Image: BigBox VR
Fortnite doesn’t work in virtual reality, says Epic CEO Sweeney. Its popular VR counterpart Population: One proves otherwise – and now even comes with a level builder.
Epic Games recently turned down a VR mode for Fortnite. With such fast movements, the risk for motion sickness is too high, according to CEO Tim Sweeney. “If VR can’t hold its own as a game-design-neutral display device, it’ll fail,” Sweeney added in a tweet. Ports therefore play an important role for VR in his eyes. The high costs of implementation for a small audience could slow down the success of VR.
The studio BigBox VR apparently sees things differently. Bought out by Meta in 2021, it developed a Battle Royale for VR that enjoys great popularity. or free update for the battle royale shooter Population: One brings an extensive editor.
Sandbox playground for Quest and SteamVR.
Called “Sandbox,” the kit has been available for Quest 2 and SteamVR in an Early Access version since Wednesday, December 14, 2022. If the studio supplies it with content as regularly as its Battle Royale shooter, the editor has great potential.
As you craft, you move directly onto your new map. The principle is similar to classic shooter editors like the “Forge” from Halo. Here, too, you can use set pieces from other maps in your creation, as long as the creators allow it.
The focus is on well-crafted team deathmatch maps for two teams of six. Especially popular creations of this kind appear in the curated “Featured Playlist”.
More creative maps can be found in the “Adventurous Playlist”. The editor allows for some gameplay experiments, from breakneck Stride-style trampoline courses to sword fights in a snowy Viking village or in the belly of a giant dragon. While free-flying across the map, objects like weapons, jump pads, houses, or geometric figures can be freely positioned, scaled, or pinned.
Cooperative editor for Population: One
You can even collaborate with other players to create your levels or other genres, similar to Metas Horizon Worlds or the popular Rec Room. Unlike the social apps, however, the motion scheme used here is that of a VR shooter, which BigBox VR has been working on for years.
Even in the classic Battle Royale mode, the shooter battles will not only take place on the ground. In between, players also climb up buildings to start a glide across the map. Similar to Fortnite, they also build small covers or platforms for jumping off.
Creative tinkerers thus don’t have to worry about the movement scheme, which is known to be relatively easy on the stomach. Gliding, for example, uses tricks like careful acceleration or outstretched arms to fool the brain into thinking it’s moving.
Population: One has already largely disproved Sweeney’s concerns about nausea in a VR shooter. Incidentally, although Epic is turning down a VR implementation of Fortnite, the company isn’t closing its mind to virtual reality in general.
Sweeney said that if Epic Games were to ever do anything in VR, it would have to be something that’s really custom tailored for the experience and that they don’t have any negative view of that, but they have 101 things to do.
If the discussions about motion sickness don’t bother you and you have a stomach of steel, you can also explore Borderlands in Population: One’s new editor. In addition to templates for green lawns or festive snow, there’s also a moon template. This makes weightless firefights in asteroid fields and on moon bases possible.
Click here for the detailed change list of the sandbox update for Population: One.