Epic Games reveals the Unreal Editor for Fortnite, Creator Economy 2.0 and more at Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2023

A Giant leap forward!

At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2023 in San Francisco, Epic Games showcased the amazing lighting and shadow features of its Unreal Engine 5.2 gaming engine along with Creator Economy 2.0, and New Tools for Building Photorealistic Worlds and Animating Characters.

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, and Nick Penwarden, head of Unreal Engine, demonstrated some interesting capabilities, including a new substrate shading system that enables artists to create materials in real-time at a degree of detail and fidelity that was previously impossible.

Key Highlights from Epic Games’ showcase at GDC 2023

Unreal Editor for Fortnite is now in Public Beta

Since 2018, it’s been possible to create your own island in Fortnite thanks to the Fortnite Creative toolset. Today, there are more than one million of these islands and over 40% of the playing time in Fortnite is spent in them.

So now many would be thinking if creators and developers had more powerful tools and greater creative flexibility to reach Fortnite’s huge audience of more than 500 million player accounts. That becomes possible with Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN), launched in Public Beta today at the State of Unreal.

UEFN is a version of Unreal Editor that can create and publish experiences directly to Fortnite. With many of Unreal Engine 5’s powerful features at your fingertips, creators, and developers have a whole world of new creative options for producing games and experiences that can be enjoyed by millions of Fortnite players.

Epic Games GDC 2023
Image via Epic Games

Also, UEFN offers a chance to try out the brand-new programming language Verse. Verse includes strong customization options like the ability to manipulate or connect together devices and the ability to quickly develop new game logic. The Verse is designed to get UEFN designers up and running with the ability to script alongside existing Fortnite Creative tools. With forthcoming capabilities to enable future scalability to enormous open worlds created by millions of creators for billions of players, Verse is being developed as a programming language for the metaverse. Verse is already available in Fortnite and will eventually be available to other Unreal Engine users as well.

At the State of Unreal, we also showed a brand new GDC demo that tests the limits of what can be built with UEFN today. The UEFN demo showcases a variety of key UEFN features including Niagara, Verse, Sequencer, Control Rig, custom assets, existing Creative devices, and custom audio.

Creator Economy 2.0

UEFN is being launched alongside Creator Economy 2.0, and in particular, engagement payouts—a new way for eligible Fortnite island creators to receive money based on engagement with their published content.

Image via Epic Games

Engagement payouts proportionally distribute 40% of the net revenue from Fortnite’s Item Shop and most real-money Fortnite purchases to the creators of eligible islands and experiences, both islands from independent creators and Epic’s own such as Battle Royale.

Fab: Epic Games is building a unified 3D marketplace

Every game developer used to create each of their products’ contents entirely from scratch. Large libraries of content are now available for game developers to licence from independent content providers and utilise in their games thanks to the growth of content marketplaces like the Unreal Engine Marketplace and Unity’s Asset Store. Small teams may build games more quickly and on a tighter budget as a result, helping to finance the expansion of independent content producers that sell their products on marketplaces.

Epic Games GDC 2023
Image via Epic Games

Later this year, Epic Games will launch Fab, a unified marketplace where creators can find, publish, and share digital assets for use in developing digital experiences. Fab will combine our marketplaces, including the Unreal Engine Marketplace, Sketchfab, Quixel Bridge, and the ArtStation Marketplace.

The marketplace will host all types of digital content, including 3D models, materials, sound, VFX, digital humans, and more. Fab will unite a sizable community and support all engines, all metaverse-inspired games that support imported content, and the most well-known digital content creation tools. Creators will receive an 88% revenue share.

Unreal Engine 5.2 offers further refinement and optimizations alongside several new features

The Epic ecosystem’s foundation is the Unreal Engine. Developers now have much more creative freedom thanks to the release of UE5 last spring. 77% of users have switched to Unreal Engine 5 since that release. Together with a number of new features, Unreal Engine 5.2 brings additional improvements and optimizations. The 5.2 Preview release, which is currently accessible via the Epic Games Launcher and GitHub, includes Electric Dreams, a real-time presentation of new features and enhancements.

Because to the new Substrate shading system, which enables artists the opportunity to compose and layer many shade models to create levels of authenticity and quality not before conceivable in real-time, the R1distinctive T’s exterior comes to life in the demo. The substrate is shipped as Experimental in version 5.2.

The cutting-edge R1T displays the most recent advancements in technology and vehicle physics. The truck’s digi-double shows accurate tire deformation as it leaps over rocks and roots, and true-to-life independent air suspension that softens as it splashes through mud and puddles with realistic fluid simulation and water rendering.

Also, a modest, hand-placed area where the journey starts serves as the foundation for the expansive open world environment, which is produced utilising procedural methods developed by artists. New in-editor and run-time Procedural Content Generation (PCG) tools that are shipping as Experimental in 5.2 allow artists to specify rules and parameters to swiftly populate large, highly complex spaces in an art-directable way and with hand-placed content.

MetaHuman Animator: High-fidelity performance capture

To offer fully convincing performances, photorealistic synthetic humans need high-quality animation, which has historically been difficult for even the most experienced producers to produce.

With the introduction of MetaHuman Animator, a new feature set for the MetaHuman framework, all of that will change this summer. You can accurately animate any facial performance on MetaHuman characters using the MetaHuman Animator. You may easily transfer the uniqueness, realism, and fidelity of the performance to any MetaHuman by using your iPhone or stereo helmet-mounted cameras.

No of their level of animation experience, anyone can pick up and utilize MetaHuman Animator’s quicker, easier workflow to create the high-quality facial animation that AAA game developers and Hollywood filmmakers need.

Overall, the State of Unreal exhibited breath-taking demos that demonstrated what is currently achievable with Unreal Engine 5 and other Epic technologies from Epic Games partners such as Cubit, Kabam, CI Games, and NCSoft, at the GDC 2023. These astounding initiatives show that a fascinating new era of virtual worlds, games, and experiences is already breaking out.

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