At present, after some tests of J.A.C.K. alpha version, one can definitely list several reasons for the editor being useful indeed in Quake level design.
A lot of Quake mappers started their experience with Worldcraft, the ancestor of Valve Hammer Editor, and most of those still on stage with the game continue modding it using VHE as a level editor; modern compilers handle an extended map format with precise texturing and wad3 as texture container (however you still need to meet a shared texture palette requirement for Quake textures). Users appreciate VHE for interface convenience and high level of functionality, and switching to another level editor often becomes a source of pain. Then why do I declare J.A.C.K. being the editor of choice? Is there something special to be offered to the game released in 1996?
First of all, J.A.C.K.'s interface is very close to the VHE, as if you got a newer version of the editor with better functionality preserving the whole experience and motive memory.
Second, Jack is familiar with formats of game resources: you can use wad2 (certainly along with wad3, even within a single level), see models and sprites instead of colored boxes, and listen to used sounds.
Third, Jack gives a little more abilities to handle brush primitives, which are very valuable for Quake: an additional brush manipulation mode and a preservation of convexity option. You can also monitor the size of the brush being created.
Fourth, Jack possesses excellent texturing capabilities. They donТt slide along the edges upon rotation and are even capable of scaling within the object Ц just enable the corresponding modes at the toolbar. You can not only fit the texture to the face, but to tile it with a necessary step, and texture replacement becomes much easier that earlier. And certainly oneТs eyes will appreciate a 2:1 scale in a texture browser at high screen resolutions!
Fifth, you will observe a complete set of connections between objects, and maintaining complex game logic becomes much elegant and interesting.
Sixth, 3D viewport can render triggers, clip brushes and liquids as translucent, and handles entities with УalphaФ parameter correctly. You can skip the УskipФ texture from rendition, achieving a more vivid look of your level.
Seventh, grouping of objects becomes more obvious and convenient Ц itТs up to you to decide whether you need a separate visgroup and whenever to display its contents. "VisGroup" bar is no more an odd dustbin, likely having been closed in WC and VHE!
ThatТs at least seven reasonable arguments answering the questing "why use J.A.C.K.?" Although there is another important point: the editor is evolving and therefore the bugs found are likely to be fixed, and the functionality is likely to grow.
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