Tomb Raider marked a sensational new approach to 3rd person gaming. Fans not only fell in love with Lara and her moves, but with the imaginative and intriguing worlds of her adventures. It all started with Lara's visit to some ruins back in 1996, and has come full circle with the release of the Tomb Raider Level Editor which offers a different sort of adventure in various settings. Tomb Raider: Chronicles marks the end of the line of Tomb Raider games made with these development tools; but rather than viewing this as an end, the release of the editor makes it seem more like a beginning...
The Tomb Raider Level Editor includes a tutorial that will walk you through the basics needed to create your own stand alone Tomb Raider levels. You have a wonderful variety of object and texture sets from which to choose. You can sculpt and design on many different "levels", trigger events, create awe-inspiring spaces - simple to complex, and as you experiment you will learn more about what can be done, and quite possibly discover new methods of applying the knowledge you will have acquired.
How it Works: Blocks, squares and clicks. The Level Editor is designed to work with a basic "building block" proportioned to Lara and her movements. Texture "tiles", equal in scale to these basic "building blocks", are applied to the modeled rooms comprising each level. Lights, objects, enemies and sounds are
placed within the model to create the worlds for Lara’s adventures!
Building Rooms: Levels are built by connecting a series of rooms comprised of walls and "building blocks". The floors and ceilings of these rooms are sectioned into squares. Building blocks can range in height from one click all the way up (or down) to however far you are willing to push the limits! The building blocks are not limited to cubes or columns with flat tops. Corners of the surfaces can be pulled up or down to create angled slopes and "organic" surfaces.
Applying Textures: Textures are applied to the surfaces of the blocks to further define the block shapes and ultimately define Lara's environments. Each level has a specific texture file that must be loaded in order to apply the textures.
Applying Lighting Effects: Every room has an RGB ambient light capability ranging from zero to 100% white light, with every color in between. Lights, spotlights, effect lights, sunlight and shadows add drama and help to create a real world ambience.
Placing Objects: What would Lara's world be without objects to pick up or enemies to fight? Each project has a specific file, or WAD (object set), that must be loaded before the placement of objects or baddies is possible. WAD files include the specific objects, from ammo to animated water fountains, and at least three or four baddies per level. This is the time to employ your design skills and discover new meaning to the term "game balance"!
Placing Audio Tracks: Audio tracks play an important role in setting the various moods within a level and are as easy as objects to trigger. After you have listened to the audio tracks, try to imagine how and where they will add to the overall ambience, the "drama" and game play of your level.