Technical Issues in Tools Development Roundtable - Day 3: Editors
Brainstorm Topics: In-Engine vs. Outside App for Level Editors, Visual Script Editor Organization, Undo Stack for Multi-Editor Development, Tools Diagnostics, Survey: Dedicated Tools UX Designers, Telemetry, Small One-off Tools, Better 1st Party Tooling, Discoverability
In-engine vs. Outside Tool Level Editors:
- In-Engine editors really get you closer to seeing direct results.
- Downside is game instability = editor instability.
- Some mix both of these with a common service layer in between actually holding the marbles.
- Try to reduce complexity of actual scripting system to reduce visual compexity in the editor. Bundle common sets of actions into a single node.
- Some have created node graph diffing tools that work via image overlay on the node graph.
- Underlying format in this case was XML and was difficult to parse in a diff, so the diffing tool was necessary.
- Some have visual scripting as a light wrapper around an internal text-based scripting language. Solves diffing problem as you are saving out in your scripting language.
- Sub-graphs are a necessity for keeping things organized.
- Always implement undo to behave as external editors undo works (Maya, Photoshop, etc.) - users will expect it to behave the same way.
- Someone mentioned an Our Machinery article on Undo but I wasnt able to find it to link here.
- Make extensive use of remote logging, pipe to ELK stack for easy searchability.
- Enable windows registry settings to catch any exception and send the dump to a network share for later analysis.
- Avoid drowning in data by having a mechanism for filtering what data users send up, or even which users send data.
- Always consider privacy implications in your data collection policies if your tool is used publically. (GDPR!)
- Auto generated reports help draw attention to key points in your data collection quickly so you dont have to sift through it.
1st Party Tooling:
- Difficult topic - cross platform nature of most franchises mean we always fall to the lowest common denominator of available features.
Small One-Off Tools:
- ImGui / Synergy integration with your in-game tools is neat.
- A tool for quickly replaying debug commands to the console from the PC is useful. QA likes it.
- Contextual in-place UI helps users find features related to the action they are doing at that moment.
- Many use ambassadors / advocates per-dicipline to spread the word and educate.