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Old 28 April 2020, 11:38   #1
sparhawk
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Developing a level editor for your own game

I was wondering, how people approach this, when they create a new game. So the benefit of a level editor is quite obvious. Considering though, that this takes also a lot of time, especially when you are working basically alone, having to learn new things because there are no people who would help you there (graphics and sound).
I already spent a lot of time on creating basic functions and are not a single step nearer to a game, because this takes all quite a lot of time (starting from scratch).
I guess if you already wrote lots of code, so you can start right with your game, then you may have more time for other things. So do you spend time on creating a level editor to make your live easier, and how long does it detract you? Are there other benefits of speeding up game development if you spend time creating a level editor (i.e. like possibly thinking more about the design early on). Or are there tool which makes it easier so you don't have to spend a lot of time on the editor and how easy are they to include to your workflow (like i.E. tiled https://www.mapeditor.org/)?
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Old 28 April 2020, 11:52   #2
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I’ve used Tiled for all my games and then created some tools to convert it to the data structures your game uses.
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Old 28 April 2020, 12:06   #3
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Did you already start with tiled when you designed your game, or did you decide on it later on? I wonder because how it impacts possible design decisions on how to store level geometry, triggers, etc. Or is this so independent that you don't have to take tiled into account when designing the game structure?
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Old 28 April 2020, 12:53   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparhawk View Post
Did you already start with tiled when you designed your game, or did you decide on it later on? I wonder because how it impacts possible design decisions on how to store level geometry, triggers, etc. Or is this so independent that you don't have to take tiled into account when designing the game structure?
I started with Tiled, it’s pretty powerful, I can’t remember it ever impacting game or engine design. For some things I use scripts outside Tiled to control game behaviour, but this is for scenarios where a level editor would struggle to represent the desired behavior.
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Old 28 April 2020, 13:05   #5
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Tiled's storage format is pretty decent for editing, but not so good at runtime, so usually developers will create a tool to convert from Tiled to whatever format works best for the game engine. I wouldn't say that it's totally independent, but given how generic Tiled can be, it's more up to the developer to set standards on how to use Tiled rather than it forcing any particular standards on the developer.
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Old 28 April 2020, 13:42   #6
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I also use Tiled. It is indeed very generic so I don't see how it would really influence game design. You can use separate layers for placing collectables, enemies and other game logic items using a special "tile" set.

I have my own tool that converts the XML data into binary format which also converts the tile set to bitplanes, eliminates duplicate tiles etc and remaps the tile map to the optimised tile set. Coding something like that is obviously a lot quicker than creating your own editor.
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Old 28 April 2020, 17:31   #7
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Thanks for the input. That sounds good. Currently my plan is to do a Choplifter style game, which can be probably done procedurally, but I figured that this can later on easily be turned into something like a "Fort Apocalypse" style game, which then would need some level with predefined geometry.
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