Catsoft Studios builds essential game creation tools that shave time off production so you can focus your energy where it counts.
Every game begins with an idea – a world to build, a compelling game mechanic, a feature that players are bound to fall in love with – but it takes a lot of work to bring that idea into fruition. Catsoft Studios creates tools to help make the journey from idea to playable game a lot smoother. Built around the studio’s core product, Game Creator, this hard-working Unity Asset Store publisher has produced a slew of tools, templates, and systems designed to help you bring your ideas closer to reality.
“Game Creator acts as a bridge between game programming and design,” says Marti Nogue Coll, the main force behind Barcelona-based Catsoft Studios, describing the ethos that drives the publisher’s Asset Store offerings.
“I like to think of the game development cycle as a set of layers. When you create your game from scratch, you start from the lowest level and have to make your way up to the top. Unity gives you a tremendous head start,” he explains. “Game Creator aims to push this even further. When you want a character to move to a certain position, you don’t want to deal with direction vectors, acceleration formulas, lerping between animations or obstacle avoidance. You want to move a character from A to B. That’s what Game Creator is all about: making game development more human-friendly.”
Game Creator is the base, a core package of common, genre-agnostic systems, including cameras, characters, variables, and a high-level visual scripting solution. Modules add and extend these features with gameplay elements from managing inventory to defining melee fight systems to crafting quests. The Stats module helps you to create intricate RPG attribute systems, while the Dialogue add-on is a system for managing complex branching conversations between characters. Each integrates closely with Game Creator to boost developers’ freedom and productivity, and the visual scripting system can be extended with free custom nodes shared on the Game Creator Hub. The Game Creator ecosystem includes features with appeal for game designers as well as developers – really, Marti claims, his tools are for “anyone with a game idea.”
Starting from strengths
As a computer science student based in Barcelona, Marti discovered that he had a flair for creating tools. “I worked on a project where we had to develop an RPG mobile game. We spent almost nine months developing the tools and assets, and only two to flesh out the game,” he says. “The fact that those first nine months were more satisfying than the stressful latter ones was a hint for me that I may enjoy creating tools more than developing fully fledged games.”
Marti took advantage of a two-week break between semesters to dig deeper into UDK, RPG Maker, and Cocos 2D, and it was around the same time that he fell in love with Unity. “When I opened Unity 2.6, I fell in love with its simplicity,” he recalls. “A big scene view with an island for me to play with, scripts that get automatically compiled and a clear interface. It simply clicked.”
From there, the shift toward developing creator tools for the Asset Store felt natural. Marti has observed that many programmers who work on games are constrained by tight deadlines that don’t leave them enough time to build great tools for their own workflow – instead, they’re often forced to create things that just barely get the job done. “Focusing on Game Creator makes this work the other way around,” he explains, “putting all the effort into the tools, and, from time to time, testing them by joining a game jam.”
Inspiring and being inspired on the Asset Store
Catsoft Studios currently has eight packages on the Asset Store, but Marti says that he uses assets in his own dev process as well. “The Asset Store is a place full of hidden gems and well-known top-notch products,” he says, citing UMotion Pro animation editor and the wide-ranging suite of Synty Studios art asset packages among his go-to resources.
He’s fueled by the collaborative energy and collegial spirit of the Asset Store community, which helps him to refine his tools to better serve the game developers who use Game Creator and its modules. “So far, it’s like a dream job,” he says. “Game developers are very passionate about making games. This means that when someone sends you an email, it’s because they genuinely want to know something, not because their boss told them to ask.”
Looking forward, Catsoft Studios is working on a new module called Traversal, which he plans to follow up with a “research phase” exploring how best to create assets that harness the latest Unity features like polymorphic serialization, DOTS, and the UI Toolkit, among others.
For Marti, publishing on the Asset Store creates a virtuous cycle of creativity – developers use the tools he creates to fuel their projects, while engaging with customers encourages Marti to keep pushing the envelope on what he creates for them.
“Most users usually have a very clear idea of the game they want to make and are excited about developing them,” says Marti. “Talking and discussing ideas is a blast of good energy and excitement, which boosts our motivation to continue further developing better tools.”Continue reading