Monday, February 16, 2009

Graphical area editing

I've committed a new feature to Ember, which is graphical area editing in real time. I've always felt that it was something that was missing and was crucial for easy world editing. A lot of what makes up the features in the terrain is based on areas. It's a really nifty feature which allows us to add all kinds of different details to the world. There are also some ideas of expanding them to be used for server side foliage definitions, as well as integrating the area code with the terrain modifier code.
However, editing areas have always been cumbersome, even with the improved entity editor in Ember. Basically the areas are made up of polygons, which are defined using a list of points. Editing an area thus involves manually altering the individual points, which is really time consuming and hard to do.
The new area editing feature presents a nice graphical way of altering the areas through simple dragging and dropping of points. The current implementation only allows for alterations of existing areas, and you cannot add or remove points. That's all to come however, but the current behavior is already a vast improvement over the previous functionality, as can be seen in this movie.



High quality version available on YouTube.

When creating the code for the placement and movement of the nodes I could reuse a great deal of existing placement code in Ember, much thanks to the way it previously was written to be generic. It's always nice to see some of the earlier hard work paying of in these ways.
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