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Epic Games issues update on upcoming Season 9 audio improvements

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Audio in video games is any extremely difficult art and Epic Games has been hard at work trying solve Fortnite’s sound related issues. They’ve released a new update post about upcoming audio improvements.

As many of you know, audio quality in Fortnite isn’t the greatest. Battle Royale games as a whole feature some of the worst sound setups in the industry. Why? It’s due to the extremely high number of differing audio queues and cases.

But, just because something is hard doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Epic Games is hoping to improve audio quality with upcoming Season 9 improvements.

Season 9 Audio Improvements

Epic Games has been talking about audio updates for a few weeks now. This is in response to players becoming fed up with the poor quality of end-game fights. This is more prevalent in Fortnite esports, but also affects casual Fortnite in major ways.

On May 6th, Epic took to Reddit to release a more detailed view of the current audio improvements in the works.

‘Hello all,

We hope you all enjoy the release of Season 9, it was a blast for us to work on. Thanks for all the Fortnite audio quality feedback in the recent 8.5 release thread, it’s much appreciated. As always, please feel free to point out areas of audio improvement and bugs to us in the thread; we’ll be reading and investigating what the community shares and report what we’re working on. Here’s an overview of the Season 9 audio improvements and roadmap:’

Release 9.0 Audio fixes and updates:

  • Switch audio dropout issues fixed.
  • Better tactical audio when inside player-built structures:
    • Enemy Pickaxe impact within ~one building tile radius has new, louder sound.
    • Wallbreak by enemy close/behind player much clearer/louder.
  • Explosion audio improvements- shorter, higher dynamic range sounds that will make explosion audio clearer and punchier.

Release 9.0 open audio issues:

  • Fix for PC audio device swap issues; we are planning to have this for the 9.1 release.

What we’re working on for the upcoming season:

  • Fix for footstep sounds on the edge of structures gives audio as if you’re walking on the ground.
  • Better hear the approach of enemy players outside player-built structures.
  • Better audio tells for jump/landing:
    • Jump tell audio added (so bunny-hopping isn’t as noiseless).
    • Clearer landing sound detection.
  • Improvements to issues of sounds dropping outside of player FOV.
  • Improvement of close versus distant player gliding sounds, to help clarify distance of gliding enemies.
  • Longer sounds properly playing during Replays.
  • Improved differentiation of teammate verus enemy audio.
  • Internal testing of binaural/HRTF solution that will be a great help to headphone players, as well as other spatialization improvements.

As a reminder, the best way to inform us of your bugs is following the below format:

  • replay URL
  • time code of issue
  • display name of player followed via gameplay view
  • description of issue

What does this all mean?

Epic Game’s audio team shows their dedication with weekly news

There’s a lot of information here to dissect. The top three bullet points are most important for right now as they release with Season 9.

The addition of ‘better tactical audio’ will be huge for players that commonly engage in hectic, multi team fights. Pickaxe sounds for enemies have been weirdly quiet which meant that players could get snuck up on.

Season 9 will fix this and allow for some better/louder audio queues for nearby pickaxes.

As for the future improvements, the most important ones to look forward to are the HRTF/biaural upgrades, improved glider sounds, bunny hopping nerfs, and differentiation of teammate vs. enemy sound.

Yonder’s waiting for Epic’s audio improvements intently

Many of the fixes here are simple band-aids and workarounds to the core problem. Current audio technology is simply not adequate for high-end gaming. Biaural and HRTF solutions are the most effective methods of long term fixes for the game’s audio.

One other possible future audio improvement could come in the form of ray-tracing. This has not been mentioned by Epic Games yet, but the tech for ray-tracing audio is beginning to be implemented into modern titles.

You may have heard of ray-tracing for visual aspects of games, but the same tech can be used for audio with a much reduced resource cost. Essentially, this can help game developers create in-game audio that naturally bounces off or penetrates surfaces. We’ll see if Epic intends to use this to their advantage.

Ray-tracing requires specific hardware to run and current gen consoles could not use these upgrades. GTX and RTX cards are among the only ray-tracing hardware solutions available, but new Radeon cards and next-gen consoles are just around the corner.

Patch Notes

Fortnite v14.30 Update patch notes

Fortnite’s third major update of Season 4 has arrived in the form of the 14.30 patch, which brings a major Combat Shotgun buff to players on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

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Superheroes are the name of the game in Chapter 2 Season 4, as they take over the Fortnite island and prepare for a massive war with the evil Galactus, who’s coming to change the reality of the game forever.

With a battle on the horizon, Epic Games have decided to adjust the Combat Shotgun to give you a helping hand, while also introducing some new modes for fans to sink their teeth into.

Fortnite v14.30 patch notes

Loot Pool changes

The biggest news coming out of the October 13 patch is the adjustments Epic have made to the loot pool. The Combat Shotgun has been given a major tweak, which Epic hope will make it more useful throughout the rest of the season.

The developers confirmed that they had increased the range at which it deals damage, so hopefully players will be able to take down enemies at slightly longer distances, although Epic stated that they would be asking for feedback about the change.

Elsewhere, they’ve also announced that they are rotating in some new superpowers to keep things fresh, which will be available around the island.

Epic Games
The Combat Shotgun has received a buff.

Rally Royale LTM

Along with the buff, Epic have also dropped a new LTM for fans to sink their teeth into. Rally Royale is all about getting from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, though it won’t be easy.

In this mode, your task is to collect tickets before anyone else. If you’re first, a finish line will appear on the map, which you need to speed to if you want to be crowned as the winner. This LTM is expected to go live “later in the week,” Epic confirmed.

Rally Royale will test your driving skills.

Marvel Knockout Super Series

Fortnite players can get their hands on the new Daredevil skin early by winning one of the Marvel Knockout Super Series tournaments that are included in v14.30. These elimination cups begin on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

There will be four total tournaments, with anyone who competes in all of them rewarded with an exclusive Nexus War glider.

Bug Fixes

As usual, the Fortnite team has also added a number of bugs and issues to their official Trello board. This week’s patch will include fixes for many of these recurring problems, including a series of Party Royale glitches, and plenty more.

Here is the full list of bug changes set for v14.30:

General

  • Audio of Last Forever Emote playing even with licensed audio muted.

Battle Royale

  • Placing a map marker cancels movement.

Creative Mode

  • Grass is not removed when placing objects on the ground.
  • Some players not granted items after first round in some team games.
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Epic Games

Fortnite won’t come back to the Apple app store until at least next year

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Fortnite app store

The judge in the Apple vs Epic Games case has prevented the app store from blocking Unreal Engine games, but Apple won’t be forced to put Fortnite back.

Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers denied Epic’s preliminary injuction that would force Apple to put Fortnite back on the app store while the case goes on.

However, the judge did grant their other injuction, which stops Apple from banning apps made with Unreal Engine, which Epic owns and makes. You can see the full decision here.

That means, that unless Epic decides to remove it’s direct payment method for V-Bucks, which started this whole legal battle, we won’t see Fortnite back on iOS devices. Atleast, until the trial is over.

Apple vs Epic Games

The decision to keep Unreal Engine protected though, is to stop the dispute between Apple and Epic creating havoc for “bystanders” – aka other developers not involved in the litigation, who just happen to use Unreal Engine.

In a statement, Epic said: “Epic Games is grateful that Apple will continue to be barred from retaliating against Unreal Engine and our game development customers as the litigation continues. We will continue to develop for iOS and Mac under the court’s protection and we will pursue all avenues to end Apple’s anti-competitive behavior.”

Apple, on the other hand, said: “We’re grateful the court recognized that Epic’s actions were not in the best interests of its own customers and that any problems they may have encountered were of their own making when they breached their agreement.”

The trial will commence in May, 2021, when some sort of resolution to this case will hopefully be resolved. Until then, Fortnite won’t be on iPhones or iPads – that much is certain.

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Fortnite theory points to Chapter 1 map returning in Season 5

This Fortnite theory has us returning to the old map in Season 5.

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We’re into the back half of Season 4, which means that it’s time to speculate as to how the season will end and how the next season will begin. Galactus is getting closer to the Fortnite island with each passing day, and we can only guess as to what will happen when he finally arrives.

Several Fortnite theorists have presented the idea that Season 4 may usher us back to the old Fortnite map in one way or another – whether Galactus succeeds in his effort to destroy the Chapter 2 map or not.

One reason for this is the timing. Yes, we have only gone through four seasons of Fortnite, but those four seasons have lasted for over a year. We’ve been on this Chapter 2 map for a while, so it would make a decent amount of sense to send us back to the old one – at least, for a season or two.

Reddit user, u/SvenWillNeverDie420, took things a bit further, however – drawing from some in-game clues. A closer look at Tony Stark’s Battle Bus schematic shows something that looks an awful lot like the Black Hole that sent us to the new map in the first place.

What if this Black Hole was actually a wormhole? What if this is the key to the connection between the two maps – waiting to be discovered by one of the smartest men in any universe: Tony Stark?

Via: u/SvenWillNeverDie420

This theory is further amplified by the meaning of the word “nexus,” along with Donald Mustards preseason tweet, telling fans that, “It’s ALL connected.” The Nexus sphere appears to exist on both Fortnite maps. This is, after all, why Galactus is coming in the first place.

As you can see from the graphic, above, SvenWillNeverDie420 took this all to mean that there may be two playable maps next season. We think that it’s more likely that players will be sent back to the Chapter 1 map, exclusively – possibly on the back of Tony Stark’s new Battle Bus.

Of course, this is only a theory and we won’t know anything until the season finally ends. One thing’s for sure: Epic are setting us up to close the season with a massive event that could change how we look at Fortnite, forever.

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