Biogenesis

Fight – Collect – Upgrade

Outside the Game: Designing the Level Editor

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The Level Editor, as you start it up

I’m going to take some time here to write about a side project to the Biogenesis game I’ve been working on. It’s not the main game executable, but it’s just as important: the level editor.

Development of the level editor started very rapidly, and the initial version (barring features that weren’t available in the main game at the time, such as creature starting locations) was completed two sprints ahead of schedule. I decided that, in order to allow the entire team to work on levels if need be, the program was coded in Java using the Swing interface, which can be run on Windows, Mac, and Linux (we won’t have everyone working on levels, but I wanted to give everyone the ability to). The interface is very simple, as it just contains a display of the level being worked on, and a series of buttons and radio buttons to control what the user was placing in the level. After a design revamp, the normal buttons were replaced with radio buttons, and the extra dialog windows were eliminated, to make level development more seamless.

Already, the editor is being used to develop levels with more complexity than the test level, and offers the developers a visual representation of what they’re working on, rather than mucking through a long text file and changing it by hand. The work it took to bring the level editor into existence will be well worth it because of the time and effort that will be saved for the level developers when they’re actually using the editor.

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A filled in level, complete with spawn points, rocks, genes, and variations in land types

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