When I started working on Devastro I thought I could create most of the data in external editors and by hand. I can draw the sprites in Photoshop, export to PNG, add some hand-written meta data. I can draw the levels on paper, then hand code them in some human readable text format. Easy.
Forget about it. It gets messy very quickly. Not that there’s so much metadata for the sprites, but there are many sprites. Not that there’s much stuff in a level, but there are many levels.
Now what? Can I use existing tools to solve that? Photoshop has a feature called Slices, I can use that to add collision boxes to the sprites. Save the HTML output, parse it, extract collision box info. Easy!
No? No. It didn’t really work that well. I ended up writing a custom sprite editor and a custom level editor. Is it worth it? Definitely! Level editing is a joy now, which is what it’s supposed to be. Editing sprites is now, well, bearable.