Come See Unreal Tournament’s New Underland Map

I still find it strange that Epic Games are making a new Unreal Tournament [official site], that’s out there right now, free to download, yet folk aren’t screaming from the rooftops about it. The late 90s/early 00s this ain’t, my friends. Of course, the lack of fanfare is mostly down to the way this multiplayer FPS is being made – open development based on player feedback, at a steady pace with regular work-in-progress builds sent out as they’re ready.

While I’ve not had the chance to jump into UT as it stands today – I was more Quake-oriented back in the day and old habits die hard – these builds seem to look better with each passing release. The latest, Underland, appears to be no different.

A Deathmatch-type affair designed for six to eight players to knock lumps out of one another, Underland is said to be a hidden outpost that was “once lost for a thousand years”, and guards the entrance to the eponymous Underland caverns. Sounds pretty enchanting, much like Epic’s choice of backing track in the new trailer. Shall we take a look?

That there marks Unreal Tournament’s fourth map so far, which was named ‘Tuba’ during its prototype phase. Epic then turned it over to the game’s community to be renamed – such is the influence of the community on the game’s development on all levels. Last year, Ben Barrett spoke to Lead Developer Steve Polge about said community influence which is an interesting read.

Some neat before and after slider shots of Underland’s prototype shell versus the final outcome can be viewed over here, whereas full patch notes for Unreal Tournament’s latest build can be found in this direction.

If you’re yet to try Unreal Tournament you can download and play the alpha version for free by heading over here. I’ll be right behind you.

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17 Comments

  1. Hunchback says:

    The new UT is really damn good, and even tho i suck hard at it, i still enjoy a few matches per day and getting my ass kicked.
    I always was more of a quaker, i don’t quite get the UT movement and all, but i can’t deny the game is quality.
    And still in PRE-Alpha… Oo

    I’ve started a thread on the community forums to try and organise people to play together, but no one was interested so far. Sad

    • Player1 says:

      I second that. Didn’t have much time to play it lately, but it sure is a mighty fine sequel to the forefather with the same name. Great visuals and really slick gameplay. I too suck badly at it, but I have loads of fun nevertheless. My nickname is “Loucrass” and I live in Europe – well, Switzerland to be precise.

    • Premium User Badge

      WombatDeath says:

      I tried it for the first time the other day (first time since playing UT99). I didn’t like it but I’m not sure whether that’s because the ASMD combo now takes too long, the rocket launcher doesn’t do spread fire, I’m too old and useless, or I just don’t like change. And they fucked with Deck16! I mean it’s probably better now, but still.

      Boo, change. Hiss. Etc.

  2. Premium User Badge

    caff says:

    It is incredible – great graphics, fast action, superb old skool deathmatch feel. Everyone should be playing this, if it went on Steam the player base would explode.

  3. Solidstate89 says:

    Can you play as Baron Von Underbite?

  4. Neurotic says:

    Quake, Shmake, UT has always been my love, and this is no exception. Been playing since December, and I have to say it’s every bit as good as 2k4.

  5. derbefrier says:

    I keep forgetting this exists.

    • Kvart says:

      Yep me too. I have these glimps where I suddenly remember and think “I should really play this!”Then I somehow forget again.
      I should really play this!

      • Holysheep says:

        I was doing that too for a while. Last week, I got in seriously.
        I can’t drop UT anymore. And I should get punished for every second of it I missed.

  6. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I’m still waiting for the singleplayer vs. bots tournament ladder campaign.

    Uhhhhh…

  7. kool says:

    I’ve been following this game since the start and think it looks amazing, but i’m still waiting for it to “finish” or at least get into beta before i start playing it myself.

    As with a lot of these early access games i’m afraid i’ll get sick of it before it’s even good or anywhere near done.

    • Holysheep says:

      The fact is, it’s already better than 2K4. So you don’t have to bother it becoming good – it’s already godlike.

      • Razumen says:

        Better? That’s a pretty big assertion. Does it have Onslaught? Bots? Ctf? Assault? Invasion? Etc.

        • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

          It has bots, CTF, and Assault. Not gonna say it’s better than 2k4 (it’s not) but progress is being made.

  8. gnalvl says:

    I’ve tried it many times since launch and still feel underwhelmed. Most importantly, performance is not great, and there isn’t enough to the game yet to justify upgrading my GPU just for an unfinished game.

    Performance issues aside, the mechanics just don’t feel quite right to me. Movement feels slow even compared to UT3. Projectiles also feel really slow, I played last week and it felt like rockets, flak bombs, pink balls, etc. were all moving at 50% speed. I kind of wonder if this is the result of UE4 switching from “unreal units” as the standard for velocity measurements, to centimeter units which are generally smaller but don’t convert in a totally predictable fashion.

    I can’t believe they are keeping the dumb sniper mechanic from UT3 where headshot hitbox shrinks when you move and expands when you stand still. That has no place in an arena shooter like UT.

    The overall pace of maps and content being finished feels like it’s taking forever. I don’t blame the actual developers involved for this, because it seems like they are a really small team doing the best they can. I blame the higherups at Epic for not believing in UT enough to put a bigger team on it and get things done faster.

    The community is also not big enough at this point to make it worth moving from UT99, 2k4, or UT3. The public server list is clunky and awkward, and most games are filled with n00bs who hopelessly stand in one place (also, bots on pitiful difficulty levels).

    If my girlfriend and I could easily make a party together jump into a matchmaking que to play (on the same team) in TDM like we do with Overwatch, it’d make UT4 worthwhile. Until then, if we want UT combat, we’re better off just playing LAN matches against godlike bots with our own server settings and map lists in UT3.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      I’m surprised you’re having performance issues. My computer’s not really outdated yet, but it’s hardly new either, and doesn’t run most new games on high settings. UT4, however, runs every level completely maxed out at 60 FPS.

      The slowness was an intentional developer choice. A few months back they changed the player size and a bunch of other variables, which slowed down the game pretty significantly. It’s not really an engine thing- and UE4 does let you work in Unreal Units if you want to, but UT4 uses CM.

      I also suspect you’re right about the size of the development team- Paragon is Epic’s big cash cow, and particularly with them being a branch of Tencent now, I don’t expect them to focus on anything but that really. Most of the UT4 assets are recycled from Paragon, just like most of the UT3 assets were recycled from Gears of War. They’re going to focus on a moneymaking title and then put out UT as an afterthought to see if they can get a decent return on a minimal investment.

  9. Kowie says:

    People aren’t going crazy about it because its tucked away in a remote out of the way corner where people hardly go, if it were featured on steam it would have a far greater following but nope epic in its wisdom has chosen to keep it close to their chests at a great cost.

    rip ut.. at this rate.

    most people don’t even know about it, its inassesable.