Thank You For Playing

Amateur game design for the technically impaired

Archive for the ‘Development Environments’ Category

Knytt Stories Level Editor

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Knytt SideNifflas is a brilliant level designer. While others have noted the influence he’s drawn from Metroid, the experience for me is far more reminiscent of Riven: the Sequel to Myst. While Within a Deep Forest depended more heavily on skill than anything in the Knytt collection, both offer intricate worlds to explore and learn, which start off unknowably vast and actually seem to shrink as new areas open up. The confusing collections of boundaries and obstacles steadily transform from distractions into landmarks as the player expands the arsenal of abilities and brings each image into perspective.

It’s because of this brilliance that I’m confused about the inclusion of a level editor in the release. The effort is, of course, appreciated, but I’m quite apprehensive. With no abilities available in the editor that do not already appear in the pack-in adventure, The Machine, there is little to do besides alter the audio-visual style and craft a new Knytt world; however, the custom worlds (even the official ones) come across as remixes of the original adventure more than anything else.

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Written by justindopiriak

March 10, 2008 at 8:06 am

Writing effective tutorials for beginners

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This may seem that it is aimed at the complete opposite end of the spectrum: those who are expert enough developers to write their own guides to coding. And it is. I wish I could come up with an exhaustive list of great ways to recognize a good tutorial, but I recently took on a pretty weighty endeavor and the very lack of good resources is what triggered my desire to express myself.


The weighty endeavor I speak of? I decided a couple days ago to try and learn as much of the C++ language as I could from online tutorials. I haven’t given up completely, but it seems that I’ll need a face-to-face tutor to help me put it all together. I’ll allow that coding isn’t easy, and that having a teacher (or friend in my case) is perhaps paramount in being able to learn a language in any effective manner. However, the sort of problems I ran into with online tutorials were so inexcusable and so rampant that I can hardly imagine how the writers could conceive of passing their material off to beginners. Most of these tutorials claimed they would be very useful to those with no coding experience at all. Hogwash.

I did learn a little C++ in the process, and with that I am able to go back and criticize some errors in these guides. And where I became unable to continue, my criticism is simply that. Here is my list of awful mistakes in C++ “beginner” tutorials:

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Written by ericharm

February 29, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Warcraft III World Editor

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WIII SSOverview


Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion The Frozen Throne shipped with a world editor that took customization farther than any other Blizzard game had up to that point and while dreams of a World of Warcraft editor are tantalizing, it seems that Warcraft fans will have to settle for this for a while.


The editor allows users to create custom games that mostly range through the RTS and RPG genres. There is somewhat of an assumption that the game will be a RTS level, since this was the campaign editor used by Blizzard while creating the game and its expansion. Even so, sending the scenario in the direction you want is more or less straightforward.


The bulk of the world creation is done using a simple and intuitive point and paint style tool panel. Using this interface, the user can place and edit any finished terrain, units, buildings, regions, cameras, and what they call doodads (trees, rocks, bushes, skeletons, fire pits, etc.).

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Written by justindopiriak

February 24, 2008 at 9:10 pm