Throughout my time working on games, I try my best to iron out speedbumps in the toolset. The path to creativity shouldn’t be riddled with technical hurtles.
I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Ross Tredinnick again (a talented programmer from Destineer). This time around it wasn’t dealing with an Unreal clone, but another old school editor — id Tech’s Radiant. I took team requests along with my own past experiences to design a robust, streamlined toolset for creating and managing the massive content needed for Prey 2.
Human Head had taken the original iD Tech 4 and modified it over the past several years. Some needs were obvious — like nesting the context menu (it flowed off the desktop!) — others required a deeper understanding of future workload and workflow.
To help visualize this new direction, I went beyond Photoshop and used GUI Design Studio from Caretta Software. If you’re interested in creating mock-up interfaces give GUI Design Studio a try — it really helps improve useability and weed out problems before programmers even touch code.
I’ll post more details about the panels seen here soon. But don’t take my screenshots at face value — you can try the interactive version yourself!
The free GUI Design Viewer from Caretta Software is needed to test drive it. I’ve included it if future versions don’t support the version I created this with. Watch for when the mouse arrow swaps to a hand to recognize what’s interactive.
Ross unraveled years of old iD Tech “spaghetti code”. He had implemented around 3/4ths of the ideas before Prey 2 was put on hiatus.
Beyond simplifying the UI and exposing more common tools, the new editor really shined with managing tons of content across the team. Prefabs became the bread-and-butter to all levels. And we’re talking true prefabs, not the illusion of them. Instead of tossing orphaned objects throughout the level, anything you made, to any degree, could be a prefab. Prefabs let you change a 1000 things at once in a 1000 levels.
But we didn’t stop there. Deltas were also added to prefabs. This allowed anyone to make variations without the need to disconnect it from the shared, original content. For more details on this, be sure to read Prefabs: Mastering Massive Content.
Here’s what the current editor looks like…
And what’s a great editor without great controls?
Controls and Hotkeys
Because Ross routed all editor commands through one checkpoint, adding new options was incredibly easy. Different schemes were even possible: classic DoomEd, Unreal, 3ds Max, and Maya.