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level editor
07/11/2003, 07:19:16

    Sir Felgar writes:


    Warning to others: Techy stuff ahead.

    There is already a 3dsmax exporter available for the 3D model format that the demo uses, so for individual models Max is already supported. As to using it as a level editor my main concern would be performance. Exporting everything from max would make it more difficult for me to implement occlusion and level of detail code.

    At the moment the outdoor terrain has a level of detail algorithm (ROAM) that reduces polycount at a distance. This allows the engine to see much further without too much decrease in performance. This feature is built into the programming language that Iím using. If I were to export terrain as a max mesh for example I would need to come up with a whole new level of detail algorithm.

    For the indoor levels, an occlusion system (similar to that used in BSP models in Quake3) will be used. This was not used in the demo as the level was quite small. Each individual object within a level (barrels etc.) also has itís own culling parameters that ensure they are only drawn when required. Again if I export a completed level from Max it would complicate this optimisation as I would need to try identify which parts of the mesh to optimise and when.

    On a personal note, I find 3ds max incredible confusing and difficult to use. I realise itís extremely powerful and an industry standard, but I just find it difficult to get to grips with. My models were created in Milkshape which is cheap, easy to use and idiot proof

    I already have an in-house level editor of sorts that was used to produce the demo. It allows me to position, scale, and rotate individual objects, set up properties for them, triggers etc. but itís not exactly user friendly!

    My next task (which Iíve already started) is to produce a more feature packed editor with a nice GUI that will allow someone with little experience to produce a completed level for the game. It will not be possible to produce a complete level using only the editor, additional tools would be required (it wonít do 3d modelling as such Ė it will be purely a placement and game editor).

    The time that itís going to take me to produce a level editor will allow others (hopefully!) to help to produce a storyline, maps, game design docs etc.

    If you think my approach is flawed then let me know. Thanks for the offer of technical help. I may just take you up on that!

    Sir Felgar

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