In making a game, if I'm writing my own engine, at what sort of scale of team should I invest time in making a level editor tool? If it's just me on my own will it be worth it? Or when there's a team of two? ten?

By what metric do I judge if making the tool is "worth it"? Or is it always worth the time investment?


closed as primarily opinion-based by MichaelHouse Dec 22 '14 at 15:31

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think some of this comes with experience, its also easier to judge with more detail. Is your game going to be procedural and therefore relying on more random scenarios - or do you plan to hand build your own levels? etc \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Dec 22 '14 at 14:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Whatever works for you. If you have one artist, to make him useful he needs good tools. If you have a hundred artists, it may be less of an issue. \$\endgroup\$ – Jari Komppa Dec 22 '14 at 14:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ A lot of times, creating the tools, opens up a whole new world of understanding on how the game itself works and will work. \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Swindell Dec 22 '14 at 14:36

The number of team members is irrelevant.

Whether or not to invest time in tool development is a simple cost/benefit analysis.

Make an estimate how many hours it will take to develop a tool and how many hours of work it will save you in the long run. When the first number is smaller than the second, go for it, otherwise do it manually.

Also, never forget to check which 3rd party tools are available for your purpose. Adapting an existing tool is usually magnitudes less work than developing a comparable tool from scratch, even when it means that you might have to do some modifications to your engine, the tool itself or write some form of middleware. The first 3rd party tool you should consider using when planning a game development project is the game engine. Very few game projects have so unique and exotic technical requirements that using a standard game engine is more work than developing your own from scratch.


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