MapCore is a game development community with origins in Half-Life mod production, which since its inception in 1999 has evolved into a thriving forum featuring all flavours of game development including level design, modelling, concept art, and programming. With 100+ members part of the professional games industry working for the likes of Blizzard, Crytek, DICE, Gearbox, Rockstar Games, and Ubisoft, MapCore offers an opportunity for professionals and amateurs alike to socialise, learn, teach, and find talent.
MapCore is home to a particularly high number of games industry professionals. This wasn't initially the case with the forum primarily consisting of young hobbyist developers — albeit ones instrumental in the production of immensely popular Half-Life mods Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat — however over time these members have almost all entered the games industry. This has since led to an increasing number of developers discovering MapCore's blend of professional discussion and informal chit-chat.
The community's members have had an enormous impact upon the games industry at large. The forum was founded by Gearbox creative director Mike Neumann, and almost every major games industry heavyweight has at least one MapCore member working in-house; numerous MapCore members also either work for or have founded indie studios. As such it's possible to benefit from a wide range of informed perspectives when discussing games-related topics.
MapCore now primarily attracts two groups: those who actively work in the games industry, and those who aspire to. Current professionals benefit from being able to talk to their peers outside of the professional environment, while budding developers get to learn and receive feedback from the professionals.
MapCore evolved from 1999's Anarchy Design, a games design-focused website and IRC community officially supported and hosted by the Counter-Strike development team. Due to the explosive growth of the community and the widespread popularity of the Half-Life engine as a platform for development of third-party modifications, Anarchy Design was revamped to include developers from projects beyond Counter-Strike and was renamed MapCore in order to suit the new direction of the site.
The website was re-launched in August 2000 as an affiliate of the late GameFan Network, and partnered up with other sites in the creative community such as 3DPalette, GameArt, GFXArtist, and Skindom. The timing of this move was poor as the network came under fire for withholding advertising commissions from its affiliates months later. The magazine's online network dissolved, leaving MapCore without a home.
MapCore continued to be based primarily on IRC for a short while, until the website was revived and the forum re-established in 2003 by Mike Neumann, David Marsh, and Patrick Krefting — and handed over to Ryan Williams several years later. The site continues to be owned by Ryan but is actively managed by Shawn Snelling and Sprony van Johnson.
MapCore began life as an IRC channel. The current channel is #mapcore on server irc.gamesurge.net.