Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Radakan's WorldTool and the importance of game content creation tools

Today I finally gave WorldTool (release 3) a try, which is a map editor for Radakan. To use the tool, one has to download it, extract it and then run java -Djava.library.path=. -jar WorldTool.jar.

The tool allows you to create a map and to raise and lower the terrain and paint textures on it via brushes. You can place objects on it, which will automatically be at the correct height relative to the ground.

It is fun to play around with (though not for too long, as the art asset is tiny and I don't know how to import additional media and because all I can do is make a map, not walk with a character on it or place items or monsters. - Mind you, the editor is in an early stage.)

While using it, I got the thought that if such tools were developed enough to be able to produce content to truly enrich games, their ease of use would attract many potential contributers and could turn a player into a contributor. Even if the advanced features (like creating characters with dialog options) would be more complicated, the simple things would be easy to do, which means that there will be motivation enough to learn how to do the more complicated work.

I haven't given much thought to game-specific editors before, but I will take a closer look at the ones I can find and figure out where their limitations are and if there are any faults with them and write my findings here. Please tell me if you know of any such tools (besides the ones for SilverTreeRPG, Sauerbraten, SuperTuxKart and FreedroidRPG that is. ;) )

In not so dashing news: you can vote for Apricot's official name now. The suggestions are kind of cute ("point blank frank", "frankie’s reign of terror") but I really would prefer "Apricot". Do you like the name "Bick Buck Bunny"? I don't too much..