I just wanted to share with you a single scene of many on a project
I've been working on for over a year now. I've been using an engine called the Creation Kit which is something I've very familiar with using for creating additional content for Skyrim and Fallout 4. I have 100,000's of downloads for the content I create for the Bethesda community. I know a lot of people like to say that Game Guru is not intended or can never be comparable to "AAA game engines" but I do greatly disagree.
Here is just a single scene of something much larger I have been working on, in Bethesda's Creation Kit:
In engine screenshot:
No shaders, no lights, no skybox, no fog:
In game screenshot (medium graphics):
I've been recreating the entire city of Toronto in Canada within the Fallout universe using the Creation Kit. Using assets that come with the game and some of my own I've been able to create massive environments with lots of detail and even wilderness areas Interiors included. The task has been very heavy but the tools are so incredibly easy for me to use, its not a chore at all. The only time consuming part of doing the environmental design is simply illustrating my creativity. Not fighting with work-arounds or struggling with plotting to place objects where i exactly need them to be. I think if maybe I explain what differentiates the Creation Kit with Game Guru, maybe that might help people understand why I struggle and always complain around here, when attempting to use Game Guru for actually creating a game or scene.
I'd like to add that this has nothing to do with game play or the visuals. I'm just going to state the different between the two editors in how they allow you to build your maps/stages/levels/worlds. Only different between GG allows you to create your own game, and export it. While the Creation Kit is for editing games made with Bethesda. That's the only difference between GG and CK. So please dont hound me about the CK being a "level editor" for a game. The two are incredibly similar when it comes to their editors and that's what I'll be focusing on here.
First of all, I have to say Game Guru's terrain sculpting system is amazing. Its very easy to forget how blessed we are to have such a smooth easy to use sculpting system. Because comparing it to other tools like it, its way more smoother and easy to use right off the bat. I actually prefer Game-Guru's sculpting tools over the Creation Kit. Though there are some advantages over GG. For instance you can set the size of the brush with units. You also have the ability to create a falloff radius (which Unreal also has). This might be something to consider for GG's future, though presently I'm content with GG's terrain sculpting system.
Creating a random terrain is a nightmare in other engines but literally just one click for Game-Guru. I can't express how happy I was when I found that option reintroduced in a later build with GG. Other engines require that you import a height map and weight forever for it to construct. Hoping that you wont receive any errors or bugs. With GG it just works.
One of my favorite tools in the Creation Kit and Game Guru is the ability to paint terrain on your landscape that you have sculpted or are continuing to finesse. With Game Guru you have 4 terrain options that are actually quite intelligent. In that dirt will remove any grass you have sprayed creating a path. Also has a very nice blending system with the different terrains creating some very detailed results. A fantastic tool for people just jumping right in and creating beautiful landscapes.
I actually never had any problem with it till much later when I realized I couldn't actually have more than 4 terrains on a single map. While this may never be a problem for most people, I have noticed quite a number of members of the community also, like me, wanting to be a bit more adventurous with our landscapes. For instance I'd love to be able to create a nice grassy area, and then a mountain with snow at its foot by using custom textures I have created. I'd also want there to be some way to not have some custom texture terrains obstruct the grass that I may have painted down.
In the Creation Kit, you have an unlimited number of texture terrains you can choose from and include. Each time you paint on another terrain it just blends the two on top of one another until one overfeeds the other. You can really get creative with this as say you have entities of road chunks like in the example of my screenshot... you can have a texture very similar to your road chunks and really make them blend into the landscape without adding more unnecessary polys and draw-calls.
I should add that the terrain painting system is quite fantastic in Game Guru. I would just love to see the ability to use more custom textures in the same map in the future. Since I've become quite used to that freedom in other engines. Noticed quite a number of others agree and it has been placed on the feature request.
Modifying the water height in the Creation Kit is a nightmare. It comes with a lot of bugs and you will rarely ever get the desirable results you were looking for. You pretty much have to make sure you have set your water height where you wanted it from the start or else your in for some trouble. Interesting enough Game Guru is similar in that you must figure out your water height in comparison to your land before sculpting because you will not be able to modify its height at all. If Game Guru is able to introduce water modifications like it had in FPSCx9 and FPSCx10 it would be a step up above Bethesda's creation kit.
Grid / Snapping modes in the creation kit are very similar to Game Guru's. You can freely place entities where you like or you can have them set to a grid or you can have them snap to points of other entities. You can also force objects to the floor with the press of one button, same as Game Guru. So Game Guru has really improved a lot with the introduction of these modes. Only difference is in the Creation Kit you can change the grid size in properties.
Entity Properties (Widget) in the Creation Kit is where this engine excels greatly over any type of environmental design or game design software I have ever used. Once you have selected your object it will turn green
showing you exactly what you have in the map selected. In Game Guru only does this when you are in F9 mode. Without being in F9 mode it is very hard to figure out what you have selected among a stack of objects. Its actually incredibly frustrating for me at times. In the Creation Kit double clicking the entity will bring up its properties. This is another reflex I have when using Game Guru that i'm disappointed with. I have troubles reading the widget tabs based on various different monitor sizes i use. So going through to lick properties each time when I'm modifying dozens or more objects is too tedious and becomes frustrating. Being able to double click an entity and have it automatically bring up the property panel to the left would be a blessing short cut.
Once you have your entity property menu open in the Creation Kit, its very similar to Game Guru in that it displays all the info and values (similar to the FPE info in gg's case). In the Creation Kit you are able to reposition objects preciously where you want them by modifying their x/y/z values and even rotation with values. While you can at any time use the 3D widget to do this as well.. if you want to be exact with values it allows you to do this in the properties panel. Game Guru has no actual way of allowing precision of entity modifications in your world. Having the ability to modify an offset from its anchor point is something I think that would allow for this to work in GG. You can move things exactly where you want them in CK. GG it will be pixels off no matter how hard you try with the widget. You can also scale with values too in the CK whereas in GG I have struggled very much with.
So basically you can modify the x/y/z position and x/y/z rotation and scale with values. If Game Guru ever received this advancement, you'd see a lot more detailed scenes being constructed by the more detailed obsessed users. This would allow for more advanced environmental designers to take advantage of such an addition in Game Guru, while not getting in the face and confusing more novice users.
Modifying entities with precision is what allows for your maps to look more organic rather than just a linear grid setup. This is how i achieved the look I did with my example in the screenshot.
Creation Kit Editor Window
Now if you are curious about the visual in that screenshot, the Creation Kit has plenty of complicated options that often lead to crashing if you adjust too many things on at once. So they have added the ability to hide markers, hide grass, hide shadows, hide skybox, hide light radius and etc through a drop down "view" menu. It also allows you to turn off shaders while editing. This all helps with just preventing the engine from crashing or lagging while editing. Something Game Guru never has problems with I've found in later builds. Though having the ability to hide certain things in the editor may prove to be useful if say a trigger zone is in the way of something your trying to see or edit.
Night and Day
Because Bethesda games are mostly open world and have a night and day system; They have directly integrated time and sun positioning into their engine. The sun path goes from one side of the map to the other based on the time of day. In their editor they actually have a slider for this so you can see the shadows move and assign what skyboxes load up based on time and what fog settings as well as ambient lighting color and intensity. While this may be far too advanced for Game Guru to put into the editor, it would be a fantastic addition to integrate into the core engine. The ability to have an internal day clock that you can change the speed via LUA. This would also require the ability to load different skyboxes via LUA. Creation Kit however handles all this in the editor without scripts from the user. Making it incredibly easy to have night and day effects. Currently the sun position doesn't dynamically move though you can change its starting position via the starting skybox data.
In the Creation Kit you have a variety of lights to play around with. You can have spot lights or directional lights. Even animate them. In Game Guru you currently cannot animate lights and we only have spot lights not directional ones. While directional lights are not important to me... they do create very realistic scenes. In my small example I'm using one directional light and the ambient light of the sun. That's it. Adding more lights would make for a very dynamic scene but would also chew up preference.
The Creation Kit has a built in character generator which is incredibly advanced. Allows for you to modify brow ridge, nose size and cheek bones.. very detailed and allows for you to create very unique looking characters. Unfortunately its buggy as hell. As for Game Guru's character creation system... I think its quite straight forward and easy to use. We dont really need a tool to modify cheek bones and alike. So I think what we have going is a pretty good standard as its not too intimidating and its less buggy.
In the Creation Kit your characters will not go up and down stairs right off the bat. Same case with Game Guru. This is because in the Creation Kit, you require a step called Nav Mesh. With a single click of a button, after about 20 minutes or so, a Nav Mesh will be created that acts as like a blanket on top of your map. This Nav Mesh shows up as red triangles and it lands on surfaces to tell the AI where he can walk. Modifying the Nav Mesh can be incredibly tedious. Take days to even weeks if you have a very large map (or several in your game). The Nav Mesh system is important as a lot of the AI in Bethesda games makes use of wandering characters. While some use Way Points identical to Game Guru... most of them just wander around the Nav Mesh. I find the Nav Mesh process in the Creation Kit to be far to complex and tedious for new developers. As I have tried to teach the process to others. So however Lee manages to figure out getting the AI to navigate different floors.. hopefully its an easier process. I have no doubts he'll some how work his magic and it seems this is the next tasks for Game Guru. Very interested in seeing how he sorts out this complex task. But if he manages to do it in a way that just works for us without having to edit a nav mesh ourselves... that would put Game Guru ahead of the Creation Kit for sure. What makes the Creation Kit not user friendly to new people is the Nav Mesh system to get AI to work properly.
So I hope this provides a bit of insight as to why I tend to always argue the points of comparison. I believe strongly in Game Guru's potential and I can honestly say its not that far off from becoming a "professional tool". The EBE tool seems to have pleased the masses, though I personally would love to have the functions that came with it... to be applicable to entities as well. I've built my own little EBE system using different kinds of meshes and the snapping mode. But I cannot view the grid in anyway and am unable to draw entities like you can with the EBE. If we had those little functions for entities in the normal editing mode you could knock of 10 items off the feature voting list. You could draw fences, roads and all kinds of things. So a entity drawing mode where you can just hold down the mouse and draw without entities overlapping would be AMAZING. Perhaps a third type of spray mode like we have when you press "I" I believe it is. Anywho... this is a bit of whats been on my mind with GG and its best expressed by comparison to another program of which I'm very comfortable in that GG actually does some things better.. just needs that extra bit to really become just as powerful.