Bonus Feature: Custom Tools - Environment Artists and Game Editors

Gamasutra reprints veteran Bungie Studios artist Steve Theodore's art-specific article which delves into the world of world-building tools -- and what might mot
In the latest in a series of discipline-targeted bonus features, Gamasutra reprints veteran artist and Bungie Studios content-side technical director Steve Theodore's Game Developer magazine article "Custom Tools", which delves into the world of world-building tools -- and what might motivate you to go custom. "Tools may not make an artist, but they can certainly break one," says Theodore. "But how do you convince your studio to adopt the right tools strategy?" "Planning and advocating for the right tools is a critical job for every art department. It's also a difficult and delicate game of hot potato, as it can easily devolve into arguments about making other people work hard so we don't have to." Theodore aruges that the major modeling packages -- Maya, 3DSMax, and XSI -- do not serve the world-builder as well as the character model artist. While some engines do offer solutions, if you're not using them, they may not apply. So bulding your own may become relevant: "The paramount factor to remember when designing your own world-building tools is the nature of the game you're making. This sounds like a truism, but you don't dare forget how intimately the choice of tools is going to affect your game's final character." Theodore also warns that your tools can very easily affect your game design negatively. "If moving a doorway is going to cost you days of retexturing, shuffling around UVs, or fiddling with sliver polys from bad Booleans... well, you're not going to move that door, even if it's adversely affecting gameplay." You can now read the entire Gamasutra article on the subject, which goes into much more detail on the subject of custom world-building tools.

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