WAD Editor Torture Test
Draft version 0.9 - December 95
I began writing this document when I was thinking about how DEU 6.0 could be both powerful and user-friendly. I tought about what WAD authors would like to be able to do, instead of taking the programmer's point of view. I received many suggestions from DEU users and I also used my own experience as a WAD author. Several people suggested that I take a look at other programs and see what is easier or more difficult to do with them. So I tested DETH, DCK, WadAuthor and others, and I saw how a level builder would work with these editors and how easy it was to do such and such task. Finally, I put my ideas together and wrote this little scenario which shows how a WAD file could be created.
Each step in this scenario results in a well-formed WAD file, without any special effects. Any WAD editor should be able to create all intermediate WAD files up to the final one, whether it is sector-oriented or linedef-oriented. What will make the difference is the ease of use: several of these steps will be very difficult to perform with some editors, often requiring you to delete some parts of the level and re-create them somewhere else. Think about what this would mean for a real level with hundreds of sectors.
The following scenario is not unrealistic: it shows how someone (novice or experienced) could build a level, changing one's mind from time to time. Of course, there are many other important features which are not illustrated directly by this scenario, such as multi-level UNDO, the ability to see all the properties of an object by simply moving the pointer over it, how easy it is to navigate through the menus and dialog boxes of the program, etc. But if you try to follow this scenario and build the level, you will probably use these features anyway.
Note: wait until the next step before saving your level because most BSP builders will fail if a level contains only one convex sector.
WETT Scores: (example) DEU 5.21: 9.
WETT Scores: missing...
Rotate the whole level 90 degrees counterclockwise. The orientation of the player and monsters should be modified accordingly.
Add a new sector inside the second room, taking the northeastern sixth of the hexagon. Raise the floor and ceiling by 8, so that the floor is at 136 and the ceiling at 200. Decrease the light level to 112. Use the texture STEP1 for the upper and lower panels that are now visible.
Add another sector taking the southeastern part of the hexagon, symetrical to the previous one and with the same properties. Now, you also have a third new sector between the two other ones (on the eastern side). Raise its floor and ceiling by 16 so that they are at 144 and 208, respectively. Set its light level to 64.
Replace all BROWNHUG textures with STARTAN3 (on normal, upper and lower panels). The alignment should be preserved and no other textures should be modified.
Do something else... Any suggestions, Steve? :-)
I don't think it is a good idea to give a score to each editor, because it should be up to the user to decide which editor(s) she likes. Furthermore, this scenario covers a limited part of what an editor should be able to do and doesn't take the user interface into account. But many people ask for an objective comparison of the various WAD editors and this could help a bit.
Note: I am not satisfied with the scoring system described below. Some aspects of the ease of use are not taken into account (i.e. how many times you have to click or press a key to get the thing done). Any suggestions for a better system? Or some criteria that should be added to the current system?
For each of these steps, add the points as follows:
It is impossible (and pointless) to get the maximum score of 150 for this test, because an editor which has an option for doing every task automatically would suffer from creeping featuritis and any novice would easily get lost in the menus. If you take the time to follow this scenario and build the level, please send me the detailled scores for the editor(s) that you used, as well as a short description of how you performed each step. I will compile the results and put them on this page.
For the moment, I don't think there is a "best editor": each one has its good and bad points and any serious WAD author should use a combination of several programs. This document will hopefully help the programmers to see what features are missing in their programs and why they are necessary.