New tweaks/ideas/corrections for the level editor

Got a cool idea that should be in R'n'D? Let's hear it!

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RAP
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New tweaks/ideas/corrections for the level editor

Post by RAP » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:27 am

I think there should be some tweaks for the level editor for improvement, or corrections like the following things I listed:
  • During gameplay, mark the screen at the top-left with the text "Playtest mode" -- just for newbies, and for me as well, just for a reminder.
  • The ability to restart the level w/o repeatedly going back and click the button to test the level again.
  • In the editor section in Global Settings, add the option to total all the gems/gem quota the player has collected after going to the exit -- then the user won't have to rely on counting gems with the score #s. Ask the user permission to total up the gems as well.
  • Move Wall w/ Emerald and wall w/ Diamond to the DC2 section. I don't remember seeing these objects in the original mines
  • Mark anything that has to do with random movements (Yam Yam, Firefly, those stuff in the R'n'D section) with the symbol R -- to distinguish from something that moves in a certain direction.
  • Also, mark all the CEs that utilizes the same graphic (a steel wall for instance) with "CE", same goes to GEs.
More unusual or complicated concepts include...:
  • A delay/frame timer -- one for the EM engine, and one for the R'n'D engine. Something for racing/speed run levels. xD
  • Have the ability to see which Yam Yam will have the "X" box content, and so fourth (ever played SubTerra and saw it's contents of a creature?)
  • Implement interaction boxes of CEs in the level editor, instead of testing directly through playtesting.
  • The ability to read level versions (which level was made in 3.0.0, while which one is made in the latest version). Additionally, it also includes reading when was the level first created, and last modified.
  • A zoom in/out option (or have the ability to make the screen 15x15, to simulate the player's POV)
Any more tweaks?
Last edited by RAP on Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Holger
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Post by Holger » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:45 pm

First of all, I think that this is a good topic, as the level editor indeed needs some improvement here and there.

> * During gameplay, mark the screen at the top-left with the text "Playtest
> mode" -- just for newbies, and for me as well, just for a reminder.

Hmm, not sure if this is really all that important. Maybe there are some other bits of information that are nice to see during test playing (and which therefore at the same time indicate that the game is test played from the editor).

> * The ability to restart the level w/o repeatedly going back and click the
> button to test the level again.

Just quickly hit the "Esc" key and then the "Enter" key (or "Space" key). This restarts a test play in a fraction of a second for me. Does this really need improvement?

> * In the editor section in Global Settings, add the option to total all the
> gems/gem quota the player has collected after going to the exit -- then the
> user won't have to rely on counting gems with the score #s. Ask the user
> permission to total up the gems as well.

Sounds a bit too complicated from a user interface point of view, or do I miss something?

Instead, I see two simple solution:

- set the gems to something like "100" or "1000" and subtract the displayed gem number after final test playing. (For example, if it displays "32" at the end of the level, you set the number of gems needed to 100 - 32 = 68.)

- the game could (generally, from the editor and from the resulting level) display the number of collected gems if set to "0" in the editor (just like it increments seconds when set to "0" instead of decrementing time). That way, you would set it to "0", test play it and take the resulting number from the display to finally set it in the level settings before saving.

> * Move Wall w/ Emerald and wall w/ Diamond to the DC2 section. I don't
> remember seeing these objects in the original mines

Oops! Is this really a DC feature? I really thought that there were original Kingsoft levels with this element! :-o But I think you're right here, and it should then indeed be moved to the DC2 section!

> * Mark anything that has to do with random movements (Yam Yam, Firefly,
> those stuff in the R'n'D section) with the symbol R -- to distinguish from
> something that moves in a certain direction.

Some clear indication about the initial moving direction would indeed be helpful!

> * Also, mark all the CEs that utilizes the same graphic (a steel wall for
> instance) with "CE", same goes to GEs.

Sounds reasonable...

> * A delay/frame timer -- one for the EM engine, and one for the R'n'D
> engine. Something for racing/speed run levels. xD

This would probably require a larger "time" (then: delay/frame) display (which can already be defined by custom artwork definitions) to be useful.

But generally a good idea.

> * Have the ability to see which Yam Yam will have the "X" box content, and
> so fourth (ever played SubTerra and saw it's contents of a creature?)

I've played SubTerra long ago, but can't remember anymore. What do you mean exactly here? Seeing the yam yam's "content" during test playing from editor in some graphical way?

> * Implement interaction boxes of CEs in the level editor, instead of testing
> directly through playtesting.

Not sure what you mean exactly here -- could you describe how it would work?

> * The ability to read level versions (which level was made in 3.0.0, while
> which one is made in the latest version). Additionally, it also includes
> reading when was the level first created, and last modified.

Sounds useful indeed.

> * A zoom in/out option (or have the ability to make the screen 15x15, to
> simulate the player's POV)

This is an important feature that's still missing (although planned for a long time).

> Any more tweaks?

The following additional improvements could be useful:

- Easier access to the element properties pages -- the "?" button inside the toolbox is not very well placed and may confuse new users. (It may have been appropriate for the "classic" elements with two or three options, but it most probably isn't anymore for the more advanced CE and GE elements.)

- Easier access to the global level settings. The "info" button is also a bit hidden between the other buttons like "undo" and "save", and the name "info" suggests read-only level information, where something like "global level configuration settings" would be more comprehensive. Ideally, it would be a tabbed screen like the element properties screens, with a (more or less) read-only data tab (like the first element properties tab) and some more tabs like "config" and "advanced" or something like that.

- marking (or masking out) elements that cannot be used in the selected game engine (both on the playfield and in the elements selection area), to easily see that CEs cannot be used with the EM/EMC engine, for example (and, even more important, to see which elements that look like EM/EMC elements, but in fact are R'n'D elements, cannot be used in that engine).

- an advanced functionality to quickly select elements from the element palette (like a very large palette in the playfield area that can be activated and de-activated for element selection)

- most probably some more important editor improvements that have already been suggested, but which I have forgotten at the moment

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Post by RAP » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:06 am

Holger wrote:First of all, I think that this is a good topic, as the level editor indeed needs some improvement here and there.
Indeed, and there might be some more things that needs adding -- for another time of course.
Holger wrote:> * Move Wall w/ Emerald and wall w/ Diamond to the DC2 section. I don't
> remember seeing these objects in the original mines

Oops! Is this really a DC feature? I really thought that there were original Kingsoft levels with this element! :-o But I think you're right here, and it should then indeed be moved to the DC2 section!
Also the "R'n'D" dnyamite, the original Emerald Mine has to make you hold for a certain amount of time to drop the dynamite for second.
Holger wrote:This would probably require a larger "time" (then: delay/frame) display (which can already be defined by custom artwork definitions) to be useful.

But generally a good idea.
Not necessarily to my thoughts. All you need is just to attach the precise timer in the gameplay screen just like the "playtest mode" text.
Holger wrote:> * Have the ability to see which Yam Yam will have the "X" box content, and
> so fourth (ever played SubTerra and saw it's contents of a creature?)

I've played SubTerra long ago, but can't remember anymore. What do you mean exactly here? Seeing the yam yam's "content" during test playing from editor in some graphical way?
*nod*
Holger wrote:> * Implement interaction boxes of CEs in the level editor, instead of testing
> directly through playtesting.

Not sure what you mean exactly here -- could you describe how it would work?
This one is sorta complex but simple, just have a playtest field within the editor without fully testing it via level.
Holger wrote:> * The ability to read level versions (which level was made in 3.0.0, while
> which one is made in the latest version). Additionally, it also includes
> reading when was the level first created, and last modified.

Sounds useful indeed.
Yeah! Would it include having your engine scan the old EMC level files to see some info as well?
Holger wrote:> * A zoom in/out option (or have the ability to make the screen 15x15, to
> simulate the player's POV)

This is an important feature that's still missing (although planned for a long time).
Man, do you actually have other ideas in your planning list besides the ones below your rows of suggestions?
Holger wrote: > Any more tweaks?

The following additional improvements could be useful:

- Easier access to the element properties pages -- the "?" button inside the toolbox is not very well placed and may confuse new users. (It may have been appropriate for the "classic" elements with two or three options, but it most probably isn't anymore for the more advanced CE and GE elements.)

- Easier access to the global level settings. The "info" button is also a bit hidden between the other buttons like "undo" and "save", and the name "info" suggests read-only level information, where something like "global level configuration settings" would be more comprehensive. Ideally, it would be a tabbed screen like the element properties screens, with a (more or less) read-only data tab (like the first element properties tab) and some more tabs like "config" and "advanced" or something like that.

- marking (or masking out) elements that cannot be used in the selected game engine (both on the playfield and in the elements selection area), to easily see that CEs cannot be used with the EM/EMC engine, for example (and, even more important, to see which elements that look like EM/EMC elements, but in fact are R'n'D elements, cannot be used in that engine).

- an advanced functionality to quickly select elements from the element palette (like a very large palette in the playfield area that can be activated and de-activated for element selection)

- most probably some more important editor improvements that have already been suggested, but which I have forgotten at the moment
  • I don't know how I can wrap my head to that idea, but that one is good.
  • ...*nod*
  • Instant-approval!
  • ...*explodes in the thoughts of having that idea added*
  • Oh dear you... do you actually have a list of ideas written down, besides the ones that you listed down in the latest RnD package?
I'm going to drop some more ideas around tomorrow or the other day, since my head is a bit fried today. :S
Last edited by RAP on Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by RAP » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:57 am

More suggestions and tweaks!
  • The ability to move a level to a different level number (and also move the tape #)
  • In the Global Settings, add a "Editor" section -- there is a lot of empty space there. I have no idea how to fill this one. Hmm...
  • Element settings/info: add scrolling, incase the info is written long
  • (Or..) Make the info... more than what newbies can handle, like the SubTerra element list; with two versions: quick-help, and detailed functions, ...Maybe get permission of Francesco's documenting... to save time
  • Screen fading. Can't find a few diamonds in a 128 by 128 playfield? Fade all the elements except the diamonds so you can find them easily.
More...? XD
Last edited by RAP on Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Daniel H.
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Post by Daniel H. » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:45 pm

I believe Holger does have his own idea lists.
There is one list in a file called TODO.txt distributed with Rocks'n'Diamonds.

And don't forget the Mentioned Ideas for Rocks'n'Diamonds topic (although it is missing newer ideas).

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Post by RAP » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:06 pm

Daniel H. wrote:I believe Holger does have his own idea lists.
There is one list in a file called TODO.txt distributed with Rocks'n'Diamonds.
I actually read it the other time, nice set of goals you made Holger. Except, it's not in the special editon of RnD jue.

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Post by RAP » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:33 pm

KAAAAAAAAAAAABOOOOOM! More suggestions...!!!
  • In the Global settings/editor, have the ability to switch from having BD/EM/EMC/RND/SB/SP/DC2 elements etc to having the following things: Gems, Enemies, Objects, Collectibles, Walls / Steel Walls, etc
  • Option to see a grid-like structure. Just throwing out a helpful idea?
  • Option to edit levelset configurations -- we had to do it manually via opening the text file.
  • Redo button! I personally think some people would lose their work if they actually undo some of the important parts of the level.
  • Instead of trying to edit all the elements' score count one by one, why not have a master list of all of them -- and add it as a section in Global settings as the "Score" section. And to avoid clogging, try to only apply to the elements that appear in the level.
  • The ability to look in the master CE template list.
...More? XD *chuckles*

EDIT: It turns out in the first idea of this post, there was an idea about this one -- but it's more epic: viewtopic.php?t=1465
Last edited by RAP on Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Daniel H. » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:18 pm

Thanks for updating the "Mentioned ideas" topic. :)

I like the idea of having a "Redo" button.

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Post by monsterman » Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:35 pm

- change wrap buttons to one button and use editor 1.2.0's arrows for door request asking for which way
- Add level formats for no change in EMC engine but keeping engine's doing
- Seal RND and BD style amoeba together in one kind
- Add contents for dark yam-yam
- Show animations within editor that are looping
- Add button "duplicate item" for 2 items that behave exactly the same but have different properties, but not in custom or group elements
- Add "duplicate level" to prevent having to exit the levelset or hard work
- Add more borders at DC2 so you don't have some borders with unrealistic blank spots, and add border ends
- Some more envelopes for those people who can't get enough
- Move mole from RND section to DC2
- Move steel DC2 exit from EM to DC2
- Move the non-visible growing walls to DC2
- Move tubes to DC2
- Make steel space visible in editor
- Add more kinds of visible growing walls
- Add options of which kind of letters you will use (for newbies)
- Add 4 more players
- Change 'DISMISS' button to 'OK' button for less confusion
- Make level # red for reminder of read-only level in editor
- Add on to exit button with a door request asking to save changes with the YES, NO, and DISMISS buttons to prevent people from getting frustrated by accidentally clicking it
- Fix bug with not being able to undo resizing
- Add option if open time doors remain open until press of wheel, then close or not (I meant as in the same thing as in closed one, but reverse operation)
- Add more room on the custom element name (because if you reach end, there's still a gap between the text and the panel area
- Add custom element property to change/cause event if doing something to the border (NOT the ones in the DC2 area) so you could trigger things at the official edge of the level
- If in testing, the level number is changed to text saying "TESTING"
- Move normal steel exits to the RND section
- Same to normal exits
- Add CE movement type checkbox with the saying "use diagonal movement"

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Post by RAP » Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:52 pm

monsterman wrote:- Add 4 more players
4 players is quite enough for Rocks'n'Diamonds. It's not even possible to fit all the eight players just by using the keyboard. But even if some of the players have joysticks or something similar, would the game handle many players within one screen (17 x 17)?
monsterman wrote:- Move mole from RND section to DC2
Sorry, no. This "RnD" mole has one difference apart from the DC2 mole, when killed -- it will explode 9 red emeralds.
monsterman wrote:- If in testing, the level number is changed to text saying "TESTING"
I'm not sure, I think people would want to know which level number are they editing; and, I don't think the all the letters would fit in the slot. Plus, I already threw out a similar idea -- "During gameplay, mark the screen at the top-left with the text "Playtest mode" -- just for newbies, and for me as well, just for a reminder."
monsterman wrote:- Add contents for dark yam-yam
Probably not a good idea, Dark Yam-Yams have been known to devour usually anything in it's path. Adding a feature to this creature might result in game balancing issues.
monsterman wrote:- Move the non-visible growing walls to DC2
RnD growing walls grow slower than DC2 counterparts.
monsterman wrote:- Move tubes to DC2
Once again, incorrect. The tubes actually originated from Boulderdash DX before the game died -- so it lived on as part of the groups of elements. If your actually thinking about the tubes in DC3, I actually tried suggested that to Holger a long time ago but denied.
monsterman wrote:- Some more envelopes for those people who can't get enough
This might have been suggested somewhere else. I'm not sure...
monsterman wrote:- Move steel DC2 exit from EM to DC2
Nice correction you point out there.
monsterman wrote:- Add more borders at DC2 so you don't have some borders with unrealistic blank spots, and add border ends
You mean additional steel wall decors? It's already implemented in the latest version of RnD -- version 3.2.6.1.
monsterman wrote:- Add more kinds of visible growing walls
Can't you just make use the usage of Custom Elements to do that?
monsterman wrote:- Add CE movement type checkbox with the saying "use diagonal movement"
This topic is about improving how the level editor works, with more functions or having time-saving tools. This idea is already suggested a long time ago, but since Holger is busy with his son -- development has stopped a bit.
monsterman wrote:- Change 'DISMISS' button to 'OK' button for less confusion
Instant approval!
monsterman wrote:- Make level # red for reminder of read-only level in editor
Not half-bad, I kinda suggest that the text would flash also. XD
monsterman wrote:- Fix bug with not being able to undo resizing
*after checking* I think the undo is useful on adding elements in the playfield. You can actually restore the lost work by resizing the level size to normal. Saving or exiting the editor is another story. Maybe Holger can look this up...
monsterman wrote:- Add custom element property to change/cause event if doing something to the border (NOT the ones in the DC2 area) so you could trigger things at the official edge of the level
Again, the topic is supposed to be about improving the level editor but this idea is very interesting. That means why some of the CEs I worked on didn't work at the side of the border. o_O
monsterman wrote:- Add more room on the custom element name (because if you reach end, there's still a gap between the text and the panel area
I'm not sure what do you mean, you mean more character space in the name CE box?
monsterman wrote:- change wrap buttons to one button and use editor 1.2.0's arrows for door request asking for which way
- Add level formats for no change in EMC engine but keeping engine's doing
- Seal RND and BD style amoeba together in one kind
- Show animations within editor that are looping
- Add button "duplicate item" for 2 items that behave exactly the same but have different properties, but not in custom or group elements
- Add "duplicate level" to prevent having to exit the levelset or hard work
- Add more borders at DC2 so you don't have some borders with unrealistic blank spots, and add border ends
- Make steel space visible in editor
- Add options of which kind of letters you will use (for newbies)
- Add on to exit button with a door request asking to save changes with the YES, NO, and DISMISS buttons to prevent people from getting frustrated by accidentally clicking it
- Add option if open time doors remain open until press of wheel, then close or not (I meant as in the same thing as in closed one, but reverse operation)
- Move normal steel exits to the RND section
- Same to normal exits
The rest -- I actually don't what are these suggestions mean. Steel space? What kind of space? XP However monsterman, I'm quite liking to being very helpful to improve how the level editor would run. x3

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Post by Daniel H. » Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:23 am

RAP wrote:4 players is quite enough for Rocks'n'Diamonds. It's not even possible to fit all the eight players just by using the keyboard. But even if some of the players have joysticks or something similar, would the game handle many players within one screen (17 x 17)?
Although one would probably not want more than three or four players on one computer, having more players would be nice for network games where everyone can have their own screen and keyboard.
monsterman wrote:- Add more room on the custom element name (because if you reach end, there's still a gap between the text and the panel area
This gap is reserved for the text cursor when the name is at its maximum length. But I would like CE names to be capable of being longer -- maybe they could use the narrower font size.


I particularly like the following three ideas:
monsterman wrote:- Change 'DISMISS' button to 'OK' button for less confusion
- Make level # red for reminder of read-only level in editor
- Add on to exit button with a door request asking to save changes with the YES, NO, and DISMISS buttons to prevent people from getting frustrated by accidentally clicking it

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Post by RAP » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:01 am

I'm still skeptical if the program can handle all 8 players in one level. But we can't tell right now due to feature freeze lafter RnD 3.2.0. Anyway, some more ideas!
  • I've used my notebook to make sketches of levels and mark notes of markings to help me know what the player is supposed to do. Why not add markings in the levels during the level editor? Like when I don't know where the spaceship will go -- I draw a very long arrow to let me know where it's going. Maybe have symbols or markings. ;o
  • And if this idea is implemented, maybe you can save the notes for the levelset for later as a file.
  • More detailed CE properties -- what will x do to y when an object explodes, something like it
  • Level editor structure redesign? (Probably not... DX)
  • Add markings in the CEs, like a symbol for function and a symbol for usable in the level, and a symbol for hidden -- this idea simply doesn't use the text space in the name box, save space.
Last edited by RAP on Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Daniel H. » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:50 pm

I like the idea of being able to add notes in the level editor. Being able to add notes to CE's would also be nice. :)

I think that adding markings to CE's and hiding certain CE's from the level editor is better done using custom artwork and a user defined element section that only shows elements usable in a level. (A good example of this is Zelda II. All of the elements used in the game map have a purple background in the level editor and are grouped together under the heading "Map.")

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Post by RAP » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:49 pm

I. Must. Crave on more level editor ideas. And ah, OK Daniel. A couple of more ideas!
  • While recently creating my own levels, I've been overlapping the mazes of steel walls with stuff that I don't want to replace. Why not an element block? Like add a Steel Wall in the slot, and now you can safely add a bunch of random objects without the fear of replacing the Steel Wall. Potentially reduces constant undos.
  • Add/move the invisible wall in the Supaplex section -- there are invisible walls in the original game!
  • Switch "random direction Yam Yam" and the four direction Yam Yams's places, more understandable that it fits the EM rules.
  • A more precise cutting tool, instead of cutting part of the levels with rectangles.
  • Simplify the tool use?
...More. XD

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