Amnesia and the Mod Tools

I had bought Amnesia – The Dark Descent while it was still in the pre-order fase, and I completely forgot about it over time, due to having a slow pc working at the moment, and while my own pc isn’t fixed I haven’t been thinking much about “bigger” games at all. But, when recently a friend of mine caught me on steam and sent me a line saying “Amnesia best horror game ever!!”, I remembered having bought it and I said to myself, what the hell, I may as well try it, at least. So I went searching my inbox mails for Amnesia and FG related keywords and I found the confirmation stuff and all, I downloaded it, and I tested it. It crashed. 😀 This pc isn’t in the best shape and the graphics card isn’t the most supported by it, but after testing diferent graphics settings it finally ran well (“well” as in “everything mininmum, 640 res, and not 100% butter-skating-smooth, but very playable, still).

But meanwhile, during a few days that I was thinking the game would never run here, I tried to modding tools. So far I’m just a big noob at it, while I understand the basic concepts of the Level Editor I couldn’t be asked to make a decent map yet, let alone a whole custom story. But still I already am surprised.

I only tested the level editor so far, and I must say I loved it. There is only one thing I wish it was improved, and that is viewport navigation system: I’m used to Valve’s Hammer and its WASD flying system, which works pretty much as if you were ingame with noclip on, and this is a must for me in any editor. But I’m also used to Blender and a few other 3D modelers and the controls of this Level Editor aren’t so diferent from them. Alt+Left/Mid/Right mouse buttons will give you the Orbit/Pan/Zoom funtions respectively. This isn’t that bad. I’m ok with it. Still wish for WASD flying, but it’s ok anyway. At least it isn’t as bad as the older UEds in this matter.

It has a few bugs (but, hey, if you come from Hammer you’re used to that and much more! Right? lol). One of the bugs is rather funny, when you click the red cross on the top-right (the one you use to close apps), it doesn’t work. You need to either go to “File->Quit” or press Alt+F4. I laugh at it everytime I use the program because I always forget. 😀

There are, however, a few severe/dangerous bugs, and one must save a lot, and sometimes restart the program to fix certain ones. But so far, everything seemed rather easy to deal with and no harm as been done to my simple map that I made from a basic tutorial.

The GUI is very simplistic, just how I like it. Again, being used to Hammer makes me wish for this kind of stuff. 12 buttons on the side, a control pannel or property inspector, whatever you want to call it, on the right side, and a sort of status bar with a few toggle buttons and that’s it. However, not all is made with the Level Editor. And that’s why there’s more programs in the tools, like the Model Editor, the materials and particles editors and some viewers and the language tool which is used for tranlations, I think. The model editor is used to set model properties for the map, and not a 3D app as the name may make it sound. In this editor you can define the state of a model, for exemple, you can have a door being locked by default when the map starts.

Everything in the editor are 3D models, except for certain things like entities, lights and areas. This means, if you want custom stuff, you gotta do it yourself. Diferent walls or doorways or whatever, it all has to be modeled externally and saved as a Collada DAE model, and then it can be used to make up the map. I’m not sure how the GPL2 engine works, but I’m sure it doesn’t use BSP geometry at all. In a way, for some reason, I like the idea of it, even if it means I won’t be doing much custom stuff alone.

Well, as a final thought, I think it’s a great tool. I haven’t mentioned half of what it’s capable of, and I don’t know more than half of what it’s capable of, but so far it surprised me. Well, such a complete set of tools and full ingame support for mods, coming from an indie dev team, is something to be surprised at.

But even more surprising is Amnesia – The Dark Descent, from which I only had the pleasure of fearing for 20 long and cruel minutes, and I already feel like recommending it to everyone who likes being scared to shit by watching/playing horror. And if you think you aren’t the type to piss your pants just by playing a game, I tell you: Even more than Penumbra series would (or did), this game will impress you. But I’ll leave this for another post, sometime after I played more and have cleaned my underwear. 😀

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