Seeking advice on creating arcade game level editor

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Seeking advice on creating arcade game level editor

Post by jbnbeeb » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:14 am

Recently, dethmunk kindly created some graphics for my (still) work-in-progress Tequila Worm game. Initially, I planned to have "random" background scenery, based on 16x16 pixel tiles from dethmunk. But following feedback from when I went to the November Bolton ABUG meet, I've since decided that I'd like to have pre-generated levels. So therefore I'd like to create a level editor.

I'd like the level editor to be as generic (albeit targeted for Beeb games) as possible for use by anyone wanting to make games for the Beeb. I'd like the level editor to be Windows (possibly Linux too) based, with the ability to export binary files for use within beebasm. I've not had any recent experience creating a Windows app. However, I'm currently learning C++, as at some point I'd like to develop games for modern hardware as well as the trusty Beeb. I've downloaded Visual Studio (community edition) 2015 and am devouring Learn C++ websites and books. I think a level editor would serve as a good first C++ project for me as I have a motivation to create one (it'll be useful!) and it ought not to be as complicated as creating a game. As I want to focus on game development, I don't want to spend ages delving in to MFC/Win32 to create the user interface and graphics for the level editor.

So I have a question for anyone out there that does modern development with C++ (calling Tricky, Richard Talbot-Watkins, Kieran maybe :) :) )

Are there any nice (and free) C++ libraries or APIs that I could use to easily create a reasonable GUI whilst avoiding the horrors of MFC/Win32 as much as possible? I've been looking at SDL2, but I don't think that will be great for menus and buttons.
I had a great time at...
ABUG Cambridge Sept 20-22nd 2019

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Re: Seeking advice on creating arcade game level editor

Post by tricky » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:38 pm

My personal opinions:
I haven't found anything better than MFC for a single dialog, but Qt is probably the best/easiest with Win32 in third place.
If you don't want to customise anything, MFC is good, but you might need an older version of VS (maybe OK in community).
If you want to customise extensively, Win32 is probably best.
Try Qt though, it has a WYSWYG editor, integrates with VS and is cross-platform.
I have never used the QML stuff, but that seemed where it was headed last time I checked.
There have been some promising Immediate mode UI projects, but I haven't looked recently.

EDIT: Forgot to mention Qt is well documented too :lol: I still can't call it "cute" though, it will always be "Q.T." to me :wink:
Last edited by tricky on Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Seeking advice on creating arcade game level editor

Post by davidb » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:48 pm

I'm biased because I used to work on Qt documentation. :) I write all my little editors for existing game levels and for Castle Raider using PyQt 4 - so Python and Qt 4. You can also do the same in C++ using plain Qt libraries, of course.

The latest Qt 5 libraries push you towards QML for the front end description but you can still use plain widgets instead. It's probably easier to use those for a "traditional" desktop application.

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Re: Seeking advice on creating arcade game level editor

Post by oss003 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:50 pm

Maybe Charpad for the C64 is a good option:
You can import/export binary files.

I used it for redesiging the Atomic Tetris levels but these were monochrome graphics, don't know how it handles coloured sprites.


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