Authoring systems

Community Forums/Developer Stations/Authoring systems

Alberto(Posted 2005) [#1]

Some authoring systems such as 3d GameStudio supply an integrated level builder and light mapper .
Any advantages?
In my opinion it should be better to use specialized tools.
However,did anyone make a comparison ?

AdrianT(Posted 2005) [#2]
I prefer authoring systems that are integrated into art packages. It's pretty common practice these days and a lot of designers are very familiar with the inner workings of 3dsmax and visual studio. Biggest plus to using level builders are for multiplayer modable games.

Most level bulders integrated into engines are designed to be quick and simple to use, but as a consequence leave you with simplistic tools that effect the quality of the content created with them.

In my experience the majority of developers that have their own proprietary non licenced engines buld art pipelines that integrate into their artists tools. Whilst the big name engines that are slowly becoming more common have well designed editors built in.

the biggest problem I've seen for both indies and commercial devs is that few specialist tools are compatible with one another or support the same formats and conventions to standard that makes import and export easy, the more steps and intermediate transitionary tools there are in the way of getting your assets into the game, the less productive the team gets.

Alberto(Posted 2005) [#3]

Thanks for your reply
I'm not familiar with authoring systems so I did not fully get your point.
I mean
Suppose you have a level builder which exports the .x file
and a 3d engine which imports the .x file.
No compatibility problems
I suppose that it is better to create the level off line using a specialized tool rather than using an integrated "simplicistic" one.
At least this was my opinion till a couple of days ago.
After going through 3GameStudio documentation I have some doubt.
Forget for a while the quality of the artwork itself
Does an integrated tool enable an higher "integration" with the game code ?
Just an example .
Would it easier to place waypoints for a character ?
I hope I did myself understood

AdrianT(Posted 2005) [#4]
I think you will be surprised how unreliable .X is when you start using more advanced features. For simple single texture geometry it's ok. But as soon as you start doing anything more complicated Very few loaders and exporters produce the exact same result in different applications.

Most 3rd part tools support formats like 3ds and dxf, unfortunately these are ancient and hardly support any useful features that will enable artists to create better quality graphics.

I've used torque that has an integrated editor and thats simple enough to use. You can just create points and paths for character AI in that.

You can do the same thing in other tools. In B3d with the b3d pipeline exporter for 3dsmax I can draw splines in a scene and use those as a AI spline paths that attract the players.

At my old place of work, we had a more dynamic AI system without sny nodes at all, but rather used a low poly floormap and a kind of reverse LOD, where the AI uses the vertices of the mesh to plot its course and can tesselate the floormap refining it when needed in order to navigate around other plaers. This allows NPC's a lot of variables. Like you could paint behaviors in the floormaps with vertex colours that NPC's react to.

This was all created in 3dsmax by the same guys modeling the levels, and was really easy to do.

Alberto(Posted 2005) [#5]
Thanks,Evak, very interesting