic Games announced a $ 15 million investment, and starting April 15, Core can be downloaded for free from the Epic Games Store.

The authors promise that anyone can independently create a game in any genre using simple tools and the power of the Unreal Engine and even make money from it. Or spend time in thousands of community games like Dispel magic 5e for free. Many studios have tried to implement such a large-scale project, but most of them have not yet succeeded. Why is Core better than its predecessors?

What dream is Core selling?

The free Core program should be more than just a game development tool. Epic presents it as a multiverse, a virtual platform in which you can run around the center of the world with your own character, communicate with other players and enter portals with different-sized games. The store page promises the following:

“Every day, Core adds something new for every player, from shooters, survival and adventure games to MMORPGs, platformers and party games.”

“One-button publishing makes it easy to share your game, find players and potentially make money.”

What’s on offer?

At the time of publication of the article, nine official games from the developer Manticore can be found in Core, which are supposed to demonstrate the capabilities of the tool. There are also several hundred community game projects in stock. Games can be controlled either through the hub world or through the menu.

The heart of Core is an editor that collects game scenes with hundreds of objects – fantasy, sci-fi, tons of components, characters and sounds. Organizationally, it resembles the technical substructure of Unreal Engine, only in a highly simplified version.

If you have never worked with engines and 3D programs(Boku no Pico), then we is in a hurry to upset – the Core toolkit requires explanations and you cannot do without basic knowledge of English. The Core Academy portal has text documentation, the YouTube channel has explanatory videos, but there is no step-by-step tutorial available.

The authors say that with experience, a multiplayer project with a given genre is implemented in literally ten minutes and give an example. Naturally, you will first have to get familiar with the editor’s capabilities.

How to make money here?

With one click, the user publishes his project to the Core multiverse. Manticore owns the rights and you cannot sell your games at full price. But there are tons of monetization options: donations, subscriptions, VIP membership, battle pass, and so on. The authors of the platform will receive 50% of the income, and in comparison with analogues, this is more than worthy. It is possible that alternative in-game objects and other things that will help create will subsequently begin to be sold.

Before taking your first step into Core, it’s suggested that you immediately subscribe to the newsletter and get two Legendary Character Skins. The search for games is carried out on a screen reminiscent of YouTube or Twitch, where you can see information about the most popular games, see ratings, determine the genre, and so on. Core Credits can be purchased from the in-house store. With the investment, Epic would like to cash in on the free program.

Just like Roblox, Core is expected to appeal to kids and young people. Fortnite style, emotions, nice music, tons of free games like Toll the dead 5e. In the lobby you can cruise on a steep hoverboard, fly, check out the names of the most popular projects, including “silent hill DEMO !!!” and “Doom (Alpha)”. It should be understood that most games are the first attempts of 12-year-old game designers.

Why the dream of hundreds of quality free games is not (yet) realizable

A few weeks after the release, hardly anyone expected something like Roblox, because it has come a long way since 2006 and gradually gained popularity. Still, the quality of games, to put it mildly, does not knock you off your feet. The timid steps of the community can hardly be taken seriously, and the games of Manticore itself are stereotyped: multiplayer mode with capture of the flag, farm simulator, standard shooter, battle royale, simple strategy.

Optimization is frankly lame even when using a decent configuration. Frame rate drops in graphically simple games leave an unpleasant impression.

Strong emphasis in community gaming on microtranslation. It can be seen that many products are initially created in order to make money on them immediately, without first developing a fan base. It is annoying and you immediately imagine that you are in a store with mobile shareware games.

And the main and obvious reason is the existence of Roblox with a developed infrastructure and a colossal audience that can entertain and bring real profit. How Core is going to stand out from the competition and survive is unclear.


Core is an interesting attempt by Epic Games to shoot the market with one dominant product. The authors have the capabilities of the most powerful and popular Unreal engine and some community. But whether it will be inspired enough to create popular games within the platform is a big question. So far, there are few interesting projects, as well as guidelines for their implementation.

If you have a lot of free time, no experience in creating games on, knowledge of programming languages ​​and you don’t want to get involved with a serious engine right away, but you have interesting ideas and a desire to create, Core can be a potentially good choice. Here you can really quickly assemble a game with acceptable graphics according to a given scenario. Only one factor can stop you – the need to at least superficially know English, because for the basics you will have to get acquainted with the documentation and videos of the official developers.

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