CREATE YOUR OWN LEVELS WITH LEVEL EDITOR :

We are writing some tutorials on the forum, new videos coming soon !

HOW TO BECOME A LEVEL DESIGNER ?

Claytus Hood Tower Defense level editor is a Flash-built software.

You only need to install Flash player (free) to use it.

You need to be signed in to be able to save and share your levels. Signing in is free.

The level editor is currently in beat-testing, tutorials are being created and will advise you on how to design your levels.

Will you be able to build yourself up a reputation as level designer among Tower Defense community ?

Introduction

Welcome to Claytus Hood's level editor !
Claytus Hood's level editor is a powerfull flash tool that allows you to design Tower Defence game's levels, and to share your creations with the Claytus Hood community.
Have you got what it takes to be a level designer ?

In this tutorial, you'll learn to use all the basic tools that will allow you to create, playtest and share your own levels in order to challenge the wordlwide Claytus Hood's playerbase.
Being a Premium member gives access to even more content to serve your designer's skills.

Summary

  1. I. Creating an account/Logging in.
  2. II. Creating a new level.
  3. III. Level management.
  4. IV. Path editor.
  5. V. Build spot editor.
  6. VI. Spawn/goal editor.
  7. VII. Landscape editor.
  8. VIII. Advanced tools.
  9. IX. Wave editor.
  10. X. Level settings.
  11. XI. Testing your levels.
  12. XII. Dealing with errors.

I. Creating an account/Logging in

The first step before starting to create a level is to register you Claytus Hood account. Don't forget to activate your account if you didn't register via Facebook.
Once this is done, you can login in the editor.

II. Creating a new level

  • Click "new level".
    The level settings screen appears.
  • You can type the level's name in this field.
  • Being a Premium member allows you to modify the level's dimensions up to 40x40. Modifying the level's dimensions makes it a "premium" level.
  • Click "Create level" to accept.
    The new level is displayed.
  • A new tab is opened for each active level. You can have several opened levels at the same time, you just to click a tab to have the level you want active displayed. Click on the tab's cross to close a level.

III. Level management

  • Click the "My levels" tab to open the level manager. This is the default active tab when logging in.
    It allows you to manage your creations and to have a global view of :
  • Your saved levels.
  • Your shared levels.

Saved Levels :

  • Click "save level" to save you level. You can only have one save file per level. Saving a level doesn't share it. Remember to save frequently, disconnections happen...
  • The saved level is displayed in the list.
  • Click the green arrow to load a saved level.
  • Click the red cross to delete a saved level. Be careful, this level will be definitely erased.
  • The max number of levels you can store is diplayed here. It's 2 by default, but Premium members can store up to 20.

Shared levels :

  • Click "share level" to share your levels with the Claytus Hood community.
  • The shared level is now displayed in the shared level list. It will then be added to the Claytus Hood site's list of shared levels, and will be playable by the community, who will be able to rate and comment it.
  • Click on the "load shared version" to load the last version of the level you shared. This allows you to restore a previous version of your level.
  • Click the red cross to remove your level from the shared level list. The level will then be deleted from the shared level list, but not from you saved levels list.

IV. Path Editor

It's now time to get serious with the level designing.

The first step when creating your level is to draw the paths where ennemies can walk.

  • Click "edit paths" on the left part.
  • Then, click the spots you want to become walkable. The tiles is now set to a walkable tile. Ennemies can only walk on walkable.
  • Just click a second time on a walkable to delete it.

You can also hold left-click to draw/delete a path.

You can draw your paths as you like, you're free to create easy obvious paths or more complex levels that requires a certain strategy in order to beat it. Now that you have drawn the walkable path(s), it's time to chose the available build spots.

V. Build spots editor

Build spots are the locations where the player will be able to build turrets to try stopping the ennemy's progression.

  • Click "build spot editor" to start editing the constructible spots
  • Click on the spots you want constructible. A white dot is displayd, meaning that the player will be able to place a turret here.
  • Click a second time on a spot to delete it, just like paths.
  • You can have a "path" tile set to buildable, the player will then be able to build a turret on the ennemies way as long as it's not completely preventing them to reach their goal. Remember that spots are the only locations where the player will be able to build, so choose them wisely.

VI. Spawn/Goal editor

Spawn/Goal points act like "doors" that the monsters use to enter/leave the level. You have to create at least 2 spawn/goal points in a level, otherwise you won't be able to set your waves.

  • Click "edit spawn/goal" to start placing spawn/goal points.
  • Then, click on the level to set a tile to a checkpoint. A green circle with a number appears on the tile. The number identifies the checkpoint.
  • In this example, we placed a second point at the end of the path.Note that the number is incremented automatically with each new checkpoint. Make sure that a spawn/goal point is always on a "path" tile, and that 2 points are linked via a path. Later in the wave editor section we will see how to use those checkpoints to set the ennemies' paths. Note that ennemies will always take the shortest path, so take this into account when placing checkpoints to keep your level playable.

VII. Landscape editor

It's now time to customize your level thanks to the landscape editor.

  • Click "edit landscape" in the left side or click the "landscape editor" tab on the right side(1b).
  • The landscape editor displays the landscape items available.
  • Click "small" to display the items reduced and as a list.
  • Ticking the "premium" box will show/hide the premium only items. The item's name's color shows if it's premium or not.
  • An item can be either placed in the background, or in the foreground. Foreground items hide background items, as well as turrets and ennemies walking through. Background items will be displayed behind ennemies, turrets and foreground items. Click on one of the two grounds to define your next item's ground.

Background :

Let's now place a background item.

  • Choose the background (by default).
  • Select an item from the list and drag'n drop it to the wished location.
  • The item is placed on the level. You can drag'n drop it to move it at will.
  • The item is now displayed in the background list. You can also double-click the item in the list, it will be placed in the upper left corner of the level.

Foreground :

Let's now place a foreground item.

Same thing that for the background :

  • Choose the foreground.
  • Select an item from the list and drag'n drop it to the wished location.
  • The item appears on the level.
  • The itemis displayed in the foreground list.

Interactions between grounds :

Let's continue to edit foreground.

  • Make sure the foreground is still active.
  • In this example, we choose the haystack.
  • We place it next to the path.Notice that the haystack appears on top of the shack, leading to an aesthetic and logic problem !
  • Drag'n drop the haystack under the shack in the foreground items list.
  • The haystack now appears behind the shack, in the same order as in the foreground items list. You can define displaying priorities between items of the same ground doing this.
  • Let's now place a tree in the background.
  • The tree is place in front of the path.
  • It is displayed on top of the background items list. In this example, you do realize that this tree doesn't belong to the background, because ennemies will walk in front of it though they should be walking behind.
  • You can quickly resolve this by drag'n dropping the item in the foreground item list.
  • The item is now displayed in the foreground. Notice that the item's frame's color is the same as the foreground' s color.

Item management :

  • You can delete at anytime an item by clicking the red cross in the item list.
  • Ticking the "lock" box in the item list locks/unlocks an item in the level. A locked item cannot be moved by a drag'n drop.
  • The "lock" boxes at the top of the item lists are used to lock/unlock simultaneously all the items from the same ground.
  • he premium icon is diplayed next the premium items you've placed.

VIII. Advanced tools

In the upper right of the level are the advanced tools.

  • Click advanced tools to display the tools menu. Here's a description of these tools in their order of appearance :
    • Clicking "reset" will reset all the grid's tiles. Pathes, spots and checkpoints will be deleted, but not landscape items.
    • Clicking "export JPG" will save a .jpg file on your computer.
    • Ticking the grid box shows/hides the grid. The grid can be very useful to place items and tiles on your level.
    • Ticking the spot box shows/hides the build spots in order to have a better view of your landscape.
    • Ticking the path box shows/hides the spawn/goal points and the pathes used by the ennemies. (No path is displayed for now because no path is set, we'll see how to do this in the wave editor section).
    • Ticking the background and foreground boxes shows/hides the items from the selected ground.
    • You can also fade in/out the items' display by setting it manually. We'll explain the importance of these tools in the advanced tutorial.

IX. Wave editor

Now that you've created a landscape for your level, let's have a closer look to the wave editor. The level editor is a extensive and user-friendly tool that will allow you to define at will the settings of the ennemy waves that the player will have to face.

Introduction :

  • lick the "wave editor" tab on the right side to open the wave editor. The editor is divided in two parts :
  • The wave list in the upper side.
  • The squads composing the selected wave in the lower side.

Let's have a closer look to the wave list.

Wave list :

  • This is the created waves list. Click a wave in the list to show its settings.
  • You can type a name for your wave in this field. Don't type a too long one !
  • You can type a small descritpion for your wave in this field. It will be displayed in the game interface during the wave.
  • Click "add" to add a new wave. It appears in the list.
  • Select a wave and click "copy" if you want to copy a wave. The copy will appear in the list and will have the same exact settings as the original.
  • Select a wave and click delete to definitively erase a wave.

Each wave is a combination of one or several squads. Squads are groups of ennemies that shares the same settings. In order to choose the settings of the ennemies of the selected wave, let's have a look to the lower part of the wave editor, the squads list.

Squad settings :

  • This is the created squads list. A squad is created by default in the list when you create a wave. A wave can have as many squads as you wish, but it must have at least one. Select a squad from the list. Its settings are displayed on the right.
  • You can name you squad in this field. It hasn't a real importance, but it can be useful to organise your work, or find cool names.
  • This is the squad monsters' sprite. You can choose it in the scrolling menu. You have the choice between several sprites, but some are premium only, and using them will make the level "premium".
  • a - These scrolling menus allow you to set an entrance and an exit for the squad monsters. Choose one of the spawn/goal points you created earlier in the spawn menu to choose the location where the monster of this squad will appear in the level. The number between brackets represents the number in the circle. Choose one of the spawn/goal points you created earlier in the goal menu to choose the location that the monster of this squad will try to reach. If a monster reaches this point, the played will lose an amount of life defined later. If your spawn/goal points are correctly set, a green tick appears next to the scrolling menus.
    b - Once spawn et goal points are defined for a squad, its path is shown by a green line on the level. It's the shortest way between the two points. Note that you can design your paths as you wish, feel free to place spawn/goals where you want, vary direcions and even paths between squads of the same wave.
  • Here's the list of the squad settings in their order of appearance :
    1. Ticking the box "flying" will make the squad flying. Some turrets can only target ground units, whereas the anti air turret can only attack air units, but is quite efficient against them. The squad sprite isn't a problem concerning flying units, but to stay rational, try not to make flying woodlice !
    2. The field "delay" allows you to set the time interval between the beginning of the wave (when the player clicks "launch wave") and the moment when the first monster of the squad appears. This delay is milliseconds (ms). Thus, a delay of 1000 means that there is one second between the click on "launch wave" and the first monster appearing.
    3. The field "interval" allows you to set the time interval between each squad monster. It's also milliseconnds (ms). The shorter the interval, the closer to each other the monsters will spawn. On the opposite, if the interval is long, the monsters will spawn far from each other. An average interval is between 1000 and 3000, but we advise that you playtest by yourself to have a better feeling of these values.
    4. The field "number" sets the number of monsters in this squad.
    5. The field "speed" sets the squad monsters' speed. The higher the value, the faster the monsters. Speed is usually set between 1 and 6, decimals are accepted.
    6. The field "damage" sets the amount of life that the player lose for every monster that reach his goal.
    7. The field "money" sets the amount of gold earned by the player for every monster killed.
    8. The field "score" sets the amount of points earned by the player for every monster killed.
  • Here you can set vulnerabilities for the squad monsters to dthe various elements (physical, poison, fire, electricity, splash). The default value is 100%, meanin that the monster will take 100% damage from the chosen element. Lowering this value will thus increase the squad monsters' resistance to the element, whereas increasing this value will make the monsters more vulnerable to the element. In our example, the pigeons will take 150% damage from physical sources, but will be immune to electricity damage. Use with caution...
  • Click "add" to create a new squad. It then appears in the list.
  • Select a squad and click "copy" to copy it. The copy appears in the list and has the same settings as the original squads.
  • Select a squad and click "delete" to definitively erase a squad.

X. Level settings

  • Click on the "level settings" tab on the left side in order to modify some settings of your level, like the name, starting cash or available towers.
  • You can change your level name in this field.
  • You can change the amount of cash available at the beginning of the level in the field "starting cash". It's set on 300 by default, a value that "works" well, but feel free to be more generous... or not.
  • You can write a small presentation for your level in the field "level description". Feel free to give advice or challenge other players.
  • In the lower part of the level settings interface, you can choose whitch towers will be available to the player. You can also cap the turrets' upgrades to a certain level, if you do not want the player to fully upgrade a type of turret. Just select the max level available in the scrolling menu.
  • Note that some turrets are only available for premium members. Allowing these turret will make the level "Premium".

Now that you're aware of all the tools featured in this editor, it's time for you to start designing your own levels. Draw your paths, edit your landscape and set your waves in order to build challenging levels for the players around the world. However, before sharing your levels, and throughout its developpement, there is one crucial step :

XI. Testing your levels

Indeed, make sure to playtest your level very frequently when designing it. It's the only way to know if your level is balanced, too easy or just not playable at all !

  • In order to test your level, click the tab "my levels".
  • Click then "launch level".
  • Congratulations, you're about to play your own level! Make sure to evaluate its difficulty, doability and interest, and to make some tweaks if needed.

Note that no score will be saved when you launch the game via the editor.

Quote from raph : "Keep in mind that level design isn't only series of figures in a tab, feeling is the key to make a fun level "

XII. Dealing with errors

The editor has a tool that detects your wave's errors.

  • The most frequent error when you try to launch, save or share a level is the lack of a valid path for one or more squads. The tool details the waves and squads in error in order to help you solve the problem easily.
  • It's quite simple to deal with this error, just go back to the wave editor, and choose valid spawn/goal points for the monsters' spawn/goal locations. If the source of the error isn't the spawn/goal points, make sure your drawn path has no interruptions.

Once you feel that your level is well set, and after making sure that its playable, share it with playes from around the world, and try to win the level design contests that will be frequently proposed ! Have fun !

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