do level editors increase game replayablility in 1 player games?

link_jr97
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Post: #1
I find that if I download a game or buy a game somewhere, I like to make my own levels after beating it. I also think it depends on how deep into the game engine you allow the player to dig with the map editor. for example in a game like warcraft 2, the level editor is fairly limited and only allows for basic sprite and tile placements, however it does allow the player to edit the starting stats of all the units etc.

but in the starcraft level editor and in the warcraft 3 level editor, the player is allowed to take a plunge of greater depths and really fiddle with all the aspects of the game engine.

if I were to buy a game, I'd prefer if it had a map editor that would allow me to go into full depth with the game engine and that I'd literally be able to recreate the entire storyline of the game itself acuratly enough to trick the developers themselves.

but i guess it's all a preference thing.

any input would be appreciated.
I want to know what you all think about the subject.
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Sage
Posts: 1,066
Joined: 2004.07
Post: #2
I like the idea of changing aspects of the games but I don't necessarily think a map editor created by the company is necessary. I used to play Counter Strike a lot and make a few maps every now and then with some third party software. Also with Counter Strike you could make your own skins, sounds, and guns on top of level creation. That really adds some fun to the game.
All in all, map editing is great, but overall modding is the best way to go. GTA: Vice City, for example, allows players to model their own cars and use them. I've seen everything from 40's pickups to Enzo Ferraris in that game. It's pretty sweet. I think that if the company can make a decent and user friendly editor without the game losing programming time (thus making it a worse game) then that game could have massive sales (granted the game is worth playing).
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Post: #3
I certainly appreciated the level editor in Marathon Infinity. I didn't manage to make any particularly brilliant maps but I had a lot of fun messing around with it. I really wish UT2004 had Mac tools....

The problem with making level editors, especially from an amateur programmer's point of view, is that they often require as much time and effort as the game itself. That's bad, because it often results in either a) brilliant level editors with no game or b) games with terrible level editors. Ever wondered why most game development tools have such hideous user interfaces?

Neil Carter
Nether - Mac games and comic art
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Post: #4
NCarter Wrote:I certainly appreciated the level editor in Marathon Infinity. I didn't manage to make any particularly brilliant maps but I had a lot of fun messing around with it. I really wish UT2004 had Mac tools....
Yeah, the editing tools that you got with Marathon Infinity was great… I made tons of stuff and it was great fun Smile

So yeah, mapmakers are fun. Games that come with mapmakers gets a + in my book, it doesn't matter how good they are.

"Gameplay Uber Alles. And if you can make it psychedelic too, great!" - Jeff Minter
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Post: #5
I never think of level editors as something extra I'm creating for a game. If I make a level-based game I imagine I'd create the level editor to help me make the content for my game, and if it's remotely user-friendly I'd throw it in the full version.

My memory is hazy but I'm fairly sure this is what happened with Marathon: Infinity. It was basically a new level set and the editor Bungie had been using to make their levels.

Justin Ficarrotta
http://www.justinfic.com
"It is better to be The Man than to work for The Man." - Alexander Seropian
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Post: #6
my case in point, enigmo
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Post: #7
JustinFic Wrote:My memory is hazy but I'm fairly sure this is what happened with Marathon: Infinity. It was basically a new level set and the editor Bungie had been using to make their levels.
Sure, but they completely rebuilt their tools for more or less the same engine(ie M2s engine is more or less like M3s), why? One major reason must've been for ease of use, so that ordinary people could make Marathon stuff.
Forge and Anvil are some of the most user friendly mod tools I've used.

And yeah, I don't really think so either but I try to keep in mind that someone else then me should be able to use it.

"Gameplay Uber Alles. And if you can make it psychedelic too, great!" - Jeff Minter
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Post: #8
ERaZer Wrote:Sure, but they completely rebuilt their tools for more or less the same engine(ie M2s engine is more or less like M3s), why? One major reason must've been for ease of use, so that ordinary people could make Marathon stuff.
Forge and Anvil are some of the most user friendly mod tools I've used.

And yeah, I don't really think so either but I try to keep in mind that someone else then me should be able to use it.

Perhaps it was their level builder for the original Marathon I'm thinking of. I'm just going by memory of reading that Bungie History scrapbook that came with the box set years ago. IIRC the editor was unstable, pure evil to use and forced the team to save their maps every 5 minutes.

I've only made one level editor for a game that I never followed through on. If I were going through with it today I'd get it to a point where it just works, and make the game. I'd make the editor available, and probably to start just throw in a readme. I'd personally hold off on making it totally user-friendly until I knew there was some demand for it.

Justin Ficarrotta
http://www.justinfic.com
"It is better to be The Man than to work for The Man." - Alexander Seropian
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Member
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Post: #9
Enigmo had a great editor built in... and if you'd played the game, you more or less knew how to use the editor.

Lode Runner's level editor was where all the fun was in that game for me ... I didn't play much of the default levels, but I had a blast designing levels. That goes for the OLD Lode Runner on my Mac 512k (back in the day!) and also for the more recent Sierra version with bombs and some tools and such. Though not the psuedo-3D version, that just got too complex.

Midnight Mansion has a fully featured editor for creating individual mansions, but no way to string them together so that it is more like the game experience (though you still choose individual mansions in the game experience) -- I think this works to everyone's advantage, because Vern could go out and find level designers to design levels for the final release, freeing him up to work on programming and other aspects. Then when it is released, a huge advantage of registering is being able to create your own levels. Also, even if you don't like creating levels, the addition of the editor means that there will be OTHER user created mansions for you to explore if you register, in addition to the 8 giant mansions included already (and in some ways, 24 mansions, because each mansion has three rather varied versions for easy, normal, and hard modes).

Heh, and Snake Quest's "main" game is nothing compared to what users have created with the editor and uploaded to our website.

Anyway, those are just examples of the benefits of a good, user friendly editor. I think it definitely increases replay value and overall value of a game.
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Member
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Post: #10
I think if you want the level creator to be a big feature that the general public buy your game for then you need to make it very easy to use - at least to be able to get a simple but fun level working.

I released Powder (the level editor) with Slope Rider in the hopes that I'd see some levels from users. But I think in the end it was too much of a programmer's tool and it was too difficult for people to get a level up and running quickly.

I did see a few levels from users - most were pretty dire. But some were going along really well but missing the finishing touches to make them a complete level. I guess it's often the last 10% which takes 90% of the effort.

Anothertip I have - if you're finding making levels for your own game tedious, chances are your users will have even less enthusiasm!
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Oldtimer
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Post: #11
My experience from El Ballo is that the level editor has so far made the game. Without it, there would be no game, really, since the amount of work that goes into a level is huge. Now, the editor in itself is quirky - it used to be good until I started feeling deadline pressure. So, in essence, I've broken it, and since then, it has become more and more clunky to work with. I guess my bottom line is that you need a level editor for yourself, and if you keep it clean, throw it in. I plan on cleaning up the level editor for EB later, but it won't be in the release.
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