As I mentioned yesterday, Games Foundry added the Location Editor Preview in December and I dipped my toes into this feature. It took me a bit to get into the controls, but they released a reference guide and by now, I have memorized the important commands. I strongly recommend reading that one, before you start working on a map!
I would have loved to build a map from scratch. I do have a blurry vision of a map with a valley and a river and lake nearby. Then some mountains and hills around it and more flat areas behind the mountains which you can reach through a small path through those mountains. However, I tried and I just failed getting this vague vision into the game. I either had to try several times until I finally found that one tile that fit into the gap or I couldn’t even find one. On top of that, I compared it to the map the developers had added to the game and that one is just so much better! This resulted in me losing interest. Additionally, the tile-rotating either doesn’t work properly or – more likely – I haven’t been able to work out where the “anchor” is to move the mouse around and get the tile to behave in the way I want. You can rotate the square tiles into four different positions and it always takes me quite a bit to get a tile rotated so it fits. This isn’t an issue at all when placing items on the tiles. The rotating works seamlessly there.
So, I went a different route. I took the map that the developers made and changed a few things. At first, I removed all the items they had put on it like trees and buildings. Then I added a river, removed one at another place and changed a few of the hills. Nothing too major, but still changes to make it feel a little bit more like it was actually mine. ;) That’s only on one part of the map, but I still spent quite a long time until it was done.
Then the fun part started: I could finally start putting buildings on the map. I’m mainly placing things wherever I think they look good with no greater concept or plan at the moment. Though I would like to add something like a “village center” somewhere with a church, lots of buildings and a main road. I just think I’ll have to make the area flatter to achieve that and make it look nicer… maybe I will have my valley one day, after all. ;)
Don’t get me wrong, though. While the placing of tiles has been a bit frustrating, it has also been a fun experience. If you know me by now, you would certainly expect me to throw the game away and give up if it wasn’t any fun. ;) I just think the interface could be easier to work with! As you can see in the video, I sometimes have to position the camera differently, so I can actually “grab” one of the circles (like the red one) to move an item around or to rotate it. You can “lock” the tiles, thankfully. This setting was enabled in the video. It means that you cannot move or select any of the floor tiles. It’s a lot easier to select a tree this way. However, as you can also see in the video, it’s still a bit difficult to select something small when it is next to or even on top of a bigger item. I usually scroll closely to the smaller item – in this case the squirrel – to be able to select it. When I’m further away with the camera, I just keep re-selecting the bigger tree. I would also love to be able to place items by entering the coordinates.
However, I can see myself using this feature later on when the game is released and I know I will continue filling this map with details. The developers are slowly adding more kits which let you place more stuff like monsters (well, kobolds mostly at the moment) and I can’t wait for the moment to see my map come to life. All in all, the location editor is fun to use and I’ve seen some amazing examples of what players can do. If you want to have a look yourself, there is a thread in the Steam forums where players can link to their creations.