When I reviewed Almost Human’s neo-retro dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock, I admit that I may have rated the game with a future feature update in mind. While the dungeon in the game is fiendishly clever in its design, there were rumblings that a full level editor would be released soon after launch. Weeks passed, turning to months, and no editor surfaced. Doubt began to set in – would we ever see one? Would it even give us anywhere near the quality of tools needed to replicate the quality of the base game? With the first public beta release of the Grimrock editor, I’m happy to say that any and all doubts have been crushed like so many unequipped adventurers.
Anyone with the Steam edition of the game (although the editor will eventually come to all versions) can grab it now by right-clicking on the game in their Library panel, opening up the Properties screen, and opting in to the option given in the Betas tab. The update is quick and painless, and adds two intuitive options to the main menu – Dungeon Editor and Custom Dungeon. The former launches the editing suite, and the latter gives you a list of all player-made dungeons on your PC, as well as a Steam Workshop link so that you can browse and download more; a process that only takes a few seconds.
To say that this editor is easy to use is a huge understatement. Within five minutes of starting, and without any documentation, I had created a small dungeon of several rooms, lit it with torches and placed a few enemies to fight. I then immediately began playing this from within the editor itself using a handy picture-in-picture preview window. Within another five minutes, I’d figured out basic switch/door logic. Another five minutes after that, I created a large chamber that completely transformed in configuration, using a simple toggle switch on the wall linked up to a maze of secret lifting panel walls. Within half an hour, I believe I had learnt just about everything you’d need to make a respectably detailed dungeon, although the very most complex puzzles and traps will require a bit of LUA scripting, but even that is handled entirely in-editor.
So, making quality dungeoneering experiences is a walk in the park, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to letting you use all the tools and resources in the base game, Almost Human seem to be opening up mod support to allow changes to everything short of the core gameplay mechanics. Custom tilesets, sounds, graphics, enemies and gear are all possible. They’ll require the use of external tools in order to implement fully, but it should be no more complex than modding any other game. With a little bit of artistic talent and a dash of elbow grease, it doesn’t look like it would be hard to completely recreate classic dungeon crawlers such as Eye of The Beholder, graphics, monsters and all.
Those who are sticking to the DRM-free version of the game won’t be starved for mods either, of course. While the Steam Workshop integration is nice, the Nexus modding hub have set up a Grimrock Nexus page to help support those that can’t or won’t use the Workshop UI. In short, everyone wins. The editor is currently in beta, although given the level of polish on show already, I’d be quite surprised if the full editor update wasn’t pushed out within a week or two. Legend of Grimrock is currently available for $15, and if you buy it direct from the developers, you generously get both the DRM-free and Steam editions of the game.