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The Missing Toolchain (Or what we'd need to keep making new content efficiently)

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Hi All,

I find myself thinking about the different tools that we'd need to make it possible for volunteers to create new and fresh story arcs, TFs , Trials and powersets. I haven't looked at the source code, so I don't know how feasible any of these things are to create. But I do have an extensive background in comp sci, and so I thought I'd just throw something out there that would be plausible. My bias below is to take a tool that already exists, and to make it fit for purpose. Please feel free to add your own suggested tools, or critiques of the ones I've proposed.


1) Level editor (repurposed base builder + repurposed Mission Architect)

Create a level editor that is built on top of the base builder that would allow us to create new maps. The editor would need to include the ability to add mob locations, boss locations, ambush points, and pathing hints for mobs. Scripts (see below) could be attached to clickable objects. A version of Architect Entertainment could then be used to further customize levels and interactions; this would be enhanced to add scripting as per below


2) Lua (or equivalent) scripting engine (probably can't be repurposed from anything?)




Expose engine variables to an in-game scripting engine so that the game would not need to be recompiled to add new content. Scripts could be edited external to the game and loaded up in an in-game debugger for testing / tweaking based on a provided file path. Things that could be scripted:

a) Proposed new powersets (with stand-in graphics for powers and animations)

b) Missions / Story Arcs

c) Trials / TFs, etc.

d) In-world events

e) NPC "artificial intelligence"

Things that could be exposed:

a) Game physics

b) Object state / properties / positioning

c) Collision detections

d) World / environment state

e) Moment to moment events "e.g. OnMapLoad"

etc. etc.


3) "Contact Adder"

A tool to allow you to add contacts to existing maps. This tool would also trigger the character creator so you could customize contact appearance.


4) Publishing tool to enable content for testing on test live to a subset of player volunteers

a) An in game tool to let you publish to test

b) An in game tool that would let you "test on live" for users marked with a flag. Players with this flag could be constrained to their own shards or areas.


5) Particle system editor

Would allow you to test and write out new effects for explosions, water, fire, lasers, etc. You could associate these effects with proposed new powersets.


6) Model loading tool

Would allow you to load additional models into a running copy of the game


7) Animation rigger

Would allow you to add bones, kinematics, animations, keyframes, etc. to models that were loaded. You could save these in game and test them out


8) Power creator

Would allow you create a single power that would have associated animations, models, rigging, and particle effects.


9) Powerset creator

Would combine items 5,6,7,8 in a wizard interface with full access to the script editor for scripting effects that would allow you to, for example, recognize the "execution state" of powers and react accordingly (for combo mechanics, for example)


10) Powerset tester

This would be a "room" in the game that would simulate battles between all different mobs in the game and a proposed new powerset. Attack and buff chains would be generated and strung together randomly and then genetic algorithms would be used to produce the "best chains." At the end, offense, defense, and survivability would be rated against existing in-game sets.


11) 2d graphics importer

This would allow the online import of 2d graphics (such as icons) into the game


12) UI editor

This would allow UI customizations that could be saved and made accessible via the scripting engine


13) Invention editor

Would work with 11/12 and the scripting engine to allow production of custom invention recipes that could be tested in-game and saved off


14) Enemy AI editor

A graphical tool that would allow you to attach scripts to events detected by the enemy AIs, as well as looping scripts


15) Physics Editor

A tool that would allow you to experiment with in-game physics to create effects (for example, floating effects for an "Anti Grav" powerset). This could be used with the scripting editor and physics states could be associated with powers made in the powers editor


I'll stop there. What do you think? What would you add to the toolchain?

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