Vertigo Remastered: How to Make Custom Levels (Sandbox Mode)

The official tutorial for all aspects of the Vertigo Remastered Level Editor (Sandbox Mode) and Workshop.

 

Creating a Level

Creating your first level is straightforward. Start in the Sandbox Main Menu, make sure you’re in the “My Levels” tab to edit local levels, and click the “Create New Level” button.

Select an environment for your level: this will serve as a background and provide lighting and ambience. The environment cannot be changed later, so make sure you’ve checked them all out before working on a masterpiece. Give your level a name as well. This can be changed later, so don’t worry too much about it.

That’s all there is to it! You will be loaded right into editing your level, and when you return to the menu it will appear in the “my levels” list.

If you want to access the files for your level, they can be found at C:\Users\(you)\AppData\LocalLow\Zulubo Productions\vertigo\Sandbox

 

Editor Interface

The level editor is fairly user friendly, but has a bit of depth to learn.

To navigate, squeeze the grip buttons on your controllers and drag through the environment. Drag with one hand to move. Drag two hands in and out to scale your perspective. Drag two hands in a circle to rotate your view. You can think of this like pinching and zooming on a smartphone.
If you’re struggling to move, you’re probably zoomed in too far! Scale yourself up a bit to make things more manageable.

Pull up the navigation menu by looking at the side of your controller. You can enter playmode, save your changes, upload your level to the workshop, return to the Sandbox Menu, undo/redo, rename your level, and take a screenshot.

To begin working, you’ll need to open a tool palette. Use the menu button, the same button you use to switch weapons in Vertigo, to select a tool. Let’s begin by opening the block palette. We’ll go over the other ones later. You can scroll through the palette using the joystick. Using your other hand, drag a block into your level.

To manipulate an object in your level, first select it with the trigger. Then you can directly move it around, or grab the green handles to scale it. To duplicate an object, first pick it up, and then click the trackpad to leave a copy. To delete an object, grab it and drop it into the trash can below either controller.

To select and manipulate multiple objects at once, hold down the trackpad and then select each object. You will see them all highlight. You can then pick them all up at once, move them around, and make copies.

Some objects have special Message Handles, which means they can communicate with other objects. For example, you can create a button, and a door, and then drag the Message Output of the button to the Message Input of the door. Now they are connected, and the button will open the door. To delete this connection, you can grab the center of the connection and drop it into a trash can.

Finally, there are two permanent objects in every level: a player spawn and a goal. These can be moved around freely, but not deleted. Each has some options – clear conditions on the goal, and starting weapons and upgrades for the player.

That’s all the basic interactions you’ll need to know to master the level editor. Next we’ll cover all the tools in more detail.

Tool Palettes

The block palette, as you already know, creates blocks. Blocks are static, primitive shapes that can be used as the foundation of your level. They can be scaled in complex ways and put together to make anything you can imagine. You can also apply different materials to them, which we’ll learn about in a minute!

The prop palette is where you’ll find all the most common objects for your level. Furniture, obstacles, doors, elevators, water, you name it, it will probably be in the prop palette. There’s a lot in here, so make sure to scroll through it all!

The special prop palette holds things a little more important than regular props. Player triggers, Message logic elements, Weapon pickups, and music players can all be found in here. This is where you will go when building puzzles or complex level logic. Almost all of these have Message Handles to communicate with other objects.

The enemy palette holds enemies! Nearly every foe from the game can be found in here and dropped into your level. You’ll notice that enemies also have a Message Handle: if you attach anything to this, the enemy will not spawn until it receives a message. You can use this to optimize your levels and make sure there aren’t a hundred idle enemies in the distance until the player actually gets nearby, or use it for some creative ambushes.

Finally, the paint tool. The paint tool is used to apply different materials to Blocks. It’s simple enough, scroll with the joystick to select a material, and then point at a block and pull the trigger to apply the material. Once you import custom textures, you can also apply these in the paint tool, but we’ll cover that later.

Custom Assets

If you’re feeling limited by the simple shapes of the blocks, the level editor also supports importing custom assets. This is only recommended for more technical users!

To start out, let’s cover importing custom textures. To open a texture, click the “Import Asset” button in the lower right of the desktop window. These can be in PNG or JPG format. Once loaded, you will see the texture appear in the asset browser. That’s all you need to do, but we have more work before we can start using the texture in-game.

Once you have some textures, the next step is creating a material. Click the “Create Asset” button, and select Material. This will open the material editor with your blank material. Give it a nice name. You’ll see two previews on the right: the top is how your material will look on custom models, and the bottom is how it will look on Blocks. Select your texture as the main texture. You can also create PBR materials with a few more textures. A metallic/smoothness map can be imported – this should be in the standard Unity format, with Metallic in the red channel and Smoothness in the alpha channel – and a normal map – in openGL format. Once these are loaded, you can head back to your material and assign them as well. Looking good!

Next, we can import a 3D model. Models need to be in OBJ format. You can export to this format from the free software Blender. If you have multiple materials, make sure to check the “Objects as Material Groups” checkbox. Materials will be set up in the game, so you don’t need to generate a MTL file. Once your model is imported, you can click on it to open the model editor. Here, you can assign materials.

Finally, you can import custom audio clips. This is very straightforward. They just need to be in mp3 or wav format.

Next, let’s go back into VR and look at how to use custom assets in your level. Once you have assets imported, you’ll see a new tool palette appear. Opening this up, you’ll see your custom models, as well as a prop that can play custom sound effects. Custom models can be dragged in and scaled to any size. Think creatively with these, you can use custom models for anything from a tiny decorative prop to the geometry of an entire level! Custom sound effects are simple, just drag in the sound effect prop and select a clip for it to play.

Materials can be found in the paint tool, just use the joystick to switch to the new custom material palette. You’ll see all the materials you created here. These can be applied to blocks. You can also paint custom models with any material, including the built in block materials!

With these tools, the ceiling for creative levels is raised significantly. I look forward to seeing what you create!

Uploading to the Workshop

Once you have a masterpiece of a level, you are ready to upload it to the workshop for others to enjoy. Make sure you have a screenshot of your level that shows it off well. Then press the upload button to begin the upload process. Like the custom asset importer, you’ll need to exit VR for this.

You can revise your level name, and add a description. Add tags and set visibility. If everything looks good, you’re ready to upload.

If it completes without errors, you can view your level on the workshop. Congratulations!

Playing Workshop Levels

To play other peoples’ levels, enter the “Workshop Levels” tab in the main sandbox menu. If you’re not subscribed to any levels yet, you can browse some popular ones by clicking Download More Levels. If you want to see all the levels in the workshop, you can click “Open Full Workshop,” or open the workshop from a browser or Steam. Once you’ve subscribed to some levels, they’ll appear in the workshop levels list, and can be played. Good luck on the leaderboards!

By Zulubo

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Post Author: Robins Chew

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