Holy 359 layers, Batman!

Now that we've completed the destruction of the first Tai Ming zone, it's time to get both the destroyed version and the ancient village version ready for implementation! 

I first started working on this map a long, long time ago before we had any proper folder systems or anything in place that would make things easier when adding the backgrounds to the game. Hell, I don't even know if we had any routine of using the map editor which allows us to put the plants and other non-unique items with colliders into it easily.

As a result, this map is a mess. There are so many unnecessary layers, and certain items are divided over several layers that aren't even next to each other. For Teddy, whose job it is to implement the maps, it can be a real headache to figure out which layer contains what, especially since I don't always give the layers obvious names. 

So I thought I'd just quickly go through the map and merge a few layers here and there and give them their proper names. Only..........

359 layers?! Oh dear, this is worse than I thought. 359 layers divided over like 20 different folder, where next to nothing has a proper name and the same item can be both on layer 2 and on layer 256, depending on whether I edited it in the last couple of weeks or if it's the same as it was way back. Oh my....

When this happens, there's really only one solution. You have to organize it. It's gonna be boring, and it's gonna take a lot of time, but giving this over to Teddy to figure it out best he can simply isn't an option (though I'd probably get some kind of award for most evil colleague ever)!

When I made the 5 billion Mount Bloom maps recently, we kind of developed a folder/layer system that worked well for us. Using that as a base I made this template that I'll be using from now on when I create a new area: 

Basically, you have the base floor color and any floor decorations that don't need colliders in the bottom folder (properly named, this time, of course). 

Then there's the walls, and wall decorations that either don't need colliders of their own, or that will be an extension of the wall. 

Above that is the Props folder where all the items that you can't simply pass through will be. This is the most important folder for Teddy, who will have to implement all of these items manually - either directly into the game engine or by adding them to the editor first. 

Lastly, there's the "overlay" folder, which will contain parts of the walls that need to appear above both the props and the player, to create a feeling of depth. As I went through the 359 layers manually, mergin, dividing and/or adding them to the corresponding folder, you'd notice that the props would go over the walls in a lot of places: 

Having the walls that will be above everything in their own folder on top fixes these issues, and as you roam through the map it'll look better if your character appears below the wall, giving the illusion it's actually a mountain wall you can bass beneath and not just a flat image:

Of course, using this folder system messes with the sorting of certain props. If you don't want 200 layers with one item on each, some of them will appear above other things that they shouldn't:

This will be fixed once we've prepared the items and added them properly through the editor, though, so there's no reason to be worried, though it makes for awkward looking screenshots, haha! You guys would probably think I'd gone mad if I posted the above one, saying it's 100% finished ;) 

Anyway, after x hours of going through these layers from hell, we finally have a folder system that's a lot easier to navigate! Wohooo!

...Now I just need to repeat the same thing for the past village version....... Here's to hoping doesn't have quite as many stray layers!

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