Author Topic: Editor features  (Read 1482 times)

Offline RCIX

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Editor features
« on: June 10, 2010, 08:17:35 PM »
Is it possible to get the ability to select, copy/paste, fill, and empty areas of the board in the editor?
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Offline x4000

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Re: Editor features
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2010, 08:31:25 PM »
Empty?  You can ctrl--click to delete blocks, and there's also a delete function on the left.

As far as other more complex things like copy/paste, fill, etc, that's unfortunately just not possible in the time we have; there's a ton of other more pressing stuff we're in progress on at the moment.  There were a number of things that we'd wanted to do with the editor, but this project has just gone on and on and we have to draw the line somewhere, sorry.  :(
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Offline RCIX

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Re: Editor features
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2010, 08:49:36 PM »
No problem :) i hope you'll have time after release!
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Offline x4000

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Re: Editor features
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2010, 09:20:46 PM »
Ehh.. that's unlikely to be high on the priority list, then, to be honest.  It's a minor convenience, and we're going to be absolutely pasted to the wall with trying to get all the stuff done for CON and AI War 4.0 after that point.  Then my son is going to be born and I'm going to be away for a bit, and everyone else is going to be working like crazy on Alden Ridge so that hopefully we can get that done in time to get the third AI War expansion done in Q2 next year... although, depending on finances, our intent is not to feel so rushed after the August timeframe.

There are always more features one could do on any software project, and AI War certainly grows on an ongoing basis because of the nature of that project.  But aside from bugfixes and maybe a few for-fun content drops for Tidalis, there won't be much official content coming out after release.  If we make major engine improvements we'll also build those into Tidalis, and if we do something like matchmaking for AI War, we'd also build that in for Tidalis if at all possible.  It's not like we'll be forgetting about Tidalis, we'll be supporting the product and making sure it is as clean and polished as possible if things come up.

But, our goal is largely to have it be super clean and polished before release, and then not to have to worry with that as much after release.  And we're not going to be doing that "perpetual development" thing like we do for AI War with this title, so that will be much easier to accomplish, heh.

Doing perpetual development on a project requires about one fulltime staff member's worth of hours per week.  In other words, that's costing us between $40,000 and $80,000 worth of man hours per year, depending on how much the staff member is paid (I'm not saying salaries we use, just giving a broad industry based range).  There's no way we could afford to do that for more than one project, and even if we could, we'd have to keep hiring more people to maintain all the new games in perpetual-development mode.  And that sort of defeats the purpose of doing perpetual development in a lot of ways, because the original designers are no longer present on the project and the original coders aren't there, and so bugs and so forth creep in more, and it's a management nightmare with the larger staff... etc, etc.

So, in short, we'll only be doing one perpetual development game at a time, and for the foreseeable future that's going to be AI War.  With our next three games, the post-release strategy for added content, etc, is based around player submissions; all three will have level editors, etc, in fact the same level editors that we use to create the content for those games in the first place.  Those are always as polished as we can make them in the time we have, but there are basically infinite features we could do with a level editor: copy/paste, various types of fill patterns, undo/redo, various other special things per game (such as in Tidalis, having boards be resizable with groups of content being moved around, etc).

Generally speaking, even if someone is creating a lot of content, those sorts of features are somewhat a nice-to-have, and don't really substantially impact the time it takes to create intentionally-designed levels.  I've worked with a LOT of game content creation tools, and some of them have some of those features, and others don't.  Generally the ones that do are ones that are cross-game and really generalized, which means that they often have other deficiencies on an individual-game basis.  Certainly there are some stellar examples out there that do everything 100% features and so forth across the board, but those tend to be from 200-person AAA teams with multimillion dollar budgets.

It's tough when our first project was done (and is still being done) one way, and other projects are done another way.  That creates certain expectations that aren't possible for us to meet, I think.  It's not that we like the other projects any less, it's just that we feel like they are complete in and of themselves in a different fashion.  A strategy game requires an evolving and clever opponent, and our ongoing updates are a big part of what helps us create that for AI War.  In a sense, we are partly acting as a "game master" for that game, if you think of the pen and paper RPG term. 

When it comes to most other genres, certainly all the other genres we are pursuing while still maintaining AI War, there really isn't even a need for something like that.  Tetris was made 20 years ago, and most of the updates they've made since then were incredibly peripheral and not as good as the original core gameplay.  Bejewled has seen some notable updates in its two sequels from what I hear, but it's something that was done in a sequel fashion because you don't have the same incentive to do expansions that there is with a game like AI War (in strategy games, as in music games, losing past content is a really bad thing; in most other genres, it's not the same sort of thing at all).

I hope that makes sense.  I get the feeling that there are a number of people who assume that the way we handle AI War is the way we will handle every project, and I hope the fallout from that not being true is not going to be too huge.  We still have the same commitment to quality on all the projects, but that doesn't include adding features past release on any of them except AI War.  With a lot of companies you don't even get a commitment to bugfixes in a timely fashion, but that's always going to be something Arcen maintains, for every project.  And I suspect that every project will see little bits of free DLC here and there, it's hard to resist.  But those will tend to be things that are particularly notable and exciting for a large portion of the fanbase of a given game, not minor utility style upgrades for something like a level editor (unless it's hugely broken, which I don't feel ours is, or even close).

Longer response than you were expecting, I bet?  I guess I'll move this to the main Tidalis forum, so that others might stumble upon it.
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Offline RCIX

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Re: Editor features
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2010, 05:33:58 AM »
Ya, a little longer :)

But but i thought Arcen games was going to be different! ;) i can understand that, spending 40-80k a year per game is a bit crazy and i can easily see why you wouldn't do it. And there's still AI war! :)
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Offline x4000

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Re: Editor features
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2010, 08:27:42 AM »
Many thanks for understanding. :)
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