For as long as PC games have existed, the boundary between developer and fan has been blurred.
Players have been building their own content since the dawn of computer games, as seen in the many mods and game modes created from other titles. While this used to require a great deal of technical knowledge, new platforms have emerged in recent years that make it easier for players to create their own games. Some of the most impactful games in the world, such as Minecraft and Roblox, are almost entirely focused around this kind of content.
The latest platform to enter this fray is Singapore’s CliCli.
The venture was invested in by games multinational NetEase, and launched an alpha in July 2022.
“Our guiding philosophy centres around the simplification of game creation,” CliCli’s head of operations, Kun Li, says.
“With many years of experience in the games industry, our team has deep esteem for the contributions of our creators. As we observe the progress of the modern gaming and entertainment sector, we recognize the need for advanced technology and efficient tools to realise creators' concepts with ease. The underlying value of gaming should not be obscured by technological barriers, and every individual has the right to relish in the joy that gaming offers. The act of creating games is essentially the process of spreading happiness to others. Hence, we have established CliCli, an efficient and easy-to-use tool that permits our users to generate a diverse range of gameplay, disseminate and exchange ideas through their unique game works, and foster a thriving user-generated content ecosystem.”
While many of the new PC platforms have been competitors to Steam, CliCli is instead closer to Roblox.
“Our vision is not limited to creating a conventional game store, but rather, we strive to develop a thriving user-generated content gaming community,” Li explains. “Existing platforms are already well-established in terms of commercialization, and it is widely acknowledged that game development requires significant investment. CliCli, on the other hand, seeks to provide a comprehensive game creation and distribution platform, where creators can leverage the CliCli editor to produce games and effortlessly distribute them. In addition to publishing games on the CliCli platform, creators will eventually be able to package their games independently and release them on other gaming platforms.”
As for why CliCli has opted to focus on user-generated content, the answer is simple: to make game development as accessible as possible for as many people as possible.
“Our team members possess extensive work experience in leading game companies and share a genuine passion for the art of game design,” Li says. “We believe that everyone should have the right to experience the joy of creating games. For those who work in large game corporations and aspire to develop their own games, it can often be a lengthy and arduous process, involving rigorous project evaluations, and consideration of various commercial factors. On occasion, the end result may not be a game that is enjoyable to play.
“As such, we believe that every game creator deserves the opportunity to showcase their work to their audience. The process of creating games can be both rewarding and inspiring for individuals, regardless of whether they work in the gaming industry or not.”
Currently CliCli’s base of creators is made up of a global community. They range from those who work in the games industry – including programmers – to novices with zero experience whatsoever.
“They all share a passion for game development and possess the skills to create unique and engaging gameplay,” Li says. “This is the essence of user-generated content games, where the charm lies in the diverse range of gameplay that can be created by passionate and talented individuals.”
She continues: “CliCli provides an array of built-in and user-friendly features designed to cater to individuals who may lack extensive technical skills or game development experience. They could control Events, Conditions, and Actions (ECA) to realise their creative game ideas efficiently. CliCli will continue to add to its ECA library to present accessible and user-friendly methods of personalising their gaming experience. Creators with programming experience may use a Lua API and plugins to quickly adapt to the CliCli editor and generate fascinating content. CliCli provides them with a novel and innovative platform to showcase their ideas and connect with like-minded individuals.”
“While CliCli may not currently offer all the features required to develop mid-tier or AAA games, we are keen on forging partnerships with other studios to continually break the limits of CliCli.”
To support its platform of focusing on user-generated content, CliCli also comes with thousands of assets. These include models, particle effects, decorations, and music that users can employ free of charge and without risk.
“Our constantly expanding resource library significantly lowers creators’ barrier to entry and reduces the risk of IP infringement,” Li states. “Our asset library may be readily utilised by creators without concerns. In the near future, CliCli will be launching a fair trading marketplace for game artists to build value through their own works.”
Right now – while in Alpha – CliCli offers a 70/30 revenue split, but has plans to innovate how money is shared in the future.
“CliCli adopts a creator-favoured revenue share model," Li explains. “We regularly evaluate our content ecosystem and may introduce a more comprehensive, tiered-based revenue-sharing model in the future. However, we will always adopt a creator-favoured revenue sharing model."
CliCli launched in Alpha in July 2022. In the eight months since it has substantially evolved based on how users have responded to the platform.
“The feedback provided by creators helped us identify and address issues with our editor, enabling us to continuously refine and improve our product,” Li explains.
“Designing specific features requires more than just simple product research. These features need to be tested by creators from diverse backgrounds, and we need to communicate with them to understand their concerns and priorities.
“We are grateful for the ongoing support and feedback from our community of creators. Their input enabled us to release the CliCli editor Alpha 2.0 prior to GDC. This updated version includes a range of new and exciting features including: ECA profiling, a particle editor, LUA plugin extension, and more.
“Moving forward, we will continue to refine and enhance the functionality of our product to better serve the needs of creators.”
CliCli isn’t just building a platform; it’s also making games that users of the service can play and add to. The first of these is Game of Rollink, a PvP competitive card game with elements of the auto-battler genre.
“We are not exclusively focused on casual games, as evidenced by the upcoming release of Game of Rollink,” Li says. “We are committed to supporting the development of various UGC games that appeal to a broad range of audiences, and will continue to seek out new and innovative ways to enhance the gaming experience for our whole community.”
She continues: “The concept for Game of Rollink originated from one of our internal staff members and has been refined in tandem with the development of CliCli. This is but one example of the many innovative games we offer, and while there is still room for improvement, its existence aligns with the central tenet of CliCli - to empower creativity. Game of Rollink is a brilliant demonstration of what creators using CliCli are able to achieve, and we hope it will lead to increased activity and exposure for other games.
She concludes: “The games released by CliCli officially may be open-sourced in the future, and we hope to encourage UGC creators to join us in building a growing ecosystem.”
You can meet the CliCli team at GDC Expo
Time: March 22nd-24th 10AM-6PM (PST)
Email: email@example.com to arrange an appointment