Fortnite Battle Royale sparks Unreal Engine improvements, starts banning cheaters

Epic have been busy this week with Fortnite [official site] in both its PvE and Battle Royale forms. Over in Battle Royale (which is free), Epic have added a duo mode and started banning cheaters in their thousands. Epic have also been working on technical improvements to Unreal Engine itself that should benefit any game throwing 100 players into a big world to fight. Pointing this out seems a bit of a passive-aggressive wink to how the makers of Playerunknown’s Battleground have grumbled about the possibility of Epic keep any such improvements to themselves. Cheeky! And for Fortnite PvE (which will be F2P but isn’t yet), the new Horde Bash mode has launched.

Fortnite Battle Royale cheats

First, cheats and the cheaty cheaters who cheat with them. Epic say that “addressing cheaters in Fortnite is the highest priority across Epic Games” and that they “are constantly working against both the cheaters themselves and the cheat providers.”

They’ve already banned thousands of players and, while playing cagey so as to not clue naughties into how their cheat-detection and banmachine works, say “we are rolling out tools and will continue to do so.” Making bans stick is difficult in free-to-play games, as banned players can simply use a new e-mail address to register a new account, so hopefully Epic have something good up their technosleeves.

A player progression will arrive in Fortnite Battle Royale system in “the next several weeks”, and Epic hope that people will feel less inclined to cheat when they risk losing their progression to a ban.

Earlier this week, Epic also launched a Battle Royale update adding duos and bringing back supply drops. They also gabbed about their plans to rebalance weapon accuracy.

Unreal Engine improvements

Onto Unreal Engine! This week, Epic detailed the many “performance, memory, and workflow optimizations” they have made to Unreal Engine 4 while making Fortnite Battle Royale. These changes aren’t directly visible to players — for example, “Switched property type comparisons from strings to FNames for speed during replication” — but improve the engine’s technoguts, largely enabling better dedicated server performance and easier collaboration for artists.

These changes will roll out across the next two releases of Unreal Engine 4, and Epic say they’ve got more Battle Royale-y improvements in the works too.

Epic stress that all these improvements can “not only benefit Fortnite: Battle Royale but every developer using Unreal Engine 4, especially those building games with similar requirements.” You know, like Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds.

The makers of Plunkbat have expressed discontent with Fortnite Battle Royale in strange and rambling ways. Following a baffling statement in which they said they “are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known,” Bluehole Studio elaborated with further vague concerns in an interview with cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer.

“We could be afraid when we make new features in the engine by modifying it internally, that is not already available and public, that feature could be leaked, or other things could happen,” producer Changhan Kim told PCG. Plunkbat is also built upon Unreal Engine, see, so Bluehole didn’t seem best pleased about the prospect of Epic getting an ‘unfair’ advantage from that. The games are genre rivals, after all, even if the two are quite different in many crucial ways.

Young Matthew Cox will tell you that Fortnite Battle Royale simply isn’t as fun or as interesting as Plunkbat. However it has beaten Plunkbat to console, and Bluehole are likely concerned about it getting a strong footing before they arrive. Their other concerns are still weird, mind, acting put out that Epic have ventured into a genre that predates both their games. Even the chap who arguably created the modern blueprint for Battle Royale modes with his Arma mod, Brendan Greene (the eponymous Playerunknown, currently making Plunkbat with Bluehole) told us earlier this year that he didn’t claim ownership over the genre.

Anyway! The point is, technobits go zoomier? All those changes won’t automatically benefit Plunkbat and perhaps won’t even apply to how Bluehole use Unreal, but they will be in Unreal Engine for all.

Horde Bash

And on Thursday, the PvE side of Fortnite received an update adding Horde Bash mode. This has players build a base together before the round starts, then pits them against waves of nasties. Waves get more difficult over time, obvs, and completing waves gives resources to craft weapons and tend to your base.

Big number

On Wednesday, Epic announced that Fortnite – both its PvE and Battle Royale sides combined – had passed 7 million players. Presumably the vast majority are Battle Royalers having a crack for free but hey, that is a big number.

Busy week.

The Fortnite client is free to download through Epic’s own client. That’ll get to into Fortnite Battle Royale for free but the PvE aspect will cost money until it leaves early access. Brendan will tell you that the PvE mode “is one of the most obnoxiously loud and over-designed games I’ve played in a long while,” which isn’t a glowing recommendation.


  1. DavidKer says:

    It is weird to see people compare fortnite and pubg considering the math is completely different for these games.Fortnite has such cartoony atmosphere. There are no bullet physics. CPU won’t be at 100% nor will your GPU rise near 100% because it is not a “new” game. Fortnite is a rehash of the old math and old styles, OLD MATH. PUBG is not. Fornite is an arcade shooter if we are talking complexity.

    Fornite has no idea what it wants to be and has been lost for the last 3 years in directions, they have also made some horrible decisions with the game.

    IMO having the option of this mode onto their “old world” shooter just shows how clueless they are about why people are playing pubg and how they are still trying to figure out their own game.

    • gpown says:

      The performance improvements are mostly noticeable on consoles. UE4 is a terribly wasteful engine, especially on Xbox.

      Also, your CPU won’t ever be at 100% because their multi-threading code is crap. It’s a great engine in general, but mostly because of its accessibility for content creators and amazing extensibility – you could say it’s on the other end of the performance vs. user-friendliness than Frostbite (which I haven’t used but you can gather a lot from ME: Andromeda development stories).

    • OpT1mUs says:

      I feel dumber for having read this obnoxious comment. What are you even talking about?

    • mukuste says:

      Not sure what you’re talking about. I don’t care about the Fornite PvE game, but their BR mode is great fun and in many ways better than PUBG.

    • skyturnedred says:

      I read that twice but I still have no idea what was said.

  2. racccoon says:

    On the PC I have had no issues from day launch with this game at all, its brilliantly made and the graphics are what helps the smoothness of game play!
    I just think time needs a major forward adjustment, or wipe out the cloud so we can actually build something more constructive in a last man/women standing, building platforms, walls and stairs isn’t really using the games great abilities of construction, there isn’t enough time to even breath in the air.

    • skyturnedred says:

      Without the cloud people would just camp in their bases till they die of old age. The PvE mode is intended for more permanent building.

  3. Lobotomist says:

    Fortnite. What a confused game …

    Endless development, constantly changing directions. Finally settling for some kind of Orc’s must die clone, while advertising it as “survival” game.

    And now with unquestionable success of PUBG clone, I would not even be surprised they simply ditch the whole thing and just make BR game in the engine.

    And as for Battle Royale , or POTBG (that i never played)
    I honestly fail to see the appeal ?

    Start the game. Completely luck based if you find a good weapon or not, or some other player found a weapon before you. And just after that a real game starts. I feel that too much is left to randomness. And the large percentage of games is lost before they even start.

    Perhaps this randomness is the equalizer that appeals to some people, but i just feel that many matches are waste of time.

    • drplote says:

      You have a pretty strong opinion of its randomness for someone who hasn’t played. It isn’t as random as you think. Nothing requires you to drop in the same house as 5 other people and hope you grab a weapon before they do. Decent weapons are far more plentiful in Fortnite than PUBG, and you can find them even in remote shacks no one else would drop near rather than being forced into high density areas for decent loot.

      I can see how if you only played a game or two you’d think it was luck based, because you still have no idea what you’re doing. Even a tiny bit of experience will remove most of the luck from the equation though.

  4. Crusoe says:

    It’s worth mentioning I think that when RPS first took a look at Plunkbat/PUBG, in that first article the jourtnalist didn’t think much of it, at all.

    I’m just pointing this out since the coverage of Fortnite has been similarly middling.

    Fortnite is free, runs smooth as silk, and has realtime building and destruction. Even if you are put off by the art style, any fan of Battle Royale should give it a shot. It’s fantastic fun.

    • Rhythm says:

      I’ve got “only” 50 hours in PUBG and tend to prefer slightly realistic-edged shooters but fired this up to play with a console friend on PS4 and was really pleasantly surprised. It’s faster paced, a totally different feeling thing but the core “100 players, keep within the shrinking circle” element still works incredibly well here.

  5. Ed Crane says:

    As an Xbox owner Fortnite scratches a certain itch for me right now. Ive played both and have to say Fornite is still a lot of fun. The learning curve may not be as steep, but will suffice until PUBG makes its way onto console.
    I was also impressed how easy the controls were to pick up. It does put pressure on PUBG to deliver a quality console experience.

  6. MrEvilGuy says:

    I find this game more fun than plunkbat while playing with friends. More polished too.