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Alex Walz 02-26-2010 07:04 PM

Fantasy Friday XV - The Scenario Design Editor
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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 07:22 PM

This looks amazing can't wait to try it out.

Kire 02-26-2010 07:42 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 07:52 PM

Lols at last picture

zach12wqasxz 02-26-2010 08:06 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 08:30 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 08:40 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 08:52 PM

Also, I talked a little more about all the attributes you can edit for each effect. You can read about these at DOFH.

DarkMaster 02-26-2010 09:04 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 09:30 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.

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