Frost Giant RTS Editor Plans & Feedback

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We (Frost Giant Studios) recently posted some details about what we are working on for our custom game editor in hopes of getting feedback from the modding community. I hope it is alright that I share it here. Would love to get some thoughts from this community about what you would like to see from our editor.

Here is a link to the reddit topic where we posted it.

And here is the actual text of the post:


Discussion Topic - 2022/2 - UGC

User-generated content (UGC) is one of several pillars we view as essential to creating the next great RTS game. We hope the breadth of this topic inspires discussion from a wide range of perspectives. Please feel free to offer your thoughts and opinions on any or all of the discussion areas below. While things like YouTube tutorials and community-organized events could be considered UGC, for the purposes of this discussion we’re focusing on player-created maps, mods, and custom games.

Legacy & Community

Desert Strike, Aeon of Strife, Defense of the Ancients, Cat vs. Mouse, Diplomacy, Micro/Macro, Mini-Game Party, Mafia, Castle Fight, Phantom, Bounds, Risk II, Bunker Wars, Nexus Wars, Golems, 4v4 Micro Jungle, Hamsters vs. Space Vacuums . . . we could go on and on. Players have now been creating and enjoying custom RTS game experiences across four different decades!

The legacy of UGC in RTS games is beyond comparison. Entire game genres, such as MOBAs and Tower Defense, trace their origins to custom games. Many of us at Frost Giant have backgrounds as modders or mappers in Blizzard games, and like many of you, we have fond memories of playing and creating custom maps and mods.

UGC plays an important role in attracting and entertaining players looking for a change of pace, as well as creatives who enjoy building new experiences. UGC also contributes to competitive play by often contributing the latest and greatest competitive maps, something we discussed in more detail in Competitive Map Design and Our Thoughts on Competitive Map Design. Across these different spheres of play, UGC fills a critical role by providing a sustained source of new and exciting content, created by and for the game’s community. Passionate UGC communities like SC2Mapster.com, Hiveworkshop.com, and Staredit.net have remained strong years after their respective games have ceased development.

Editor - Overview

The significance of a healthy UGC community can’t be understated, which is why ensuring our game has a powerful and accessible editor is one of our top development priorities.

Editor strengths and weaknesses have varied across different RTS titles. The Galaxy Editor released with StarCraft II was extremely powerful, allowing for complete overhauls of the game, but in some ways was less accessible than older RTS editors. In StarCraft: Brood War’s case, the UGC community has long used ScmDraft 2, a third-party editor that was endorsed by Blizzard during the release of StarCraft: Remastered.

We want our editor to be a polished and accessible tool that empowers as many people as possible to be a part of building a future filled with fun new game experiences.

Our decision to build our upcoming RTS in Unreal Engine 5 naturally raised questions within the UGC community about what modding in our game might look like. We’ll tackle a few of those questions here, as well as some we expect might arise based on our answers.

Q: Will modders use Unreal to create content for our game?

A:
We considered a lot of options for how to approach mod support using UE5, and have decided on building an in-game editor that doesn’t require users to download Unreal. There may be opportunities for very advanced modders to use Unreal to do things that might not otherwise be possible via the editor, but our aim is for our editor to be more than capable of creating the vast majority of RTS UGC you see today.

RTS modding has a legacy of accessibility that we aim to continue. We can’t wait for our players to go into editor mode, start drawing terrain, place their first units and doodads, and create the triggers that led many of us down the path towards game development.

Q: What will the editor support?

A:
Our intention is to support most of the functionality available in existing RTS editors. It’ll feature three core modules: Terrain, Scripting, and Data. These will work much as you might expect, with improvements based on everything we’ve learned over the years.

Q: Will the editor be available at launch?

A:
We are still early in development, so this is not something we can answer definitively, but work on the editor is currently underway and we plan for our own designers to use the editor to build the majority of our maps and gameplay content. We hope that this will help ensure the tool we have at the end of our development process is robust and ready for public use. Our designers will also be doing some work in Unreal directly, but this will be more the exception than the rule.

Q: How will map sharing/publishing/downloading work?

A:
We are still discussing the right approach for us as a game and a team. The two primary options are publishing a map to a live service, as in StarCraft II, or sharing maps directly from player to player via lobbies, as in StarCraft: Brood War or Warcraft III. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages, and we haven’t decided on one or the other yet. This is one area in particular where we want to hear from you. To be clear, regardless of where our players download maps, we plan to present custom maps as a list of available lobbies to ensure that any map can gain visibility. We touch on this more below.

Q: Will we support custom campaigns?

A:
This is also difficult to confirm at this stage of development, but we believe custom campaigns are incredibly important, and many of the people on our team put in significant effort to provide this functionality in StarCraft II’s 10th Anniversary update. Hopefully, by planning for them early in development, it will be easier to have this feature ready for public use in our new game.

Q: Will we be able to import custom assets?

A:
We fully intend to support this, but how exactly is still unclear.

Whew! We still don’t have all the answers, but that should give you a sense of what we’re thinking.

We’d now like to share more specifics about our vision for the editor. This topic is a great opportunity for us to delve into more detail about one part of our development plans, as unlike some of the more common questions we get (“What’s the setting going to be!?”), we don’t need to spoil anything we’re saving for future game announcements.

Please bear in mind that none of this is completely set in stone, and things will likely change over the course of development. We say this for two reasons: to set appropriate expectations and to emphasize that feedback on this topic is incredibly valuable to us, as we’re constantly reevaluating our approach.

Editor - Terrain Module

We’re approaching the terrain in a familiar way. You’ll be able to raise and lower cliff levels, paint textures, place doodads, adjust pathing, and define points and regions. The standard for terrain editing is well established and an overall good experience, so we don’t intend to make significant changes here. We would love to hear your thoughts on terrain editors, what you loved, what you didn't love, what you think can be improved, and how you would improve it.

Editor - Script Module

Our aim for scripting is to provide both accessibility and flexibility. We want less advanced users to easily understand what they are creating, but also provide the means for advanced users to be quick and efficient. To accomplish this, we’re creating a visual scripting language that highlights the flow of execution. You will set up “triggers” with events, conditions, and actions (including custom functions) – just as you may have experienced in other RTS editors. The main difference is information will be presented as a visual chain instead of a wall of text. In designing this visual scripting language, we’ve taken inspiration from Unreal’s Blueprint, Unity’s Bolt, MIT’s Scratch, Google’s Blockly, as well as StarCraft II and Warcraft III triggers.

Behind the scenes, this visual scripting will also be generating a text script language that advanced users may write directly in, if they so choose. We’ve deliberately designed the visual scripting language in a way we hope will enable us to show you the text script being generated. This is useful for many reasons, but perhaps most so because it makes script mergeable and allows multiple designers to work simultaneously.

We considered numerous potential languages for this script, including C#, TypeScript, JavaScript, Lua, and Rust, but in the end decided on AssemblyScript–“A TypeScript-like language for WebAssembly.” We chose this because we plan for whatever scripting language we use to compile down to WebAssembly, and AssemblyScript is built to do this very well. It has syntax similar to C++ and Java/TypeScript, which makes it easy for us to transition into as we develop the game.

What is WebAssembly? WebAssembly is a widely supported, standard platform-agnostic, low-level language. You won’t need to worry about this even as an advanced modder, but it’s essentially a language we’re using to help turn script and code into binary to be as efficient as possible. All of the script in our project eventually becomes WebAssembly. Many programming languages compile to WebAssembly, and our game can support all of them as a result. This is great because it allows third parties to create content development tools for our game, bypassing our own editor if desired. It also makes it easy for us to pivot away from AssemblyScript if we see a reason to do so during development.

Editor - Data Module

For the data module, we’d like to improve on what many of us experienced as modders in StarCraft II. We’d like to capture the accessibility of the Warcraft III data editor, along with the power and flexibility of the StarCraft II data editor, for those who need to tap into it.

Achieving this balance is tricky, but the approach we’re following is to tackle the three things in particular that made the StarCraft II data system challenging to work with, particularly when just getting started:

  1. The ability to copy/paste existing data.
  2. The volume of catalog types and understanding their relationships.
  3. The volume of fields in the property grid.
These three things combined make it difficult to understand what’s happening in the StarCraft II data editor. For example, the Marine “Unit” catalog entry alone has 198 fields (everything from hit points to occlusion height), and 73 other associated catalog entries for things like death models and sound effects, each of which have their own fields. This overwhelming amount of information can make it difficult to understand where to even start to make the changes you're after. Similarly, when you copy/paste a data entry, it’s difficult to know what’s going to happen to that entry’s relationship with the 73 other pieces of data. Will they also be duplicated? If you make a new Marine, is it going to create a copy of its Gauss Rifle data as well? Or will it just keep referencing the original data?

We’re planning to help make data more understandable and manageable. One of the ways we’re doing this is by creating a simplified interface for data, where only fields flagged as important will show up by default. Data like how much health a unit has, how fast it moves, and what abilities it has will be marked as important. When you go to edit a unit’s data in the editor, you’ll see these primary fields, and others will be hidden behind an advanced editing mode that more experienced modders will be more comfortable with.

We’re also working to make it as easy as possible for users to group and modify existing data. This will make cloning existing data to create new modified versions of it easier, as well as allow us to create better data visualization tools than those available in other RTS editors. We will share more details about data grouping as we iterate on various solutions.

Just like with StarCraft II, all of the data will also be available in a text format. Unlike StarCraft II, we have decided to go with JSON as our data format instead of XML.

Lobby & Game Browsing

But what good is a great editor if people can’t find and play the UGC you’ve spent countless hours creating? One of the most important lessons we learned about UGC from StarCraft II is the importance of the open lobby list. When StarCraft II first released, there wasn’t a way to see available lobbies for different custom games. Instead, players were given a list of the games themselves, which consolidated all associated lobbies behind a single title. When a player clicked to join a game, the system selected a lobby and placed the player into it. On top of that, the hosted game list was buried in submenus under the custom game section, so players had to actively look for it. When players first entered the custom game section, the first thing they saw was the most popular games on the Arcade service.

All together, this system created a “rich get richer” UGC environment. The more popular the game, the more visibility it had and the more popular it became. Eventually, some games had so much momentum they stifled the visibility of everything else, making it virtually impossible for new content to gain traction.

To amend this, the team brought back the open lobby list players were familiar with from StarCraft: Brood War, Warcraft III, and most other games from that era. The open lobby list was also made front and center when entering the custom games section. We think these changes significantly improved StarCraft II’s UGC ecosystem overall.

For this reason, we plan to have an open lobby list easily accessed by UGC players in our game. But what other changes would you make to how players browse for lobbies and custom games? What should we keep from previous systems and what needs improving?

Custom Art

Our commitment to UGC has also steered other development decisions, such as the way we’re creating art for our game. This is one of the main reasons we’re using Blender as our primary 3D content creation software. As a free tool, Blender is an accessible way for UGC developers to create and implement art into their content. We’re also planning on distributing other tools we’ve developed to allow UGC creators to take advantage of the same art pipeline we’re using to create the core game. This is a significant undertaking, but we’ve already made some great progress. Do you have experience creating custom art for mod content? What aspects of that user experience need improving?

Monetization & Rewards

Monetization of UGC is a controversial, but important topic. Many UGC creators invest thousands of hours in their projects, typically without any hopes of compensation. If they’re lucky, they might leverage the experience to get hired at a game company, or successfully spin off their project into an independent game. We’d like to foster an ecosystem where the most successful content is able to generate some level of income for their developers, without compromising the traditionally accessible nature of RTS UGC. We’d love to hear both player and creator perspectives on how monetization and rewards for UGC developers could be implemented in a healthy way.

Tools & Statistics for Creators

If we opt for a distribution model where creators publish maps to our game service to be downloaded from a dedicated interface, similar to StarCraft II, we’ll have more opportunities to provide tools and statistics for UGC creators surrounding player engagement with their content. What features and information about how players engage with your maps/mods would be particularly useful to you? What features to help market your maps/mods would be useful to you? How would you envision a map/mod “homepage” to look and function?

Final Thoughts

We are committed to fostering a healthy UGC environment in our upcoming game. We know this will create a stronger overall ecosystem surrounding our game, and that it’s important to future players. We anticipate many of you have thoughts, ideas, and experiences to share associated with what we’ve discussed above and what we may have missed, so we won’t ask anymore specific questions this time around.

As always, thank you for participating in our journey!

-The Frost Giant Team
 

deepstrasz

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Dr Super Good

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We would love to hear your thoughts on terrain editors, what you loved, what you didn't love, what you think can be improved, and how you would improve it.
A limitation many people faced is the ability to pack huge areas of space onto a single map that still performs well. A good example of this would be a typical Warcraft III RPG where there are various areas of the map allocated to different zones, bosses, quests, e.t.c. The problem with this approach is that it lacks scalability as all those areas have to be loaded from map initialisation which increases loading times, system resource usage, reduces performance, e.t.c.

With StarCraft II some people got around this by dynamically loading terrain scenes using complex custom models, hard to work with data and the like. This also has issues in that working with such systems is not great and the high reliance on script rather than native functionality does come at a performance cost. Such systems are also far too complex for beginners to understand or use properly, and even then they might require a lot of fine tuning for performance reasons.

This is why I would suggest adopting aspects of games like Factorio and how they managed the map as a sort of fundamental base. In factorio dynamically generating or loading parts of a map are trivial. You can also unload/delete parts of a map trivially as well, freeing the resources being consumed. Factorio even goes further than that by allowing any number of separate (not the same surface) maps to be simulated at the same time. Such functionality would be very useful for custom map makers as it makes managing and scaling complex maps easier and likely operate more efficient.

Using the typical Warcraft III RPG example above each region, dungeon or house interior could be separate surfaces. These surfaces are only loaded when needed, such as a player approaching a dungeon entrance, and unloaded/deleted when not needed, such as after a player leaves a dungeon. The map maker can trivially change the size and shapes of the various regions or dungeons of his map without worrying or being limited by how a big map has been divided up. They could also create a much higher quality random dungeon generator, or possibly swap out parts of dungeons with bespoke chunks based on the difficulty players selected. Of course this is not all such features could be used for, as games like Factorio have shown.
For this reason, we plan to have an open lobby list easily accessed by UGC players in our game. But what other changes would you make to how players browse for lobbies and custom games? What should we keep from previous systems and what needs improving?
Something needs to be done to handle "griefing" in custom maps. Over the years I have had dozens of people ask me for help because their Warcraft III or StarCraft II map is being plagued by 1 or more people who join lobbies just to ruin the gameplay for others. This is usually done by activities such as afking in coop games, taking critical gameplay aspects and purposely throwing them away, attacking allies if possible, or other malicious activity. In most cases I have told them there is little they can do to stop such players ruining their communities other than moving private (shunts new players away) or banning account UID which the grifers often work around (spoofs in legacy WC3, alternative accounts in StarCraft II).

Giving map authors the ability to temporarily ban (not permanently, maximum 3-6 months and cannot be reapplied until the player plays the map multiple times) such griefers from playing their custom maps might help. There could be custom aspects of ban which might only apply to certain game modes of the map, useful for some competitive maps where people might be removed from the rankings for bad conduct or cheating. Such per map bans could be a useful moderation tool as people who amass a large number of such temporary map bans from reputable custom content creators might indicate general anti-social behaviour.

Another commonly requested feature is the ability to pull persistent data into lobbies, potentially from a third party source such as a trusted server owned by the map author. Potential uses include custom ranking systems, more difficult to cheat persistent storage for RPG characters, e.t.c.

Having some way to customise lobby UI layout might be useful to some authors. Different maps might have different aspects that are important to them and this added level of customisation could help map makers make more distinguishable content. As an example an AoS map might have players on each team to the sides of the screen with an option in the middle showing the map that the lobby creator could change.
We’d love to hear both player and creator perspectives on how monetization and rewards for UGC developers could be implemented in a healthy way.
Allowing quick links to pateron or other donation sites would be a good idea. It seems a lot of WC3 and SC2 map makers get some income that way.

In game content is a more complex matter. I think avoiding any sort of pay to win or pay per play mechanics should be avoided as this can be a slippery hole legally and breed unhealthy practices. However pure vanity cosmetics on the other hand are probably fine and could be a way to generate both content creators and artists additional revenue.

Buying maps should probably be discouraged, and at the very least need manual moderation/approval to make sure that the content offered justifies the price point. Given that players probably already have had to purchase the base game, having to pay again to play a popular multiplayer custom map in that game seems unfair and might discourage new players.
What features and information about how players engage with your maps/mods would be particularly useful to you? What features to help market your maps/mods would be useful to you? How would you envision a map/mod “homepage” to look and function?
Being able to record custom statistic metrics from scripts would be useful, of course within reasonable limits (not MBs of data per session). This would pretty much allow content creators to define their own statistics to track which might be more relevant for their gameplay. To keep the data reasonable to manage the statistics could last a year or two in the cloud, unless the content creator downloads a summary of it for a more persistence reference in the future. Some statistics could also be made public for curious players constantly, for example how many times a particular boss was killed recently in an RPG.
 
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Uncle

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It sounds like the good people at Frost Giant Studios know exactly what made games like Warcraft 3 truly great and I couldn't agree more with everything stated here. The Editor is half of the game if not more in my opinion, at least in regards to RTS' like Brood War, Warcraft 3, and Starcraft 2. An easy to use Editor that offers great depth to those that seek it out is vital in making a truly great RTS that will rival classics like Warcraft 3.

To put into perspective just how important custom games are to this genre I'll start with a silly anecdote. Many years ago when DotA first became popular I witnessed several people, mostly my older brother's friends, buy Warcraft 3 for the sole purpose of playing DotA. What really surprised me the most wasn't DotA's success but how some of these players had no idea that the standard ladder RTS portion of the game even existed. They honestly thought that DotA was the entire game. I think that says a lot, you know you've done something right as developer when your game's modding scene is creating entirely new genres and selling your game for you.

With that being said, here's my feedback.

Security:
We need the ability to protect our maps from theft/trolls. Linking the maps to our accounts Starcraft 2 style would work just fine in my opinion. Also, a system that makes it clear which players are known to troll/grief would be great to have when hosting custom games. How that would be done is the tricky party since players often abuse the reporting system to punish innocent people when they get mad over losing a game.

Saving & Loading:
This one is extremely important especially in custom games. When players can save and load their progress between sessions it opens up the door to so many possibilities. Saving your RPG character's items/level, tracking your Wins/Losses/MMR, the list goes on. This also ties into monetization and could even remove the need for custom campaigns since you could transfer saved data between different maps.

Monetization:
I'd like to see custom games have a free to play model but with the option for microtransactions. The map creators could make custom models/skins/icons and other cosmetic rewards that could be purchased with real money. That being said, I believe a map should NEVER cost money to play, I think this would leave a bad impression on players and would be a surefire way to piss off your entire community.

Custom Campaigns:
A fleshed out Save/Load system could replace the need for a dedicated Custom Campaign system. That being said, it's always a welcome addition.

Custom Games/Arcade:
I think Starcraft 2 did a lot of things right when it came to the Arcade and it's biggest flaws were addressed in your statement. The main reason I think Warcraft 3 excelled so much in this department was because of how it helped the player feel as though they were part of a community. The moment you logged into the BNET you were surrounded with other people. You'd see someone spamming the public chat to join their game "join Wizard TD NEW!!!", and you could then look up the name of that hosted game and join it. You'd then see that same person in the lobby with you and maybe you'd strike up a conversation with them. I know this sort of thing wasn't impossible with Starcraft 2 but the initial design of BNET/Arcade made this experience harder to come by. I know improvements were made to it over the years but from what I can remember, BNET 2.0 felt like 1 step forward and 2 steps back in a lot of ways. I feel that it sacrificed community and user control in order to bring a more automated system. Sure, matchmaking that handles everything for you is convenient, but it also feels robotic and removes that human element that made a lot of older games so appealing.


I suppose that's all I have for now as most things were already addressed. I couldn't agree more with everything said here and I can't wait to see how this game turns out. Send my thanks to all of the devs for all of their hard work and here's to a bright future!
 
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Dr Super Good

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We need the ability to protect maps from theft/trolls. Linking the maps to our accounts Starcraft 2 style would work just fine in my opinion.
To expand on this. Being able to share and move ownership of maps is a feature StarCraft II lacked that would be useful. Such feature is important for cooperative development of maps, as well as long term maintenance of maps after the original map creator drops support for a map.
 
But what other changes would you make to how players browse for lobbies and custom games? What should we keep from previous systems and what needs improving?
I would love to see the lobby browser show all open lobbies from all regions. Currently, both in Warcraft III and StarCraft II, you only see lobbies from the region you selected when you launched the client. It limits the visibility of available games and is overall a bad user experience once you know that.
I use a discord bot that reports when a lobby for my map was created and it reports things like region, current number of players in the lobby and whether the game has started. Sometimes I see two lobbies, one on US, one on EU, and they both fail to fill despite having enough players for a single lobby.

I think an improvement here is to provide players with a checkbox option in-game to filter out regions or maybe even a ping-slider if players are concerned about lag.
 
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I have a few suggestions, based mostly on improvements I would I loved for the Warcraft III world editor.

AI Module
The ability to easily create computer AIs as high-level set of "priorities" to fulfil was good in my opinion, even if it seems the Warcraft III community was not too into it I would love to see this come back with upgrades. It allowed for quickly creating mock-ups of what an AI could be without having to import/write complex scripts from scratch. Additionally, the Master AI/AI execution script (that read those priority lists and translate them into actual unit orders) could also be edited. For example, editing AI targeting behaviour or spells-autocast priorities to add better support for custom abilities; changing how the priority list is handled to allow the AI to skip tasks that are currently impossible to fulfil....
It would be best to have a dedicated editable AI module instead of having a custom script running on top of existing hard-coded behaviours, as they would constantly interfere with each other. The AI scripts should also be fully integrated into the project so they can fully interface with the other modules.

Terrain Module - Data layer palette

Having the possibility to paint the terrain with values or tags that can affect the AI and can also be read/modified from the triggers/custom scripts. This could help creators indicate the AI where to build some buildings (walls, static defences...) without having to create complex scripts to manage this. For example, an Ancient Protector priority would have the "Static defence" tag associated to it, so the Master AI script would prioritize building it on tiles that are painted with the Static defence tag that are reasonably close to other buildings.

"Race/Faction" Module
Give the ability to edit/add/remove playable factions that can be selected by players in the lobby before the game starts. This ranges from the displayed name in the lobby faction selection widget, what custom assets will be used for UI theme and audio announcements, what and how many starting units, which AI script(s) that would be used by eventual computer-controlled player slots. This is not as essential if we have the ability to straight out edit the lobby as suggested by Dr Super Good, but it seems more accessible than designing an entire UI.

Other remarks
  • I second the points on lobby-level/out of game data persistence that were mentioned in the posts above. That would be a very valuable feature for many kind of maps, even if it's less than 1 Mb per user per map.
  • I really enjoy the idea of being able to edit configuration/data files in JSON format. I have vivid memories of merging data between maps being an absolute struggle for anything that isn't custom objects data (units, items...) No more unstructured .wts please.
  • WebAssembly sounds like a very solid solution, I can't wait to see of this will turn out.
 
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I will say outside of everything people have said before it needs to make sure a couple of things are possible:


For example, make sure maps are 512x512 (or even larger if possible), starcraft 2 was very limited on this regard and downgraded over Warcraft 3's map size making a lot of maps not doable.




Regarding scripting, that stuff is fine make sure the editor supports dark mode though I legit don't want to burn my eyes while editing lol, also if it's possible make sure you can copy/paste triggers from one instance of an editor to another (GUI triggers) because I know a lot of new users usually open test maps and want to do that to copy it to their own
 
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and have decided on building an in-game editor that doesn’t require users to download Unreal.

Yes, never underestimate how relatively easy it is for Warcraft III people to get in on the creative fun when it comes to UGC, the dream here is that people didn't exactly have to learn advanced coding languages like Lua or Typescript to generate something great.

Where in other modding communities this fun was largely limited to a finger count few compared to the broader community, in War3 all it really takes is like 3 weeks of dedication and drive to get things rolling for a new comer. maybe even sooner.

Maps also act as extremely elaborate missions that are so complex and different from the base game that they might aswell be called "mods" yet it never requires you to overwrite the game or install or uninstall like how mods in MODDB would work often times.

Will the editor be available at launch?

Ye no rush, if the base is good and well fleshed out it can definitely be later updated.

To be clear, regardless of where our players download maps, we plan to present custom maps as a list of available lobbies to ensure that any map can gain visibility. We touch on this more below.
Yeah great decision.

I can tell you guys my opinion on this matter though, on the development of Reforged for Wc3 we had this type of discussion where should our custom games section turn into an Arcade like thing similar to Sc2 or not the community mostly disagreed and preferred the "map file goes into documents" option. because we have satisfied our needs to have a map hub with websites like Hive Workshop and also because Hive gives us the option to rate, give feedback, write comment and interact in a more free form manner. while the part where everyone plays just gets handled by a lobby section with small preview images of maps with their names as people explore already hosted maps.

And in the documents > maps when trying to host folders we can create however many folders with unique names we want and put our maps in there. the game remembers the last game we hosted (atleast it used to). having a search map name also wouldn't hurt. or A to Z organization, anything.



Q: Will we support custom campaigns?
While this is a big topic that you guys certainly understand the importance of, i will also take the time to point out how important is it for people to have the ability to customize and flavor their creations. with Warcraft 3 The Frozen Throne people created and put their own 3D animated backgrounds to appear with the buttons for each mission as the game progressed.

The game also of course has an abundance of its own variants which people could easily reskin and re-use. i'll get to that topic later.

what you think can be improved, and how you would improve it.

Copy pasting terrain landscapes can use more modernization i guess. there is alot of small kinks and "issues" that can't be addressed as well on paper that make suggesting an improvement idea difficult.

So on my laymans terms, make it able to copy paste more complicated landmasses without hiccups or be able to move terrain templates easily from mission to mission.

For this reason, we plan to have an open lobby list easily accessed by UGC players in our game. But what other changes would you make to how players browse for lobbies and custom games? What should we keep from previous systems and what needs improving?

What LazZ said, region locking custom games lobby just works against everyones interests, however you guys need to make sure you have the servers to support this because usually for skirmish or "melee" in this case regions are locked and there is matchmaking. while for custom games atleast for wc3 experience (not now with Reforged) the regions were all in one bag and we had community provided private servers merged into the official game.

The part about the community provided private servers doesn't really need to be considered if official servers are just great on its own. "If"

but we’ve already made some great progress. Do you have experience creating custom art for mod content? What aspects of that user experience need improving?

In Warcraft 3 a few people took it upon themselves to create a selection of tools that allows us to manipulate and create models by heavy modifications or replications of existing models, so the more important discussion about art tools is that, if the base models are too difficult to modify, progress will not be as fast as for example it is with Warcraft 3.

We are at a point where i can spend like 3-5 days teaching a BASIC bones person how to do things like changing weapons for models, changing textures, or manipulating alot of stuff regarding the game. the tools we have often directly read into the games model and texture sources and use them for quickly loading the games assets. (this ease applies to classic models however, not the HD ones in Reforged, they are very bad when it comes to checking the box of being easy to modify.)

The most objective way i can put this, is that the more dependent models are on just redrawing textures for it to completely switch how a model looks compared to the models being overtly affected by ingame lightning, the easier and more reproduceable will be the great wealth of models that your custom community makes for you.

releasing tools for us is also very important if you decide reasonable and a more open sourcy approach wont harm you.

Addressing copyright issues for custom art is also interesting, do you want the game to be mostly centered around custom variations of your own games universe like how sc2 is or do you want people to go insane like wc3 community does, one of the main reasons sc2 doesn't go as insane with models as wc3 is because of difficulty to mass reproduce models.

Are you okay people making ww2 maps in your game ? mario maps ? lord of the rings helms deep style maps ? that's all part of wc3's DNA.


We’d love to hear both player and creator perspectives on how monetization and rewards for UGC developers could be implemented in a healthy way.
Just remember 1 thing, if it comes to the point that people start to kind of act like whispering secret to secret when it comes to learning their way up, on how to do things because if they keep it a secret they'll just reap more rewards. it will still default to rich get richer mentality.

This is a touchie subject and its success is bound by the root game itself, people are here for wc3 because they love the game. so people must love your game first. then, people settle down and make content as a side hobby for years to come. the only thing i would suggest is Verified links to patreon or Paypal probably be present. so this requires moderation. other then that, i'd stay out of monitization for customs.

If you want a bad example of this look at Chinese Wc3 audience. its just a giant pyramid scheme with lots of money involved.

If we opt for a distribution model where creators publish maps to our game service to be downloaded from a dedicated interface, similar to StarCraft II, we’ll have more opportunities to provide tools and statistics for UGC creators surrounding player engagement with their content. What features and information about how players engage with your maps/mods would be particularly useful to you? What features to help market your maps/mods would be useful to you? How would you envision a map/mod “homepage” to look and function?

If you want to distribute tools i'd just suggest open source seperate tools but made to only work for the games asset format. iv'e seen examples of tools being integerated directly in the game, or atleast tried to, it doesn't go as well as people hoped, looking at Rise of Legends.

We are committed to fostering a healthy UGC environment in our upcoming game. We know this will create a stronger overall ecosystem surrounding our game, and that it’s important to future players. We anticipate many of you have thoughts, ideas, and experiences to share associated with what we’ve discussed above and what we may have missed, so we won’t ask anymore specific questions this time around.

In the end remember that the reality of a UGC centric game is the long term, we're talking 10 or 15 years. if executed properly its a beautiful outcome. but for the ears of the investors, not exactly "happy" to see you guys create game that can self sustain. but that remains with the final decision of your heart 🙂

Also yes Dark mode for Editor is absolutely recommended like Lycan said.
 
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Hey man, just do your best to deliver an editor that is at least just as good as wc3's World Editor, it should be able to reproduce any wc3 custom map perfectly 1:1

If you keep updating new tools/features into the editor to let us make any kind of custom map genre we want then it would be perfect.

If your goal is to go beyond and surpass wc3's world editor, then your editor should have the tools/features that lets you create other genres of custom maps naturally (without workarounds) alongside their respective systems & mechanics that you dont normally see in wc3 (on top of the ones that already exist in wc3) such as:

2D platformers (Mario, Metroidvanias, Zelda):
The most needed one imo, if your editor can reproduce a game like Zelda a link to the past or Super Metroid or Castlevania Symphony of the Night or Super Mario 3 then that alone would be a dream come true, someone already makes lots of great 2d custom maps in wc3 but he has to use workarounds and its not great

Arcade Shoot-em-ups (Dodonpachi) & Beat-em-all (Final Fight):
the same tools/features used to make 2D platformers could be used to make those genres, if there's missing mechanics hopefully you can update them into the editor down the line

Card games (Countless CCG and rogue-likes):
It should be able to reproduce Slay the Spire or Yu-Gi-Oh with Deck/Hand/Graveyard/Extra Deck/Draw/Shuffle mechanics etc, someone made Yu-Gi-Oh in wc3 before but wc3 doesnt have the mechanics for it so its a tedious, frustrating and long process to create/play those here

Arcade Racing games (Crash Team Racing or Mario Kart):
it should be able to make a CTR or Mario Kart with smooth gameplay, im not asking for Forza or Gran Turismo since those are simulations, Blizzard made their own racing custom map but the controls are nowhere near a real racing game

2D Fighting games (Street Fighter 1-5):
with a way to edit hitboxes & hurtboxes & framedata & move inputs & hit states) someone already made a 3D fighting game in wc3 but its just impossible to create all the fighting games mechanics in wc3

That way the modding community can recreate known games and make them multiplayer/modify them which would turn into their own games.
 

Dr Super Good

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The most needed one imo, if your editor can reproduce a game like Zelda a link to the past or Super Metroid or Castlevania Symphony of the Night or Super Mario 3 then that alone would be a dream come true, someone already makes lots of great 2d custom maps in wc3 but he has to use workarounds and its not great
Use a full blow game engine for that. Those are usually optimised for such play already. Nothing RTS related.
the same tools/features used to make 2D platformers could be used to make those genres, if there's missing mechanics hopefully you can update them into the editor down the line
RTS engines are not really optimal for this as there needs to be lag compensation for these to work online. Lock step mechanics are not really good for lag compensation.
Card games (Countless CCG and rogue-likes):
It should be able to reproduce Slay the Spire or Yu-Gi-Oh with Deck/Hand/Graveyard/Extra Deck/Draw/Shuffle mechanics etc, someone made Yu-Gi-Oh in wc3 before but wc3 doesnt have the mechanics for it so its a tedious, frustrating and long process to create/play those here
WC3 and SC2 support them fine, just they are and always will be very complicated to make due to all the non-standard logic involved. Yu-Gi-Oh especially since practically every card has some sort of unique behaviour associated with it now.
Arcade Racing games (Crash Team Racing or Mario Kart):
it should be able to make a CTR or Mario Kart with smooth gameplay, im not asking for Forza or Gran Turismo since those are simulations, Blizzard made their own racing custom map but the controls are nowhere near a real racing game
Same as above. Lag compensation is the main problem.
2D Fighting games (Street Fighter 1-5):
with a way to edit hitboxes & hurtboxes & framedata & move inputs & hit states) someone already made a 3D fighting game in wc3 but its just impossible to create all the fighting games mechanics in wc3
Lag compensation again. Keep to RTS stuff. If you want to make these consider using a game engine directly.
 

Rui

Rui

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Messages
7,528
Editor - Terrain Module

We’re approaching the terrain in a familiar way. You’ll be able to raise and lower cliff levels, paint textures, place doodads, adjust pathing, and define points and regions. The standard for terrain editing is well established and an overall good experience, so we don’t intend to make significant changes here. We would love to hear your thoughts on terrain editors, what you loved, what you didn't love, what you think can be improved, and how you would improve it.
Ever since I opened an editor (AoE2's), I have always enjoyed making world maps. For me, a very large hassle in the World Editor was the 16 ground textures limitation (even less in the Galaxy Editor). The solution was to find 16 textures to fit everything, but it was definitely damaging for the variety and richness of each environment and the global terrain. So, enabling the use of every ground texture in the game would be high up my priorities.

Another one would be the ability to paint pathing directly. SC2 already allowed this, but for air units you still had to use sphere blockers.

On a related topic, I remember specifically the use case of LotR maps where creators built the walls of cities like Minas Tirith or Helms Deep by creating a custom wall doodad and then using pathing blockers and invisible platforms so units could walk over them. A neat feature would be to somehow be able to do this easily. Not only walls, but even more exciting things:

— Bridges which units can cross, while boats sail underneath (perhaps unable to attack the units because their cannons can't shoot straight up? =P);​
— A multi-level citadel that allows you to station archers at all levels -- basically, the possibility for ground units to share the same X and Y coordinates, but at different Z coordinates, moving without obstructing other units at different levels.
(And maybe with enemy archers on the ground having a 33% chance to miss attacks on units standing in level 1, 66% chance for level 2, and unable to attack units at level 3? I'm starting to dream high here hehe.)

Finally, still with the idea of world maps (and RPGs) in mind, I second @Dr Super Good's ideas. Definitely one of the things I've been struggling with. In Wc3, I have to lay the terrain in squares, limit them with black boundaries, hope I hit the right camera configuration so you can't see neighbour territories, and pray players won't uncover ways to blink/teleport outside their square. Preferably, I would build different "interiors" separate from each other in physical space, package them in the same game, and "lazy load" them & "garbage collect" them for optimal resource usage, as DSG explained.

Random dungeon (or terrain in general) generation is a whole other deal, but it would be awesome indeed.

Editor - Data Module
In my opinion, the problem of the Galaxy Editor's steep learning curve was not only the amount of fields, but the scant documentation. If the editor's fields are richly documented, it's a huge leap to making it understandable, regardless of the number of fields.

Data visualization is important, but bringing to the level of ideal would be very very tough, at least the way I'm imagining it. For example, in the World Editor, there's a field to decide when a missile is actually shot after the unit begins the attack. Imagine that, when opening up this field, you'd get 3 image previews:
  • One showing me the consequence of altering that value to 0.00, with an arrow appearing instantly before the archer has even stretched her bow;
  • Another one with the default value, showing optimal synchrony between the archer's animation and the arrow popping out;
  • A third one showing what happens when the value is 3.00, in which the arrow appears with a significant delay after the archer has finished her attack animation.
This form of visualisation is (I imagine) arduous to implement, but very enlightening.


Custom Art

Our commitment to UGC has also steered other development decisions, such as the way we’re creating art for our game. This is one of the main reasons we’re using Blender as our primary 3D content creation software. As a free tool, Blender is an accessible way for UGC developers to create and implement art into their content. We’re also planning on distributing other tools we’ve developed to allow UGC creators to take advantage of the same art pipeline we’re using to create the core game. This is a significant undertaking, but we’ve already made some great progress. Do you have experience creating custom art for mod content? What aspects of that user experience need improving?
I'm a layman on these matters. Way I see it, the greatest challenge here is the quality or level of detail of your assets. They need to be on par with today's standards, so your game looks good, but they can't be overly complex, or there's that steep learning curve again. This, in my view, was a problem with SC2. Making the jump over from wc3's simple models to SC2's multi-texture models was hard. Again, perhaps nothing some good training/lecture content and a few yellow submarines can't fix.

EDIT: The advantage of Wc3, however, was not just the simple models, but the huge variety available to work with. Gnolls, owlbears, murlocs, ogres, furbolgs, slimes... so many more! You could practically mimic any fantasy universe with them. I whined about this endlessly during SC2's beta. A plethora of varied models will be paramount for your editor's success, I reckon.


Monetization & Rewards

Monetization of UGC is a controversial, but important topic. Many UGC creators invest thousands of hours in their projects, typically without any hopes of compensation. If they’re lucky, they might leverage the experience to get hired at a game company, or successfully spin off their project into an independent game. We’d like to foster an ecosystem where the most successful content is able to generate some level of income for their developers, without compromising the traditionally accessible nature of RTS UGC. We’d love to hear both player and creator perspectives on how monetization and rewards for UGC developers could be implemented in a healthy way.
The easiest way is to do it DotA 2 style: purely aesthetical. However, the DotA 2 Arcade does feature a few games that connect to "perks" servers, where a "perk" gives you some in-game bonuses. You can pay a donation to unlock better perks. If a creator sees pay2win as okay for his game, why not? Figures it's his choice, though probably annoying for other players.


Still got one more idea to write, but for now I'll leave it at this. 😁
 
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This is a very fun topic to discuss and reading this post definitely gets me stoked for what you guys will come out with. :) I think you and a lot of the folks in this thread hit the nail on the head with most of the topics. I'll just chime in by saying that one of the biggest beauties of Warcraft 3 was its accessibility--really on all fronts.

I wouldn't say that all of it was intentional. The game had amazing localization/internationalization (which was really rare at the time), but some of it was accidental. Part of it was that the game was heavily pirated in a LOT of countries, so a lot of folks were able to play wc3/DotA/its plethora of custom games for free. Regardless of the means, the fact is that that kind of accessibility had a huge effect on growing the player-base and the modding community. And it's yin and yang at that point--a healthy player-base promotes a strong modding community, and vice-versa.

For me as a kid, games like wc3 were a dream. Pay once and have a bajillion games to play? Sign me up! And then I tried out the editor. I added a few footmen and some grunts and was instantly able to test it. I was like, "wow, I'm officially a game developer". And then I joined online communities and was in awe at how many cool projects other folks were making. Those feelings were amazing and I really hope you guys will be able to replicate that for others.

So if I were you guys, I'd try to make the game and its modding as accessible and approachable as possible. Biggest things in my mind would be: (1) making a great game and (2) setting a good, approachable foundation. Love that you guys are making a stand-alone editor and focusing on making things simple. Love the approach with triggering/scripting and love that Blender will be an option for the assets. So far everything sounds very promising. w.r.t. monetization, I agree with the folks above that I'd just prefer free maps and the ability to link to a spot for donations. Skins/visual purchases are fine too. But I also understand that the modern standard is to create a marketplace and take a cut of the pie--I don't think that will bode well for the game--but ya know, business is business.

And on a final note, Wc3's amazing modding community and capabilities weren't built in a day--a lot of the biggest features of modding wc3 didn't come until TFT and some not until later patches years later. So I'd say it's less important what you have at launch--and more important on whether there's a consistent effort to improve the UGC tooling. Modders are resilient and if the game is good and has good support, we'll keep at it! :) It also is great to get recognition from the company too--back in the day Blizzard had things like an official list of unofficial modding sites, tournaments for mapping, cinematic contests, etc. that were all really really exciting for the community to be a part of. All those little things go a long way!
 
Editor strengths and weaknesses have varied across different RTS titles. The Galaxy Editor released with StarCraft II was extremely powerful, allowing for complete overhauls of the game, but in some ways was less accessible than older RTS editors. In StarCraft: Brood War’s case, the UGC community has long used ScmDraft 2, a third-party editor that was endorsed by Blizzard during the release of StarCraft: Remastered.
Given that it sounds like the people that you have on staff are the ones responsible for Starcraft II, I find myself skeptical of some of these goals you are listing. It reads to me as though you are telling people like me everything that you think I want to hear. And who am I? I am someone who worked for "too long" on the same Warcraft III mod and ultimately started to tell people that I was tired of facing walls in the Warcraft III featureset, and that I felt like none of the problems we had would be a problem if I could just rewrite the game, so I did (hyperlink here is to a YouTube video of my OpenGL+Java project to emulate War3 externally using its assets. Might be a waste of your time to watch more than 30 seconds of it, but you can get the idea).

Trying to rewrite Warcraft III so that I could unlock the ability to mod anything caused me to see time and time again that a lot of Warcraft 3 is what programmers would refer to as "hacked together spaghetti code." Frozen Throne's same strengths are Reforged's weaknesses. You're telling me you want to have the moddability of Starcraft 2's editor but the approachable nature of Warcraft 3's editor. What if Warcraft III's editor is actually approachable because it is hacked together? The very bright, pressed for time technologists in the early 2000s writing Warcraft III were writing down a broad set of general rules that were pretty human -- covering a variety of cases "reasonably well" without costing them too much time to think through everything.

It is no longer the early 2000s. It is easier to make a game in the Unreal Engine than it is to make a game in the Warcraft III World Editor, and the Unreal users can actually profit off of their creations. If you are going to publish a wrapper on the Unreal Engine where you declare yourself the owners of the content authored by your userbase and change the monetization scheme to be harder to monetize than a base game on Unreal, how would you prevent the irrational social media backlash against you like what Reforged was seeing by all the people who felt "hurt" that Reforged's EULA had the same policies as Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and as Starcraft II? The Reforged policy was simply that all content created in the World Editor is the property of the game studio that created the World Editor. It was nothing new, but social media has an easy time getting people fired up against it.

We now live in a world where a guy like me who used World Editor in his childhood can google some stuff on the weekends and write his own operating Warcraft III clone using OpenGL calls and a bunch of Warcraft III asset loaders from the modding community, all while holding an unrelated job in a non-video-game career field. For anyone being reasonable who wanted to make a game without using Warcraft III assets, the field is even easier to get in to.

My question is simply this: What would be the motive for an up-and-coming creator to actually use your rebranded wrapper of Unreal Engine instead of to use the Unreal Engine itself where the creator was allowed to sell whatever they make?

Assuming that the motive is that you dumbed it down a lot, then I imagine that the way in which you dumb it down would be really important. We live in a world where everyone has supercomputers data mining their everyday lives for attention. It is going to become harder and harder for anyone creative to create anything with their time -- instead of reading or experiencing internet click bait outrage and emotions with each moment per the goal function of the data mining.
others will be hidden behind an advanced editing mode
It's interesting to me that you think your engine should have an advanced mode, because in general Warcraft III does not have an advanced mode and I really enjoyed that it did not. For me, having an advanced mode on Starcraft 2 was an example of the developers declaring that they designed things poorly. "Advanced mode", if I'm not mistaken, is designed around the idea that because your original design is not expressive enough to reduce all possibilities into a set of simple user controls now you have to stunt some users behind a separate mode because they asked for things to be easy, but you don't respect their humanity. If I was making a program for myself to use, for example, would I want to make an Advanced Mode? No, I would not. I would generally want to just make it right and efficient to use in my one and only user interface.

What is the Advanced Mode of Warcraft III World Editor? The only thing kind of like that coming to mind for me off of the top of my head was the Display as Raw Data setting. And that setting was not available at launch back in 2002 as I recall. It was more of a hack to let users inspect and manage the 4-letter rawcode system, which was simply a technology design limitation due to needing to fit identifiers into 32-bit computer processor DWORDs back in those days.

So, I am being a bit of a devil's advocate of potential problems for you and trying to poke holes in your design today, and I hope you do not take that the wrong way. I wish you the best of luck and I hope that you truly create the next great RTS. But your post reads somewhat like your plan is to basically take a bunch of the programmers of the Starcraft 2 RTS engine, have them make another one roughly the same but more hurriedly put together by using Unreal instead of truly making a new engine. Then, if I understand, you plan to put new assets on it and sell it to make money. That will probably work, but how is focusing on UGC anything but a waste of your time in that case when you need the money like that?

Instead of writing to us this sort of developer fanfiction about the job(s) you wish that you could have for life as Starcraft 2 developers and telling us you're going to shoot the moon and making vague claims that you want to give us everything we could ever want, what if you decide to be innovators instead? What if you accept that the world is not stagnant, and it moves forward and changes contrary to what I and my Warcraft III echo chamber would want to believe? Here are some ideas for moonshot innovations that you might consider if your goal was to actually be forward looking about UGC:
  • A World Editor companion phone app that lets people make 3d rts character figures, or freehand draw maps with their fingers on mobile -- all the while accepting that an RTS is a desktop PC experience and that the point of this app is to prepare for it and innovate on how (and how often) users create their UGC stuff
  • A World Editor subscription model where the base world editor is free, but this "advanced mode" that you desperately seem to want to create is a paid option -- like how JetBrains IntelliJ Idea IDE for Java is free to get into, but allows users to pay money for a better version. If you actually had a business model for the UGC tools, and that business model didn't compromise the ability of any user to freely get into them, you might be able to expand the longevity of what you were doing instead of having a technology that sits dead for 15 years with no improvements like Warcraft III World Editor was until Reforged
  • An RTS creative mode where a user can create a custom techtree faction based on a set of preset unit cost rules (maybe for training Unit X, it always costs 1 gold per 15 Hit Points that were assigned to Unit X when it was designed). Then allow the user to use the newly designed faction from the Editor to immediately join a game against an online opponent, while the opponent uses his own custom faction that our player has never seen. Years ago my experiences making custom "altered melee" factions on Warcraft 3 led me to write a 2d turn based game like this, and it was as much exceedingly fun as it was broken. I'm not saying it's guaranteed to be a good idea -- maybe it's not -- but it's the kind of moonshot that might make your game offer something new.
  • A way to copy paste a faction in the World Editor, not just a unit, and spinoff a new faction in a couple of clicks
  • A script editor that contains all of the base game's abilities as scripts, so that players could easily modify them. Starcraft 2 was light-years ahead of Warcraft III on this, so this may be a somewhat dated idea, but on Warcraft III even today on Reforged there is not a way for me to copy the Storm Bolt skill and delete the "Stun" component of its buff and behaviors. From my limited experiences Starcraft 2 tried to solve this by blurring the line between data and scripts, and declaring that behaviors were part of the data. Would it be simpler if the ability behaviors were a part of the scripts, "data" editing was more open-ended, and users could make a custom class that extends unit or extends item to add more functionality, such as adding Diablo 2 style items to a map as a subclass of item with new properties while preserving the potential to modify their stats from the "data editor"? Also, is this not what Unreal Engine blueprints are and what they do, and if it is then is it ethical for you to resell that to an echo-chamber like us instead of encouraging us to use it directly?
So, again I wish you all the best but I wanted to try to ask hard/deeper questions in case you really do end up reading this, so that you will continue to consider everything you can and make the best decisions. I am in agreement with several of the other posters here about how a lot of what you said sounds good, I just think that it almost sounds too good so I wanted to see what I could think of if I tried to be skeptical. Take care!
 

Rui

Rui

Level 40
Joined
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Messages
7,528
Why would an advanced mode be an indication of poor design? Sure, the World Editor didn't have one, but it did have triggers, which you could snoop behind to get JASS. And all the best creations of early Wc3 were made through triggers; JASS only became a fad much later when you had tools that allowed you to script without the editor crashing on you all the time. How many creations would have never come to be if we didn't have triggers? To me, advanced mode is an attempt to make the editor accessible to different levels of experience. Acknowledging that people are on different levels of know-how, and that the learning process must be adjusted accordingly, in my view, is nothing less than respecting their humanity, as you put it.
 

Uncle

Warcraft Moderator
Level 44
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Messages
4,322
Why would an advanced mode be an indication of poor design? Sure, the World Editor didn't have one, but it did have triggers, which you could snoop behind to get JASS. And all the best creations of early Wc3 were made through triggers; JASS only became a fad much later when you had tools that allowed you to script without the editor crashing on you all the time. How many creations would have never come to be if we didn't have triggers? To me, advanced mode is an attempt to make the editor accessible to different levels of experience. Acknowledging that people are on different levels of know-how, and that the learning process must be adjusted accordingly, in my view, is nothing less than respecting their humanity, as you put it.
I agree with this. Even Warcraft 3's Editor could use an Advanced Mode, there's at least 20 fields found on a Unit that most modders don't even understand or at least use. Having an option to hide those fields is a more than welcome change and to me that's good design, it shows that each field has been analyzed closely and it's purpose has been questioned. It's also just a nice quality of life feature being able to show/hide what you need at any given moment.

The reason Starcraft 2's editor failed to impress was that even with Basic/Advanced modes you still couldn't do anything easily. Sure, it allowed you to customize things to a much greater extent, but to simply copy and paste an existing Unit for example was a nightmare. I realize that with greater customization comes greater complexity so some of it is unavoidable, but there must be a way to have the best of both worlds.

A Unit basically boils down to Attack, Movement, Abilities, Hit Points, Mana, Cost, Name, and Description.
Someone that first gets into modding doesn't care about Orientation Interpolation and Projectile Launch Offsets. They just want to create a giant Footman that throws Sheep at it's foes and has Critical Strike, Bash, and Lifesteal.

If the devs can find a nice middle ground where you can create a Unit like I described above in a minutes time, while also having access to advanced features if you'd like, then I think the editor/game will be a great success. It sounds like that's the plan based on what OP said and I wish the team the best of luck in overcoming this challenge.
 
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Someone that first gets into modding doesn't care about Orientation Interpolation and Projectile Launch Offsets. They just want to create a giant Footman that throws Sheep at it's foes and has Critical Strike, Bash, and Lifesteal.
Well, but that was sort of my point. Doing those things worked fine for me on Warcraft III when I was young, even though it had stuff like Orientation Interpolation which I simply ignored. Conversely, Starcraft 2 had an advanced mode and a basic mode but in both modes there were things that generally were inefficient for me to use, so I never really moved over to using it even though it was more powerful.

As a hobbiest, I just really enjoyed the efficiency, so my point is that efficiency in this case might be a sign of highly reusable but less complex design.

I'll admit, I was having a conversation with someone about this during last winter holiday season, and I opened the Starcraft 2 editor's highly automated new "Warcraft III" mode that was added after Reforged (including the ability to make a Warcraft 3-on-Starcraft-2 map in the New Map menu) and at almost every step I looked at the person I was talking to and I said, "See, this editor is inferior because even in their simplified mode I can't do XYZ or if I try, it breaks." And then I tried to do it, and it worked, in almost every case.

So, to the credit of the people who were trying to make that, given enough years they basically got to a point where they finally got it right or nearly so, it seemed like. But I'm already deep into the sunk-cost problem with a lot of Warcraft III specific tools and technology that I created. I would only have wanted to move to Starcraft 2 if they open sourced the software that converted all the Warcraft III assets into the Starcraft 2 format, so that I could likewise convert 10+ years of my own assets. Seemed like they didn't do that.

If they're going to steal the Starcraft 2 editor and sell it under a new company, good luck to them, for sure. But if it takes them 10+ years to make an "easy mode" that actually works like how it was for Starcraft 2 editor that released in 2009 and didn't get "Warcraft III mode" until 2020 (eleven years later), then I'll probably not be in a hurry to migrate to their platform.

But as people said, it's right to be skeptical of what I'm saying. I'm just some guy, and I have a vested interest in trying to mod Warcraft III by rewriting it on my own at this point so that I can be the master of everything. It's almost inevitable that I would be the master of less of the technology at this point, no matter what they create, if I were to use their engine instead of making my own open source shoddy War3 clone. So, they probably shouldn't even use my advice at this point, because I'm likely no longer their target audience even though I have a softspot for Warcraft III style UGC like the many of the rest of us because it got me into this creative space.

I was and am simply spitballing some fun ideas and questions in case it helps them. At least, that's how I see it.
 
If you mean OP I verified it with Frost Giant. I also worked with their team when we were on Classic together.
Ah, I was wrong then, that's a very pleasant surprise as the reason I believed it to be false was due to it all sounding too good to be true lol.

However since its verified then I turn my scepticism into eager anticipation. If they can pull off all the things talked about in the OP then I'm sure it'll produce a game and editor that might finally be able to topple Warcraft 3's monolithic status.
 
Warcraft 3's monolithic status
As long as the "monolith status" is a subjective concept that exists in our minds and not identified as an objective technology, then I'm not sure anything could "topple" it. I'm not sure anything could "topple" it for me because I just like Warcraft III and I'm not really basing that opinion on anything reasonable at this point.

Can you identify a specific technology missing in all other alternatives today that causes Warcraft III to remain monolithic for you?
 
As long as the "monolith status" is a subjective concept that exists in our minds and not identified as an objective technology, then I'm not sure anything could "topple" it. I'm not sure anything could "topple" it for me because I just like Warcraft III and I'm not really basing that opinion on anything reasonable at this point.

Can you identify a specific technology missing in all other alternatives today that causes Warcraft III to remain monolithic for you?
To an extent I actually completely agree with you. I struggle to imagine something that would replace Warcraft 3 or even be on a par with the level that Warcraft 3 occupies in my life. However, just because I can't imagine it doesn't mean its not possible, but I do know that if anything will come close to replacing it or has a chance to it will be whatever Frost Giant produces.

Of course, it is just as possible whatever they produce is a flop or is a massive success there's no point speculating. A part of the reason Warcraft 3 is monolithic however isn't due to the technology, indeed the Galaxy Editor is more powerful in a lot of ways than the World Editor yet I enjoy the World Editor much more than the Galaxy Editor. I enjoy texturing Classic assets much more than HD assets. I suppose it is the ease and accessibility of Warcraft 3 (as much as product of the technology at the time as design) that has contributed to its modern status. Therefore, it will be hard for Frost Giant to in some ways "go backwards" rather than forwards to ensure whatever they produce has that same ease of access and long lasting appeal due to a playerbase who continually keep it alive.
 
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Thank you all for your thoughts and feedback. While our team largely comes from an SC2 background our Game Director worked on WC3 and is a particularly big fan of the world editor so it is constantly in our thoughts and discussions. While I haven't gone through all of the comments here yet there is a ton of great feedback already in what I have reviewed.
 
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