A level editor is a software tool adopted for video games. It is used to design levels, maps, virtual worlds, and campaigns. It is also known by other names like Campaign Editor, Map Editor, or Scenario Editor. Usually, the video game developers release an official level editor for their gaming solutions. Sometimes, level editors are used for home console video games as well. A level editor is disabled in the ship version of the software. Besides, level editors are separately released by fans.
Level editors are often designed for game engines rather than individual gaming consoles. Development of a level editor is a time consuming affair. Hence it is easier to release multiple games using same level editor. A level editor helps set multiple gaming functions such as physics, animation, sound, and graphics. To cite an example, a game engine called “Unreal Engine”, developed by the Epic Group is adopted by other video games developers for their proprietary games. There is some limited scope of content creation with level editors. But, in case of video game industry, the scope is very large, allowing an entire game to be created without requiring much technical support from a programming team. However, a software development kit (SDK) will be required to make larger architectural changes to a gaming solution instead of just adding new levels. Sometimes, with the objective to establish their own brand, original developers release free level editors to encourage users to make their own versions. They create level editor programs and release online to make it accessible to all the fan communities.
Level editors have multifarious uses, which may be summarized as below:
Since level editors are easily available, there are chances for illegal immoral applicability, thus creating social and legal problems. Such activities may involve illegal modification of gaming console, and marketing of pirated games. Some companies incorporate built-in level editors to overcome these illegal activities.
Some popular games with their own level editors include: