If you see a group of youngsters glued to their mobile phones together and shouting instructions at each other, you can be sure that they are either playing PUBG or Fortnite. These online games have taken over the not only the entire nation but globally and are an integral part of the youth’s schedule today. These games have gone on to become so popular that there are national level tournaments now with prize money of a few lakhs. Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG) and Fortnite both are MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) and similar to each other but with a few key differences. Wondering why PUBG and Fornite are so popular? Read on to find out what went on behind the scenes on the development and programming front – things that have contributed to making these games all the rage in the market.
Both these games are inspired from the Japanese film ‘Battle Royale’. The game play concept is pretty simplistic. Players are parachuted on an island where they have to loot weapons and equipment to kill others and surviving themselves. The playing area keeps getting smaller and eventually, the last person or the team remaining, wins. 90s kids who have seen programs like WWE are familiar with the concept of ‘last man standing’ with Royal Rumble being an annual highlight. Stylistic differences aside, both these games follow a similar MO.
Game Development and Design
PUBG’s concept and design was led by Brendan Greene. He found most multiplayer FPs too repetitive so he created larger maps which were inspired by ‘The Hunger Game’ novels. Battlegrounds represents the standalone version of what Greene believes is the “final version” of the Battle Royale concept, incorporating the elements he had designed in previous iterations. Unreal Engine 4 was used which enabled faster development compared with ARMA and H1Z1, which were built with proprietary game engines. Greene acknowledged that implementing the size of the maps in Battlegrounds has been one of the challenges with working with Unreal, which was not designed with such maps in mind. The game was designed as a mix between the realistic simulation of ARMA 3 and the arcade-like action focus and player accessibility of H1Z1.
Fortnite had been first revealed by ‘Epic Games’ in 2011 as a combination of ‘Minecraft’ and ‘Left 4 Dead’. Fortnite earlier had a ‘Save the World’ game play mode in which teams would work together to complete objectives in randomly generated maps. However, the Epic Games team were fans of the ‘Battle Royale’ genre and explored how they could make a similar game in the Fortnite engine. The Battle Royale mode development was led by Eric Williamson with Zack Estep as production lead. Their goal was to develop the Battle Royale mode quickly from the core “Save the World” mode, putting off any complex features that weren’t already in place as to launch the new mode as soon as possible; while they explored such potential ideas, they held off inclusion until after the main mode was launched.
Game Design and Development
Game development and design is a work of passion, research and creativity. It is not something to be trivialized as the gaming industry is worth billions. Gaming has always been very popular right since arcade games like Pacman and Tetris to Mario Brothers to Age of Empires and so on and so forth. It provides an escape from the reality and makes you feel like a winner. People are happy to indulge in a few hours of gaming to forget their daily worries and lose themselves in the virtual world.
That being said, there are multiple reasons why both these games became so popular. They have struck the right balance on so many aspects, right from game design to development. The last man standing concept which is laced with the Darwinian survival of the fittest motto gives a tremendous sense of accomplishment. They have built a sense of community wherein friends can sit and play together which creates a lot of synergy. These gaming platforms have also combined the fun factors of MMORPGs and FPS games.
So, it is almost as if you can strategize like DOTA as a team and you can show your solo skills like Counter Strike. Today, when almost everyone owns a smartphone, these games are easily accessible and participating in them also gives a sense of belonging to the patrons. While playing games is fun, developing them is serious business.
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