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Learn how the Village sample island was built

The Fortnite Team

Hey, creators! 

Curious about the new Village sample island? This is where we’ll showcase many of the new features coming to the Creative toolset and UEFN. Our main goal with the Village project is to showcase new features to help you create experiences you may not have thought of.

In this developer blog, we take a deep dive into Village and explore how the new camera types and gameplay controls released in v28.00 (in Early Access) can give you more creative options for everything from level design to gameplay. 

We think this is going to be the start of something new in Fortnite Creative and UEFN, so get ready for some fun additions. Let’s dive right in!

Village (island code: 8374-6783-8370)


Cameras

The new camera and control devices work together to present new ways of framing the player — opening up new gameplay opportunities. In this section, we discuss the cameras and the specific settings we used throughout the project. 

Introducing new camera types:


Intro (Fixed Point)

Midas Homestead Intro 1

This is the first view the player sees when starting Village. The goals with this camera setup were to set the stage to reveal the incoming overhead camera, and to establish the mood for the player experience in Village.


Interior (Fixed Point)


Immediately after the intro message, the camera pans to the overhead view.  Now we can see the whole interior of the home and navigate inside. We used a fixed point camera here because the space is small, and we don’t want the screen to be taken up by space outside of the interior more than necessary.


Homestead (Fixed Angle)

Midas Homestead 1

When the player leaves their home, the camera switches to a fixed angle camera that is pulled out a little further than in the interior. We didn’t want to pull the camera too far back here, as we wanted to maintain the cozy and safe feeling of being at home. 

Midas Outside Homestead 1

We also leveraged the boundary settings on this camera to prevent it from moving too far to the left, to the bottom of the screen, or vertically (see for yourself by jumping with a chicken). This was to indicate that there’s not much to explore by going left.

Settings:

Camera HomesteadV2


Adventure (Fixed Angle)

Midas Forest Path 1

Once the player sets off from the homestead, the camera pulls back. The player leaves the safe confines of home and is off to explore the world. The zoomed-out camera was designed to showcase the beautiful world that the art and level design teams crafted, as well as evoke a feeling of freedom and adventure for the player.
 

Settings:

Camera AdventureV2


Bridge (Fixed Angle)

Midas Side Scroller 1

As the player starts to cross the bridge into the village, the camera pans to a sidescroller view. Here we wanted to showcase that sidescrolling is a possibility with the new camera and controls, plus craft a beautiful scene in the background for players to enjoy.
 

Settings:

Camera Bridge SidescrollV2


Village (Fixed Angle)

Midas In Village 1

The Village camera is similar to the Adventure cam. We pulled in the frame a little because the village is a space that we wanted to keep cozy. Once again, we employed the use of boundaries on the top and right sides to define the edges of the village. This is also useful for keeping the camera confined to the spaces we want the player to see. If the player can’t see it, we can save on memory by not putting any actors in the area. 

Settings:

Camera TownV2


Pet Shop Rear (Fixed Point)

Midas Behind Pet Shop 1

When the player goes behind the pet shop, we switch to a fixed point camera. There are two goals here: Put the focus on the chicken coop (the player will be delivering chickens at this point), and give visibility to the player while they are behind the pet shop. The pet shop is pretty tall, so it would be easy for the player to get lost behind the building if we’d used the “Village” camera.
 


Village Library Rear (Fixed Point)

This is the only fixed point camera in Village with player tracking enabled. The rear of the village center is a tight space and this was the perfect choice of camera to enable the player to navigate while maintaining the feel of Village. We intentionally kept this area “hidden” so that the player could “find” it. 


Chicken Range (Fixed Angle)

When the player enters the chicken range, the camera pans out and tilts down slightly.  This area is dedicated to the Chicken Wrangling minigame. The zoomed-out view and more top-down camera helps the player have visibility of all the chickens.

Settings:

Camera ChickenV2


Conversation (Fixed Point)

Midas Convo 1

Each time the player talks to an NPC, the camera pans down to a closer view of the NPC they are talking to. We wanted the conversations to feel personal as well as to frame the camera view to show some nice shots of the village architecture.
 


Title (Fixed Point)

Village Title

This actually started as a fun way to show off the village map. We realized we could create a great moment that thematically represented the project as a whole. Zooming out, seeing the world, and having the “Village” text appear all combine to give a sense that the player is part of this new community experience.
 


Control Modes

To support the camera settings, we also added custom controls throughout the village:  Here are the locations in which we added custom controls:
  • Interior: Inside, we slow the player down a bit since the space is so tight. Otherwise, we’re using all of the default settings of the device.
  • Village: This just uses the default settings of the Control device. The movement speed and rotation rate feel good with the default settings.
  • Adventure: On this camera, we slow the player just a little so they can take in the journey to the village.  
  • Chicken Range: We speed the player up a little here so the chickens are easier to catch.


Level Design

With Village using new camera modes, we had the opportunity to approach the level design in a way that empowered the camera perspective, creating new visual interest while also enabling players to easily navigate through the world.


Scale

The Village project plays with scale in multiple ways. Some of the scaling has to do with the visual style that we want to achieve for Village. Other scales have to do with the player's proportions to the world and how we want the player to navigate through it. 


Scaling for Isometric Perspective 

Fortnite’s structures and terrain scale are designed to be seen from the third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective. Because of this, we had to adjust the size of all the objects. For the isometric perspective of the village, we had to reduce the size of all the structures by roughly 50%. 

This was also true for all the cliff assets that we used throughout the terrain. We found that using a 50% scale on the Z axis for the walls felt more in line to the proportions of the player. As for the X-axis, we scaled in varying degrees depending on what we were trying to do with the walls. Some we scaled to wider than 50%, while others we scaled lower than 50%.

For the cliffs, we scaled the entire object by 50%. We did this based on the movement and jump adjustments that were made to the player, so that when the player travels through the environment, it both fits the gameplay mechanics and enables us to create more complex terrain. 


Interior Level Design 

Our interior cameras are fixed at a negative 59° angle. With this sharp perspective, we decided to remove the front walls of the building to make sure that the player was always visible, no matter where they were in the interior. For the house, we kept most of the objects against the wall, enabling players to freely move within the center of the space.

For the store, we put most of the objects against the wall like we did for the house. We also added simple block-shaped objects (store aisles) in the center of the room that the player could easily navigate around, which were also not too tall to prevent the player from becoming obscured when behind the object.  

Another thing to note is that, with the store being larger than the house but still using a fixed camera, we had to make sure that the overall space could be easily seen from one viewpoint.


Blocking Volumes

Something you may notice is the blocking volume surrounding the play space. Blocking volumes are used in the interiors too, but in the exteriors, they are much more noticeable. We relied on the blocking volumes actors available in UEFN to create more complex volumes than you can get from the Barrier device. 

For these volumes, we went with the `FortPawnCapsule` collision type. This made sure that the player would not be able to pass through the volume, but that the camera could easily pass through with no issues.


The Homestead

The first exterior experience with a new camera perspective is just outside of the house. Here, much like the interiors, we wanted to make sure there was a large open space for players to traverse without getting caught on objects. To do this, we arranged the props so that if there’s a gap between objects that looks like the player can fit through it, they do. If we didn’t want the player to fit, we put props and assets close together to block the path.

Another noticeable thing about the homestead area is that it’s quite small. The reason for this is that the camera is closer to the player and we don’t want the player getting lost. Once they leave the homestead, the camera pulls up to give the player more perspective of their environment, making it easier for them to navigate and understand where they are in the world.


The Woods

In the woods, we used a more zoomed-out camera perspective. That gave us the opportunity to have objects in the foreground, the players in the middle ground, and more objects in the background. This helps create dynamic and interesting visuals and allows for adding hidden objects through the use of parallax and camera perspective. 

A great example of this is seen when the player first enters the woods. There is a hidden path obscured by trees in the background. When a player moves further down the trail, the hidden path becomes more visible as it’s revealed through the shift in perspective. There are many great tricks and interesting visuals that you can create through the use of parallax and this camera perspective.

One thing to note is, when making foreground objects with this perspective, make sure that you do not obscure the player too much. This can result in the player getting lost or hidden behind objects very easily.


The Bridge 

When players go on the bridge, they also enter the sidescroller camera perspective. Here, we added two blocking volumes to create a very narrow path for the player. This makes sure the player stays on the path we designed while also enabling us to create objects in the foreground.


The Village

The village is our largest area. Here, we implemented some of the same design choices we did in the woods, as well as some things that we did in the homestead areas. The areas are very open with clear objects that players can pass through and around, plus large clusters of trees to create foreground objects that pass in front of the camera.

When using a more zoomed-out, isometric camera, it’s very helpful if two points of interest can be seen on screen at the same time—even if those points of interest are towards the edges of the screen. This allows the player to have a better understanding of their surroundings, making it easier to navigate.

You’ll notice that players can get obscured by buildings in the village. The reason for this is that we wanted players to be able to use the chickens to jump on top of the roofs. If we did not want this gameplay, we could have simply added blocking volumes behind the buildings to prevent the player from becoming obscured. This is a good example of how you might have to make trade-offs in your game.


Art

On the lighting side, we kept things simple with an exterior fixed time of day, and we used a Day Sequencer device to dial in the look of the interiors. We also expanded our water tools so that creators can fully author their own custom water material within UEFN. We intend to release the custom Village water material for creators to use as an example reference in the future.


Audio

For music, we used the brand-new Fortnite Patchwork devices to provide an interactive soundtrack. The music is more low-key while the player is in the homestead. As the player makes their way outside, it opens up a bit with some piano chords. Finally, the drums kick in as the player embarks on their trek to the village. 

Each change in music occurs by sending a Verse event from the Volume device to enable or disable Patchwork devices. The music stays in sync during these transitions as they share the same Music Manager device. 

We were able to create more variety in the music by using the Note Sequencer Pages and Step Modulator to mix and match different instruments. When the title appears, a 1-shot musical stinger is triggered to play, which also is in sync with the background music. You may want to consider using Patchwork if you want  more mellow music than the more electronic synth sounds you might expect in Fortnite experiences. 
 

We hope this examination of Village sparked ideas for your own Fortnite experiences, and helped you see what the new camera types and gameplay controls can do!