Games are more than simply instructions for the computer to follow. Games contain content generally stored in data files for the game to read in. A big challenge often in games is how these data files are created. Data files can be sometimes difficult to manage and navigate at a glance, making it sometimes hard and lengthy to create and/or modify them.
Tools allow us to make the content creation for our game rapid and easy to read. As a majority of our team is on the creative side vs the technical side, it is even more important that we have tools that can translate our data into something either visual or readable in human terms.
As it stands now, we have two different tools for producing data for our game:
The first is a script for Photoshop that generates object information for physical objects in our world. Due to our artists generally producing our objects in Photoshop, it was decided the collision and sorting data for them should be produced in tandem with the aesthetic design. Through a simple script we are able to extract information on a collision box, and a sorting line by naming paths inside of Photoshop’s path layers that match up to the visual image.
Our second tool is for creating events to be used inside the story portion of the game. We required a program that could create events, then within those also build a list of actions to be performed within that event. As this data requires no association to any other information, it was decided we would create this tool from scratch in C#.
Tools are a fantastic way to expedite the production process of data in your game; however, it is also important to consider the extra development time creating them will take. In a large game like TerraZone: Shoot for the Stars, where story events and objects will be in abundance, the amount of time saved and errors avoided by building these tools will be immense. We hope through the creation of these tools we can focus on creating more content and improving the overall quality of the systems in the game as a whole.
Next session we will be meeting an important shop owner whom players will become very familiar with over the course of the game. Please make sure to follow us on Twitter to get notified when the next one goes up! See you all next week.