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Spotlight: Jake Evans’ Fort Borealis

August 30, 2012

by JacksSmirkingRevenge


Spotlight - Fort BorealisAt ROBLOX, we continue to take notice of those who are tackling new and different challenges within our platform. On this edition of “Spotlight”, we’re checking out Jake Evans’ Fort Borealis, an ambitious, popular and innovative shooter.

Jake Evans spent a lot of his time on ROBLOX forums when he first started out–he undertook small projects here and there, mostly minor tasks for the forum community. He didn’t know that he’d eventually end up working as the lead scripter for one of ROBLOX’s most popular titles, Fort Borealis.

The recently turned 18-year-old, tired from a day of moving into his college dorm room at Kent State, wearily recalls the beginnings of the game and the challenges that he, and his team of programmers (users rulzalot, CJ10127 and xsixx), had to go through to create the game.

“The biggest challenge was organization,” says Evans. “Getting all these people coordinated and making sure we could plan things within a reasonable time frame was a huge challenge.”

Fort Borealis

Like many teams of game developers on ROBLOX, this particular team had never met each other in person, and some of them lived as far as the UK, over three thousand miles from Ohio, where Evans was working on the game. Balancing conflicting time zones, and synching daily habits proved to be a tricky task.

“Basically I’d wake up early in the morning and say ‘hi’ to dev one, then work throughout the morning,” recalls Evans. “Then I’d sleep all day. Wake up in the evening, say ‘hi’ to the European dev, and work all night.”

Evans claims that Fort Borealis was an effort on his team’s part to take lots of unique facets from other games, and mix them into one. The end result is a first-person shooter with an in-depth currency system that is much different than what you’d be used to today.

For example, Fort Borealis rewards your gaming skill based on performance–basically, the more kills you get, the more money you make. The more money you make, the more powerful weapons you can buy. Nothing new here, right?

Here’s what’s different: You can rent weapons too, for up to fifteen minutes at a time. The cost is cheaper, and because you’re using a more powerful weapon, you could potentially earn enough in those fifteen minutes to buy more advanced weapons, or even the weapon you rented. Multipliers are added for kill streaks as well, so you could potentially make a ton of currency in a short period of time, simply by renting a powerful firearm.

The money system isn’t the only facet that Evans and team wanted to spin on its head. The map in the game is also extremely varied by ways of approach and general architecture. It features a series of islands that have multiple points of access–you can assault the islands by land, or by sea, utilizing speed boats that have mounted automatic machine guns. It’s all pretty frantic, but a ton of fun nonetheless.

As it stands now, Fort Borealis has been favorited over 18,000 times, and the numbers continue to rise. Evans attributes the popularity of the game to its focus on replayability.

“It’s all about keeping the game fresh and exciting,” says Evans. “Don’t ever be afraid to put a spin on things, because seeing the results of your innovation is a crazy-fun feeling.”

UPDATE from Jake Evans: Please remember the game is in beta and we are still updating and balancing it. If you have any issues please report them to our joint developer account, “SparrowCorps”, and we shall answer it and work on it if we find it to be a problem.