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If you work with Dromed, do you have any advice for all those Thief mission builders out there?

Steve:
Save early, save often! and rename your saves each time and don't delete any of them.

Alex:
(Un?)fortunately I don't work with Dromed except to build small test levels to verify that code changes I've made are working properly. I will say suggest that people look to the strengths of the engine when making levels. Do things with the engine that are possible in it, but very difficult in other engines. The coolest part of Dromed I've seen is definitely Act/React.

Mike:
The first rule of DROMED is use grid snap
The second rule of DROMED is USE GRID SNAP
The third rule of DROMED is save often
The fourth rule of DROMED optimize often
The fifth rule of DROMED is build hiding places
The sixth rule of DROMED is get used to redoing your work many times over
The seventh rule of DROMED is shift-ins makes easy room brushing
The eighth rule of DROMED is if its your first time with DROMED you have to build something that does not involve stealing Bafford's Scepter.

Laura:
Area brushes, area brushes, and more area brushes. Things always take more polys than you expect. Sometimes it just breaks, not because you did anything wrong, but because it's a cranky little program.

Rich:
Umm....Lot's of Aspirin. ; )

Rob:
Do the math. It helps to use graph paper to plan out the size of your level, otherwise you can end up with rooms that have 2 foot thick walls on one side and three foot on the other. Truly the best advice is to have fun with it. I think that when a designed has fun making the level then the players will get that, in turn, when they play it.

Emil:
Itís really easy to fall prey to level "gigantism," meaning everything, from doorways to countertops, is much too big. Thatís because itís often impossible to judge scale from within the editor, and even in game mode. An easy, helpful solution? Whenever you begin construction, always place an AI (like a sword guard) so you can easily judge the scale.
Another suggestion is this - optimize the entire level frequently, and save your progress. This will tighten up your architecture, and help you avoid problems later on when you go to optimize your gigantic level, and suddenly discover that some brushes are misaligned and theyíre screwing everything else up.

Randy:
Everything said already is valuable. And donít forget this: you guys are the punk rock, DIY level builders, compared to us corporate types who work under the constraint that we must ship viable, profitable products on schedule. So do whatever you want. Take risks. Raise hell. Be weird. Show us up. Have a lot of fun.

Raf:
Oh yes, fear optimization hell (i.e. build too complexly make some bad brush that conflicts with some other brush somewhere in your level and then not be able to optimize). Be organized. Always plan out extensively what you're going to build. This is so that when you get inspiration and add in something spontaneously it modifies your existing thought out structure instead of morphing it steadily into a shape you don't recognize. Read the documentation carefully, DromEd is a strange beast. Remember that the strongest suit of DromEd isn't necessarily complex architecture but complex interaction within that architecture. Build your architecture for the shadows and lighting you envision rather than having that as an afterthought. And finally whenever possible build small and polish: tweak the texturing, lighting object placement and interaction so that the level looks and feels REAL.



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