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UT4 is dead - some ideas how to "bring it back"

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    UT4 is dead - some ideas how to "bring it back"


    Long term fan and old UT99 map designer here.

    As was discussed multiple times, UT4 is probably in sort of dead state now. Epic doesn't care about the game because it doesn't make them any cash, unlike Fortnite they focus 99% on now, but they don't want to completely kill it either, because Unreal, well, it kind of started Epic right. Without Unreal Engine there would be no Fortnite either. I was playing all Unreal series games, even the unsuccessful ones, like UT3 and UT4. I have some ideas, and even if I know that most likely nobody from Epic is going to read this or care, I would like to put them here at least, so that later I don't have a bad feeling I didn't

    The problem
    Let's summarize the problem: Epic needs a game that makes profit, that has massive fan base and marketing model that makes money. UT4 is not that, Fortnite is. So is there anything we / they can do to make UT4 popular and profitable?

    Why is UT4 not that? Because it is not what's popular these days - Online Battle Arena
    Most popular these days are classic MOBA games, like DOTA (or Fortnite, but I will get to it later). So, what is DOTA and how did it start? DOTA was a simple stupid MOD, an extension to Warcraft. A single map that reused lots of existing content of Warcraft (textures and models) in order to launch a game so popular that it changed the world of computer gaming. Well, later on, tech and game engines advanced even more and here we are - Fortnite. Which is essentialy a big online battle arena, which brings stuff that was rather recently added to computer games following Minecraft success - abilty to build your own world by altering the existing map during the game itself. Yes you can craft items, collect materials, build a shelter and **** like that. Very cool, and funny. Nobody likes to play that old static map all the time, even if it's really good. Being able to alter it or its parts makes stuff more fun.

    So what do I propose here?
    Make a mod for UT4, like DOTA was for Warcraft, that will change the gaming and make you money. Or, at least the current state of "dead UT4" - that's not so big goal. UT already had a similar concept, let's revive it and enhance. Reuse the stuff you already have. You already have lot of code and stuff you can build on. UT4 is built on latest UE4, it is in working state, you have a market subsystem, which is essential for what I propose, so it will be less work than it's going to sound like:

    Revive the Onslaught and turn it into a battle arena game everyone will crave for. You can start with only one proper map (even DOTA had 1 map only). It could be Torlan like or some of the most popular ONS maps, but change the game logic so it contains most successful logic of modern battle arenas.

    My idea of game (feel free to refine or propose other ideas guys):

    2 teams, could be pretty big (even the map could be, right?), but let's start with idea of max 20 vs 20. The game starts, there is a "preparation" stage, during which there is a massive force field around the main base with core, preventing anyone from opposing team entering. During this phase, players could easily and safely enhance the base. Place turrets, build defense, maybe build some structures too. There could be some ability to scrape stuff in "unsafe" parts of map and build some simple structures, more or less in similar fashion as you can build stuff in Fortnite or ARK survival. Then, after this period, the game starts - I think there should be some micro-leveling model as well, because that's also successful. Players would start lvl 1, but could gain exp by doing stuff, like gathering resources or killing other players or their structures. Each lvl making them a little bit stronger (more HP, higher speed, maybe even unlock some extra weapons on higher lvls?), but probably should also slightly increase their respawn time, to balance the game. Then it would be more or less the classic Onslaught - you need to capture nodes, frag enemies, gather exp, enhance yourself, destroy the defense they build, repair your own defense... A modern warfare worth streaming and watching on Twitch. Custom costumes, weapon designs and lot of **** you can sell through the market that you already coded into the game.

    Look I know that probably nobody is going to read this or care, but I just don't want to have this feeling I didn't even try - I know this would cost money, you would probably need to assemble a smallish team to get this done in a reasonable time, but frankly speaking - money is probably not a problem for you, I guess that Paragon was far more work than I just proposed here and incomparably more expensive. What I am trying to say is, this shouldn't be super hard to do. You already have almost everything you need. You have old UT games, the code is already written. Porting the logic from Onslaught of UT2k3 into UT4 might be some big work for community volunteers who don't even have access to the old codebase, but for experienced Epic programmer with unlimited access, it's probably not so much of a work. The marketplace is already implemented and working. Some basic models are also there in UT4, most of weapons already implemented and working too. All you need to do is to build that 1 map, it doesn't even need to look super good for beginning, there is so many volunteer map makers, they would probably make it themselves, if not already done. And implement that crafting / building subsystem (which you already did for Fortnite) and eventually the micro-leveling model.

    It's a very rough idea, which should be refined and improved. But I honestly believe that if UT4 had this kind of massive arena game, it would be far more successful than now. This is what people would stream and want to compete in. And it would obviously bring lot of life and content for UT4 itself. I don't want to turn UT4 into Fortnite here or compete with Fortnite, because in my opinion Fortnite sucks. It looks like a game for children to me. Its cartoonish style and the weird gameplay doesn't look like fun to me. I think you should focus on a game that would "buy you" the part of gaming community that doesn't like Fortnite, but likes games more like UT. No cartoons for small kids, but brutal and merciless arena, full of blood and gore and futuristic weapons, explosions and big and deadly vehicles. No camping, no "you died - game over", but quick and fast paced shooter game, where on dead you (almost) immediately respawn and are back in action that gets your blood pumping.

    So yes, these are my few cents. I tried at least if not Epic, maybe some volunteer modder will consider this. There is a potential for profit in this model.


    I like this game a lot. but there is a steep learning curve to get good at it. This is a barrier to new players as they get beaten to a pulp and think there are cheaters.

    I see new players entering the game and dropping out after a few minutes as they get bored of being killed.

    I would suggest a newbie server and have training sessions for new players.

    Let's see these god like players pass on some tips here or on a server.


      I'm not against spin offs that borrow some assets and ideas from UT, but UT isn't - and shouldn't - ever be a mass market game. It's a hardcore shooter. By that very definition, it won't have mass appeal.

      MOBAs and Battle Royale shooters are popular because they either aren't competitive, or have dumbed down the necessary mechanical skills to be competitive.

      You can't make competitive skill based shooters popular by making them not competitive and reducing the amount of skill it takes to play them. They no longer retain their identity, or original appeal. They are what they are, and they just need to be marketed with realistic expectations for return.

      A large part of the core fans of this franchise like the game for all the reasons it lacks mass appeal. There is no fixing that.
      Originally posted by Mysterial
      An instant hit, accurate, instant kill weapon is overpowered. There's no skill ceiling. It's limited only by the shooter's accuracy. It also severely impairs the defensive side of the game - ignoring ping, it is nearly irrelevant what your opponent does - click the right pixel and you win. Even non-instant kill instant hit weapons are often problematic - the Shock Rifle example is obvious before even getting to other games.


        I agree with all of that, especially the last line.

        Don't we need mass appeal to make it worth while developing it though .. so what's the answer? .. it would be a great shame if this game isn't delveloped further.


          it would be cool to see a mode where it starts off pve on two fields and then moves (like battle royal) to a center or 3rd field to be pvp of survivors from pve. maybe there are unique monsters in your spawn field that can be ignored or challenged for a sweet drop .. like the unreal championship 2 shock rifle or or it drops a mutator to add ut2k4 double dodge jump.or maybe its guarding a extra armored manta.


            Originally posted by nubizZz View Post
            I'm not against spin offs that borrow some assets and ideas from UT, but UT isn't - and shouldn't - ever be a mass market game. It's a hardcore shooter. By that very definition, it won't have mass appeal.
            This is so accurate, yet I'm torn.

            Which came first:

            1. The game.
            2. The popularity.

            Time was that games were created by people with interesting ideas. They were denigrated as "Nerds" until those games became popular enough that those who had used the "Nerd" label were playing the games.

            Games came in all shapes, sizes, colors, etc. Most importantly: games cames in differing levels of complexity and difficulty. The game came first. The popularity came later, if at all.

            It appears we have entered a phase of inversion. Popularity is now the decisive factor. Games are made, less by interesting ideas, and more by marketing theory. The role of difficulty has become anathema to marketing.

            The problem with modern marketing theory is that it promotes expansion; whether, or not, expansion is justified. All the major game development studios are the product of corporate buyout of small teams (can you spell Bethesda) which were turned into cubicle workhouses churning out the latest title in line with sales projections.

            UT could have put a dent in this inversion. It could have made a stand: Game first, popularity second, marketing be damned. (We'll create our own marketing by having produced an awesome game...)

            Meanwhile, I'll go back to playing Dark Souls III (on Linux); a game that doesn't give a rat's *** about your feelings about difficulty.
            No one sees what tomorrow knows.


              For genre and platform, UT was considered very successful selling under a quarter million units in the first year or two, earning almost $9M in revenue (according to wikipedia). By the end of the third year, managed moving 2M units.

              Home PCs get more common, games get designed with average specs in mind, games get watered down and designed for mass market, and franchises like CoD come along with their best title moving up to 30M units. That's more units than UT made dollars.

              Now we're in the micro transaction generation, so the marketing is different, it actually effects the games design, and the best way to make it work it to literally target everyone. Game integrity is basically out the window, and development is no longer an art, or passion, but a straight up job and business. Really if you're game can't port to a phone you aren't a major player.

              That said, there is still plenty of room for developers to make games for a smaller audience. When they made UT, the entire PC market was a smaller audience. Then other players entered the market after it was more viable.

              Bear in mind, today, you also have studios like Motion Twin. An eleven man operation who just made a "roguelike metroidvania" platformer, with far from cutting edge graphics, no muliplayer, no micro transactions, $25 to own it, and at three quarters of a million units, net $18M for the eleven of them? Sounds good to me. Their business model for the game apparently "broke even" at 30k copies.

              It's not that it can't be done. Maybe epic feels they've out grown that level of development. Maybe they just aren't hungry enough any more to come up with genuine inspiration for something new in terms of game play. Maybe following market trends and homogenization is an inevitable twilight of any established mega developer. Maybe they've made too much money, seen too much of the world and lost their passion for gaming as an escape. They have "good" lives now, why do they need video games?

              Games like Dead Cells prove you don't need to push the envelope with graphics and get sponsored by hardware vendors to make a successful game. You just need to define success realistically for yourself.
              Originally posted by Mysterial
              An instant hit, accurate, instant kill weapon is overpowered. There's no skill ceiling. It's limited only by the shooter's accuracy. It also severely impairs the defensive side of the game - ignoring ping, it is nearly irrelevant what your opponent does - click the right pixel and you win. Even non-instant kill instant hit weapons are often problematic - the Shock Rifle example is obvious before even getting to other games.


                There are a number of simple tweaks specifically to default gameplay that can make the game more accessible without compromising the "balanced" competitive nature of an arena shooter. Most of them would would be decried by the game's most elite players, who should have NO SAY in it whatsoever since they can slap on mutators to enable the most brutal, unforgiving gameplay they can imagine. Other issues revolve around UT4's alpha implementation, needing only polish or for those making design decisions to come to their senses.


                Weapon stay should always be on for every gametype. One player's ability to deprive others of ALL the resources needed to compete just adds intense insult to injury and in mainstream games, skill differences simply do not need such magnification. Blitz games with weapon stay turned on consistently turn out far more evenly matched than the alternative for any particular skill composition, and in particular prove FAR more forgiving of newcomers who would otherwise deprive their own team of crucial resources.

                UT4's translocator is just a ridiculous, retarded parody of that the translocator once was. It desperately needs to return to its original form where momentum was NOT carried through the teleportation, relegating it to a utility rather than virtual god mode against all but the most experienced players. Lacking even the ability to remove it leaves CTF simply unplayable. That should be one of the most accessible game modes we actually have implemented, and instead it's the least.

                Every broken gameplay element that has no counter (discount the exact same thing but being slightly better or more lucky at it) has got to go. Hitscan should be simulated projectiles and long-range weapons should all have practical limits on their range of accuracy, so that the rest of the know, all the actual fun parts...matters.

                Everyone who complains about visible resource spawn timers can go sit on a tack. Being able to track that stuff mentally using just the game clock (or just our own sense of time) still provides an advantage meaning skill still counts. It just counts less. Less advantage for your skill is still advantage for your skill. There really isn't even any valid reason to turn it off for elite competitive matches - just fear that a cherished ability won't benefit oneself as much. Since arena matches aren't supposed to be one-dimensional, this line of argument is rarely grounded.

                Grenade launcher needs to die in a fire. It is purely a chaos provider, and anti-skill. Those who rely on randomness to eke out a few successes won't be appeased enough by this minor divergence from a game that will otherwise punish them relentlessly for failing to develop actual skill. Instead, this weapon punishes them anyway even as they do get smarter at the game, taking away everything that's supposed to give them agency (wide FOV, audio feedback, ability to change outcomes by timing approaches, etc.).

                3d audio (and reliability of audio playback in general) needs vast improvement. It shouldn't take years of practice for players to develop new neural pathways attuned to processing their UT4 auditory environment. Audio provided a similar challenge in UrbanTerror: someone replaced the audio engine with one that was actually good and instantly newcomers gained a much higher baseline competence (veterans benefitted too, even as they lost the competitive advantage of experience with the old audio engine).

                And netcode, optimization, getting the scaling right, etc. If you actually build it, they will actually come.
                Last edited by HonoredMule; 04-18-2019, 05:31 PM.


                  I didn't want to get into game play specifics, because it seems ideological short comings are the root cause of these game play concessions, and you're description of the problems with the GL is a good example of that.

                  Abandoning primary tenets of the genre for inclusion.

                  The comp community doesn't help, as you've also elucidated. No one wants arena shooters to not be about "controlling the arena." Some of us certainly want to reduce the efficacy of that control, in favor of more balance between that, aim, and movement. The more aware of us should also want new players to know that control is what the game is about, and it's certainly one thing I would commend both id and Epic for doing with the timers. We absolutely should be doing things to prevent small skill and or knowledge gaps from causing steam rolls, but the end user side is getting too caught up in exaggerated reward for a little work. Where this manifests it self the most in the shooting mechanics.

                  I get it from the dev side: you want things to be as easy as possible for new players to first comprehend, then learn. It makes sense. What's simpler than clicking on things? That simplicity comes at a cost though, and it's extremely disappointing that devs feel that cost is worth it, but it's devastating that even the comp community can't understand it's impact on the game play. They gravitate towards the most ridiculously high efficacy weapons, and a shooter absolution environment, as if when your target has time to exercise evasive reaction skill, suddenly your shooting skill doesn't matter anymore? Why can't we compare skills here beyond adad spamming at the right time, and who clicks on things best within their hardware tier?

                  Also most of the current game play specifics are proto anyways, so they are pointless to discuss. Epic came out swinging with the projectile sniper, and the community got their panties in a bunch. The direction of weapons has been terrible ever since. It's not that I just want a game without ping compensation. I want a game that doesn't benefit from ping compensation. Which shouldn't be difficult since it's only worth anything with instantaneous fire weapons.

                  It also seems un-intutive from a design standpoint, but I also feel the value of living long enough to be challenged by learning to use the gun in your hand is highly underrated. Easy to use guns means it's easy to die when you're new. When the guns are harder to use, and little movement skill goes a decent way. Living long enough to miss a target a number of times is far less frustrating than dying a number of times trying to get the gun.
                  Originally posted by Mysterial
                  An instant hit, accurate, instant kill weapon is overpowered. There's no skill ceiling. It's limited only by the shooter's accuracy. It also severely impairs the defensive side of the game - ignoring ping, it is nearly irrelevant what your opponent does - click the right pixel and you win. Even non-instant kill instant hit weapons are often problematic - the Shock Rifle example is obvious before even getting to other games.