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The craftyjs javascript game engine is in the process of creating a game builder that will assist the developer in map design, sprites, animations and that kind of stuff.

Are there any good resources on how a game builder should be crafted, both from an ease of use point of view(you need these features, and the world should be displayed like this) and a technical point of view(You need to store the data like this). I figure there should be blogs and articles written by players in the traditional console and pc game industry that we can learn from, but i have a hard time finding any.

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This is a really broad question. For starters, what kind of games is this tool for? –  jhocking Apr 27 '11 at 20:49
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Right. The tool is for relatively small 2d games. –  sorenbs Apr 28 '11 at 0:28
    
Asking players about game development may not be the best approach -- the needs from both of these groups will probably prove to be very different (e.g., players thinking of impossible things without a good understanding of what's really involved in software development vs. developers trying to keep things as simple as possible while keeping the game play fun). –  Randolf Richardson Jun 1 '11 at 5:01

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For interface, efficient navigation will definitely be a high priority, and I suggest you take a look at how Google Earth makes it possible to view any part of our world with a minimal amount of "mousing around" -- need to go from Canada to China? Simple, zoom out from some street view in Canada, drag the world to view China, click a few times to zoom in to the desired province, city, etc., and you've travelled across the world faster than the grumpy customs official at the aeroport can say "Today is your lucky day, for you've been randomly selected for a private search session..."

For data format, providing more options is definitely better. If you can let the output be tab-delimited format file (.tab), comma-delimited format file (.csv), or a series of SQL INSERT statements (.sql) that will work in major SQL servers like PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, SQLite, etc., that would be great. The option for the developer to decide what information is output, and in what order, will be important too (default should be something that you choose which is sensible, starts with X and Y {and even Z if you're supporting multi-level buildings, basements, dungeons, etc.} co-ordinates, and includes all other fields).

Now, being able to attach arbitrary labels will be important. A reference to graphical images, which can be used in your editor, will help too. Of course, for the references to graphical images, if developers have the choice of using the filename (the default) or specifying an arbitrary ID number (which can alternatively be output in the resulting data files), this would certainly be helpful.

There should also be an "explore mode" that allows the developer to run around the world, even if the character is only a stick man (make sure you provide a stick woman as well, which should also be easy to draw because all she'll need is a triangular shaped dress and long hair). Even if the character can run through walls and drifts around like a ghost, that will still be okay because the main point is to just give a feel of some simple navigation which is valuable to world builders.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please let me know if you do release something as I would like to take a look at it and would be happy to provide you with some feedback if you like.

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