Monday, February 10, 2014

What's a map without it's editor?

The most important thing for this project will be a map editor, I can code all I want for nice effects and test it out on some random terrain but most of the time the terrain will want to be designed instead of just randomly generated. There are many great articles and tutorials for doing Isometric and how to set it all up but it crashes when it comes to making the maps. They give you the understanding of setting it all up and leave the rest to you, of course the thought is you can design your own which is very true in itself. You will learn much more doing this sort of thing yourself and I already have learned a lot. Considering that I myself will want a map editor for the project I plan to use this with it, only makes sense it should come with that editor as well. I feel it will greatly add to it and make it much more approachable for anyone. The shear volume of scripts often just really pushes aspiring devs away from a lot of resources and trying to create a map editor for an isometric system made by someone else is just begging for a headache.



Once I have gotten the engine basics finalized (to a point), I will move heavily in designing a map editor and setting up the UI. The plan is to design a few mock-ups of the UI and ask you guys for your opinion on current layout what features are there, what needs to be there and maybe what doesn't, so I am hoping for a lot of feedback to make the UI work for everyone. I will be detailing what everything does and how it effects the engine and how you can use it in your projects as well, so features of the editor are understood.

Once I have a solid design I will get the first demo map editor up and running for people to try it out and get a feel for it and how well it's working. At this point I will also create a WiP topic for the engine as well over on the Game Maker Community for a more convenient place to post feedback/idea's or opinions.

Already if you have any idea's or comments be free to send them as I will reply and save your information for when I start working on that.

Random progress

Started work on a sort of chunk loading feature that would increase the possible map size by leaps and bounds. This is in an effort to increase map size for potentially other applications and given the possibility of importing height maps from bmps, this would allow for some very large and interesting maps. The goal is maps can be randomly generated or be designed in "chunks" and loaded as needed for these large maps.

The idea is to keep this all within the software itself and not use any external files as they can just start to over complicate things for some users. I hope to have the scritps setup in a way that more advanced users can use outside files such as DLL's and external databases to create near infinite maps if needed.

Currently given limitations of the software and my computer setup, the engine is capable of producing a 5000x5000 map that is 25 million tiles in total. As an example the tiles I use are 64x32, so the map is 320,00 pixels or 3333 inches wide and 160,000 pixels or 1666 inches tall(at 96ppi). That means the size of the map is 277 ft x 131 ft !!! WAY more then any person will ever use .Of course the engine used 2 gigs of memory and wasn't very stable, but it can easily support some large maps rather stable such as 500x500 or even 1000x1000 though you really should never need a map that large. Note that I was storing the entire map in memory, with a chunk loading system you only need a tiny fraction of the map to be stored. This was a raw test of what I can do and where the limits are for the software.

With the same map size using a very rough chunk loading system it didn't use much more then 150 megs at any given time. So for those projects that want a larger map, I think I just might have some solutions that are built in and hopefully straightforward to use.

I plan to make blog posts every Monday with probably intermediate ones every other day (Wednesdays, Fridays). As always thanks for reading! please leave any comments or suggestions and if you have a question ask away. OR if my math above on converting pixels to inches is off let me know either by a heads up or by pointing and laughing, as I mostly included that as a fun detail and didn't spend much time out of a few google search to make sure it's accuracy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment