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Old 09-03-2010, 03:34 PM
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Alex Walz Alex Walz is offline
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Default Fantasy Friday XLII - Scenario Design Editor Part 2

Don't let the editor intimidate you. For as powerful as it is, it's incredibly easy to use.
Just start small and work your way up be and hide hidden objects and extra menu bars for a simpler view.

The Scenario Design Editor Part 2

On popular request, I'd like to show you a little more on Dawn of Fantasy's anticipated scenario design editor. In the last editor showcase, we took a look at some of its innovative functions. We won't be introducing anything new today, but we will expand on those functions and take you behind the scenes to show how they've been applied. Please note that some of the below designs are incomplete and may or may not be part of the shipped product.

Another thing worthy noting is that the designers of our editor had two things in common: they were fellow scenario designers, and they were tired of seeing the same old "cookie cutter" towns in RTS games.

Lighting & Environment Effects

As some of you know, I dabbed around with theatrical lighting for a bit as a sort of part time job. So I take a special interest in how my scenarios are lit up, which is why I'm so obsessed with DOF's lighting effects. Using special light objects, in combination with the dynamic day/night cycle, you can create truly spectacular scenes and light up whatever part of the map in any color you can think of. Sometimes I just wish stage lighting was this easy.

Here we have a first look at one of Joe's dwarven caves. Using the light and bloom settings combined with other effects creates a realistic cave opening with the harsh midday light flooding into the dark cave with wind and snow blowing through the opening.

Moving on to a piece by Eric, one of our other level designers. This screenshot inspires volcanic lairs and hostile environments with his use of lighting effects to give the water and temple an eerie orange glow.

You may recognize this from the recently-revealed town of Galehock. Here we see Doug's use of steep elevation, lighting effects, fire, and smoke used to create the fault line. While we're at it, I'll point out the custom arches used by stacking bridge objects with modified heights and then draping them with elven vine objects and then tilting them to form a ruined wall.

Bridges, Ramps, Steps, and Invisible Walls

Be the master of your level by editing the engine's pathfinding to create new bridges and areas units can access. Create narrow swaying bridges, floating cities, and tunnels using DOF's multi-leveled engine and bridge markers. Or block an area off with collision markers.

Here are the famous docks of Silicia Mas. So what's special here? If you look closely, you'll see the semi-transparent blue and red bridge markers. These are signs that Doug created his own walkable bridges and edited the pathfinding by telling the engine at what points units could enter the dock area. The wooden support beams for the docks and wooden steps may look specially modeled for this town, but in fact, each staircase and support beam was pieced together with existing log and plank objects to create something entirely new and usable, thanks to the bridge markers.

Another custom staircase design using elven marble bricks at different heights to create a staircase that appears to be carved out of the surrounding rocks. Again, bridge markers make this new object just as usable as an actual staircase object.

Here we have a ramp I designed for an orc town I was playing around with. The ramp is created entirely out of rocks and planks to give it a smooth surface. Copying and pasting planks with preset tilts made this easy work out of this ramp. Looking down at the torches, we see more custom-built objects. You may recognize the torch support as the palisade gate opening construction object and the logs on top of it is a shrunken Pyre building from which Impalers are trained. The fire itself is a combination of three different modified fire objects, fireflies, and smoke.

In this old gold mine, we can see some more bridge markers which allow the player to step right on out to that uneven rock and then scale across the second level of that scaffolding to reach a new area. Using the bridge markers, you can make anything into a bridge.

Take pathfinding into your own hands by blocking off areas where you don't want units to go. Collision markers are great for RPG scenarios to block off certain areas until the player has completed certain quests. They appear white in the editor when you have enabled hidden objects but will be completely invisible in-game.

Makeshift Walls & Bastions

Just as like stairs, making custom walls is incredibly easy in DOF. Just pick out a base brick or wood object, set its dimensions and angle, copy and paste, and stack! Custom walls can be built to be used just as the default walls and can better blend in to your existing environment design. Make a few different wall segments and bastions that you can copy and paste to create an efficient custom wall.

Another look at Galehock. Here you'll see some more steps built out of stacked marble as well as a great stacked marble wall surrounding the keep. While the concept didn't make it into the final version, the plan was to have the wall the exact same height as a normal wall and use wall platform objects for the wood surface to allow siege towers and ladders to attach on like any other wall and for objects like hoardings and stone tippers to be built on top by the player.

Water & Effects

Using these effects that require absolutely no modding, create perfect waterfalls, blow holes, volcanoes, rapids, and whirlpools of any color and size!

You've probably noticed that no two waterfalls look the same in DOF. This is because each waterfall is custom built using small water and mist particles, which combined, grants the designer great freedom to create whatever sort of fountain or waterfall he or she can think up. Like any other effect, the color, tilt, angle, particle count, texture, and dozens of other factors can be changed on each waterfall object.

Here's an orc town I started the other day with a unique wall made of sandstone with an eerie fountain made using the head of an orc rowboat. Next up water was added splashing around inside the skull and flowing out of both eye sockets. I modified the area of the waterfalls as well as the particle count and gravity to create two even waterfalls flowing down to the reflection pool below. And if you wanted to get more creative with waterfalls, you can edit the color of waterfall objects and bodies of water or change the texture of falling water to something like stars for a wishing well.

So, now that you've seen a fraction of what's possible with DOF's editor, tell us what you plan to design! An execution pit? Helm's Deep? A Dungeon Crawler?
Alex Walz | Former Assistant Producer & Publicist of Reverie World Studios, INC.
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"The sky grows lighter my friends. The break of day should cheer the heart. But for us, sunrise brings only bloody war. Make thou ready. Defend my people well." - Prince Erian IV, Dawn of Fantasy

Last edited by Alex Walz : 09-03-2010 at 08:00 PM.
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