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Where should I start with level design?

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I''m in a 3rd part development team, and used to make levels with the use of gtkradiant for Q3... I know that I am not going to be able to use this when i am trying to design a 3d environment. I was wondering what I should use. the level design that I was looking for is almost exactly what Gravity did with Ragnarok Online. Any suggestions?? I have tons of levels laid out on paper, now I just have to put them into the computer and I was wondering how I should go aobut doing so.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Uhh, well you say you''re part of a development team. They should know what you can use. It totally depends on what the engine can import, and what they''ve specifically allowed as far as a file format goes. Do they have their own editor? If it''s outdoor, is it based off built geometry or heightmaps? 3DSMax, Maya, or any major 3D development package can make levels, but the question is, does your engine support any of them? There''s a ton of issues that spring up with this question, that only people who have knowledge of your engine can answer. I think you''re asking this question to the wrong people.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Well to be honest (this is Ray-David) ... We are laying the WHOLE game out on paper first... we don''t even have an idea on what we want to use. The programmer suggested crystalspace. How would I find out what crystalspace supports? This will be the first project I will belong to other than mapping quake III levels. I feel like such a newb, any suggestions on where I should go? (knowledge-wise.) And if our programmer did decide that he wanted to build an engine.. how are the level-design programs made?

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You need to find out what file formats crystalspace supports. It''s likely that even if it doesn''t directly support a file format from a particular program, you''ll be able to find some sort of plug-in that will allow you to export successfully. You''ll need to do some research on it though, so start looking up info on crystalspace.

As far as what program to use -- once again, it depends on quite a few things: a) what file format you can use, b) what your preference is, and c) how much of a budget you have. Crystalspace is a free engine, so I''m assuming this project is pretty low budget. If that''s the case, then you may want to look at a lower-end 3D application (go to the Visual Arts forum here to get some ideas). Programs like 3DSMax or Maya would probably be your best bet since they are powerful and versatile, but they will leave you a few thousand dollars in the hole. I personally use Max at work, but it''s provided to me by the company -- if I had to pay for it on my own, I''d look elsewhere.

As far as an in-house level editor, that''s up to the engineers of the project to create, or they can even be supplied with the engine license (ie. Unreal engine has Unreal Editor). You''ll have to look into your engine to figure that out, but you should ask your programmers/engineers about it.

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