I recently had a chat with Travis Baldree, the president of Runic Games about their upcoming game Torchlight and the possibilities it posses as a modifiable dungeon crawler in the same vane as the epic Diablo franchise. As some of you may know I posses a love for the above mentioned type of game that Torchlight is and modding in general, as of yet I have not really been able to mix the two together and that is what really excites me for the release.
Torchlight uses a program called Preditor (The Professional Editor) which in short is a visual editor (WYSIWYG) with a focus on logic scripts that can be edited simply and effectively. With everything and I mean EVERYTHING being able to be edited within Preditor I'm really expecting Torchlight to catch on within ModDB and the modding community in general.
Travis_Baldree wrote: We've exposed just about everything to modding - you can create new levels, new artwork (our formats are open, so models, textures, sounds, music, etc), new quests, skills, classes, monsters, items, itemsets and recipes. All the stats are exposed for tuning modification, and we use a powerful effects system for skills and items that allows you to do some interesting things with them. Everything is basically editable from inside our tool, which also allows you to play the game inside itself (you can snap together a level and run around it, or make a new skill, or what have you, without starting the game proper). We've also got a visual scripting system that is drag and drop with connectable inputs and outputs, timelines, logic objects and so on. Particle editing is integrated into the editor, as well as game-world structure (dungeons, towns, regions, portals, etc). The UI is also moddable, and all our base filetypes (excepting textures and meshes, although there is an intermediate XML format for meshes) are all plain text until they are compressed. As long as you want to make an Action-RPG, you can pretty much make a new game.
Level editing uses tilesets or otherwise known as building blocks, think of this system much like you would Lego. These building blocks can have any number of triggers, animations, or collisions set too them, you can quite literally create a world that will react to the player and what he/she decides to do or even create a complex trap filled dungeon to explore. It will be very interesting to see how Runic Games is going to allow modders to integrate user created quests within the world as it is at release, will people be accepting user made quests from key NPC's in the game? I sure hope so, creating a world and adding to an existing one really is two different things.
Travis_Baldree wrote: As far as 3d model formats go, we're using Ogre3D's native model formats, and they've got exporters for just about every conceivable 3d package. We'll release our own 3dsmax exporters as well, and probably some models, tilesets, and rigs for people to use as a jumping off point. It's conceivable that we may release the full rig/meshset for the characters (hoping we will), but I can't say just yet - it would certainly make custom skill animations an easy thing for people to do.
The support for modders does seem quite high, in-fact they already have a wiki setup for just that, I have yet to get my hands on the editor myself to have a play and explore the options and abilities myself but it does look very promising! Keep an eye out for this title to drop late next month, I have a feeling it will be a great game for user-made content!