User Friendly Editing Features? Opinions Wanted!

Community Forums/Developer Stations/User Friendly Editing Features? Opinions Wanted!

Techlord(Posted 2005) [#1]
Hello everyone, I'm interested in your ideas and opinions on intuitive/user friendly Level Building Controls and Features for our PersistentWorld3D, a Multi-User Online Level Builder.

I've toyed with MilkShape, WED, QRadiant, TrueSpace, 3DSMax, and many others. Each have plenty of features and tools, but, I've found that Intuitive User Friendly Controls out way fancy features and cluttered GUIs. Easy to use controls is one of our primary goals for PW3D.

So please offer your ideas/opions/suggestions no matter how simple or complex. Thanks sincerely.

fredborg(Posted 2005) [#2] may provide you with a fresh set of ideas.

Bob3d(Posted 2005) [#3]
Gmax, Metasequoia and Wings3D are a good source of inspiration, imho.

I like the transparent windows. Much functional.

For example, in general...(as I have not tested the evrsion of Persistent World yet) ..I'd say...rightclik in-place floating menus (where u are modelling and have the cursor) and have all comands there, becomes quite functional, and non workflow killer.

Gmax is great for the splines stuff, lofts and extrussions, if it's just 50% of what is Max.(imho a really good level editor) Boleans in Max 6 seem much better than they were, and become useful for quick level editing, also.

metasequoia, for a bit of in what Wings excells...inmediate access to all. things like popping up a tiny menu when u hit "w" key, and it cycles which command to use if u continue tapping w. (ie: turning edge, break edge, etc)

But is if u really want to get into the actual modelling features.

Snapping..tends to be important....

numeric wings, I can start moving in X axe direction, I hit TAB and put an exact number...

Mirror. Duplicate object. Weld objects(a boolean), or at least , weld vertices. Turn edge. rotate, move, scale.

Align objects. Align respect a vertex, align in reference of several vertices.

But the actual option of non adding modelling tools, just... allowing importing well a model in OBJ, X, ASE, or BĚD format...does teh task already, people can model in their modeller.

So would be in a basic-essential set needed only rotate, scale, move, align, snap (to a grid, or/and to another object) ...later on if feel strong, maybe add lights. As adding a lightmapping stuff, done well , would be close to crazy, at least make teh lights and light settings (spot, omniboth of their settings, in a basic way, light color, intensity) so to be able to do an export to: a renderer, or a lightmapper, as kickass and great as Giles.

Maybe the posibility of, while not adding uv mapping tools(allways trying to avoid stuff that u can do with free tools and is done) yet adding the ability to generate in the file a second UV channel, empty, so that , as the x or whatever model was imported with UVs, the users can copy the channel 1 one into channel 2. or another way would be to some sort of copy UV info to clipboard, and paste in the second UV channel. If load another mesh, to make it work, must be the very exatc same mesh.
An export format to have all this info, could be...perhaps ASE, i suppose b3d does no have lights settings support. ASE has it all, but no ASE loader for Blitz3d. In case Blitz3d is one of the destinys.

Techlord(Posted 2005) [#4]

Thank you sincerely for your input. This is the sort of feedback I've been looking for and it has been very very helpful. I will be taking heed to your advice.

fredborg(Posted 2005) [#5]
As I understand your project, it's single most important feature is that it is an online community tool. Therefore I would like to again recommend you take a look at Second Life, which indeed incorporates such a tool directly in it's core. And with great success.

You need to consider different things from the button layout for such a project, and take careful consideration to how the interaction between users flow. What you are doing is not a tool, but a workshop, and the most important aspect is how the interaction between the users is going to be handled, and not whether or not you have, snap to grid or not, or what files it exports.

If you do find this to be the most important aspect, then make a single user tool, and skip the multi-user part. This is what you need to focus on first. It's great to think about the other things too, but it is not pivotal before you get the other things in place.

My humble opinion.

Bob3d(Posted 2005) [#6]
oh, I see.

Techlord(Posted 2005) [#7]

Thanks a Mil! I've been reviewing Second Life. I would like to give it a trial, unfortunately, Its not compatible with Windows98:(

From a brief and general prospective, it appears to be a MMOG which allows you to create 3D content and data scripts internally. Its very unique and cool indeed.

The Network aspect of the PW3D is the highlight of the application, and it is my focus. I've worked with other networked applications that manage Access and Ownership of Network assets and I intend to employ similar techniques.

Unfortunately I cannot experience Second Life with my current PC. I read several online articles that attempt to describe the tools used:
It is a WYSIWYG tool. The building functionality is integrated right into the Second Life UI. There are no separate tools to learn or applications to load. If you want to create a box, you click on the "create" tool and click on the ground in front of you. The box appears in front of you, and can be seen immediately by anyone standing nearby.

This means you can build in-world in real time, either on your own or collaboratively with others. The building tools and scripting system are easy for beginners to pick up, yet powerful enough for advanced artists and programmers to really flex their creativity - you can easily build objects that look great.

If you want to take the next step, there is a simple scripting language that can give these objects behaviors or special effects. Scripting is easy enough for non-programmers to pick up quickly so that, for example, they can make things spin, change color, or react when clicked.
We are shooting for the same goal. If you had the opportunity to play in Second Life, perhaps, you can share your perspective on their tools and implementation.

Once again, Thanks a Mil Friend.

Bob3d(Posted 2005) [#8]
"snap to grid or not, or what files it exports"

but they say...
"yet powerful enough for advanced artists "

I don't know how could that be, in level editing, without some kind of basic import/export, and a grid for accurate placing of objects, walls, etc..some precission tool is needed... :?

curiosity is killing me...I'll try the second thing demo...

Bob3d(Posted 2005) [#9]
long registration way.

Techlord(Posted 2005) [#10]
I'm curious as to how Second Life deals with Access and Owner Control of Assets. IMO, it would be difficult to allow two individuals to edit the same geometry simultaneously. I assume editing control would be turn based. At least thats the approach I'm going to take.

The Project 'Host' has control over the access into the project. They will be able to allow outside members to join or boot them. Chat and 2D Visual Aids and can be used to direct the project realtime.

A Color Code system could be used to indicate what Geometry is available for work or being worked.

wizzlefish(Posted 2005) [#11]
Is Second Life associated at all with Half Life?

jfk EO-11110(Posted 2005) [#12]
you may use 3d avatars to signal where people are and also lock building parts that are currently edited by somebody else. This way you could drop the turnbased restriction. Just use a special color for locked geometry. make sure locking cannot be abused.

I still wonder how you want to realize CSG, especially undo-able CSG, since you would need to execute this on all machines simultanously. This could freeze a computer easily. An other way would be to send out the CSG product as a mesh, without the possibility to undo.

Techlord(Posted 2005) [#13]
you may use 3d avatars to signal where people are and also lock building parts that are currently edited by somebody else. This way you could drop the turnbased restriction. Just use a special color for locked geometry. make sure locking cannot be abused.
Thats a great idea. Preferably, simple advatars without animation. I really dont desire to get into the character customizing thing.

I really like the color code system. It sounds simple and effective. A user should be able to instantly know that if a section of geometry is highlighted (ie: Red) it not available for edit. Or if its Green its open for edit. Yellow could mean someone is editing it.

I still wonder how you want to realize CSG, especially undo-able CSG, since you would need to execute this on all machines simultanously. This could freeze a computer easily.
This is indeed going to be a challenge. I'm also wondering how PW3D is going to deal with different processing speeds of CSG.

Performing CSG simultaneously may be tough. Perhaps update messages could be queued on the local machine - a Task List of some sort. User open tasklist and activate the updates when its convenient.
Another way would be to send out the CSG product as a mesh, without the possibility to undo.
A side benefit the Task List Queue could be the ability to undo the change by retrieving the unchange version of the geometry from a user that hasnt updated. I'm going to have to think on it.

I hope managing the network messaging will be an easy task for BPLite. If not, we'll modify it till it is capable.

Ross C(Posted 2005) [#14]
Frank, you could have a local workspace, where you keep and edit things, away from the online part. When your done editing, you take/drag the mesh into the online enviroment. Or, the old mesh is saved on every computer, as the new one replaces it. Highlighting a mesh could show a history of meshes, which you can choose in you local workspace.

Techlord(Posted 2005) [#15]
Ross C,

That sounds very interesting. I will be implemented Layered Views. Perhaps this feature will go into it. The current frame of thought, is that you edit in local mode and import the work into the project when connected. However, a user cannot just import anything unless their granted this permission by the project lead. So perhaps a way to preview the work will be needed as well.

Rook Zimbabwe(Posted 2005) [#16]
No second life is not associated with half-life. Second life is a weak MMOPG (note lack of R) with no real purpose. One of those hippy tree hugger dreams that clutter bandwidth and waste time.

But their owner interface / user program interface is pretty good if a bit simple.

I like NURBS. I don't know how Rhino programmed NURBS but that fact that I can deform or cut them to make new shapes is the best for me. Take a sphere... Rhino records the centerpoint and then the radius and that is all. two numbers. Maybe five when you plot in XYZ of the center... simple?