Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report: Inching Towards a Level Editor

Last week, I reported that I created a heavy, metal door that required the entire party to open it in The Dungeon Under My House, my non-violent, first-person role-playing game and my second Freshly Squeezed Entertainment project.

I had started work on learning Tiled so I could use it as a level creator/editor, and my goal was to get a simple level imported into the game.

Sprint 2024-12: Level editor

Planned and incomplete:

  • Create level editor

Ok, so I’m doing less “creating a level editor” and more “bending Tiled to my needs” but ultimately the end result is that creating the dungeon layout will be faster and easier with its existence.

Unfortunately, this past week I struggled to get much time to work on game development. It was one of my least productive weeks in terms of hours, partly due to obligations outside of my business, but also partly because I spent some time on non-routine things. And I was feeling pretty tired and found myself wanting to nap more.

What progress I did make was mainly involved in creating a custom tileset for the floor and ceiling and figuring out how I can represent things in Tiled that need custom data.

For example, in the game, there is a ladder. A ladder can take you back to the house from the dungeon, but a different ladder might take you to a different level. So in the game’s code, it’s treated as a Portal. I envision not only ladders but also stairways being implemented as Portals, and a Portal has an ID that represents where it takes the player’s party if they use it.

Normal tiles in Tiled don’t have such custom information available. Tiled does have a concept of an Object which does, but an Object isn’t placed as a tile. It just floats in an arbitrary location.

So it seems like I can place Portals as objects in my Tiled map, then when I import the map data, I’ll need to figure out which dungeon grid cell the object is located in.

It’s not complicated, but as I’m still learning Tiled, I wasn’t sure if it was the best way to go.

Meanwhile, I am also figuring out not only how to make the map but also how to import it into my game. My game already uses YAML to persist and load data, but Tiled doesn’t export to YAML.

It does, however, export to JSON, and I can integrate a JSON library into my code, or I could use one of those JSON to YAML convertors that exist out there.

I’m anticipating a much more normal level of productivity this coming week, so I’m looking forward to making much more progress on Tiled so I can have a much easier time creating the dungeon levels.

Thanks for reading!

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