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Category: Good Old FRAG

T34 – The Dark Zone (Good Old FRAG)

I installed UEFN and tried out some Fortnite maps created by others. I was conflicted regarding how shooters have evolved these days. On one side, there are tons of mechanics and dynamics in Fortnite. On the other, the thing is getting very complicated! Too many things altogether, games back in the day were simpler.

So I decided to start a new project, codename “TH3FR4GGERZ” where for the moment I am rebuilding classic deathmatch maps for the kids to play what I played (ok, boomer).

I started from The Dark Zone from Quake, which I played tons of hours back in the days at LAN parties (ok, boomer x2). Do you remember it?

  • UEFN is an incredible tool, it’s Unreal Engine but it permits you to set up rules playtest, and publish very quickly without having to worry about code and other things.
  • Fortnite is a game where new and old audiences meet together. This is great as a designer because there are many things I have to understand about these new audiences that are not immediate. For instance, unlike games from my time, the Players receive EVERYTHING right from the start in the most successful experiences.
  • I can revisit classics and finally have an excuse to understand all the steps that led us, the FPS players, here today. Nostalgia level: 9.999.999
  • If you are a Fortnite player, please join: 4321-3870-5686
  • FFA
  • No build
  • No stamina, run forever

First Playtest for The Dark Zone

After a couple of days working on my first map and getting confidence with UEFN, I have a first version of The Dark Zone, a classic Quake deathmatch map to test.

I want to test specifically three things:

  • The dimensions: I had to scale the map up because of many reasons. Usually, in Fortnite, there are more players. Also, I want to express a sense of reverence towards the classics of the genre. Plus, the metrics of Fortnite permit the Players to move more agile across a map. Players can slide, run, crouch, and many things more.
  • The lights: the standard lighting system for Fortnite is very plain, but also better in terms of contrast. Still, I want to represent the darkness of these classics but at the same time make the visuals always readable.
  • Weapons: Fortnite has too many mechanics and weapons, and I have to convert somehow the weapons from Quake to a Fortnite counterpart. That can lead to a lot of balancing issues. I need to test it.

Start with WHY

Experts always say you should start your projects with WHY.

Sinek, love him or hate him. I like him!

Others say you should have a philosophical base on everything you start. I don’t know if that’s a universal rule, but I am sure it helps to write down why I am tackling this new UEFN project.

There are two sides to the medal. One is a personal improvement side, and the other is a practical business side. I have identified opposites on these two sides. I love it when everything comes together in a meaningful way. Maybe a little obsessive, dunno.

  • FUN <-> REVENUE: First of all, I am motivated and engaged in doing that. I prefer to invest 40% of my time doing that than playing video games, for a while. And of course, the ROI is higher in this case.
  • SKILL <-> GROWTH: I see opportunities to build a team, meet new people, and teach what I discover in the future. I love to teach.
  • IMPROVEMENT <-> PURPOSE: I am also playing lots of Fortnite to study my new competitors. I see that most of these experiences have no progression, and no storytelling, there is just chaos. Most of them look like a bunch of incomplete experiences. My will is to silently teach the history of good old FRAG deathmatch to the new audiences that are playing Fortnite today.