Core to Build a Virtual World for DJ Deadmaus5*

In my sometimes-obsessive quest to cover as many virtual worlds as possible on this blog, I have yet to write about Core! Core is an Unreal-based world-building and gaming platform similar to Roblox and Minecraft, whose company, Manticore Games, recently raised US$100 million dollars in venture capital as part of the renewed interest in all things metaversal.

What brought Core to my attention is that it is following the precedent set by Roblox and Fortnite, and other game platforms, in branching out into music! And Core is starting out with a well-known musical artist: Joel Zimmerman, better known as deadmau5! According to an article in Protocol:

Game development platform Core is offering its own twist on the metaverse by pitching musicians to use its tools to build their own virtual worlds. Manticore, the company behind Core that in March raised $100 million, has its first artist onboard: Joel Zimmerman, known better as the electronic music artist deadmau5.

Zimmerman plans to launch his own virtual world on the Core platform this fall, the company announced at the Gamescom Opening Night Live event on Wednesday. The world, called Oberhasli, will feature live music performances, games and other experiences both created and curated by Zimmerman himself. A former programmer and 3D animator, Zimmerman is an avid gamer and game development enthusiast who over the years has taught himself some of the tools of the trade for use in his live productions.

The partnership is Manticore’s biggest entertainment crossover to date as it gears up to compete with the likes of Epic’s Fortnite, Roblox and other titles that have become both popular development platforms for young and burgeoning creators as well as lucrative destinations for large-scale virtual concerts and brand tie-ins.

It turns out that deadmau5 is himself a geek at heart, even trying his hand at building his own music platform form scratch before abandoning the effort:

Right now, the company is focused on bringing more people to Core, especially those who are excited about the prospect of building virtual worlds. Zimmerman, who has spent much of the past decade teaching himself real-time graphics and other game development techniques for use in his live productions, was an ideal candidate.

“I dove down the rabbit hole and decided I could take a good stab at producing a real-looking thing from Unreal Engine solo,” Zimmerman told Protocol in an interview over Zoom from his home in Toronto. That was a gigantic mistake, he said. “I soaked in too much, but I realized that’s why it costs $200 million to make a video game.”

Zimmerman says his efforts in learning how to push his stage productions, lighting and graphics to the next level gave him a newfound respect for the art of game development. That led to conversations with a number of companies over the past few years trying to build a bridge between traditional entertainment and video games. With the COVID-19 pandemic shifting many music events online, combined with the efforts of Fortnite and Epic’s pioneering virtual concert series, the timing felt right, Zimmerman said, and Manticore made an appealing pitch.

My first thought on reading this new is that the many companies who are vying to become music performance venues (and I especially thinking of Sansar here) are going to have to pull up their socks in what is becoming a feverishly competitive marketplace! I can only assume that a lot of money is being thrown around to woo big-name musical performers such as deadmau5, and I have no doubt that some bidding wars have already reupted!

It should be noted, however, that despite launching deadmau5’s virtual world with a live concert in October 2021, the focus here appears to be more on building a music-oriented virtual world, something that persists for fans and visitors, as opposed to one-time-only musical events.

Core can be downloaded for free. I note with a mixture of bemusement and chagrin that the minimum PC specifications for Core are an Intel Core i5-7400, or AMD equivalent, while my 4-year-old desktop computer is chugging along with a mere Intel Core i5-6600. Yet another reason for me to upgrade! It’s such a shame that high-end CPUs and GPUs are as scarce as hens’ teeth due to the cryptomining craze, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other reasons. I may have to make do for a while!

For further information about Core, please visit their website, join their Discord server, or follow them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube. And I will be adding Core to my comprehensive list of social VR/virtual worlds.


*Yes, I know, it’s supposed to be lowercase-d deadmau5. But it just looks wrong to me in a blogpost title! And I learned from the included video that it pronounced “dead-mou-five”, and not “dead-mouse”.

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