Far Cry 2's new level editor and why easy-to-use doesn't mean easy-to-make.
Posted by stenchy on Sep 27th, 2008
Considering Ubisoft's track record of internally developed games, it shouldn't come as any surprise that their upcoming African-themed shooter Far Cry 2 won't provide any extensive modding capabilities. However, the fact that the level editor can yield satisfactory results inside of an hour should prove testament to Ubisoft's willingness to venture out into modding territory. It empowers the average gamer—on any platform—with the ability to test his mettle in the arena of level design.
There are some of you out there who may think this sort of thing is trash (check the comments). The notion that making such an easy-to-use editor enables anyone to become a level designer overnight is preposterous. What it does is lower the barrier entry for more creative types to participate. Intrepid reporters over at Shacknews recently got a hold of Hardy LeBel, the man in charge of multiplayer for Far Cry 2. He touches on designing levels that suit Far Cry 2's pace and large battlefields.
Hardy wrote:There's no question. Our thinking process for this game specifically was very much tied to the fact that we had the level editor. The editor was a big focus technologically, and a big focus in terms of trying to, from a design side, trying to take the robust enemy tools that we had, and figure out how to put a wrapper on them so that they're accessible and easy for people to use. And with that in mind, also making incredibly complicated game modes just seemed like, if were looking to the community to create content and enjoy it, it could very easily turn into rocket science. Because like, okay, well we have these incredibly complex game modes that require all this logic to successfully pull off.. It's really hard to make a good level.
The level editor is just a tool; no matter how good the tool gets, you still have to hone the craft. Just because people can import objects with a single click of a button doesn't mean they'll be able to design great levels. Likewise, just because you've memorized every insane button combination within a given editor doesn't make you a great level designer. I know I can't wait to get my grubby paws on it, based on the impressions I've read.
I call dibs on Pride Rock