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Old 20-11-06, 16:16   #1
Uvavoo
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Arrow LEVEL EDITOR TUTORIAL - for the beginner

I have decided to do a basic tutorial for the level editor.
This first section covers Building and Texturing your first room.
It covers basic geometry and texturing.
I have tried to make this tutorial as pictorial as possible so people whose first Language is not English have some chance of understanding.


PART 1: BASIC GEOMETRY AND TEXTURES

Building Your First Room
We will, like the manual be using the Tut1.wad and texureset.

Preparing your level
First look in your Maps folder of TRLE and create a new folder called My Level.



Then, copy and paste the textureset from tut1 folder and paste it into this new folder.



Now double click on winroomedit to open it. Click Alt+return to maximise the window.

Info:
The level editor needs basically two things loading in order for you to create a level. Textures and Objects.


So the first thing we is click on the Load TGA button (third column, bottom row in this pic) and choose the tut1text from the My Level folder we have just created.



You should then get a texture file loaded in the right side of the editor window.




The next thing we need to do is load some objects, which include Lara and all the other objects such as doors, guns, puzzle items, medipacks, plus much more.

So click on the Load Objects button (fourth column next to the Load TGA button) and select the tut1.was. This can be found in TRLE/Graphics/Wads.



Creating the first room
We are now ready to build the first room. But first let's save our project, then when we reload the objects and textures are loaded automatically.
So from the Project Menu select Save. Then locate the My Level folder you created earlier in the Maps folder and name your file 'mylevel1'



In the 2D view. This is the blue grid area at the top left of the screen. Right click, hold and drag out a rectangle which is 8x8 squares. You will notice a red line forms around it. When you are happy with the selection, release the button and click the button below which says BOUND ROOM.



This button does what it says, and reduces the room to 8x8 squares.

Info: Tomb Raider Level Editor is based on a grid system. Each square is 4 x 4 units. The best way to think of this is that a typical cube pushable block is 4x4x4 units (called Clicks in the manual). Each texture square is also 4x4 units.
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Old 20-11-06, 16:22   #2
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The default height of the ceiling is 20 units. This is too high for this room, we will reduce it to more human proportions.

Okay, reselect all the squares in the 2d view using the right mouse button. Now using the Ceiling – (minus) button



lower the ceiling to 12, using the information in the large window as pictured below:



we should end up with a picture like this in the 3d view.



Preparing for texturing
If we simply applied a texture to a wall section the texture would appear stretched. This is because at the moment the wall is 12 units high and a texture is only 4 units high. So the texture will be stretched vertically to fill the space and look distorted. This is the sure sign of an unprofessional builder. We combat this by adding 'Texture lines' to divide up the wall into sections of 4x4 units.

First select a wall.

It will be highlighted in red. We now subdivide the wall with Texture lines.
First we will draw out a line from the bottom using the Q key. Press the Q key 4 times to draw out a line.

Next we draw out another line from the ceiling using the S key. Press the S key 4 times.


NAVIGATING AROUND THE ROOM
Press Alt and z together, you will get crosshairs. Click the area you wish the camera to point. Use cursor keys to rotate the room around the camera. Press PageUp and PageDown to zoom in and out.
This takes a bit of getting used to but you'll soon get the hang of it.

Okay let's texture this wall

Select an appropriate texture from the panel on the right side. (you do not have to choose the ones I have used).



Click on the FACE EDIT button, below the 3d view. and simply click on the squares you wish to have this texture.



Building up the wall as appropriate and using textures which fit.



Hurrah, you have textured your first wall.
Now simply repeat the process with all the walls. Be creative with texturing, develop your own style, you don't have to follow exactly the examples shown.



Now SAVE your project as mylevel2. Notice I have called it 2 now, this is so we can go back to the original project if necessary. Get into the habit of saving consecutive files rather than overwriting all the time, especially when you are trying something new or difficult.

Continued.....
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Old 20-11-06, 16:42   #3
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Adding interest
We are now going to add a little more interest and add some columns.
First select a square (see pic below) and click on the WALL button



to create a column.



Again we need to draw out the texture lines as we did before, to divide the column into three. When we have done that we need to create another 3 columns.
An easy way to do this is to select the column we have just created and go to the Edit menu and select CUT. Now click on another square (see pic below for position) and select Edit/paste. A column will be created in that position with the texture lines already in position. Repeat this and texture the resulting columns until you have something like the pic below.



Texturing the floor
I have used a shortcut to texture the floor, namely the Texture Floor button. Simply select an appropriate texture and click the Texture Floor button.



Don't overuse this feature as it creates the infamous wallpaper effect. But in this case it is ok.

Adding interest to the ceiling
If you look carefully at the picture below. You will see I have raised the ceiling in certain squares to give it more interest.
Simply select the squares and click on the Ceiling + (plus) button twice.



Notice that as the ceiling has been raised only 2 squares, the 4x4 texture squares will not fit and you will get SQUASHED textures if you try to use whole textures.
There is a solution. If you right click on the textures and drag out the area you want you can get just half the texture square.



Apply the texture to the 2 unit areas. Right click to rotate the texture.



And finally texture the ceiling with textures of your choice.



Improving the columns
The more perceptive of you will have noticed (although it is difficult due to the choice of textures) that where the column intersects the 2 unit ceiling area, the texture lines are incorrect. We need to draw out another line from the ceiling.
A further line can be drawn out using the F key.



We can now retexture this bit correctly





This looks ok, but I changed my mind and decided on more eleborate textures for my columns.



Continued...
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Old 20-11-06, 16:53   #4
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Lets test out our work
Ok, before proceding we HAVE to place our heroine in the level. Otherwise your level will crash.

Select Lara from the object list, then click the place object button and click anywhere in your room.



Don't worry if Lara looks a bit odd, this is normal, she will look fine in game.

OKAY SAVE YOUR PROJECT AGAIN, this time call it mylevel3.


Outputting a tom file
In order for us to test our level we need to output a tom file.
Select from the Project menu Output Wad.


And save it in the Graphics/Wads Folder, overwriting the tut1.tom file. (If you wish to keep the tut1.tom which originally came with the game, archive it first before doing this step).



When you have done this, go to Project and Quit.

Converting your tom file into a playable level
Now we need to open the Tomb2pc program.
When you have done this click the ADD button and locate the tut1.tom file you have just output. All you need then do is to click the BUILD ALL button. The window should fill up with text and should be built in a few seconds. As your level gets larger, this process will take longer. Wait while you get the 'build complete' message at the bottom of the text block on the right.




Playing your game
Quit the Tomb2pc program.
Double click on the Tomb4.exe and choose new game and select Playable Tutorial Level from the menu.



Now have run around and admire your work. Congratulations, you have built and played your first level.

Revision – things to remember
Preparing walls for texturing.
To draw out a texture line from the floor – Use Q to move line up, A to move line down.
To draw out a texture line from the ceiling - Use S to move line down. W to move line up.
To draw out a further line from the floor - Use E to move line up. D to move line down.
To draw out a further line from the celing - Use F to move line down. R to move line up.
This means you can have room with a maximum height of 20 units – 5 squares vertically, before stretching occurs. To combat this in very high rooms, you will need to stack rooms vertically - more about this in later Parts. Note I have used CAPITAL letters to show keys for clarity, lower case is normally used.

Texturing
To texture a smaller texture section (eg a texture section which is 2 units), right-click and drag to area you require on the textures area.
To rotate a texture, right click on the textured square or square to be textured.
To mirror a texture, control-click on the textured square or square to be textured.
To apply a texture to a broken square (ie a square on the floor or ceiling which has been divided into two triangles) – alt-click on the textured square or square to be textured

Next instalment is Lighting your room, coming soon
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Old 21-11-06, 15:53   #5
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PART 2: LET THERE BE LIGHT – Lighting your room

I am amazed when I see screenshots of quite nicely build rooms only to be totally let down by either poor, or more often non-existent lighting (ie ambient light only). Spending just a little time and effort in perfecting light really can make a room look a whole lot better.

The lighting panel



I am not going to baffle you with all the features at once, instead I will explain what everything does as and when we get to it. You may have to refer back to this pic now and then.

Open your project.
First open up your project if it is not already open. Always open winroomedit first and load the project from there. Don't double-click on the projects icon.

Okay, this is how the room looked when we left it. Yours should look similar to this. If not, go back to Old Kent Road.



As you can see the room looks very flat and boring, even Lara looks very cartoony in this light. This is because there are no lights added and only ambient light at full intensity is shown. Ambient light simply gives every texture an equal amount of light.

Adjust ambient light
The first thing we are going to do is adjust the ambient light. Ambient light needs to be set to very low or even to zero.
Always work from DARK to LIGHT. Ie start from a dark room.
At the right hand side of the Lighting controls you will find the controls for ambience.



Press alt key down and right click on any of the - (minus) buttons. Keep clicking until it reads 32, 32, 32. If you wish to have a tint in the ambience, alter the colours separately.

Your room should now look like this: (to view the lighting in the level editor just click the 'Lighting' button).



Yes, still looks horrible, only darker!

Info: Ok this is a tomb, in reality there will not be any light at all and the tomb will be pitch black!
What we have to do is Pretend there is a light source. In this room I am going to pretend the light source is from the center of the room at approximately ceiling height.


Using a 'standard' light
First we are going to use the 'standard' light. This is an 'all-purpose' light which you will probably use most often.

First rotate your room so you can see the ceiling clearly. (use PgUp and PgDn to zoom, cursor keys to rotate).
Click on the Light button, then click roughly in the center of the ceiling.



Ok, without doing anything else, just click on the Lighting button, you should see something like this:



This is already a huge improvement just by one click.

Adjusting the light
Next we are going to adjust this light. In order to see a visible
representation of the light we can press the 'Show Light Meshes' button.



You will see a red and a white 'sphere' around your light source. (don't worry the light will not bleed into any other rooms).



You can adjust the light by using the following:



Int = The intensity. Make the light brighter or darker.
Out = The furthest point the light will reach (the red sphere)
In = Represented by the white sphere, the distancce between the red and white sphere represents the 'falloff' of the light. This means the light will decrease gradually between these two spheres.
You can adjust the colour of the light using the colour+ and minus buttons.



Here I have made adjustments and changed the colour as an example.

Adding another light
I have added another light to add some 'fill' to the scene. You can use copy and paste buttons to duplicate a light and its settings.



And here is how this scene actually looks in game.


As you can see with only minimal lighting, we have produced a MUCH better looking room. Compare it with the unlit room below.
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Old 21-11-06, 16:33   #6
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The Sun bulb

The sun bulb. The manual warns that although you can have many sun bulbs, only ONE sun bulb can be used in any ONE room and you should not raise it or lower it so it falls outside the rooms area (above the ceiling, below the floor).

Okay. What I want you to do next is delete any lights you have created.
You should now have the darkened room only lit by the dim ambient light.

Repeat the procedure as we did with the standard light and place this time a SUN bulb roughly in the center of the room at ceiling height.
Again, show light meshes, this time the mesh is only a single line, and simply points in the direction the sun is shining. Switch Lighting button and your scene should look like this.



Adjusting the sun bulb
To adjust the sun bulb we use the same controls as before except you will not have the Out and In controls. However the X and Y buttons fields will become active.
Increasing/decreasing X - will rotate the sun vertically
Increasing/decreasing Y - will rotate the sun horizontally



So, adjust the sun bulb so that it points down a little, basically until you are happy with it. Here is my adjustment.



The sun bulb does cast nicer shadows. Here is how it looks in game.



Dont forget to output your wad and test your level frequently.
You can use PREVIEW to get a more accurate view of the lighting, but be warned this is prone to crashing, so save save save.
The lighting as displayed in the level appears approximately 10% darker than it does in game.


The Spotlight bulb
Spotlight is used to pick out certain areas, perhaps lighting up a dark corner, perhaps indicating a clue.
Again, delete all bulbs in the level.
Pick Spotlight bulb and place it in the same position as before



with light meshes showing.



Adjusting the Spotlight bulb
The adjustment for the Spotlight bulb is as follows.

In addition to the controls discussed previously you also have Len and Cut, these are similar to Out and In and relate to the Distance the spotlight light will travel.
X rotates the spotlight vertically, Y, horizontally. The other controls are the same.


The spotlight is best used in combination with other lights.

Using Lights in combination
Here I have used a combination of lights.



A sun at the top of the picture, a standard light in the middle and a spotlight at the bottom of the picture.
Here is how it looks in game.



Effect Light
The effect light is quite simple. It is placed on a texture square and the intensity and colour can be adjusted. The lighting will only affect that square and will spread to those tiles adjacent to it.
Here is an example.


I have copied and pasted this bulb also to the tile next to it. This is intended to highlight the rather nice textures.



Finally, my finished, lit room.


I settled for a sun bulb, 1 fill light (standard) and the two effects lights. Experiment and see if you can light it better than me!
Here is the original again for comparison


Conclusion
As you can see there is a lot to experiment with. Just follow these rules.
1. Don't over use lights. Sometimes one bulb will be enough.
2. Experiment with different light types to get the effect you want.
3. Always start from a darker room, even outdoor areas, keep ambient light low.
4. Add flame emitters etc for dynamic light. (more about that later).
5. If there are no obvious light sources (a window for example) then choose a 'virtual' light source and stick to it.
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Last edited by Uvavoo; 22-11-06 at 11:33.
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