Room Editor


The last Room Editor I wrote was on the Atari 800XL in 1984. It could be used with an Atari Touch Tablet and saved and loaded room data files from floppy disk. It was the quickest way of getting room data made for “room” based games like Jet Set Willy. The Touch Tablet I’m using now is called a Magic Trackpad and it’s by Apple. Obviously, the resolution and functionality is worlds apart.

I’d written Jet Set Willy on the Commodore 64 the year before Chimera and towards the end of 1984 I was wondering whether I was finished in video games or not. I did a game with a friend called “Baby Starts Walking” on the Commodore 64. My friend did most of the graphics and room design, I took the code I’d written for Jet Set Willy and cleaned it up a bit. Before we’d quite finished and before we’d had a chance to create any enemy sprites, we decided to try and sell the game.

I won’t say where we took it, but we were offered £3000 and turned it down. Daft really, we should have taken the money and moved on. Instead I carried on playing video games, having already pretty much dropped out of school. Chimera was my last chance saloon. Having started in 1983, 27 years later, here I still am.

So the Room Editor I need to write now needs to have the following characteristics and properties:

1) Allow me “play the game” (whatever that turns out to be)

2) Allow the insertion of various “nouns”, including walls, artifacts, blocks and characters

3) Allow the editing of the properties of the nouns (i.e. choose adjectives)

4) Understand the physics (or the verbs) of the game

5) Allow saving/loading of the room data

I’m wondering if I should be using XML for the room data format, or something else. For now, I guess it would be sensible to use XML, given the availability of libraries for it.

To begin with, I just need to hard-code certain objects and allow for flexible placement.

Oh, and I also need to write an Isometric class. Not so tough.