Planet Descent

Development => Descent Development => Topic started by: CrazyEnzo03 on October 29, 2013, 02:35:10 PM

Title: Cluelessly trying to make a level builder, no idea where to really start.
Post by: CrazyEnzo03 on October 29, 2013, 02:35:10 PM
Subject is exactly what it says on the tin.  The thing is, I'm not trying to make a level builder because of being dissatisfied with various editors such as DLE or SDL Devil, but rather more because I decided I would do one for a college project.

But I think I may be in over my head because I'm having trouble just understanding how to even define a level programmatically; I have little idea where to start and can't find any complete level specs (the ones on Descent-Network, now archived, are incomplete, though I've taken as much as I can from them... and I'm not so sure I like Descent-Network much anyway), not that I'd really know what to do with them anyway.

I'd rather not reverse-engineer a file format that already has full-blown editors for it complete with code that opens, reads, and writes RDLs, especially since I actually don't have experience with reverse-engineering files.  But when I try looking at source codes of various editors as well as the game's source code (for now, just D1 and D1X-R) I'm immediately overwhelmed.

I've never tried writing a program for an existing game before so I figured that if I were to do so, I'd like to try writing one for my favorite game (with the bonus of having the source available for it as well as for some of the level editors for it) so that hopefully I could enjoy it.  But that won't really do me any good if I can't figure out one thing:

How do I start?

edit: on a very very high level, I'd like to initially:
- be able to programmatically define a level within the program
- be able to read and write RDL files
- be able to display a visual representation of the level.  Having done 3D graphics programming before, I'm actually convinced that once the above two have been accomplished, this step will be the *easy* part.
Title: Re: Cluelessly trying to make a level builder, no idea where to really start.
Post by: -<WillyP>- on October 30, 2013, 11:36:21 AM
Not a clue about programming, but I do appreciate the feeling of 'where do I start' and being overwhelmed by the task at hand. Quite often I show up to start a huge remodeling project, and think what the heck have I gotten myself into. But I try to break it down into small manageable bytes... er, bites. Tearing cabinets off the wall isn't such a big job, and neither is ripping up the old floor. And so on.

Don't know if that applies or is helpful, but good luck and stick to it, you'll get it done!

Title: Re: Cluelessly trying to make a level builder, no idea where to really start.
Post by: CrazyEnzo03 on October 30, 2013, 12:38:03 PM
Yeah it is fairly similar.  TBH the analogy isn't particularly helpful in and of itself because the smallest pieces I've been able to really break the task down to so far require me to do the hardest parts first.

Like being able to work with the level format.

But thanks for the support because this thing is dragging me down.

For the sake of the "college project" part I think I may try putting together something that is based off of the limited specifications available to try and actually define level geometry without actually reading or writing any level files yet because I do need to show some progress (and perhaps work on the most important parts of the program for the "college project") and then later I might work on actually putting the geometry into the form of an RDL file.

Within a couple of months or so though I would really like to be able to read and write levels at the least though.