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paulcoz

Comments wanted on level editor "layers" idea

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PLEASE ANSWER MY QUESTION BELOW, AND COMMENT ON THE THREE IDEAS I HAVE: If you have seen any of the Quake level editors, or UnrealEd you will know that you can use a feature called "layers" to limit the number of objects rendered in the side views so that the screen isn't so cluttered and the objects you want to select, then manipulate, are easier to get at. I am thinking of doing something similar to this, but I don't want the number of objects drawn to be limited so much that the level designer gets annoyed (by hiding things he wants to work with). I have also decided that these limitations imposed on what is drawn should be automatic so that no time is wasted assigning/unassigning objects as hidden / visible by the user. What I came up with is that you should only see what is in the area of the map you are standing in. This would probably be the equivalent-sized area of an Unreal zone. QUESTION: Do you think you would get annoyed if you were editing a map, and you had to first walk to an area (in the walkthrough view) in order to select it, and thus be able to see the objects inside it in either the walkthrough or side views? I have a number of ideas to make this less annoying: IDEA 1) by letting the designer set markers in the map that you can teleport to whenever you want, or IDEA 2) have a teleport button, which asks you to choose the zone you want to jump to, then takes you there, and IDEA 3) either of the above, and also the ability to see adjacent zones so that you are not quite so restricted in what you can see. Is this a good way of restricting what is drawn in the side views? If I had some or all of these would you still get pissed off? Paulcoz. Edited by - paulcoz on 11/1/00 9:52:23 PM

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I prefer the idea of groups. Group together a whole series of objects (eg. the objects making up an entire room), give the group a name (eg. "Foyer") and then be able to hide or show that group. Just like most 3D modellers.

This way you can group together as many or as few objects as you like. A group could be one wall of a cathedral or it could be all the small huts in a village. A group is subject to the same editing tools as objects (cut, copy, paste, translate, rotate, etc).

I think the idea of being able to edit the objects that you would see if you were standing inside the room is a too restrictive. Let the artist decide how much they want hidden and how much they want shown.



Steve 'Sly' Williams
Tools Developer
Krome Studios

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Thanks for the comments guys.

If I were to decide that the limitations imposed on what is drawn should be automatic (so that no time is wasted assigning / unassigning objects as hidden / visible by the user) do you think what I have suggested would be alright?

I really want this feature to be as transparent to the user as possible, so it would he helpful if you could also add your comments about the way I explained, or make your own suggestions of an automatic way so I can decide whether I will do it this way, or use groups and classes. I am just trying to consider all the options.

Regards,
Paulcoz.

Edited by - paulcoz on November 2, 2000 8:26:53 PM

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I doubt that people want transparency. Transparent-like interface to make things as smooth as possible, but allow the user to control it.

But if you want transparency, then I think you are going about it the right way.

I think the best way of doing it is like QOOLE, where you can "scope" up and down, so that you select a group, and "scope down". Then only that group is visible, but you can edit each group individually. Then when you''re finished you just "scope up" and the grouping is restored.

This is a lifesaver because I hate having to Ungroup, then select everything and Regroup , like worldcraft, because then everything else is visible. It also means you have groups inside groups, and regrouping everything in the correct heirerarchy is painless, and transparent!

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wise_Guy, can you explain this scoping further and how the grouping/ungrouping works in QOOLE - I never tried that one.

Oh, and by transparent I meant you get the benefit of these hiding features without the user having to manage them - I think that is a very good thing, provided the implementation is intuitive, and not restrictive.

Paulcoz.

LATER - I think I understand you after all, wise_Guy - perhaps I could do this:

If you are in a zone you can choose to hide/unhide all the other zones, as well as being able to select objects within the occupied zone and hide/unhide all the other objects in the zone? Is this starting to sound good yet?

Edited by - paulcoz on November 2, 2000 8:55:45 PM

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Sly did it first so it isn''t my fault

I think they are good ideas, but I wouldn''t force it on the user. I would try to support whatever QERadiant does and then expand from there. Give them additional functionality rather than a differant way they have to do it. Overall I''m not too familar with indoor editors. They always look too cluttered up for my liking and I can''t easily find what I''m looking for I think a better place to ask this question is a board dedicated to level design. There are some very skilled people out there spending a great deal of time doing it. About the only use a programmer makes of a level editor is testing it or figuring out how someone else did something so they can do it too. Ask the users what the users want if you want to make the users happy.

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I''ve actually done some level editing myself, which is where my ideas came from. I really believe these would speed up my own editing (I found layers a bit time-consuming), but you are probably right - I should make them optional, instead of forcing the user to do it a certain way.

Paulcoz.

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