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Craft Studio Preview and Interview with Elisee Maurer

Posted on Monday, April 2nd, 2012 in Uncategorized by Nick

Have you ever wanted to design and play your own game but every tool you have tried over complicates it or it’s just too much work for one person? Craft Studio aims to change this and more!

CraftStudio is a multiplayer platform to create games and interactive movies. It’s about empowering gamers and blurring the line between playing and creating.

  • Create, paint and animate 3D models (characters, objects) out of blocks.
  • Craft infinite maps (think Minecraft’s creative mode), painting your own blocks to create whatever universe you want.
  • Give life to your worlds using a visual scripting system.
  • Creating is in real time and collaboration is possible with friends or strangers

The Craft Studio Platform

  • A store to find and publish models, maps, behaviors or entire games. The idea is that you’ll be able to share stuff on the store for free or charge for it. Note that you don’t have to use the store. You will be able to export your game and distribute / sell it without owing me anything!
  • Community of people to partner with and projects to contribute to.
  • Built-in revision system, you can go back in time and restore old versions of your assets
  • Collaborative rich-text document editing à la Google Docs for laying out your game’s story or gameplay mechanics
  • Project access policies & moderation features so you can choose whether your project is private or anyone can join and help. No text files editing, it’s all part of the main client
  • It will run on Windows / MacOS X / Linux when finished (currently Windows-only)

Example Models:

You can download Craft Studio at The download is free, however, you can receive a premium account by contribuiting $10 to the game fund over at Indie gogo

I was able to get in touch with Craft Studio’s developer, Elisee Maurer, and he was generous enough to answer my questions and provide some behind the scenes information.

What inspired you to make a game essentially for others?

CraftStudio is very much for myself too actually! I love being creative, making games in particular and I think it’s much better when you’re doing it with pals.

I started programming to create my own games when I was 8. I learned a lot from others through forums and chat but there was no way to collaborate sensibly in real-time, which means everybody kept to their own projects. Nowadays developers have pretty great version control tools for collaborating but everything is still so technical.

A while after playing Minecraft, I had an epiphany: fun and even pretty games can be made out of simple shapes like blocks. And blocks are so simple anyone can create their own worlds with them. That’s when the vision of CraftStudio started to appear: a complete platform to make your own games from scratch, online.

That’s something I would have loved to have from the day I started making games, and I think many people are looking for this too.

Do you believe your game can approach Minecraft-level success?

It’s very hard to say how success comes around. It looks like it’s a mix of coming up with the right thing at the right time, not stifling it with crazy limitations, and having a bit of luck for sure.

I think CraftStudio has the potential to be a huge hit if I don’t mess it up along the way :D. Games like Minecraft, Little Big Planet or Trackmania provided tools for making your own content and people have made amazing things with those tools. At the very least I hope that by providing a full 3D game-making platform and making it accessible to non-technical people, many awesome games will come out of it and people will be inspired to make greater use of their creativity.

How has the public perception of your game been so far?

It’s been overwhelmingly positive. It looks like people are just as excited as I am by the possibilities CraftStudio offer and it’s a huge motivation boost. Launching this early is a bit taxing because CraftStudio is still in pre-alpha and there is so much left to fix and implement, but that’s okay. Players are very understanding.

Of course some people have dismissed it as just another Minecraft-clone without even looking at it. But hey, it’s the Internet, if you don’t get a little hate you’re probably doing it wrong ;).

Someone even expressed concern that I’m providing regular people with game-making powers they might not be able to handle and because of me, the world will be flooded by low-quality games made by beginners. Well, I say more power to them! I think great designers come to be and great innovations happen when more people can fiddle around and try out stuff in spite of the establishment. If all those people have fun making clones of existing games, they’ll have learned an awful lot along the way and they will be that much closer to creating the next big thing :). The solution to bad games is more games!

What has been your favorite part of the development process so far?

I face some pretty complex design issues while building CraftStudio, mostly because of its real-time collaborative nature. I’d say my favorite part is when a feature starts to really make sense and I’m just cruising through the implementation and then I get to see people play with it.

The first pre-alpha build to actually allow building and painting a model together was a huge milestone. It was such a rush to make a character with a couple friends for the first time and see it evolve from the ideas and tweaks of each of us.

Craziest thing you’ve seen made?

There’s something awesome every week lately and it’s so amazing to think it’s all done with CraftStudio. Mattht is currently working on a very detailed Star Wars AT-AT model. It’s huge (370 blocks already) and it doesn’t look blocky at all which is pretty amazing. See for yourself:

How do you plan on tackling Project Waffle? What does Thomas Frick bring to the table?

My priority right now is on getting the basics of scripting in CraftStudio. It’s a long-winded effort and getting it right is important. Once I’ll have made enough progress we’ll be able to start building Project Waffle.

We’ve done some preliminary design work but the actual production has not yet started. We don’t have a publisher to please (thanks to our very generous backers!) so we’ll be able to work at our own pace and do what we think is best for the game. We don’t have assigned roles, I expect he will do most of the art and I will do most of the scripting but we’ll be designing the whole game together.

Thomas Frick is a great artist and, having worked with him before, I know he can make the most of the constraints we’re going to have to deal with: Project Waffle has a small budget and CraftStudio is still pretty rough, especially for people like him who are used to more traditional 3D editing software. Check out this timelapse of a Lich King model he made with CraftStudio. That’s just awesome if you ask me.

Overall we share the same excitement for making games and our minds work well together, having him on board makes me confident we’ll come up with something great! I expect to make many improvements to CraftStudio throughout the development of Project Waffle so it will benefit the community at large too.

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