While I typically work on pixel art and animations using Graphics Gale (mentioned in my Favorite Gamedev Tools post) , I like trying out new tools. Pickle caught my eye when I saw its terrain mode – a live-updating tilemap editor that displays all possible combinations of tiles at once. I knew I had to try it out, so I downloaded the 7-day trial and gave it a whirl!
Recently I’ve been experimenting with a tool called Vertex Meadow by Ian Maclarty. It’s a wonderful browser-based terrain editor that uses height and color maps, meaning anyone, even without 3D modeling skill, can make explorable 3D environments with relative ease. It features an exploration mode, where you can move freely in your environment, and an edit mode, where you can paint heightmaps in black and white (lighter = higher) and view your results in real-time. You can also edit attributes such as the height of the sky, the ambient light of the area, fog, specularity, and more. When you’re done creating your world, you can set a title and then share it, creating a unique URL for your world.
My big splurge of 2015 was getting a Surface Pro to replace my poor, zombie, 5-year old laptop. That lappy carried me through all my college work, died the day I got home after graduating, was resurrected, and has been on a steady decline since. After spending a month traveling to visit family over the holidays, I knew I needed to replace if if I had any plans on working outside of my home. I’ve had my Surface for about two months now and used it during Global Game Jam, and aside from weird issues now and then and some Windows 10 quirks, it works great. I have a Surface Pro 4, i5 processor, with 256 GB hard drive and 8GB RAM.
Here’s how my Surface Pro is faring so far for game development: