Bytesize Adventures
Crafting bite-sized digital worlds

Weekly Update #7 – Tools Milestone

For those of you following this series of posts closely, you may have noticed that I missed last weeks update. I was away for a few days taking a break but am now back on track again.

This week I’ve hit a fairly crucial milestone. I can create a level in my web based tools, export it, and play it on my iPhone – all without needing to type a single line of code (or even opening Xcode). I’ve thrown together a quick video for you (embedded below). Watch it, and then read on for an explanation of what’s going on.

To explain what’s going on in the video. The point of creating my tools on the web is to enable me to author levels anywhere (or at least on any device that has a browser). To demonstrate this, the video above shows the level editing tools running in mobile safari on the iPad. In theory all I need is the iPad, my iPhone, and a cup of coffee and I can create content for my game!

The video shows a toolbar across the top and 3 panels in the main view. The toolbar is currently used purely to load existing levels for viewing and editing.

The panel on the far left is the level being created (the canvas). Its comprised of a grid of 30 squares, all of which contain a tile (or not). This defines the tiles displayed when the level starts – soon it will also define behaviour, npcs, quests, etc.

The middle panel is the palette. These are the tiles available for creating the level.

The panel on the far right is the level meta data. It dictates the level name, reference, and its tile set (which impacts the tiles available in the palette). It also houses the controls to save the level and export it. The final piece of data is the context which is used purely as an aid for describing the current tile.

The video shows the creation of a level using these tools. It then pans to the iPhone which is running the game. The black screen is a temporary level select screen. Hitting refresh polls the tools server for the latest level data. You can see that upon hitting refresh the level just created appears in the list. Tapping that level loads it into the game engine.

I should point out that the gameplay shown in the video is extremely early. Its meant purely to demonstrate the tools.

The next step is to focus on NPC’s and the quest system. First i’ll be writing the components in my game, then adding the parsing to my engine, and finally writing/adding features to the web based level editor to enable me to author them.

This is very much an iterative approach. I’m don’t yet have the features to create a single level and it will be a little while before I do. However, when I reach that stage I’ll have some fairly solid tools to allow me to create the rest of the levels. It all about playing and iterating.

So everything is coming together nicely. Hopefully next week I’ll have some NPC interaction to show you :)