The long wait is finally over. Here is the first part of my breakdown of the Level Editor (complete with exclusive screens – 1 now, 2 later) which is, in my mind, the best part of a great game.
(Click for the full 1280×720 version)
NinjaBee has said that they used their editor to layout all the levels in the single player campaign and I absolutely believe them. It takes a little while to get used to using the editor, but the slight learning curve is only a result of the editor’s robustness. Every available button is used in the editor. The d-pad allows you to switch between the following: (see right, clockwise from top) tiles, doo-dads, units, and items. The left thumbstick handles moving around the map itself, and the right thumbstick handles choosing the specific piece you want to place in or on the map (in the top picture, all the different tile choices are shown at the top).
(More after the break)
This interface may seem clunky or bizarre at first, but after reading the quick instructions that pop up when I launched the editor (and do read them) I was able to jump right in and start making my first map. And after playing around for about 15-20 minutes I was whipping around the editor like a speed demon.
Basic map creation consists of the following:
- Laying down tiles and changing elevation as necessary
- Adding units for each team (up to 4 teams, up to 16 total bugs)
- Adding necessary objective markers (e.g., escape points, capture points)
- Adding items
- Adding doo-dads to give the map some flair
Of course, other than the first step you can do these in any order or combination you like (because once the tiles are down you have a place to put units, items, and doo-dads).
NinjaBee has given us a robust tool to create maps and then share them quickly and easily. But they did not just stop at function. Cool little effects, like the dust or splash effect when you lay down tiles (see top picture), help to make the editor easy on the eyes and fun to play with.
In the next part I will cover advanced editing concepts, tilesets, share some more screens, talk about why the editor has me hooked, and also about my one gripe about the editor.