I get the grand notion to open a level editor every couple years, and it always goes the same way: a few minutes of earnest desire to create something quickly eroded by unfamiliar interfaces and labyrinthine, interlinking reference materials. There are just too many menu bars and nested folders between my half-formed idea and the virtual space.
That's why the latest addition to the Unreal Engine is so exciting. Strap on a VR headset, grip a pair of motion controllers, and suddenly you can just put stuff where you want it to be.
"You don't need to learn the user interface, you already know it," Epic founder Tim Sweeney says in the video. "Your brain has been working this way since you were a baby."
The VR editor still makes you pull up the standard Unreal Engine interface on the equivalent of an artist's palette if you want to drop in new objects or make other adjustments, so Sweeney might be overselling it a bit there. All that stuff can come later, though, because picking up gigantic building blocks and creating a level around myself is all I really want - futzing with sliders and menus is fine if I can intuitively rough out the basics first.
Epic plans to show off more of the tool at GDC 2016 in March. I look forward to seeing what amateurs and professionals alike can do with it.
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