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Unreal Engine for Fortnite is a big deal

When Gossamer World – a transmedia project with a Netflix series, NFT collection and role-playing game (RPG) in the works – released a “game experience” on Fortnite this week, Caveman smelled a rat.

I do not regard Caveman as a naturally suspicious soul, so I paid attention. His feeling was that Bron and Feature, the studios making Gossamer World, might have decided to swap out the proper RPG for the basic game they had whipped up in Unreal Engine for Fortnite (UEFN).

It’s possible. There are some indications that Gossamer World is not going too well. The Netflix series, based on a novel by Lois Lowry, has clearly been finished for some time and hasn’t yet been released. Maybe it stinks, or maybe they have been waiting for the RPG so it can all come out at the same time.

You can easily grow old waiting for a game launch, and Netflix can’t be happy about that. There is also the fact that all the project’s NFTs were scrapped by Bron – a big Canadian entertainment company – and Feature was told to start again (Feature is the studio handling all the blockchain and interactive elements).

The big news is UEFN

Regardless of what Bron does with the RPG, the creation of the “game experience” within Fortnite is the event of real significance here. I’ve written about Unreal Engine 5 before, about its amazing ability to create photorealistic worlds, and Epic’s creation of a specific version of that engine for Fortnite is a masterstroke.

UEFN looks a lot like the normal Unreal Engine, but it’s been simplified and integrated with Fortnite well. Not only can you edit the standard Fortnite levels using the simplified UE user interface, you can boot up Fortnite itself in editor mode, run around in the level, and edit on the fly, with your friends. And then go back into UE to make fine tweaks.

This is the tool used to create the Gossamer World game experience (which Caveman plays here), using the same 3D models already featured in the Netflix series.

UEFN has only been out for three weeks and already there are scores of video tutorials on Youtube about how to use it. Several of them have more than 30k views, and Fortnite’s announcement video has been watched 10m times. There is serious demand here for a tool that easily allows anyone to make their own game. There will be well over a thousand flowers blooming here, and some of them will be magnificent.

Mark Long’s view of creativity

Mark Long

The point about the demand for creative tools in the gamer community was made by Neon CEO Mark Long in my interview with him this week on the Key Characters podcast.

“I’m watching my own boys learning to visually program with Minecraft, and then aging into Roblox, which is like the Lego of game creation, and then into Fortnite, which has its own creator mode. Over 50% of the playtime in Fortnite is creator-based maps.”

“But when you get outta school and you get a job and you’re in the core demographic, 18 to 35, there’s nothing for you to age into.”

It’s a great conversation, please have a listen and subscribe to the podcast, which you can find in whatever app you use, or by heading to this page.

Why “The Shanghai Event”?

Crypto’s second biggest currency network Ethereum sailed through “the Shanghai Event”, a significant change that allows validators who have staked ETH for earnings to withdraw their principal and earnings. ETH jumped above $2000 for the first time in over six months.

If you want to know why the code change was named after a Chinese city, have a read of this short piece.

Moving, talking pictures

The Polemos Youtube channel is gaining traction, which probably will come as no surprise to you, given that gamers are inherently visual, and video is their natural medium. This week Caveman stretches his legs with a 23 minute playtest of The Fabled, a game that looks great if you are into Dark Souls and unremitting graveyard fog. Go there

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Hal Crawford

Hal Crawford is an experienced journalist and newsroom manager, and the head of content at Polemos.