Epic’s State of Unreal event at GDC 2023 was the place to be for the latest news on all things Epic, Unreal and of course Fortnite.
And starting with Fortnite, the announcement of Unreal Editor for Fortnite is huge (if not unsurprising) news. Named to avoid any possible misinterpretation it’s literally a Fortnite editor that opens up the world of Fortnite to creators. While there are one million Fortnite islands in existence (and over 40% of players spend their time in them, Epic claim) it’s always been a ‘devs only’ closed shop.
Now, potentially any one of the 500 million registered players and account holders can create worlds within Fortnite. It's a move akin to PUBG Mobile's recently announced new editor moves though it's clear that both companies have had their rival systems in develpment for some time.
The new editor (downloadable now) places Fortnite squarely into the (dare we say it) metaverse arena alongside the likes of Roblox and Minecraft, giving players (and creators previously busily employed elsewhere) the chance to craft something new and - best bit - get paid to do it.
The big news is that creators making content for Fortnite will keep 40% of their earnings. The split works like this. From 100% of gross Fortnite earnings Epic are removing 27% to cover their costs as third-party payment fees. Then, of the remaining Fornite net revenue 40% is diverted to the Engagement Payout Pool. That’s - potentially - a considerable volume of cash.
Technically the Unreal Editor for Fortnite is a simplified version of Unreal Editor and as such naturally comes loaded with many of Unreal Engine 5’s tools and workflows including custom asset import, modeling, materials and VFX, Sequencer and Control Rig. “You’ll have a whole new world of options for producing and publishing games and experiences for Fortnite that can be enjoyed by millions of players,” claim Epic in their blog.
And UEFF (a catchy mnemonic that you should start getting used to) is being launched alongside a new programming language named Verse with the ability to script alongside existing Fortnite Creative tools, plus Creator Economy 2.0 which allows Fortnite island creators and developers to earn a portion of Fortnite’s Item Shop purchases based on engagement with their published content.
“Verse is launching in Fortnite today, and will come to all Unreal Engine users a couple years down the road,” says Epic.
An impressive demo in three key parts, running on Fortnite servers, and played on PC showed an opening section highlighting how to enhance existing Fortnite Creative devices using Verse, followed by a deeper dive into the editor, with an exciting boss battle to finish.
All this and a new marketplace too
Of course all this new power to build - placing real power in the hands of single users or tiny dev teams - would be for naught if they’re spending all their time (and/or money) creating assets for their experiences. Step up Fab: their “unified marketplace where creators can find, publish, and share digital assets for use in creating digital experiences.”
Fab is a combination of Unreal Engine Marketplace, Sketchfab, Quixel Bridge, and the ArtStation Marketplace placing everything you could need in one place (and giving you the avenue to create content for it, and profit from your sales) with a generous 88% share of the revenue going to creators.
Fab will be the place for “3D models, materials, sound, VFX, digital humans, and more, supporting all engines, all metaverse-inspired games which support imported content, and the most popular digital content creation packages,” says Epic.
And users can check out the Alpha version of Fab as a plugin for UEFN today.