As a seasoned developer with eight years of experience in Unity, my recent foray into Unreal Editor With Fortnite (UEFN) for rapid prototyping might come as a surprise to some. Here, I’ll share my journey, the reasons behind my switch, and how UEFN is reshaping the way I think about game development.
A Brief Dive into UEFN
Unreal Editor With Fortnite is a potent mix of Unreal Engine 5 and Fortnite’s best features, offering:
From Unreal Engine 5:
- Lumen for breathtaking real-time global illumination
- Nanite for rendering intricate, high-detail geometry
- Niagara for crafting complex particle systems
- Materials and Material Graph Editor for creating visually stunning graphics
- Sequencr for seamless animation and cinematic creation
- Landscape and Water tools for sculpting your game world
- Access to a vast and engaged audience
- An extensive library of pre-existing assets
- A built-in multiplayer backend
- Launch on multiple platforms effortlessly
From Epic Ecosystem:
- Fab, a digital asset marketplace offering assets optimized for UEFN
The Rapid Prototyping Powerhouse: UEFN
While these features are impressive, what truly sets UEFN apart is its unparalleled speed in getting a multiplayer game up and running. It allows you to deploy and playtest changes swiftly without the hassle of diving into the intricacies of network programming, cloud server provisioning, or managing deployment pipelines. With just a few clicks, a new version of your game is ready for playtesting within minutes. This rapid iteration cycle facilitates immediate feedback and significantly boosts the productivity of playtests.
Additionally, UEFN simplifies the process of deploying your game on various platforms, including the Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox, without the need to integrate native software development kits (SDKs). A word of caution, though: Fortnite Creative isn’t available everywhere — Apple platforms being a notable exception.
A Chef’s Dilemma: UEFN’s Limitations
Despite its numerous advantages, UEFN does come with certain limitations. Creators can only work with mechanics that exist in Fortnite and are made available to them. These mechanics take the form of devices and props. For instance, using the Prop-O-Matic device, creators have developed hide-and-seek games where players transform into props to blend in with their surroundings. But the same device can be used for escape-room games, where players transform into smaller props that can fit into small passageways.
However, implementing features like leaderboards is impossible because of the lack of mechanics to save a player’s best score.
This limitation led me to adopt a mindset similar to that of a chef. The devices and props are like locally sourced ingredients — they may not have the exact flavor profile I initially envisioned, but they are cost-effective, enjoyable, and familiar to diners. If a particular game concept cannot be realized with these ingredients, it may not be viable. Instead, I learned to create a game that embraces these local elements to give it a unique twist.
Mastery is in Knowing Your Ingredients
Succeeding in UEFN mandates familiarity with its devices and props. It’s like understanding the nuances of each ingredient in your kitchen. Instead of lamenting over unavailable ingredients, master the ones at your disposal.
“Great cooking is about being inspired by the simple things around you — fresh markets, various spices. It doesn’t necessarily have to look fancy.”
- Gordan Ramsay
Remixing and Reinventing
UEFN’s community, passionate about Fortnite, has been remarkably creative with Fortnite’s tools. Character mechanics, terrains, traps — each can be repurposed, often in surprising ways. It’s like using familiar ingredients to craft exotic dishes.
Remember, there’s a 400MB project size cap. Using Fortnite’s assets smartly helps you stay within limits, saving custom assets for truly unique game elements.
The Art of Taste Testing
In the culinary world, customer feedback is gold. Similarly, publishing your prototype lets the Fortnite audience give you invaluable insights. The Fortnite Creator Portal can be your analytics dashboard, tracking player interactions.
For a more private feedback loop, UEFN has a playtest group feature. This allows creators to selectively invite players to test the game using a private link. The link can be shared with communities on platforms like Reddit, Discord, and Unreal forums.
UEFN offers an exciting and rapid way to prototype and develop games, particularly those with multiplayer components. While it does have limitations, adopting a creative approach and deeply understanding the available devices and props can lead to innovative and enjoyable game designs. So, if you’re looking to cook up a game quickly and efficiently, give UEFN a try — it might just be the secret ingredient you’ve been searching for in your game development journey. Happy creating!