MetaHuman and Animator Now Available to Fortnite Creators

Since Epic Games debuted the Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) and Creator Economy 2.0 tools in March 2023, the company says creators have published more than 80,000 UENF islands, and Epic has rewarded creators with more than $320 million in engagement payouts. Now Epic is adding more core features to UEFN: MetaHuman Creator and MetaHuman Animator, which enable the creation and animation of non-playable MetaHuman characters. Epic’s UEFN 2024 roadmap, presented at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, includes more camera options for the player-made game platform, including a first-person perspective.

UEFN will also get “physics sandbox gameplay,” which allows “the option to use physically-simulated characters in UEFN and Creative and simulate any static mesh” and a new system that “simplifies in-game item building” including “custom weapons,” Epic says in a blog post from the State of Unreal at GDC ’24.

The UEFN add-ons are “part of Epic’s plan to turn ‘Fortnite’ into more of a platform for games rather than a single title, with user-made titles making up a large part of that,” The Verge reports.

As part of that democratic vision, Epic and LEGO are allowing UEFN creators to “build their own LEGO Islands in the game using LEGO templates, props, consumables and items,” writes Variety.

While “Fortnite” games typically follow a battle royale pattern, with lots of shooting and one player left standing, LEGO Fortnite and Islands are said to be “all about fostering imagination and creativity.” Members of the Island Creator Program who want to use LEGO assets must sign additional terms and conditions governing brand use and stipulating age requirements.

MetaHuman Creator has been around since 2021 and MetaHuman Animator was released for Unreal Engine in June 2023. Now Epic brings them to player-made games. MetaHuman Creator is a free, browser-based app that can, in a matter of minutes, produce realistic digital humanoids “that are fully rigged and ready to use in UEFN or Unreal Engine,” according to Epic.

“MetaHuman Animator turns footage captured from an iPhone or stereo head-mounted camera into high-quality facial animation” that can be applied to MetaHumans or “Fortnite” characters available in UEFN. MetaHuman Animator runs within the MetaHuman Creator ecosystem, compatible with Windows and macOS.

In other GDC news, Epic disclosed plans for mobile stores on both iOS and Android platforms. “The company will take a 12 percent commission on sales, less than the 30 percent that Apple Inc. and Google charge at their respective app stores,” according to Bloomberg, which notes that Epic sued Apple and Google for the right to open its own mobile online stores without getting kicked out of the App Store and Google Play.

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