Sunday 15 December 2013

Folk Tale Dev Blog 17

Location Editor

With Patch 0.2 just around the corner, it's time to take a detailed look at what functionality will be available in the first work-in-progress release of the Location Editor. The key message I'd like to get across is that this is very much an unpolished work in progress with a number of key features not yet enabled.

Following the release of 0.2.0 we will continue to expand the Editor's functions and content throughout the 0.2.x update cycle, while improving the features that we've already made available in the Preview based on Community feedback. With each update the Editor will mature to a state where we have the functionality and content needed to move to Patch 0.3Tower-Defence Mini-Game.

It's best if I group functions into the following three categories:

  • Enabled - available immediately
  • Disabled - nearly ready, likely to be in 0.2.1 or 0.2.2
  • Planned - features planned for 0.2.3+ updates


- Ability to load in three different kits ( Grassland, Cemetery and Human Buildings )
- Ability to insert kit pieces into scene including terrain, environment props and buildings
- Ability to transform pieces ( position, rotation, scale ) using on-screen gizmos
- Ability to delete single or multiple pieces
- Ability to align pieces left/right/forward/back/up and to terrain height using gizmo
- Ability to group and ungroup pieces
- Ability to duplicate single or multiple pieces
- Ability to 'draw' dirt path using spline curves inc. invalid pathway indication
- Ability to save/load the map
- Ability to restore the 0.2 test map
- Ability to toggle UI window visibility
- Ability to resize and reposition UI windows including screen edge docking
- Ability to rotate around world or local co-ordinates
- Keyboard shortcuts for moving/rotation to increase productivity
- Different snapping rules for different pieces ( terrain tiles have rough snapping, trees have free placement )
- Fill map with waving grass
- View memory usage and tile-count
- Manually tweak position by directly entering x,y,z values in the Inspector


- City Walls
- Siege Weapons
- Navmesh pathfinding
- Static batching preview of tile pieces for improved performance
- Detail brush for filling an area with a prop e.g. grass
- Ambience Zones ( required to achieve graveyard look from Necromancer blog )

- Save/load named map files inc. file browser


- Productivity tools to speed up terrain design
- Performance optimizations ( inc. model LODs )
- Character spawning ( all those nice monsters from the blog, human occupational characters )
- AI configuration
- Maps of different sizes
- Background scenes such as mountain ranges
- Extended 'out of boundary' tiles for fading maps into distant fog
- Improved user interaction inc. fewer keyboard shortcuts

Obviously this list doesn't include everything that will be included in the Editor, but it's a good overview of the work we have planned in the short term.

There are some important notes and caveats that should be headed :-

1. At this moment in time you cannot create multiple map files. If you accidentally save over the default map, you can restore it by pressing the Restore button on the top bar. We are trying to get a multi-file solution in place for 0.2.0, but with limited time remaining, we might have to push that to 0.2.1.

2. It's worth backing up your map file once in a while using Windows Explorer or Mac Finder in-case you accidentally wipe your work. The map file can be found by browsing Local Files via the Properties by right clicking on Folk Tale in your Steam Library, and then finding the ./Folk Tale_Data/StreamingAssets/Human file.

3. We'll be opening a sub-forum to post your design screenshots and optional links to download the map files ( from remote servers at your own risk ) if you wish to share them with us or the community.

4. Please don't invest too much time in designing levels - perhaps focus on small areas to start with. Being in development, it's highly likely that file formats may not be backwards compatible ( just like save games ) and your work could be lost with subsequent updates.

5. You cannot currently 'play' the maps you design. At this stage we are sharing the Location Editor Preview to obtain community feedback on the work we have done so far, and what we might improve in future patches.

6. We have not yet optimized for performance.

Sandbox Tech And The Path From 0.2 to 0.3

Folk Tale Patch 0.2 is the first sandbox update following six months of intensive development ( during which we released several minor patches to the Tutorial ). Much of the Sandbox Foundation Layer I presented in the Sandbox Vision Presentation in June is now complete, including the tile-based terrain system, dynamic navmesh based AI pathfinding, and Load/Save ( added in patch ). 

It's taken a considerable effort to reach this stage, but now that we're here we can finally start more regular updates. While the programming team have been working on the Sandbox Foundation Layer and Location Editor for Patch 0.2, the Art Team completed all the content required for Patch 0.3, the Tower-Defense Mini-Game. We've shared much of this content in the numerous blogs to date. Since then they have been creating additional monsters that we can add to 0.3 to make it an even bigger release.

We'll be moving from 0.2.0 to 0.3.0 via a series of point releases ( 0.2.x ), with each subsequent release introducing new Location Editor functionality and content to take us closer to 0.3. Most of the hard work of developing the major foundation blocks is now complete, so it's all about fitting everything together and debugging.

New Content - Spider, War-Pig and Bear

Previously I mentioned about the Art Team working on new monsters that are a good fit for the Grassland Kit, the setting for our Tower Defense Mini-Game planned for Patch 0.3. Today I'm pleased to be sharing four new animals: Bear, War-Pig, Spider and Deer, all of whom make their homes in the Grasslands.

Next Dev Blog, 0.2, and Community Support Over Christmas

Each year the team take a week off over Christmas to recharge their batteries and spend time with family. We plan to launch 0.2 before the holiday. I will be checking the forums daily during Christmas week and doing my best to answer questions in between turkey sandwiches.

The next blog will be on January 16th.