Game Development Rule: Create your tools first

Posted on:May 28 2008

Several people asked me how I am developing Darkness Springs, because it is not that small and with all the quests and items even a bit complex. And especially after the announced big update of DS has been released today, more people seem to be interested in this so here is a small view behind the curtain.

In order to add a new area to the game, I simply open a web browser, type and edit the game, which would look like this:

Simple as that. So yes, I created a full game editor in flash with which I am even able to edit the running game in realtime. Of course this was quite a bit of work to accomplish, but the advantages are worth it. Generally speaking, it is always a very good idea to create your game tools first and invest a lot of time into creating them. The easier it is for you to edit your game, the better it will get, which should be quite obvious. [But even the best tools won't help if you are a bad game designer, By the way ;)]

The advantage of this special game editor which is written using Flex like the game shares a lot of code with it and shows the results as they are looking in the final game. The Darkness Springs editor contains a quest editor, an item placer, map management and event a 'test' button which makes it possible to test a just created map directly in the game without saving. It helped me a lot to create Darkness Springs and I can really recommend: Create you game tools first and invest some time into them, and after this start creating the game.


I have done this the last time and quite utterly failed with that approach. This was because I realised that I tied the design of my mediating Library classes to strong to the needs of the editor, which caused a few problems at the games side.

So this time I changed my approach. Simple Game client first, editing resources by hand and when I am happy with the way the game performs, I will write the editor.

It is important though, too keep an eye on the things game and editor can easily share.
2008-06-01 15:47:00

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