Sunday, May 20, 2007

Initial PlanetCute level editor


Corsix just posted up a prototype of a level editor he built using the PlanetCute set from last week. You can download it here:
Instructions
To install:

Extract all files, make sure DX9 is intalled

To run:
Double click EXE

To use:

  • Arrow keys: Move active character
  • b: Change active character
  • 1 though 6: Load premade levels
To manipulate the terrain:
Click on terrain in top left, click one of the blocks across the top to select it, click on a block in the level to set it to that block. Click and hold a block, and drag up/down to move the block up/down.

To manipulate objects:
Click on objects in top left, click one of the objects across the top to select it, click somewhere in the level to place it. Only one object can be present on each block. To delete an object, select the object across the top then click on the object in the level.

To manipulate people:

Click on people in the top left, works same as objects.


Thoughts
This is exactly the type of project I was hoping someone would build. Once you get a hang of the editor, it is easy to build interesting levels rather quickly. Be sure to check of the prepackaged levels. Though simple, each one is actually a rather enjoyable exercise in finding keys and delivering gems to the princess.

I'm impressed that Corsix even figured out the shadow system, probably the most complex part of the set.

I find that my initial tiles usually go through several iterations before I settle on a final look and feel. Having seen them in action there are still a couple of rough spots.
  • Displaying vertical height: This is still a bit tricky. There are a few simple shadow tricks I can play. A simple trick that can be played on the programming side is to increase the brightness of each layer by 10%. This makes the top blocks lighter and the bottom blocks darker given a nice bit of depth perception to the whole thing.
  • Noise in the base tiles: The basic floor tiles are a bit high contrast. This gives the playfield a much noisier feel than I would like. I'll tone that back.
  • Lack of objects: It is obvious that some basic objects are missing. Vertical doors, conversation bubbles, ramp corners and better buildings all come to mind. Any others that seem missing?
One of my dreams while making this set was to one day see an online RPG maker similar to Little Big World. The player wanders about a series of realms, but they have the ability cast spells and mold the terrain like a giant art canvas. Think Populous, writ small.

take care
Danc.