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Alex Walz
02-26-2010, 06:04 PM
FANTASY FRIDAY XV
The Scenario Design Editor

Hello everyone!
Please forgive the lateness - I was having some technical difficulties with my game version. But I think you'll all like what we have for you today as we look into the stunningly powerful scenario design editor and its many innovative features.

At a later time, we'll look into scripting and the modding tools that will come with Dawn of Fantasy. We will also talk more about the editor when we send out the beta and provide you with a couple tutorial resources and some exciting contests to see how well you can learn the ropes.

http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/1thumb.jpg (http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/1.jpg)

Don't let all the windows confuse - Dawn of Fantasy's scenario designer is very easy to use and within seconds of opening the editor, you'll be able to jump in and try out all these features for yourselves. The editor can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, allowing you to design a simple, practical map within minutes or a masterpiece within hours.

http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/2thumb.jpg (http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/2.jpg)

The first editor tool we'll look at today is the Terrain Editor. While it may seem like an obvious and common tool, Dawn of Fantasy boasts one of the most powerful terrain editors seen in an RTS title. This editor allows you to alter the transparency of a terrain to mix terrains for beautiful transitions instead of just having grass automatically go into cliffs. Also, making use of the blend tool, you no longer have to worry about sharp edges on roads or other terrains - just smooth them over with this tool and you have a nice, blended edge. Furthermore, adding custom terrains is a piece of cake - just make your own .dds terrain file, drop it in the terrain folder, and you'll be ready to use it in scenarios.

http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/3thumb.jpg (http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/3.jpg) http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/4thumb.jpg (http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/4.jpg)

Next up, we have the Copy/Paste Function. Again, seemingly simple in nature, this function allows you to copy one section of a map (using either the same map you're working on or a different map from our library) and paste it somewhere else. Copy over only what you want to copy - toggle elevation, water, script names, and objects copy. As discussed in the Developer Blog with Joseph Visscher, this tool dramatically eases up the level design process as you can get stunning maps while only designing a quarter of it and pasting the rest. While perhaps not the best for common areas, this tool is recommended for large plains and regions where the player will not spend a large amount of his or her time.

http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/5thumb.jpg (http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/5.jpg)

Now let's move on to the Elevation Editor. Create any elevation you want - a steep cliff, an immediate drop-off, smooth hills - whatever. Using an eye-dropper sort of tool, match one elevation to get the perfect height. You can also use the Soften function to smooth out any sharp edges, making for more realistic elevation.

http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/6thumb.jpg (http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/6.jpg)

One of my personal favorites tools allows you to take control over the environment - be the master of your units, control where they can go and can't go. Using the Invisible Walls and Bridge Markers, you can keep units from straying into a deep valley or make your own bridge to allow units to scale a fallen tree to cross a valley. With custom bridges, your units can go anywhere you want them to go to fulfill your artistic vision - walk on water, defy gravity, craft your own staircase.

http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/7thumb.jpg (http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/7.jpg)

I'm sure all our orc fans will love to see fire raining down on an elven stronghold! Using the Environment Editor and Unit Attribution functions, change the lighting - the color of the sky, time of day, bloom effects, star count and color, cloud opacity, etc. In this example, we turned the sky a bright red and turned down the bloom for some nice shadows. Then using unit attribute manipulation function, I placed down some rain objects and selected them to edit their attributes (which can be done with any object) - I changed their size, played with gravity to slow them down, gave them a wider spread, changed their colors to red fading to yellow, changed the frequency, and finally, inherited a fire texture to make it look as if it was raining fire.

http://reverieworld.com/screenshots/ff15/8.jpg

The last feature we'll look at today goes along with unit attribution. By modifying the attributes, designers can alter a unit's health, damage, defense, and other stats without any scripting. Designers can also use these attributes to rotate or scale a unit on the x, y, or z axes - as seen in our barrel teaser (http://dof.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/forums/display.cgi?action=ct&f=42,65,,10). You'll also have a number of other attributes to play around with including transparency and hover allowing you to create floating ghosts or creative, custom skyscrapers.

metman
02-26-2010, 06:22 PM
This looks amazing can't wait to try it out.

Kire
02-26-2010, 06:42 PM
From reading it seems simple even for me =P, hope it will be also in reality. I wasnt really looking forward for editor (tho would try it anyway) but must say it looks more and more interesting =P.

Generation
02-26-2010, 06:52 PM
Lols at last picture

zach12wqasxz
02-26-2010, 07:06 PM
ok, this is the 2nd best fantasy friday :)
i really like the fact u can mess wiht unit attributes, im gonna make a god unit and send htousnads agaisnt it

Henry Martin
02-26-2010, 07:30 PM
Oh yes, was waiting for this. All of the tools sound great, but one question. How are the camera controls in the editor? Really can't wait to use the editor.

So many editors (mostly RTSs) have the most horrible camera controls in the known universe(cough..dragon age..cough).

Alex Walz
02-26-2010, 07:40 PM
How are the camera controls in the editor? Really can't wait to use the editor.
In its current build, you'll stuck with that default pitch (used in all the screenshots) when designing. You can zoom in and out as much as you want, and rotate the camera but you cannot change the pitch without editing the configuration file. You can also toggle off hidden objects and walkmeshes so that you can design without looking at all that crap in the invisible walls screenshot. However, you can go into cinematic view if you just want to move the camera for a screenshot or something and easily set the camera at any angle - this is also what you will be using when setting up camera tracks for cinematics.

Alex Walz
02-26-2010, 07:52 PM
Also, I talked a little more about all the attributes you can edit for each effect. You can read about these at DOFH (http://dof.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/forums/display.cgi?action=st&fn=42&tn=61&st=14#post15).

DarkMaster
02-26-2010, 08:04 PM
Wow... I am speechless. I've never been that good at level design, but I enjoy playing around with editors nonetheless. It looks like I'll be using the DoF editor more than the actual game!

I'm curious about the "invisible walls". Can you set them to let certain objects through (or stop them)? Arrows for example? I love the concept of a bridge-making tool. There's probably gonna be some pretty whacky things coming from scenario designers with this. Perhaps an entire level made up of fallen trees.

I had a look at the "barrel" showcase, and gee am I amazed. So inventive yet such a simple concept:o . But I am curious as to the system demands of this. Does the "barrel bridge" increase the chance of lag substantially? I would imagine so if you made an entire area out of such small objects.

Again, fantastic showcase. I so wish I could have a play around with the editor right now.

Swift sword
02-26-2010, 08:30 PM
Great! I personally hate triggering in AoM but love nature map design. You've shown us some teasers of the editor before, but this is a great fantasy friday that goes more indepth than the others did. One of my favs, although the World Map one shocked and impressed me a little more. :)

I'm personally looking forward to going more in-depth about the editor's modding tools though. You've made that sound so easy to do as well.

Anyways, great Fantasy Friday once again. Now, here's a couple things-

When you said we could easily create our own terrain, would we need to download something to do it with or is it included in the editor itself? I know it's easy to blend terrains, but it doesn't really say how we make it, other than creating a ddt file. Is there like a mini version of paint or something?

The rest of it looks great. Can't wait to take a shot at the editor- I have a few ideas for a campaign.

Alex Walz
02-26-2010, 08:42 PM
When you said we could easily create our own terrain, would we need to download something to do it with or is it included in the editor itself? I know it's easy to blend terrains, but it doesn't really say how we make it, other than creating a ddt file. Is there like a mini version of paint or something?
It's not something included with Dawn of Fantasy, but all you'd need is an imaging software. Photoshop is obviously the preferable choice. But Paint.NET can read dds files and works well - and is free. Gimp, another freeware, can't handle dds files initially but there are plug-ins to fix that problem.

The_Biz
02-26-2010, 08:48 PM
quite impressive

semi-related questions:
are savegames going to be attached to the scenario or are they going to be separate? something that bugs me with scenario design is having to play through from the beginning of a scenario or doing some hackish workaround just to test something that happens late in the game.

how does scenario development work? is there one giant lua script per scenario or are things broken down into pieces?

Justin
02-26-2010, 10:13 PM
Invisible bridges, I like the sound of that, how does it work with user created scenarios ingame, can we only use them for scrimmages against other players or something?

blackfang
02-27-2010, 05:09 AM
awesome:D :D :D

otomotopia
02-27-2010, 07:42 AM
As a map designer myself (SC, AoC, UT3), these tools make my mouth water. Tons better then the 8 pallets I have up for UT... Will there be an area where we can share our maps? And are the files small enough so we can Peer to Peer share them before the game? And is there a lobby where can say something like, "hey, lets battle on my scenario?"

blackfang
02-27-2010, 07:51 AM
I hope there is a chatting lobby:D

LiTos456
02-27-2010, 09:10 AM
...Wow. Just...wow.
I CAN MAKE RAINING COWS!
I cant wait.

Telkanor
02-27-2010, 10:32 AM
Cool, I love designing maps for games, especially with a decent editor which it looks like this will have.

The Witch King of Angmar
02-27-2010, 11:19 AM
Wow this looks cool! I really liked the raining fire thing. Can you decide how long that goes on for or does it just continue throughout the entire period of gameplay on the map?

Thanks

Puppeteer
02-27-2010, 11:25 AM
I'm loving the invisible walls, nice but simple idea. Looks wonderful!

Justin
02-27-2010, 11:52 AM
Another question I had is will people be able to protect their maps or something to stop others from editing them?

HolyPollo
02-27-2010, 12:15 PM
This is outstanding. I can't wait to create a devastating 4 player survivalist scenario. Waves upon waves of units that ends in an all out fight for your life. You'll all love it!!

Andy Joslin
02-27-2010, 12:22 PM
Wow this looks cool! I really liked the raining fire thing. Can you decide how long that goes on for or does it just continue throughout the entire period of gameplay on the map?

Thanks

FX have a "TimeToTurnOff" property, or you can with scripting tell them to turn off any time you want.

Alex Walz
02-27-2010, 12:53 PM
are savegames going to be attached to the scenario or are they going to be separate? something that bugs me with scenario design is having to play through from the beginning of a scenario or doing some hackish workaround just to test something that happens late in the game.
When you playtest, you'll start from the beginning of your scenario. But to skip over this, just temporarily disable your first cue and trigger the one you want to test.

how does scenario development work? is there one giant lua script per scenario or are things broken down into pieces?
We'll talk more about Lua later on, but most of our scripters opt to separate their scripting into classes - like NPC patrols, individual quests, special fx, etc. Then each of these classes will have its own page so you can be as organized as you want.

Invisible bridges, I like the sound of that, how does it work with user created scenarios ingame, can we only use them for scrimmages against other players or something?
Invisible walls and bridges are used in the majority of our maps. You can use them for whatever.

Will there be an area where we can share our maps? And are the files small enough so we can Peer to Peer share them before the game? And is there a lobby where can say something like, "hey, lets battle on my scenario?"
We'll have a lobby where you can share maps. We'll also select some of the best fan-made maps and add them to the next patch. And then there will be external sites like DOFH and DOFS that will encourage scenario and mod sharing.

...Wow. Just...wow.
I CAN MAKE RAINING COWS!
I cant wait.
Hehe, nice idea. I haven't done a lot of scripting, but I would assume you can transform the rain drops into cows. You can't do it by just editing the attributes though.

Another question I had is will people be able to protect their maps or something to stop others from editing them?
You could script a clever protection feature, but at the moment, we don't have any built-in protection.

Justin
02-27-2010, 01:31 PM
You could script a clever protection feature, but at the moment, we don't have any built-in protection.

I'm not that clever :(

Alex Walz
02-27-2010, 01:34 PM
Heh, you'd be surprised with how much creativity the editor can inspire.

blackfang
02-27-2010, 03:26 PM
also its fun when others edit your maps if they do it better... I once made a warcraft 3 map and it was very flawed, but a guy i played with a lot thought it looked cool and fixed everything even made a better version of it... I didn't mind as long as my name was in the map descriptions:D

nickson104
02-27-2010, 03:45 PM
This seems like something I would enjoy doing, but ultimately fail at... Maybe just maybe, I may have the attention span to finish the map using the default terrains and such. (is there a wide variety of terrains available by default?)
I would really enjoy using the bridge tool, especially making trees walkable and such (must we place the tree, for example across a chasm then make it walkable or just draw a bridge and have it spawn a walkable tree?)
But ultimately my map would fail as it would be just that, a map, not a scenario... I have never been able to script anything so my maps would be static... But I guess that in itself is not bad, they could then be used with normal gametypes I guess... :)

Justin
02-27-2010, 04:01 PM
also its fun when others edit your maps if they do it better... I once made a warcraft 3 map and it was very flawed, but a guy i played with a lot thought it looked cool and fixed everything even made a better version of it... I didn't mind as long as my name was in the map descriptions:D

Yeah, I have no problem with others editing my stuff as long as I get credit for the original in it, I have gotten the sore end of the deal in that regard multiple times though is why I would like a feature that allows protection.

Sauron_9Gods9_Ldr
02-27-2010, 06:59 PM
As an aom designer and considering there's some old aom designers on the DOF team that i think i know of where any of these "map edditor" tools taken from nottud?

NOT THAT ITS A PROBLEM but I'm wondering if you used any of his great interventions/tools? I hope this post will not cause any trouble arrh.

On topic: this looks pretty useful but will the boxes/uncolored walls be there when the games released or will there be actual models. So if we where making a Helms deep map We could tell what type of wall We were using and such.Oh and this might be off topic but will there be a large verity of "Gaia" units?

Alex Walz
02-27-2010, 07:09 PM
Our editor was designed before nottud's time. But, yes, we do have a number of AOM and AOK designers so part of Kon and Micah's original vision for the DOF editor was largely inspired by the shortcomings of those editors - in their unmodified states - as well as in other RTS titles of the time.

On topic: this looks pretty useful but will the boxes/uncolored walls be there when the games released or will there be actual models. So if we where making a Helms deep map We could tell what type of wall We were using and such.
We'll probably just have white. But unlike other games, our textures can be changed without any conversion work, so you can just open the texture and recolor it something more vivid. And they'll just be kept as boxes - no reason to add to the model's file size if the object won't be seen in-game.

DarkMaster
02-27-2010, 07:40 PM
But unlike other games, our textures can be changed without any conversion work
Heh, mods of this game are gonna be scarce. They just don't seem to be needed:p

Darathor
02-28-2010, 06:16 PM
This looks really awesome guys! I can't wait to play around with this, I need to start coming up with some good ideas already!:D

Aametherar
02-28-2010, 11:13 PM
I only have 1 question...How do I clean the drool off my keyboard?:eek:

wills370
03-01-2010, 12:42 AM
Wow, that really is a great piece of software. The invisible wall aspect and the create bridge will lead to some truly epic moments when you can get men to go over the top of a mountian range etc. Really cant wait to try this out. What happens if units get stuck however? (just a thought :P)

DarkMaster
03-01-2010, 03:27 AM
I only have 1 question...How do I clean the drool off my keyboard?
Hah, that really made my day:D

What happens if units get stuck however? (just a thought :P)
I guess you'll just have to avoid making maps where units get stuck:(

Henry Martin
03-02-2010, 07:26 PM
I guess you'll just have to avoid making maps where units get stuck:(

lol, sometimes easier said then done. But that is the fun about level design is figuring out how to make you level fun and how to make it work right.

HolyPollo
03-03-2010, 08:27 AM
I guess you'll just have to avoid making maps where units get stuck:(

They'll design an airlift feature with giant birds to help out any stuck units :P

Andy Joslin
03-03-2010, 11:38 AM
I guess you'll just have to avoid making maps where units get stuck

Also, if units do perchance get stuck somehow, you can detect it and teleport them out.

blackfang
03-03-2010, 12:41 PM
and if you cant detect it you can always create a mod for and a bomb and launch it to get rid of em:D

DarkMaster
03-03-2010, 02:24 PM
Also, if units do perchance get stuck somehow, you can detect it and teleport them out.
*faints from lack of oxygen*

blackfang
03-03-2010, 02:32 PM
you should get air condition or at least a window, sitting in that dark cellar will eventually decrease the amount of oxygen.

Aametherar
03-03-2010, 04:00 PM
Or you could launch a few goblins in to deal with the situation :rolleyes:.

DarkMaster
03-03-2010, 07:26 PM
*has woken up*
I suppose I should get outside more often...

Anyways, there's a feature to detect "unit stuckness"? Would it be possible to just press a button in the editor so that it highlights the areas in which this happens?

Alex Walz
03-05-2010, 08:11 PM
No, but I think you guys are overreacting to "unit stuckness." ;) In all games, it is a possibility but only a very, very small possibility. I've never heard of it happening to any of our designers.

The only cause I can think of for getting a unit stuck is if you build a stronghold with narrow alleyways and backends and script the NPC units to patrol the stronghold where one could potentially corner you into a deadend. But as long as you keep your patrols moving and try to keep your alleys at least two units wide, there's really no reason to worry about getting units stuck.

MadMan
04-02-2010, 06:23 PM
The terrain editor seems very user friendly but at the same time powerful. I love the terrain blending idea and also the "invisible wall and bridges" idea. It really opens up the possibilities. For unit editing and stuff you guys should have a look at the Warcraft 3 world editor, it does a FANTASTIC job at that part (they have a VERY bad terrain editor so dont pay attention to that). In wc3 world editor you can edit almost EVERY aspect of a unit.

Anyways once again your terrain editor seems truly epic and i cant wait to try it out :)