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Epic’s relaunch of the Fortnite Playground LTM is the most important addition to the game since the inaugural Battle Royale mode. Despite a rocky launch, the second iteration has been live for a few days and players are eagerly sharing their wild creations. With the promise of an hour-long match limit, the comfort of playing solely with your squad, unlimited respawns, and increased building materials, the Playground changes the way we approach the game.
The beauty of the open-ended nature of the mode is that players are free to spend their hour on the island however they like. Some users are using the opportunity to create elaborate “send nudes” meme videos. Others are using the island as a private firing range, testing the effectiveness of various weapons at their leisure. Further still, many players are embracing their creativity, resulting in gargantuan structures that could never be built mid-match. Here are some of our favorite conconctions we’ve seen so far.
Give them creation tools, and they will create pixel art. It’s almost a guarantee. Games like Minecraft are filled with players showing off complex pixel (or, more accurately, voxel) artworks. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for the Fortnite community to follow suit. Despite all of the Mario renditions I saw, this depiction of Samus Aran from Nintendo’s Metroid series impressed me most. Not only is the design of the character more complex, but the materials used make this creation all the more daunting.
Over the course of five hours of building, C3P0Smash accurately represented each of the original colors used in Samus’ design. In order to do so, a fair amount of luck was involved. The color blue is created by placing jump pads which, unlike the wooden panels used elsewhere, are a random item drop. Furthermore, the same is true for the grey spike traps used for the details on the helmet. This means that C3P0Smash had to not only find enough materials, but be lucky enough to find the right ones. Bravo.
Hoth not included: Star Wars AT-AT
Next on our tour of the Fortnite playground, we move from pixels to polygons. While the attention to detail in pixel art is admirable, I’ve always felt a slight bias toward three-dimensional creations. Pixel art is beautiful and often nostalgic, but players are working from an existing foundation. Because of the tile-based building system of Fortnite, creating pixel art using the game’s square materials is too obvious of a choice. It’s time consuming, yes, but it’s easy. On the other hand, while Reddit user Crepi334’s AT-AT may not be the most elegant creation, I appreciate their effort. The overall architecture is more rigid than an actual All Terrain Armored Transport, but the sense of scale, combined with what looks to be an open interior, is inspiring.
If Fortnite goes the way of Minecraft and continues to add building mechanics, such as the latter’s redstone, it would be breathtaking to see moving, mechanical parts on creations such as these.
1v1 me, bro: Call of Duty collides with Fortnite
Although more of a proof-of-concept than anything else, users are using the Fortnite Playground to recreate maps from some of their favorite games. Among these is this impressive rendition of Nuketown from Call of Duty, created by Reddit user SIeepy_Bear. This is exciting for a number of reasons. While a fine creation by its own merit, the idea of fan-made maps and custom matches could greatly increase the longevity of the overall game. If Epic expands on its suite of creation tools for users, there could be a LittleBigPlanet-esque community of custom content. With the majority of core gameplay mechanics already in place, it would be fantastic to play old Unreal Tournament levels, or classic maps such as de_dust from Counter Strike. Considering that players are currently stuck on one island, allowing custom levels to be shared would be a huge addition.
Can we get much higher?
As predicted, one of the most useful aspects of Playground LTM is allowing players to test new strategies. Beyond this, it allows a minute examination of existing mechanics that are otherwise difficult to test, considering other players are constantly trying to shoot you. As an example, Reddit user mopper created a visual representation of how the various vertical tools affect player’s bounce height. Players knew launch pads propelled them five stories into the air, but what about when combined with other resources?
The stress-free environment of the Playground LTM shows us unique combinations of items that players may not experience in-game. Yes, these are very specific combinations. The chances of having all of these items in a match and having the time to properly prepare them are slim. However, knowing precisely how the items react with one another is an advantage that, while it may not shake the meta, allows skilled players to better plan their approach in different situations.
Shopping cart racetrack a la Mario Kart
Undoubtedly, the most impressive and inspiring creation in the Playground thus far is this ode to Mario Kart. Dubbed the “Tilted Track,” JoshB_C created a functional, albeit janky, racetrack. Looping around the game’s most popular landing destination, Tilted Towers, this track features all of the trademark hairpin turns and plummeting drops of a kart-racing level. Unfortunately, players are limited to using the only vehicle currently available in Fortnite, the shopping cart. To say the least, the shopping cart is not the most stable feature added to the game. As seen in the video above, this results in some static gameplay, leagues away from the fine-tuned mechanics of proper racers.
However, the attempt to create a legitimately new game mode within the battle royale title is ambitious, to say the least. Combined with the music and sound effects from Mario Kart, the creation is entertaining. Hopefully future updates and refinements to Fortnite will allow for even greater possibilities and mechanics.
Permanent vacation: Building further on the Playground
Despite the amount of positive attention the mode receives, it is only available for a few more days. It is a limited-time mode, after all. In a post on the game’s official subreddit earlier today, an Epic employee confirmed the mode will be turned off on Thursday, July 12. However, this is only a temporary goodbye. A new iteration of the popular mode will arrive in the future, though an exact timeline has not been specified. Once the mode returns, however, players will be treated to a number of new features. Among these is the ability to select teams within the Playground, which will allow squads to practice 1v1 and 2v2 matches. In addition, there are a few other changes planned, including:
- 1v1s and 2v2s
- Aim assist for controllers
- Editing other player’s structures
- Traps affecting teammates/enemies correctly
- Highlighting teammates on the map
- Damaging enemies with your pickaxe
Closing out the post, u/JustMooney1 writes, “The Playground LTM represents our first step into what a full creative mode looks like in Fortnite. And remember, you will have until the release of v5.0 to access your Playground LTM replays.” The idea of having a full creative mode is enticing and is integral for the game to maintain the attention of casual players. Furthermore, in a comment on Twitch, the official Fortnite account confirmed that a full-time iteration of the Playground is on its way. With incoming changes, the Playground will continue to reshape the landscape of Fortnite. We can’t wait to see what players come up with next.