This is part 1 of the letter 'C' because I had so much to write on this letter.
C is for Click & Create (Part 1)
Click & Create was originally published in 1996, and is abbreviated as CNC, CnC, or C&C. Most people probably think of it as the 'commercial' or 'professional' version of The Games Factory which was sequel to Klik & Play. Versions of the software were later released under the names The Games Factory Pro and Multimedia Fusion Express.
How Corel Click & Create differed from The Games Factory
Other than the distribution licence, Click & Create was pretty much the same as The Games Factory. However, there were some other notable differences.
Click & Create was bundled with a number of objects that did not come with the initial release of The Games Factory (but were added to TGF later): ODBC, RTF Text, Combo Box, List, Window Control, Netscape, Search, Clock, Print. CNC also had the Tutorial object which it used for its own tutorials (see below).
Timeline Editor - To quote the help documentation: 'The Time Line Editor provides an alternative view of your application. It's used to set up the timing of your presentations and introduction screens. With the Time-line Editor, you can quickly synchronize the various pictures, soundtracks, and movie clips into a smooth sequence in your application. The Time Line Editor works by dividing your application into a series of time segments, each with its own set of Actions. You can add these actions and change their timing by dragging them to a new position with the mouse. After you've entered your choices, you can edit them in the Event Editor.'
Click & Create came with various games that TGF did not (and which most would not see until they were bundled with Multimedia Fusion) but did not include the TGF games like Zeb, Lobotomy and Magician's Lair. They have all been combined though in Kliktopia's Clickteam Game Demo Collection: https://create-games.com/download.asp?id=9389
In addition to the video game graphics libraries, Corel Click & Create included various multimedia libraries designed to help people make kiosk applications and the like. Corel Click & Create also came bundled with Corel GALLERY Version 2.00 which came with various pieces of clipart. The second CD was filled with .bmp background graphics, clipart, fonts, and sample videos.
One of the more curious difference is in the default colour palette. For some reason The Games Factory uses different colours to The Games Factory.
Name and marketing
Before being Click & Create, the software was originally marketed and sold as Klik & Create. I've yet to be able to track down an actual copy of K&C, but I do have the above screenshot from a German magazine.
When I asked about the history of Click on the Clickteam forums back in 2003 I was told, I think by Jeff Vance, that 'the first few hundred copies of Click & Create were sold as Klik and Create by Europres'.
A number of remnants of this old name exist within the software, including the 'kc' prefix for objects, and some references to .kca files within the tutorials.
You can catch a beautiful look at the old logo and what it looked like during development from the January 1996 edition of PC REViEW magazine.
You will see here that this early version is from Europress rather than Corel, spells it with a K, and includes an early version of the Morphing Editor. The dialogue box refers to it as 'KNC' and still uses the old K&P logo in the application setup screen.
Most, however, is the fact that it is being marketed as a Multimedia tool.
This early version of the box used the tagline 'Multimedia made easier for everyone,' but the version which appeared in a Europress catalogue/brochure I got with Journey to the Centre of the Earth used the alternative tagline of 'Multimedia creation for everyone'.
The brochure also mentions that the software Comes with a set of books of imaginative and creative ideas. I've not been able to track this down beyond cover art for volume 2 of the book in Mel Croucher's portfolio.
When Click & Create was subsequently sold by Corel, they kept this focus on the multimedia aspect as shown in this advert from the July 1996 edition of PC Mag.
Why was Click & Create pushing the whole 'Multimedia' thing?
'Multimedia' was a big buzzword from the mid-90's. As http://www.dosdays.co.uk/topics/cd_roms.php explains in more detail, the ability to have interactive media on a computer with recognisable sound and graphics was just seen as so cool after an age of text-based DOS-style computing.
At that time multimedia was so widely used that people know that the term could mean pretty much everything on a computer that is not text-based. Does your PC support graphics and come with stereo speakers? Market it as a MULTIMEDIA PC! Multimedia games, video discs, presentations... everything was multimedia and everyone wanted their own interactive in-store information kiosks, their own screensavers, their own interactive experiences which used both sound AND video.
As a result, in the 90's there was a big demand for multimedia applications and the companies and tools (such as Macromedia Director and Flash) to provide it were charging relatively high prices for providing this multimedia experience. This is why in addition to The Games Factory which was targeted at non-commercial amateur games developers we also had the more professional Click & Create, which specifically came with extra artwork and features to create 'multimedia applications' and a larger price tag to match.
When Corel sold Click & Create to IMSI the new owner seems to have had expertise in products like desktop publishing, computer-aided design (TurboCAD), and floor plan creators. IMSI were in the design business (or visual productivity software for businesses and consumers), not the game creation tool business. And so when they wanted to market their product, they went down the Click & Create route and decided to call C&C 2 Multimedia Fusion, presumably because it fused together the ability to make all types of multimedia products from applications to games.
As the years went on the term 'multimedia' became increasingly old-fashioned and its association with video games has diminished as being able to include sound and movies in your video game is no longer something to specifically signify. So Multimedia Fusion became Clickteam Fusion, and soon it'll just be Fusion 3.
Pricing and licensing
The pricing for the software seems to have been all over the place.
In the April 1996 edition of PC Review, Europress's Klik & Create was being advertised for £11.99 reduced from the RRP of £44.99 which was itself lower than the £50 price announced in the September 1995 issue of CD-Rom Today.
However, as the advert above shows Corel's Click & Create in July 1996 was being advertised at the rather higher price of $479.99 for the full CD-Rom version and $229.99 for the 'Competitive Upgrade'. That might sound a lot, but back in E-Media Professional's January 1997 issue the reviewer states a higher price of $459 and say at this price you won't even have to justify it as an investment because it is so affordable (and note that most professionals would qualify for the 'competitive upgrade price' of $249).
Fujitsu released Click & Create in Japan for 17,800 yen (c. £112 / $135). Unsurprisingly, it was marketed in Japan as 'a full-fledged multimedia authoring tool that allows anyone to easily create multimedia title'. https://pr.fujitsu.com/jp/news/1997/Aug/27.html
At least some versions of the Japanese edition of Click & Create came with a demo example of Duck City. It is a mini-game collection created by Alan Snow. Alan is the writer and the illustrator of Here Be Monsters! which was adopted by Laika into the film The Boxtrolls. Duck City was distributed by BMG Interactive, a name familiar to fans of Rockstar Games.
After paying all that money for Click & Create you might think you would be able to sell your product as you wished, but the article 'The Legalities of Runtime: Fine Print and the Rights of Developers' in the July 1997 issue of E-Media Professional noted that this was not the case on launch and the controversy of Corel's requirement of approval prior to distribution resulted in the licensing agreement being revised by Corel.
One developer who presumably would have already had a license to use the software was K&P publisher Europress, who used 'Klik & Create' for their Living Classics series of video games (published in America by Front Street Publishing Division of U.S. Gold under under their 'Imagination Classics' brand).
Speaking of the Living Classics series, Europress Chairman Derek Meakin gave some backstory in a 1997 Woodfield Lecture: ...Could multimedia jump on the bandwagon and cash in on this revival of the classics? And could it, too, find a way of bringing down the price and going for volume sales? Well, we decided it could... At that time children's CD-ROMs were retailing at anything from £40 to £80. How could we possibly break the mould? The answer came from a most unexpected quarter. A team of software game developers who were working for Europress in the French city of Lyon had found a way of creating a completely new programming language. It was a computing breakthrough...We launched it as a games creator under the name Klik & Play. Then the backroom people went back to work, expanding, enhancing and refining their novel idea. The result was Click & Create, which we found could be used to produce just about any kind of software program, from fast 'shoot-'em ups' to animated business presentations - and even interactive multimedia storybooks. It soon became apparent that one of the best things about Click & Create was that, not only could it be used by anyone, but that it enabled you to produce software in a fraction of the time - and consequently the cost - that it would normally take. That was the big breakthrough we had been looking for. At a stroke we could slash what would have been a horrendous development cost. So, we decided to launch our Living Classics series at the then unheard of price of £19.99. Today, with a better understanding of the economics of using Click & Create, we have managed to bring it down to £9.99. Some retailers, I understand, now have them on special offer at under £7.
The full speech went into detail on the work done to translate the games and how they grappled with issues of censorship and what kind of content is appropriate to children. It noted that some elements were toned down for the American release of Treasure Island and that they hid three additional pages incorporating the authentic Victor Hugo ending of the Hunchback of Notre Dame behind a password known only to Europress staff.
According to the .exe metadata for the Living Classics releases, many were made using 'Stand alone game - Klik & Play Dev. 2' or 'Klik & Create Dev'. Many of the games used .kca files rather than .cca files but didn't bundle them all into one file like TGF does and instead has them separate like Klik & Play. This seems to indicate that many of these edutainment releases were developed in a sort of Klik & Play 1.5, a midway point between the two tools.
Before working on this Click & Create article I don't recall anyone having mentioned any of these games to me, but coincidently while I was working on it two different people contacted me about the Treasure Island game within a week of one another. What are the chances? Clearly, it's a game which stuck with a number of people, and one of them credited it with introducing them to the world of Click.
It's great to see how the Klik tools helped support Europress in supporting education, helping deliver on the appetite for multimedia. If you have memories of any of the Living Classics series then let us know in the comments!
...so, that's all for now. Tune in next time for more about Click and the letter C!
Mustafa: I know just what you mean. I grew up using The Games Factory, and for a long time I knew little more than what was said about it in the TGF manual, which is that: "If you wish to sell your games, you are advised that you should purchase 'Corel Click & Create', available from the Corel Corporation. Click & Create is a sister product to The Games Factory, and you can run games you have created with The Games Factory on Corel's Click & Create". It wasn't until more recently that I found out, for example, that the majority of MMF's demo games which I played back in 1998 such as Romeo II were originally Click & Create demo games.