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Raloth

map editor or game: which to write first?

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Raloth    379
I feel like I''m falling into a trap by writing the map editor first. Every time I see a problem I pass it off with something like "oh, not many people will see this, so it''s ok if it crashes on some computers..." I know this is just plain and stupid coding. I spend more time shuffling code around to fit something I didn''t plan on my map editor using but would make perfect sense for the game to have. It seems obvious that a map editor should just be an extension of the game, but it seems hard to get started when you have no level or anything to work with. So which should I write first? Should I start with the actual game (or a scaled down demo - bleh there I go again...) and once it is functional with ascii maps I hand-code myself move on to a map editor using the game engine?

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Neen10do    122
when im working on level editors and a game at the same time, i develop pieces of the level first. like in a scrolling space shoote em up. make the ediotr just identify the background... then add the enemies... then the music... and sounds... then add special effects... do it piece at a time.

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Dwiel    365
I almoast always write the File IO functions, ie SaveMap(string)/LoadMap(string) concurrently as soon as they are needed. I then build a quicky app to fill in all of the data structures manually which then makes a call to the SaveMap. I guess I havn''t put to much to much other thought into it though because I am working on an RTS game which does not use pre-loaded ''levels''... only heightmaps which can conveniently be edited by Photoshop... anyway, I''d suggest going with the Save/Load functions + small program which writes out hard-coded data structures using these methods... Then once you have a good feel for your game and what kinds of information maps will need, BSP, scripting, sounds, AI info, etc, you can make a nice editor all at once based off of the engine, which should be a fairly smooth process, as you have already handeled the algorithmic details while writing the game.

Just my 2 cents...

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Raloth    379
The problem I have is when working on the editor I take these nasty shortcuts and don''t plan ahead properly... It would be easier for me if I had a fully functional engine that I could just plug it in to. The problem is getting that fully functional engine without having a map editor...man I hate paradoxes .

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Neen10do    122
try not having a fully functional engine. have a half assed far from completed engine, and have a have asses far from completed map editor, but the sections of both engine and editor should match. so when you add music to the game, you add music to the editor, etc.

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Sander    1332
Or you can make the editor an actual part of the game. That way, you only have to develop things once. Intergration is a bit difficult sometimes but I think it can be worth it. And another pro: Since it''s in the game, other people can make maps for you and save you lots of development time :-)

Just create one very basic level by hand (for an FPS of sopme kind: just 1 box as a room, for RPG/RTS just 1 small heightmap). Create a very basic game engine to render this testmap. Create some key or button to activate the in-game editor and work on the editor functions for this part. The grab a model and manually put it in the test map. Create the editor functions for the models and the game functions for the models. Follow up with sounds, special effect, triggers, etcetera.



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evillive2    779
I have to agree with Neen10do about doing them together. If you decide to put the editor in the game then you have to make user interfaces to handle the level editing. IMHO they tend to be a little bulky especially if you want to add a bunch of functionality to your level editor and who wants that slowing your game down? Besides, I tend to use Win32 code for my level editor with dialogs and controls etc which if I ever wanted to make the game platform independent (which is good) would be a little tougher after ripping out the win32 level editor pieces and making a new one. If you make a separate level editor you can always use code from the game to test the level or even start the game from the level editor as a different process to test it without adding bulk to the game itself.

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Raloth    379
Combining them like that isn''t really an option, since I plan on having it played online. I suppose I could have a different client for development and then take out the editor for the release version. Thanks for your opinions =).

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Cipher3D    340
what i usually do is just straight copy and paste fundemental code from my game engine (such as map rendering, input, etc) and then modify so that its "editor-friendly" (i.e. it actually can edit maps).

it works *most* of the time.

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