Remember how lost you were in the Electron (NWN2) toolset the first time?
"This isn't anything like Aurora...why did they make it so hard?"
Get ready for that overwhelmed feeling all over again. The new Dragon Age toolset is a completely new animal that befuddles and amazes all at the same time. Some intial thoughts as I have only been able to toy with it for one evening:
1) Complex as all get out...but reassuring that it can do so much more than previous toolsets. The learning curve is much higher, but so is the ceiling of what is possible.
2)Levels vs Areas. Here is one of the first things a new builder must grasp the difference between. Terminology in this toolset is completely different. Levels are landscape, decoration, basically all of the static elements of what we are used to calling an area. Areas, on the other hand, inherit the elements of a given level, and allow you to add the in interactive elements. Bioware basically split area design into two facets: static and dynamic.
3) Um what are these models again? The organization of the models used to create levels and areas is far from intuitive. They are put together in folders that prefix the first three letters of th model, relating to what area of the SP they were used.
4) Thank the Maker for the Wiki. Serioulsy, without the hard work, effort, and screenshots of the beta testers that has been documented in the toolset wiki, this might be a mission impossible. Beerfish went through and snapped shots of many of the models. JasonNH went through and put together cheatsheets of the textures. This is truly a community learning effort.
I have many more thoughts on this but I hesitate to follow the rabbit trail too far before I get some more time logged. I am once again experiencing the exciting feeling of curiosity, terror, and power all wrapped into one.
Sands of Solvheil Series
Design Document for Sands of Solvheil I: The Ruins of Kazatharis
Design Document for Sands of Solvheil II: Beneath the Hearleforne
Design Document for Sands of Solvheil III: Crusaders of Shalihir