joew wrote:Actually there are arguments against have a specialized application as well. The Nebula 2 engine had a toolkit built right into Maya and it had extended functionality and it was quite good to work with and there are many commercial games built on it. Also Ready At Dawn have what is likely the best engine and toolkit for development on the PSP and it is completely built into Maya. This way you have artists and designers staying in the tool that they know how to use and you are implementing additional functionality right with the Maya SDK / Mel so you actually save a lot of time compared to building your own. I've heard arguments from people that create editors saying that you do not need poly modelling functionality right in an editor, but I can tell you that any project I've worked on has needed the ability to block out otherwise we never would have made schedule, and you get this free by building on an existing tools. (At one company I worked at we didn't have this ability and so the artists had to block out in 3DS and then export the map every single time they wanted to test in the engine... meanwhile if anybody has made changes in the editor what do you do then? Needless to say this was extremely less than ideal)zarfius wrote:Not really. I only ask because I think there is much more to map creation than the 3D model you could create in blender. How are you going to place spawn points, health packs, weapon pickups, enemies, opening doors, ambient sounds, dynamic lights and so on? I suppose you could do it with some fancy workaround in your exporter, but it would make more sense to have a specialised application for this purpose.
Mind you the biggest trade-off is that you are reliant on a specific tool. Now for in-house game development this is no issue, and for licensing middleware to medium to large studios (where the majority will be using Maya as a DCC) this is not an issue. Although if you look at licensing middleware to indie developers, small studios, or want to target the largest possible audience then you really need to support the widest array of tools.
In my opinion I think Blender (especially with the new alpha UI!) makes an extremely solid base to create a world builder. Not only do you have script access but you can also make additions and changes to the source if needed, which can be extremely useful. Since Blender can import the vast majority of 3D formats you also get this functionality as a bonus.
I would be very interested in hearing people's experience of why they found it better to create a custom editor rather than building on existing tools (other than the trade-off I mentioned above, which in the case of Blender really doesn't apply since you can treat it like a custom world builder after exporting from Maya).
So lets define the purpose of a map / level editor whichever method you use is to create it:realaxis wrote:joew,
I could not have said it better, But there are pros and cons for both approaches and one has to make the decision based on the budget and plans. Blender is really a good choice for indie company because It is opensource and It is easy to find skilled artist (cost effective). Major flaw is that blender is really not a level editor if compared to traditional level editors and it lacks lot of functionality required for creating the map on the top of that one has to do extra work to manage collision related data (Think about BSP file as traditional level editor handles them) as now BSP is not choice for partitioning we have to implemented that in different ways and then export it to your games such that your physics engine handles them properly. So level editor/modelling kit has to handle collision (partitioning) as well as modelling aspect of map creation.
Building these functionality into blender is easy (cost/time viz as oppose to creating your level editor from scratch) but if you are planning your users to create their own map and then import into game this approach is not user friendly. Having a level editor which works out of box would be a good choice if you are planning a big commercial release.
In short both approaches are fine but it is the budget/time who drives that decision.
- Create or layout static world geometry
- Create textures / materials on the world geometry
- Setup collision geometry that's different from renderable geometry
- Position lights and generate static lighting (light / shadow maps)
- Setup dynamic / functional world geometry (doors, moving platforms, ladders, etc)
- Place dynamic objects and setup data for the physics engine (crates, barrels and any other objects that move)
- Setup particle systems
- Position spawn points and trigger areas such as the exit
- Assign sounds and animations to the world and objects
- Place collectable items (health packs, power ups, ammo, weapons)
- Place enemies and other NPC's
- Terrain deformation
Some of these things don't apply to all games, and I'm sure that there are many more to add to the list depending on what type of game your creating. The point is that there are loads of things to think about when your creating your levels and having the right tools for the job is a great help.
When I read this it makes me wonder why there are not that many options when it comes to level editors that allow you to do the things listed above. I realise that a generic level editor is not going to suit everyones needs perfectly but it would still be a better middle ground between building an editor from scratch and building on top of Blender. If it was designed in a way that allows you to customise functionality (scripts, exporters, etc) there's no reason why it wouldn't be a better option than using Blender.realaxis wrote:Building these functionality into blender is easy (cost/time viz as oppose to creating your level editor from scratch) but if you are planning your users to create their own map and then import into game this approach is not user friendly. Having a level editor which works out of box would be a good choice if you are planning a big commercial release.