In the latest seasonal update, the pioneering 200-meter movie allows players to create their own islands and share them with friends – the response is likely to be huge
Every three months something huge happens in the lives of 200 million video game players: Fortnite Battle Royale starts a new season. The seventh version of the games was launched on Thursday, adding a variety of additions to the multiplayer online multiplayer game, but the most important is design mode, a completely new feature that allows players to build their own landscape in Fortnite and share it with the world.
For the unedited, Fortnite Battle Royale (unlike Fortnite Save the World, a linked but different version of the game) puts 100 players on the island together where they must search for weapons and equipment and then fight until the player remains the only one. It begins on a large island filled with homes, shops, factories and sports grounds, but there is a huge storm gradually rolling through the game, forcing the fighters to enter a smaller area than ever before. Bright visuals, brash and cartons, ridiculous locations, from fast food joints with huge burger statues, to latrine plants and nervous castles. It’s like playing Call of Duty in a world created by Scooby Doo.
There was always a modest creative element. In addition to shooting at each other, players can use a simple interface and a variety of resources in the game to build walls and forts to protect themselves. But with Season 7, Epic Games added a separate creative mode. Here, the players give their small island – a virtually empty page – and a bunch of things that fall in them. You can run around the environment just like you do in the main game, but double-clicking the jump button lets the character fly freely, giving them the architect’s view of their project. It is very similar to Creative Minecraft, which was certainly a model for the Fortnite development team.
A series of intuitive menus let you put entire buildings – a castle here, a palace there – and thus create your city quickly. You can easily put buildings above each other as well, and merge them together to create exotic umbrellas in Escher-esque. Alternatively, you can choose one of the “gallery” options, which gives you all the separate building blocks of the Fortnite building, putting everything you want on your island as the giant IKEA package – from which you can build a scratch. One gallery gives you all the pieces to build a perfect obstacle course, opening up new forms of play in the familiar environment.
Taking, rotating, and putting things together uses the same controls that players know from the game, so it’s a very natural feeling. At any time during this process, you can switch from “Flight” mode and explore your emerging world as a normal player. The game automatically saves your progress, so you can continue to go back to the same project, and each player can own up to four islands stored. The stylish touch is the tape at the corner of the screen that shows how much memory your world occupies – you can not simply create a huge, sprawling city – like a real game designer, think about technical limitations.
When you have something full of landscapes, you can choose to start a game, choose a game to display or cancel, and decide on the difference sizes. You can then invite up to 16 friends to share your new content with you, so you can showcase your game design skills; you can also set it so that other players can help you build your world, allowing group projects. Islands can also be shared online, and Epic Games has retained an area on Fortnite Island (an area known as Dangerous Rollers) where it will showcase the best creations made by the player.
As with Minecraft Creative Mode and other games that allow users to develop and share user-generated content – especially LittleBigPlanet and SuperMarioMaker – it’s great to see what players are doing with these new tools. Very quickly, fans will likely sabotage the tools available and create islands that challenge and challenge the standards set by Epic – one of the funniest design tools for millions of people. The options available at Fortnite are reasonably limited at the moment – you can not create your own textures, compounds, emotions or dances, for example – but it’s a very good start: intuitive controls and a very modern creative infrastructure, The type of experience they want to build.
It may also bring a positive note about parents who watched their children sink hundreds of hours in a game about shooting other people. At least now, these children can create something, and meet with friends to work on an island project instead of simply blasting each other with cartoon guns. When the Little Molecule first launched the LittleBigPlanet platform in 2008, I expected the level-building feature to be a small part of the appeal and was not sure how many people had the courage to upload their creations to the main server to try others: within a year there was One million users create LBP levels online. We have also seen that Minecraft has become a very useful tool for cooperative projects in the classroom over the past five years – and there may be similar potential here.
Because Fortnite is very successful and effective right now, it may encourage other developers to include user creation tools in their own projects. Building things in these severely restricted systems is not much like the real game design, but it releases imagination and teaches concepts such as balance, configuration and environmental signals. Twenty years ago, a whole generation of leading game designers cut their teeth to make their own “modifications” from games like Doom and Half-Life. The next installment can come from Fortnite.