Dev Deep Dive: Map Update

By The Fortnite Team

Excited for the new map update this week? Get a dev perspective with some of the Fortnite team!

David Spalinski, Lead Level Designer:

Since the initial release of Battle Royale in September we’ve been keeping an eye on opportunities to improve and add to the map. We had some initial predictions about what would make it better for you, but chose to take the time to watch, listen, and play with the community to learn about various things we couldn’t have known at the onset. We’ve taken that knowledge and built it into this update, which represents a major iteration on the Battle Royale map.

One of the primary things we identified needed improvement was the density of the points of interests (POIs) on the western side of the map. The density on the eastern side has offered a good pacing for loot, traversal, and combat engagement frequency, so we wanted to bring some of that to the western side. As a result, many new POIs have been added west of the river, each with their own identity.

Tilted Towers is a city located just south of Loot Lake, which adds a hotspot close to the center of the map. It offers a fair amount of vertical gameplay through taller buildings that players can land on, fight through, or even defend against other nearby fortified buildings. When constructing this POI, we wanted to create something on the larger end of the scale, similar in size to Pleasant Park or Retail Row. We targeted it as a place where many players could choose to land, and still be able to get enough weapons to be able to hold their own.


Sidney Rauchberger, Lead Level Designer:

Another point of interest just west of the river is an underground mine called Shifty Shafts. Unlike the heights of the buildings in Tilted Towers, this POI is all about tighter underground tunnels, which present opportunities to sneak up on or flank your opposition. From the beginning we thought that the idea of adding a mine just sounded fun, and now we’ve been able get one in there.  This location is one to be explored, not scouted from a distance, since all of the good loot is on the inside.

Snobby Shores is a private residential neighborhood on the west coast of the island made up of multiple fenced houses. By fencing in the houses, they act as self-contained combat areas, allowing for intimate combat engagements that are focused on the immediate surroundings. Additionally, the housing plots are arranged in a line, which organizes and brings clarity to the combat relationship from house to neighboring house.

When identifying which specific areas of the map were under utilized, the northwest was near the top of the list. Beyond visiting Pleasant Park or being forced there by the storm, there wasn’t much of a draw to go there. As a result, we’ve added Junk Junction. This point of interest is a junkyard full of crushed cars stacked upon each other. We took care to ensure that among this junk you would be free to build around it, or jump from pile to pile without a need for building. This offers player’s flexibility in how they want to pursue their opponents or loot.


Stuart Fitzsimmons, Senior Level Designer:

Separate from the new POIs, we also wanted to add visual variety to larger sections of the map. To accomplish this, the map is now divided into four biomes. The grassland has a similar look to what you’ve come to expect from the map until now, but the swamp, farmland, and mountain areas bring their own visual identity. This is mostly done with changes in color tones evident on the terrain, as well as different looking trees & vegetation. To accomplish this, we reworked the core of how the terrain is computed for display, making it more flexible in order to add these biomes. Beyond adding visual variety, the idea behind this was to allow players to associate where they are on the island with the look of the environment surrounding them. You’ll be able to easily spot these biomes from the battle bus or when bringing up the map.

We’re looking forward to seeing how players adapt their strategies as a result of the changes and additions present in this map update. We’re hoping you will find a new favorite place to land, route to take, or building to fortify during the end game. We’ll be continuing to watch, listen, and play with everyone to identify ways to improve upon the map from here, and look forward to your feedback.