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## open level creator for the masses

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 12:35 AM

Hey There,

I was thinking about rounding up a few programmers to make a community to ultimately create a new open-source,cross platform level editor and creator, aimed at achieving AAA standard techniques. Also to create a new level format which indie gamers can use which supports all new features:

what i am thinking of for features:
• Lightmap calculation and generation
• lua event scripting inside the level format, to try and make the format as portable and very easy to implement
• AI pathfinding painting tools
• simple model editing
• geometry instancing
• model importing
• texture painting
• shader boxes. now what this is is a simply placed cube with an are etc which then prompts a user to attach a material or shader to it (glsl,hlsl) which then implements that shader to to that box. (it would be very useful for water, custom lighting etc.)
• any other useful features the people of gamedev can think of!
with the level format i was thinking of a package base where the hierachy would look like
/
config.txt  //where all the linking of objects would occur
/mesh // all of the mesh objects
/textures // all of the textures as .png or any other format
/lightmaps
/events //for all the lua scripts used
/paths // for the ai pathfinding co-ordinates



the config file would link the shaders,textures,paths,scripts and lightmaps to the meshes. the possibilites are endless.

due to this project being open source, any developer can modify it and recompile it to be used as their level editor specific to their game.
if you are interested in taking part, please email me at aburton.live@gmail.com

### #2Ashaman73  Members

Posted 20 June 2012 - 01:31 AM

Blender ?

Ashaman

Posted 20 June 2012 - 02:11 AM

nope im pretty sure blender can't do instancing, pathfinding, painting etc and export that to a file, may i remind you an sdk will be developed with it.

### #4kunos  Members

Posted 20 June 2012 - 02:45 AM

nope im pretty sure blender can't do instancing, pathfinding, painting etc and export that to a file, may i remind you an sdk will be developed with it.

Which will actually make it more an "engine" than an "editor"... and, at that point, you'll go against Unity, UDK, CryEngine and all the rest.
The point is that the feature you are quoting as added value over blender have to be implemented in the engine, usually an editor is tightly coupled with the engine it is producing content for..

Posted 20 June 2012 - 04:58 AM

nope im pretty sure blender can't do instancing, pathfinding, painting etc and export that to a file, may i remind you an sdk will be developed with it.

Which will actually make it more an "engine" than an "editor"... and, at that point, you'll go against Unity, UDK, CryEngine and all the rest.
The point is that the feature you are quoting as added value over blender have to be implemented in the engine, usually an editor is tightly coupled with the engine it is producing content for..

am i going crazy here.... it could be implemented into an engine, sure but its not!

exporting these things as vectors and matrixes for the sdk inside the engine wrapped by the developer is what im aiming for. its not an engine, its an extended scene file....

### #6szecs  Members

Posted 20 June 2012 - 05:06 AM

I think they are saying that some of the features you mention are too specific for engines. And maybe the format you are trying to invent that has everything will take too much effort to incorporate in an existing engine, so it makes your format harder to work with than an already existing engine editor, or a more general editor, like Blender.

I guess....

### #7L. Spiro  Members

Posted 20 June 2012 - 05:31 AM

Your “level editor” does too much.

• Lightmap calculation and generation Should be done by a secondary tool.
• lua event scripting inside the level format, to try and make the format as portable and very easy to implement Should not be done at all.
• AI pathfinding painting tools Should be done by the level editor.
• simple model editing Should be done by a model editor.
• geometry instancing Should be an automatic feature of any engine—this has nothing to do with editing levels.
• model importing Should be done by the level editor.
• texture painting Could be done by the level editor.
• shader boxes. now what this is is a simply placed cube with an are etc which then prompts a user to attach a material or shader to it (glsl,hlsl) which then implements that shader to to that box. (it would be very useful for water, custom lighting etc.) Should be done by the level editor.
• overall shader support Should not be done at all.

Firstly, you have to properly divide features into the appropriate modules. A level editor has a specific role to fill, then there are tool chains with converters, etc., and then there is the final engine that loads the final level file.

Secondly, you need to understand that adding a feature does not necessarily mean adding usefulness.
You have added so many features it is actually useless.
• It is useless to anyone not using HLSL or GLSL. What about me? I am using LSSL. What about Cg users? A level editor can’t serve the needs of many engines with this kind of constraint.
• It is useless to anyone not using LUA. Why would you add this to a level editor? It doesn’t make sense.
• Editing models? That means your editor apparently has information on the model format, which is just another constraint for anyone wanting to use it. Plus, why would anyone desire such a feature in a level editor anyway? It won’t be better than just using a tool dedicated to editing models.
• Shader support period makes it totally useless. Same reason as #3 in that a level editor would never do a better job than a material editor, but also because of #1.
For an example of what a level editor should do, see Valve Hammer Editor. It is a generic way to sculpt buildings and terrain and the data is saved to a very generic text format. A snippet:


world
{
"id" "250"
"mapversion" "2"
"classname" "worldspawn"
"skyname" "sky_wasteland02"
"sounds" "1"
"MaxRange" "32768"
"fogcolor" "255 255 255"
"fogcolor2" "255 255 255"
"fogdir" "1 0 0"
"fogstart" "500.0"
"fogend" "2000.0"
"maxpropscreenwidth" "-1"
solid
{
"id" "260"
side
{
"id" "208"
"plane" "(-320 -560 0) (320 -560 0) (320 544 0)"
"material" "DEV/DEV_MEASUREGENERIC01B"
"uaxis" "[1 0 0 0] 0.25"
"vaxis" "[0 -1 0 0] 0.25"
"rotation" "0"
"lightmapscale" "16"
"smoothing_groups" "0"
}
side
{
"id" "207"
"plane" "(-320 544 0) (-320 544 16) (-320 -560 16)"
"material" "DEV/DEV_MEASUREGENERIC01B"
"uaxis" "[0 0 1 -64] 0.25"
"vaxis" "[0 -1 0 0] 0.25"
"rotation" "0"
"lightmapscale" "16"
"smoothing_groups" "0"
}
Now this is actually useful. Any engine can then write converters to load this data etc., which is what I am currently doing with my engine, and will probably do again for my company’s engine (which also does not use LUA and also has a proprietary shader system).

If you want lightmaps, make a separate tool for that.

There are very good reasons for this organization.
• It allows the editor to be useful. This means it can serve the needs of many game engines across many games. This means it has to be as flexible as possible and not have some kind of shader system or LUA scripting.
• It prevents it from getting obsolete (as fast). You can update your lightmap tool or any other individual tool chain tool when they are in need, instead of the whole package. If all the tools are rolled into one, the whole thing becomes obsolete instead of just one small feature/tool.

You are overly ambitious, and for no reason. Show some restraint so you can make something actually useful.

L. Spiro

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