Over in the Generations Hacking Topic, a few peeps and I were discussing how to improve ease of use for creating custom levels. And it became blatantly clear to me...
Creating 3D assets is fucking complex. But does it neccessarily have to be that way?
Agreed. Seeing FyreUK's timelapse videos demonstrates to me the kind of unbelievable things one can create even with limited tools and "building blocks", because the process of creation is easy and intuitive for pretty much anyone with a bit of creativity.
Also, I kinda get the feeling with modern level design tools that there really isn't an opportunity for true collaboration. FyreUK's videos feature large groups of people working together to create locations and structures in mere hours that would take weeks or months for professional teams to create in an AAA game. The capability for level designers and modellers to work on game worlds simultaneously in collaboration, to pool ideas together in tandem over a LAN or over the internet would be a massive boon alone for game development in general, which is something I really don't see in modern game development tools.
With the rising costs of game development, you'd think there'd be people out there trying to develop ideas on how to vastly improve or revolutionize game development tools to help make it easier to create a game.
So, that results in a few ideal goals that I think should be necessary when it comes to what I call the "Minecraft Creation Philosophy":
- Something that literally anyone can use with very little learning (with more advanced tools for various applications)
- Something that allows designers to create unique setpieces and worlds with just a limited set of 'building blocks' (not necessarily blocks, duh)
- Allows collaboration via LAN or over the internet
- That is fun to use
- That can be be customized to suit the needs to the user
How can these goals be achieved? I'm not sure right now, but I have examples of such a philosophy in action:
FyreUK are very prolific Minecraft builders, who have gained a huge following for their creations and timelapses. They gather a whole bunch of people together, and then start building shit. They make stuff in hours that would take professional dev teams months to create - because Minecraft, despite providing only a limited number of 'blocks', allows a huge range of creativity, building is extremely easy and only limited by imagination, and these people are working collaboratively in groups. And, best of all, they do it because it's fun. Making things becomes a game in itself. That's why Will Wright made Sim City - he thought that creating levels in the level editor in his last game was more fun than the game itself.
Mind you, we're talking about creating a level design interface for more complex things than just a bunch of blocks put together, but the closer we can get that ease-of-use, collaborative ideal that promotes creativity, the better it'll be. Sometimes the best solutions can be simpler than you realize.
Discuss! What can be done to make the best 3D level creation interface we want?