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Rocket Racing & Lego Fortnite Speedrunning

Epic Games released three new games INSIDE of Fortnite, two of which turned out to be pretty neat for speedrunning - let's take a look.

Rocket Racing & Lego Fortnite Speedrunning
Published 2 months ago

Between December 7th and December 9th, Epic Games unveiled three new titles from studios it has acquired in recent years. The lineup includes Lego Fortnite, a remarkably well-executed survival adventure game developed by Epic Games, Rocket Racing, an arcade-style racing game created by Psyonix (the minds behind Rocket League), and Fortnite Festival, a rhythm game crafted by Harmonix (the developers of Rock Band).

While Fortnite Festival hasn’t really attracted any kind of speedrunning audience (perhaps for obvious reasons, I mean the run would be mostly autoscroller) the community for speedrunning both Rocket Racing and Lego Fortnite is growing fast. I wanted to learn some more about these runs, so I spoke with some runners for each game to hear their thoughts.

Rocket Racing

There’s something so beautiful about the simplicity of speedrunning racing games, it’s really as pure as speedrunning gets - just go fast. With this simplicity of course comes little variation between games, at least in comparison to other genres. So what makes Rocket Racing stand out? Well according to @nathan_uwp, it mainly comes down to the Boost Management:

“The drifting makes it so much fun for running too. Like how you can drift more and then use those to plan when to do ur boosts.”

For some context, the way you increase the charge in your boost meter in this game is by drifting. You’ll notice speedrunners like Nathan drifting almost non-stop, switching directions to still keep a relatively straight line while also ensuring the boost is charged as often as possible.

As far as my own opinion, the addition of certain Rocket League elements into a racing game is honestly kind of genius. You can air dodge in specific directions to stick to walls or ceilings (which makes for some pretty sweet level design might I add), and you can also fly a little bit into the air which lets you cut corners much tighter than you normally would be able to - and even “cut corners” on certain hills.

Lego Fortnite

Speedrunning an open-world survival adventure game without (as far as I’m aware) a proper ending may not seem like an obvious choice to some of you, but in cases like these, it really comes down to the category structure. In this case, it’s quite similar to what you may have seen before on the Minecraft or Valheim leaderboards, with categories focused on completing specific Builds or killing specific bosses, with sub-categories for number of players, random or set seed, and starting biome.

To learn some more about what makes Lego Fortnite speedrunning interesting, I spoke with @shovelclaws who has been grinding both Solo & Co-op for the default category, Common Village (Grasslands).

“The default category is really simple, it’s collecting the necessary resources and building things. In my mind there are 2 big "skills." 1) Positioning: getting your village in a nice place to reduce travel time, and 2) Decision Making - deciding where to go and when. There’s also 3 big skill checks 1) building the shack, 2) getting lumber mill for planks, and 3) getting your "village level" up high enough which there are a variety of strats for”

The relationship between village level and biome is quite complex and interesting, but I don’t want to get bogged down in the details during this article - however if you’d like to learn some more about that you can follow this link into the conversation inside the Fortnite Speedrunning Discord.

As an example, the fastest strategy for Common Village in the Grasslands biome is to spam the candle decoration all over the ground because they require 1 vine which is a very common resource, making it the most efficient decoration for leveling your village in the short term. Shovelclaws mentioned that it believes in the longer categories (ie. Epic Village) it may be more efficient to invest in beds, which are 10 wood each - too expensive for a short category like Common Village but potentially worth the timesave in a 1 hour+ speedrun.

Conclusion

After researching and playing some myself for this article, I can definitely see the speedrunning appeal for these two games - Rocket Racing for its clever integration of Rocket League movement mechanics for a new spin on the racing genre, and for Lego Fortnite (who would have thought) for its satisfying collect/build gameplay loop and Candle strats (of all things) - not to mention up to 8 Player co-op. I personally would LOVE to see a 4-8 person speedrun of Epic Village up on a marathon stage some day.

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