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Topic Starter Topic: Reflex level editor

Cool #9
Cool #9
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PostPosted: 10-04-2014 07:00 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Since a number of you never visit GD, I thought I'd post this here.

If you don't know about Reflex, watch the video on their Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/191095869/reflex

It's a competitive first person arena shooter that is pretty much a clone if Quake 3 (arguably CPMA) in a modern engine. Editing levels is done completely in-game, including real time multi pass lightmap generation. Here's a 50 min showcase of the editing process. It's all early alpha code, but already quite impressive:




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Boink!
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Joined: 19 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: 10-04-2014 11:09 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


From what I have seen so far, you seem to be able to rebind your keys easily, that is neat to let you get the "Radiant" feel.

Interesting, unless I am mistaken light is not only projected on walls, these walls actually bounce back light without needing light entities to "fake" that effect. That could turn out to be subtle and pretty cool. I really like how the lighting looks from the skylight. I always try to use the skylight as primary light source, avoiding having to mess with light entities, so that is quite promising.

Editor reminds me of the Portal 2 one... editing made accessible.

I do miss a z-View though ;)... and still think that xy-top-down view would make brushwork faster.

Vertex exiting seems to be easy enough... wonder what kind of polycounts the engine gets away with. 30k+ in brushwork and more would be nice. But I would actually be hoping for 100k+... to really brush-out the world.

Multi-selection of brushes and entities still seems to be missing.

Using console commands for everything is really hardcore (yes, this is a early version), but I could actually imagine some mappers, myself included, to use some of those commands to more quickly add something to the map.

The real-time compilation of light, letting you follow how it works on the surfaces is rather interesting to watch, could help debugging lighting because you can see how step by step things happen.

I am getting the feeling Valve might buy up these guys to give Hammer finally some real-time features like light entity placement etc.

Just watching the video would make me try to play around with a geocomp map where I cut holes into walls and put light-emitting blocks in there, just to see what one can do... i.e. creating a map that is more like a light sculpture. Nifty stuff.




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Who's that man, Mommy?
Who's that man, Mommy?
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: 10-05-2014 03:39 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Hm... sloppy brushwork. Do the tris get optimized automatically?

But other than that: Amazing. Having this tool for cooperative editing will be ace!




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This is not Æon!
This is not Æon!
Joined: 20 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: 10-06-2014 05:04 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


It's similar to trenchbroom, the quake1 editor.

I've used it to make Q1 things, but after a while, I just kinda liked 2d better. It's just that finer details get's annoying in 3d after a while, I don't know why =/



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This is not Æon!
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PostPosted: 10-06-2014 05:15 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


AEon wrote:
I am getting the feeling Valve might buy up these guys to give Hammer finally some real-time features like light entity placement etc.


Valve already have Source 2 and Hammer 2, probably have really good preview modes in that one.



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surfaceparm nomarks
surfaceparm nomarks
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PostPosted: 10-06-2014 08:05 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Hipshot wrote:
I've used it to make Q1 things, but after a while, I just kinda liked 2d better. It's just that finer details get's annoying in 3d after a while, I don't know why =/


I had the same feeling when I tried the shootmania editor shortly before that game released (although that was a lot more limited). I feel like not only finer details are annoying to work with in 3d but also making even basic structures takes considerably longer.

However, I haven't worked a lot with the reflex editor so my judgement is probably not very meaningful.

Edit:

That being said, I don't think they want people to do advanced stuff with their editor. From what I recall they wanted raw layouts to be released in a workshop kind of thing and have the good ones added to their internal polishing process. Don't quote me on that one though. I can't imagine their detailing wont happen in a 3d modeling tool, especially after seeing their concept art.



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Will map for food.
Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 10-06-2014 08:51 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Hey guys check out the "this supports multiple people working on the same map" elephant in the room.

Its not just trenchbroom. Its trench broom multiplayer.

Even still, the time it took for him to make a staircase made my cry.



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Mercenary
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PostPosted: 10-06-2014 09:07 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Did you cry tears of sadness, or tears of joy?




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Cool #9
Cool #9
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PostPosted: 10-06-2014 11:14 PM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


I'd like a level editor like Radiant, but with the 3D preview being in-engine, rather than having its own poor 3D rendering implementation.




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Messatsu Ko Jy-ouu
Messatsu Ko Jy-ouu
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PostPosted: 10-06-2014 11:29 PM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


isnt serious editor 1 like that?




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Cool #9
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PostPosted: 10-07-2014 12:21 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Yeah it is. I've spent a few hours with that editor (for the first encounter). It's quite nice in that everything (geometry, models and even lighting) is shown in real time in the editor using the game's engine, but it is kind of clunky to use.
I never really got around to making a complete Serious Sam level.




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Grunt
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PostPosted: 11-05-2014 09:28 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote




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I'm the dude!
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PostPosted: 11-05-2014 03:28 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Castle wrote:
Hey guys check out the "this supports multiple people working on the same map" elephant in the room.


I now get to trollololololol all of your map making efforts. :p



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Theftbot
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PostPosted: 11-05-2014 04:26 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


also #reflex on QuakeNet




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Will map for food.
Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 11-10-2014 01:49 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Do you guys know if its possible that I can get my hands on the level editing tools and the game? Is this available if I buy the game on steam right now?

The reason I ask is that I want to do a review of the tools and show videos of it in action if possible. It looks really interesting in general, and yes I realize this response is like 500 year delay on it.



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Mercenary
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PostPosted: 11-10-2014 02:24 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Yes the game is available for purchase and download. Everything that exists is in it right now.




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Will map for food.
Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 11-10-2014 09:25 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


KittenIgnition wrote:
Yes the game is available for purchase and download. Everything that exists is in it right now.


awesome! ill grab a copy today then.



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Who's that man, Mommy?
Who's that man, Mommy?
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PostPosted: 11-10-2014 12:04 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


I'll give it a shoot next week. Time to finish building my 10 year old tourney beta.




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Will map for food.
Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 11-10-2014 07:38 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Holy mother of slick editing tools this is a shining example of editing tools for a game like this. Probably one of the best examples I have ever seen.

Ill be gushing over this in my videos very soon. I am kicking myself for not paying closer attention to this gem much much sooner.



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Boink!
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PostPosted: 11-11-2014 12:17 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Castle,
I'll be watching your videos then... though I do enjoy the UT4 ones too.




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Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 11-11-2014 12:37 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


AEon wrote:
Castle,
I'll be watching your videos then... though I do enjoy the UT4 ones too.


I am focusing my energy on a wider range of "Lets Edit" style videos where I grab editing tools and play with them the same way that people do "Lets Play" style videos.

so, dont worry, Ill be keeping up on my UT4 stuff too!



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Will map for food.
Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 11-13-2014 04:17 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


The reflex editing tools and the game will likely be the reason I dont try to make a level for the Quake 3 mapping contest. On closer inspection the editing tools for this game are too remarkable and too exciting for me to ignore. I plan to begin working on a level for this soon and I hope to do it while in multiplayer mode.

Here is the video of the first look. I realize that some of the technical stuff was covered in the video before but I want my first looks to have a clean reaction to the tools before I actually dig into the real details about how to use the tech. I do think that first impressions with no forward understanding of the tech does matter.

http://youtu.be/fgj_cHfxAGs

Anyway, in my opinion this toolset is probably one of the best toolsets for beginner FPS level designers right now. Its extremely bullshit free and while some of the the tech is a bit hidden through console commands it seems almost too easy to dig into things. The support for multiplayer while editing is also massive, though I am not sure yet how to get this working yet. I also want my next videos to compare this to both UE4 and Crytek on many different fronts.

I am very impressed and it deserves recognition! While you might argue that the game is a quake clone the tools are a mother fucking marvel.



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Messatsu Ko Jy-ouu
Messatsu Ko Jy-ouu
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PostPosted: 11-14-2014 12:00 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Sidebar: I recently replayed the Doom2 XBLA edition, this time in coop with my wife (she had never played doom before). We were searching for some of the secrets in the advanced level pack and I suddenly noticed "The Castle was here" in the automap.
I said "whoa wait, that might actually be one of the guys from the q3 forum! \o". All she said was 'Uh that's cool I guess?" but it made me giddy :)

(searched the old thread D2 release thread here and saw that that was already mentioned back then.. probably slipped my mind over the years).

anyway. carry on.




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Will map for food.
Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 11-14-2014 01:08 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


MKJ wrote:
Sidebar: I recently replayed the Doom2 XBLA edition, this time in coop with my wife (she had never played doom before). We were searching for some of the secrets in the advanced level pack and I suddenly noticed "The Castle was here" in the automap.
I said "whoa wait, that might actually be one of the guys from the q3 forum! \o". All she said was 'Uh that's cool I guess?" but it made me giddy :)

(searched the old thread D2 release thread here and saw that that was already mentioned back then.. probably slipped my mind over the years).

anyway. carry on.


While working on those levels I made it a point to make callbacks to oldschool easter eggs in reference to Levelord. Since as a whole those levels represented a mashing of both old and new design philosophies I wanted really have fun with the concept. :)



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Cool #9
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PostPosted: 11-14-2014 05:38 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Castle, have you seen the video in the first post of this thread? A lot of questions you pose in your video are answered in there.




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Will map for food.
Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 11-14-2014 10:46 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Eraser wrote:
Castle, have you seen the video in the first post of this thread? A lot of questions you pose in your video are answered in there.


I purposely did my first look coming into the tools relatively blind. I like the idea of a first impression where I have not done detailed examination of the tools. Its in the vein of doing "Lets Plays" and shows an editing tools overall intuitiveness.

At this point however I have a really solid grasp of everything about the tools short of adding new assets like meshes. I plan to do more research on that and wont have any more videos where I bumble around after the first one.

I also made another video where I ramble a bit about my thoughts on the tools while in multiplayer mode. I watched someone who has never laid a brush in her life actually build and learn the basics of arena shooter level design WHILE HAVING FUN! She insistently continued on her own and even built a fully functional teleporter complete with static meshes. This is a person who has never done level design before and within the first night I was able to teach her all kinds of things that normally would take a new mapper months of research to fully grasp.

http://youtu.be/12T6OtUZ-Zo



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Insane Quaker
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PostPosted: 11-15-2014 07:52 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Very good work!

I would love this to be my 3d window in GTK radiant or the old DOS version of Radiant, seems more work and longer work flow then alt tabbing windows, the speed loss of working this way would drive me mental.

The lighting and ability to jump into the game is awesome but I would want my 2d windows, clipper and key binds to remain like the same old Radiant.

Again great work, seeing a layering system, prefab system and GUI would be future features I would want.



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Will map for food.
Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 11-15-2014 02:05 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Vexar wrote:
Very good work!

I would love this to be my 3d window in GTK radiant or the old DOS version of Radiant, seems more work and longer work flow then alt tabbing windows, the speed loss of working this way would drive me mental.

The lighting and ability to jump into the game is awesome but I would want my 2d windows, clipper and key binds to remain like the same old Radiant.

Again great work, seeing a layering system, prefab system and GUI would be future features I would want.


This is actually an interesting topic by itself. The validity of 2d windows in modern game development. What I have been observing lately is a possible trend away from 2d windows. And I have also seen examples of your 3d view port giving information similar to what you might find in 2d window while in a 3d window. Crytek does a mini 2d grid when you select something with the movement widget active.

Another thing I have been observing is a decline in the usefulness of 2d windows in game development with higher poly assets. I want to do a video talking about this this weekend, I have to get my copy of UE4 working again to show proper examples.

We may actually be able to survive without 2d windows if we advance things just a little more. And in many cases we already have.



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Boink!
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PostPosted: 11-15-2014 03:05 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Castle wrote:
Another thing I have been observing is a decline in the usefulness of 2d windows in game development with higher poly assets. I want to do a video talking about this this weekend, I have to get my copy of UE4 working again to show proper examples.


That already started with Radiant and Q3A. As soon as you start adding many models, e.g. I did that with plants in AEdm7... your 2D views become so cluttered that working on brush geometry becomes very difficult. The trick, hide stuff you need not see presently via "hide" or entity filters. QuarK was one of the first editors that actually used a grouping feature... e.g. group all skybox brushes, and then hide them with one click etc. But the grouping never really got added to Radiant... so we all learned to live without them. A more recent addition was face select all, i.e. select a texture face, then shift+a and then all brushes with that texture are selected. In the skybox example that was really efficient.

I am probably very old school but I really think a top-down view (XY) and a (Z) view are fundamental. And then for the rest you fly around in 3D and get things placed and textured.

In Reflex... the real time features are nifty... but when trying to create something more complicated, I really wonder how efficient the 3D editing alone is. Presently I think from the user power there are modelling tools that can do really complicated 3D editing that is *not* grid based (stencil in edges of a box e.g.), then there is Radiant with quick grid-based brushwork, and then Reflex... and I feel from what I have seen that Reflex is on the "dumbed down" side.

The latter I mean, it takes huge amounts of effort to get more complicated geometry "just so". This will lead to a dumbing down of maps, since only the really talented or dedicated will try to get more out of such an editor. Seen it in GTKradiant... some really complicated geometry was done in models, or by a really talented mapper in Radiant... but even in radiant one does tend to stay boxy.

But I was not trying to bash the Reflex editor. Much like with your Voxel videos... this is the beginning... and it will probably require a different way of working, and probably a different form of creativity to get something interesting out of the Reflex. I would presently compare Reflex with the "simplified" editing seen in the Portal 2 editor, that only worked in blocks... quick to get something out there... but difficult to get something interesting done... maybe.

The whole multiplayer mapping thing, is nifty, I'll admit it, but I sure as heck would hate having someone mess into the map I am presently working on. For tutorial real-time help this is great though. And if you have a team of gamers, the players could enter the map, and test it with the mapper, and the mapper could fix and change things, that the players could instantly test. That could be interesting, massively shortening the feedback loop. Or if the maps are all accessible and you hate something, just open the editor and fix the map right there.

On a positive note... I like the lighting system that seems to bounce back light from walls. This should lead to interesting looking maps, that do not require a huge amount of trickery and fiddling to light properly. At least I hope so.

Will continue to watch your videos on Reflex... might motivate me to get it... and play around some myself :)




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Will map for food.
Will map for food.
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PostPosted: 11-15-2014 09:31 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


AEon wrote:
Castle wrote:
Another thing I have been observing is a decline in the usefulness of 2d windows in game development with higher poly assets. I want to do a video talking about this this weekend, I have to get my copy of UE4 working again to show proper examples.


That already started with Radiant and Q3A. As soon as you start adding many models, e.g. I did that with plants in AEdm7... your 2D views become so cluttered that working on brush geometry becomes very difficult. The trick, hide stuff you need not see presently via "hide" or entity filters. QuarK was one of the first editors that actually used a grouping feature... e.g. group all skybox brushes, and then hide them with one click etc. But the grouping never really got added to Radiant... so we all learned to live without them. A more recent addition was face select all, i.e. select a texture face, then shift+a and then all brushes with that texture are selected. In the skybox example that was really efficient.

I am probably very old school but I really think a top-down view (XY) and a (Z) view are fundamental. And then for the rest you fly around in 3D and get things placed and textured.

In Reflex... the real time features are nifty... but when trying to create something more complicated, I really wonder how efficient the 3D editing alone is. Presently I think from the user power there are modelling tools that can do really complicated 3D editing that is *not* grid based (stencil in edges of a box e.g.), then there is Radiant with quick grid-based brushwork, and then Reflex... and I feel from what I have seen that Reflex is on the "dumbed down" side.

The latter I mean, it takes huge amounts of effort to get more complicated geometry "just so". This will lead to a dumbing down of maps, since only the really talented or dedicated will try to get more out of such an editor. Seen it in GTKradiant... some really complicated geometry was done in models, or by a really talented mapper in Radiant... but even in radiant one does tend to stay boxy.

But I was not trying to bash the Reflex editor. Much like with your Voxel videos... this is the beginning... and it will probably require a different way of working, and probably a different form of creativity to get something interesting out of the Reflex. I would presently compare Reflex with the "simplified" editing seen in the Portal 2 editor, that only worked in blocks... quick to get something out there... but difficult to get something interesting done... maybe.

The whole multiplayer mapping thing, is nifty, I'll admit it, but I sure as heck would hate having someone mess into the map I am presently working on. For tutorial real-time help this is great though. And if you have a team of gamers, the players could enter the map, and test it with the mapper, and the mapper could fix and change things, that the players could instantly test. That could be interesting, massively shortening the feedback loop. Or if the maps are all accessible and you hate something, just open the editor and fix the map right there.

On a positive note... I like the lighting system that seems to bounce back light from walls. This should lead to interesting looking maps, that do not require a huge amount of trickery and fiddling to light properly. At least I hope so.

Will continue to watch your videos on Reflex... might motivate me to get it... and play around some myself :)


Ahhhh theres to many topics I am passionate about at the saaaaaaaame timeeee!!!! *Head explodes*

I managed to get some episodes for my series today that show me working with a completely new level designer. So now we are collaborating on a new level.



So anyway on the topic of where Reflexes editing tools stands in terms of functionality and speed of design is a point of contention. The need for 2D windows falls into that same point of view. I am definitely guilty of seeing things in terms of potential rather than what is currently available.



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Last edited by AEon on 11-16-2014 12:30 AM, edited 1 time in total.Reason: lvlshot'ed the image

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PostPosted: 11-16-2014 12:52 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Another thing with new tools... at first all the new things tend to blind the user... and it is indeed exciting.

But then you start to ask... e.g. does copy and pasting of geometry actually work? Or geometry rotation? Or are there bots? What about curved surfaces? Is editing of complicated polygon objects that are partially off-grid possible? Can you mirror parts of the map? Is brush grouping available? What filter options are there to show/hide certain parts of the map? Just how much geometry can the engine push without FPS breakdown? How good are the texturing tools (alignment, rotation, skew etc)? How good are the model rotation/scale tools for adding such stuff in the map? Does the engine use some form of portals to help vis? Are there caulk textures :-P (you showed they had some non-shadow-surface black one)?

(Side note, in Duke Nuk'em 3D the editor had this feature of fixing the texture all along the walls in one swoop... back then that was nifty, but also turned out to be tricky.)

And in the 3 or so Reflex videos, I kept on seeing geometry being pulled from existing other geometry, but not selecting e.g. a wall brush, to then "clone" and 90° rotate it to another place. I used to use that a lot... especially when trying to use a certain style of more complex geometric objects (niches, pillars, wall consoles, even just ramps) all over the map. A question of design consistency and quick replication.

Put differently, only after building something, usually falling back to "how things used to work" will one find what did the new tools actually lose in the process... and is that an issue, or does the editor have mechanisms that are good/equivalent/better but yet need to be exploited/learned.

E.g. for Quake 4, I really was excited about the real-time lighting, letting you more quickly add lights and see how they look in the map/game almost instantly. Turned out you had to watch *very* carefully what you were doing. Skybox lighting either did not exist or had some other issue. Anyway I quickly wished lighting/shadow compiles to be back, to be less restricted by the amount of light sources.

Here in Reflex, I am wondering... the low poly mapping is actually my thing... but what happens if you try to push the amount of brush-based geometry... and I suspect, like with all modern engines, you will have to use meshes for polygons en masse. Hopefully I am wrong. In the Portal 2 editor, at first there seemed to be "no limits" but after a while you could bring down the FPS if you really started to push design, e.g. the amount of animated and static meshes then could not surpass a certain point.

Will be interesting to see if you can push some of the boundaries of the Reflex engine in your videos.

Updated: The list of things one could want and need, there are probably some 50 more "basic" things.




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Cool #9
Cool #9
Joined: 01 Dec 2000
Posts: 42530
PostPosted: 11-17-2014 12:44 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


It's a valid point AEon, but what Castle says, about thinking in terms of potential rather than what it is right now, is important at this stage of development with Reflex. It's an early-access product, which means that in no way is it finished yet.

I have yet to see a working Reflex level that is fully developed and looking like a polished, triple-A quality level. It's all brushwork with grid materials applied to them. Apparently, the current level editor provides the tools to build such geometry.

At one point though, Reflex needs to come up with fully developed maps and to build them, the developer needs to expand the tools to be able to build such levels. So I wouldn't worry too much about the level design tools at this point, because they will probably need further development for the developers themselves.




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Cool #9
Cool #9
Joined: 01 Dec 2000
Posts: 42530
PostPosted: 11-17-2014 12:48 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Hey Castle, your video is featured on the Reflex Facebook page!

Note one of the comments from the Reflex devs themselves about the level editor:
Quote:
It will support detailed level design when we get to the point of creating detailed levels. For now, we are strictly gameplay.

The editor isn't a novelty, it's one of our development tools. Whatever we make with it, players will be able to make too.




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Boink!
Boink!
Joined: 19 Apr 2003
Posts: 4493
PostPosted: 11-17-2014 01:17 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Eraser,
right... might be a reflex (a pun ;)) to ask for or about more stuff early on, in the hopes these things will be added. After "release" such things usually tend not to get added, since the priority then is to keep everything working and not break anything.




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Boink!
Boink!
Joined: 19 Apr 2003
Posts: 4493
PostPosted: 11-18-2014 12:59 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Castle,
might be nifty if you copy/pasted your autoexec.cfg (or however the bind key file for Reflex is called) here in the thread. I am sure that would help those interested.

Seems like binding your own keys this early in the editor, is pretty much a necessity. Thanks.




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