SSSI has been fairly generous thus far in revealing information about the editor that will ship with Rise and Fall. Through interviews, previews and a variety of tidbits of information we have been able to discern a great deal about the editor. Here is what we know thus far.
The editor that will ship with Rise and Fall is based on the editor that has been featured in the Titan Engine. What does this mean exactly? This means that the editor will be fairly similar to one found in Empire Earth and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. The editor that shipped with Empires: Dawn of the Modern World was a vast improvement over the Empire Earth editor and it looks as if the editor that will ship with Rise and Fall will be an improvement over the one that shipped with Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. The editor that will debut with Rise and Fall will be the exact same editor that the developers themselves used to construct the campaigns that are set to ship with Rise and Fall. To all the potential designers out there, this means one important thing: everything that the developers can do, a scenario designer can accomplish, as the tools will be exactly the same.
According to interviews with Rick Goodman and comments made by SSSI staff member Jefro5 a new terrain editor will be available in Rise and Fall. Until recently information on the terrain editor was fairly scant. In the question and answer thread here at Rise and Fall Heaven, Hank, a scenario designer for SSSI was kind enough to reveal some new elements about the terrain editor. Apparently, the editor will be returning to its roots as the “colour feature” that was present in Empire Earth will make a return. This is great news for designers as the colour feature was greatly missed when it was not included in the Empires editor. The “colour feature”, as in Empire Earth, will allow players to paint various shades of colour over existing terrains. The colour feature has also been upgraded to include a new glow paint tool. What this tool exactly does has not been revealed, but it sounds very intriguing. According to Rick Goodman players will be able to utilize a tool called “Speed Trees” in order to create lush realistic forests in a matter of seconds. Players will also be able to access a “Dynamic Flora System” in order to create realistic environments. We have not heard very much about the plant life that you will be able to place via the editor in Rise and Fall, but what we do know is very intriguing. According to Rick Goodman grass and other various flora will interact with units. When a unit walks through a patch of grass, the unit’s movements will disturb the grass.
One of the most interesting features being added to Rise and Fall is the hero system. According to SSSI staff member Ranger SSSI, players will have a great deal of control over the hero system via triggers. According to Ranger it will be entirely possible to create a 3rd person RPG that is entirely set in hero mode. Such a statement speaks volumes about the power that will be available to control heroes and hero mode inside the editor. Though Hank has stated that there is not a specific “hero editor” players will be able to edit heroes via triggers just like any other unit. Though this may sound limiting, anyone who has used the Empires editor knows that almost every unit statistic and feature can be altered via triggers. Players will also be able to utilize and control mountable objects and formations, via the trigger system.
Unlike previous SSSI titles, random maps will more closely resemble scenarios and the maps themselves will be entirely constructed with the editor. This means the players will be able to edit their favorite maps and create new maps from scratch. Random object placement is a very important part of skirmish maps, so it seems plausible that the Rise and Fall editor will allow players to add a lot more random features into their scenarios.
According to Hank lots of new features have been added to the trigger system in order to create a more robust trigger editor that will meet the needs of advanced scenarios designers while keeping things relatively simple for casual editor users. In the trigger section an “Else” function now exists and conditions can be created to line up directly with effects. Say for instance you have condition A,B,C,D and effect 1,2,3,4. You can set it up so that if A is true 1 will fire, B is true 2 will fire, and so on, all within one trigger. Some new effects have also been added. The hit point bar for important units can be placed at the bottom of the screen via an effect. A new spawning effect has been created that allows players to realistically create units out of houses, barracks, ships, etc. Further effects then allow the designer to control what formation the newly spawned units will form, or where on the map they need to be tasked to. A new condition has also been included that allows designers to detect if a particular unit is being targeted by a third person bow. These new trigger options, effect and conditions look like they will be excellent additions to what is already looking to be the most powerful trigger editor for any RTS game to date.
SSSI staff member Major Glory has stated the trigger, camera and map creation systems will all be very similar to Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. This means that players who were familiar with the Empires editor will probably be able to pick up the Rise and Fall editor without too much difficulty. The following quote from Major Glory probably summarizes what one can expect from the Rise and Fall editor. Major Glory: “I guess in short, every game our editor just gets more and more features, so you can be sure it’s packed with goodies.”
If you’re looking to get a head start with the Rise & Fall editor it would be to your benefit to check out the Empires editor manual and scenario design library, as the editor will be very similar to its predecessor.