Last time on the blog we covered some new gameplay functionality, and this time we’re going to take a look at how the game is built. We’ve built several editors for creating all the different moving parts in Barotrauma. These are used for developing the game, but upon Steam release, the same tools will be available for modding. Have a read and let us know what you think!
Starting with the smallest moving parts and skipping the Particle and Sprite Editors, we’re going to move on to the brand new Character Editor, used for creating both human and non-human characters in the game.
All characters are made up of a ragdoll “skeleton”, on one hand, and the animations that go with that character, on the other. In the pre-alpha versions, editing the ragdolls and animations was possible only in xml, and there was very little control over the animation parameters. Overall, creating new characters involved a lot of knowledge about the inner workings of the game and its code.
This had to change when we started making new monsters, and we also wanted to simplify the process a lot to make it easier for players to build their own mods. So, here is the Character Editor. It’s a work in progress, and for some things you still have to dig into the xml code (things like deformations and attacks), but as of this moment, it is possible to create characters from scratch without even touching a text editor.
In the Character Editor, you can edit the two basic components of characters, the ragdolls and the animations. In the ragdoll editing mode, you create and edit limbs and connect these with joints. In the animation editing mode, you define how your creation should move.
The ragdolls and the animations are stored separately in different files. You can have multiple animations and ragdolls per character, but currently only the ones defined as default files will be used. We might change this later on, which would enable us to have different kind of movement for e. g. female and male characters, or depending on the body structure of the character – think mom and baby Moloch.
Moving from characters to vessels, the Submarine Editor will remain mostly unchanged in the first early access version, although we have plans to make it a little more user-friendly during the early access period. Undo & redo functionality is a must, along with making wiring the sub faster and easier.
However, the editor does have a few new features, perhaps the most important being what we decided to call “item assemblies”. They are basically collections of items and structures that can be reused across submarines, for example pre-wired doors, pre-filled supply cabinets or fully wired airlock systems. If you’ve built something cool you want to save for later use in your future submarines, you can simply select the group of items/devices and save it. The saved assemblies can also be shared in the Steam Workshop.
Some other features include the option to scale and offset wall textures and to mirror items and walls horizontally or vertically. And of course, we’ve now got CURVED WALLS in case you want to build a submarine that actually looks like a submarine instead of a floating box.
To allow for modifications even outside the sub, we’ve added a Level Editor for editing the outdoors environments, or to be more exact, the parameters that are used to procedurally generate the levels. It’s possible to edit the shape of the level, the ice walls and the “level objects” (vegetation, environmental hazards, etc) that are used to populate the level. This is a crucial tool for the dev team, but it might also come in handy for the most ambitious of our modders.
To bring it all together, the Steam release of the game will include full Steam Workshop integration, which allows you to download and install submarines, item assemblies, mods and so on much more easily. And, of course, you can also use it to share your creations with other players on the Workshop.
Steam Workshop also makes it easier to find any missing mods that you need to play on a server: if you try to join a server that’s using content you don’t have, that content can be automatically downloaded from the Workshop (assuming it is available there of course). Moddability has always been a big part of Barotrauma, and we think this is one place where Steam is really going to improve the experience for the player.
To help you get a better idea of how modding will work in the Steam release, we made a short video about creating a new monster and publishing it in the Steam Workshop. Take a look here:
That’s all this time, but stay tuned, because we will be back soon with news about our closed beta!