Follow TV Tropes


Level Editor

Go To
Have you ever played a video game that you really like, so much that you started to daydream about making your own levels for it and playing your own creations? Some game companies are nice enough to help players achieve that dream, by adding a level editor to their games.

A level editor is a program, or feature built into a game, that allows players to make their own worlds, or in some cases, edit the ones built into the game itself. It has the potential to add a ton of replay value to an existing game, and can sometimes serve as a big selling point. Ironically, in some cases, the best levels tend to come from players rather than the less imaginative company that actually made the game.

Of course, this is all good as long as the editor is easy to use. When it's complicated and frustrating, the result is that a tiny minority of players actually bother to make their own levels, while others download and play them (if such a feature is available, and if enough players know how to use that feature).

Other games don't come with level editors, but editors may be unofficially created for them by fans.

Compare Game Mod and Game Maker.

Examples of games that come with their own editor:

    open/close all folders 

    Action Game 
  • S. O. S. on the ZX Spectrum has cheat mode that includes a level editor. The victory screen tells you how to access it.
  • The NES tank battle game, Battle City, was one of the first NES games to feature a level editor, though you couldn't save them.
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number had a level editor added in a later update. Not only does it allow the players to create and populate their own levels, but it also allows for the creation of entire campaigns, complete with cutscenes.
  • LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 both featured a level editor, which allowed players to create levels using preset bricks, plates, structures, and entities. Travellers' Tales promised one in both LEGO Star Wars 3 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, but the level editor didn't make an appearance.
  • Tomb Raider has had a thriving community based around its level editor for the fourth game in the series for over ten years. The Invisible Grid engine makes it fast and easy to build levels, but the expectations of what makes a good level have become higher and higher. There is also Dxtre3D which allows modding of Tomb Raiders 1 to 5; Tomb Raider Engine Patcher (TREP), which expands the limits of the engine and allows for more level features, and Next Generation Tomb Raider, which isn't really next generation at all, but it includes a few features from TREP and some new ones. TREP and NGLE are not compatible with each other, which causes some debate over which is the better editor.
  • Wrecking Crew also features one, but like Excitebike, this requires special hardware to save that was released only for the Famicom and not the NES.

    Adventure Game 
  • The PC adventure game Darkstone didn't come with a level editor, but players can download an official one from the makers of the game.

    Arcade Game 
  • Glider 4.0 (where the Room Editor was a separate application) and Glider PRO (where it wasn't).

    Fighting Games 
  • The Chaos Faction duology allows players to make up to 4 stages of their own through placing down horizontal platforms and vertical walls.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl comes with a rather simplified, grid-based editor called the Stage Builder that doesn't allow the player to do even 1/10 of what the game designers themselves did. Even so, it's the first game in the series to include an editor, which provided a lot of fun for players who had specific ideas in mind of types of arenas they wanted to make.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U expands the functionality by allowing players to draw the shape of the stages via the GamePad touchscreen, instead of placing blocks, although also is limited in what kind of features they have with 2 variations of each of the 4 given features (Springs, cannons, moving platforms and lava).
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate initially didn't launch with an editor, but it was added in the Version 3.0 Update (which was helmed by the launch of Persona 5 character Joker to the roster). The major addition to the editor is that the stages now have three layers that can be edited, the background, the battlegrounds, and the foreground.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Crysis comes with the Sandbox Editor, a simple to use but difficult to master real-time level editor. The vanilla game has no way to share levels bar downloading it from a website, whereas the Expansion Pack enables in-game downloading. The MechWarrior Living Legends total conversion Game Mod made great use of the level editor to make up for the relatively small number of official maps; many popular custom maps were later made official and polished up. There was a number of unofficial gimmick levels such as the racing levels TSA_RACE_Kaido and TSA_Mariokart
  • Cube is perhaps most famous for its level editor: due to the way maps work, they can be edited in-game, in realtime. Many other first-person shooter engines require external utilities to be run on a map before it can be used in-game. Cube also allows multiplayer level editing.
  • Doom (2016) includes the SnapMap editor. It's not as advanced as dedicated modding tools for classic Doom games are, though (the fact that it was designed with multiplayer in mind shows this). It has since become much more elaborate in updates, with texture options for player blocking volumes to make custom geometry more viable in addition to single player and story options. It's even gained the ability to direct players to other maps in succession to create pseudo episodes.
  • Of course, the Build editor. Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior (1997), Blood, Redneck Rampage... Every game that used the Build engine had a version of the Build editor.
  • Eradicator shipped with two editors, a basic offline level editor, and the in-game "ROPE" editor which, as the game's documentation stated, gave you enough to hang yourself. However, much of the interactive parts of the game required specific DLLs to be compiled and added to the maps.
  • Far Cry 2 has a very detailed multiplayer map editor that allows item/vehicle/building placement, terrain shaping, vegetation, etc.
  • Halo 3 introduced Forge Mode, which has been refined and expanded in virtually every Halo game since (including Halo: Reach and Halo 4). It has a rather extensive community.
  • Maps can be created for games based in each of the first three idTech engines such as Quake, Quake II and Quake III: Arena (plus the tons of freeware and FOSS games such as OpenArena, Nexuiz, Xonotic, and Urban Terror) with the swiss-army editor line Radiant (GTKRadiant and Alientrap Games NetRadiant) and QuArK (Quake Army Knife).
  • Marathon Infinity was named for its inclusion of editing tools.
  • The first two Serious Sam games come with level editors.
  • The Source engine development tools are technically not tied to any one game, but Source games such as Half-Life 2 do include their raw materials to work with. In fact, several Team Fortress 2 maps created by the fan community have been released publicly in content patches. Both Left 4 Dead games, Team Fortress 2, Half-Life 2, Portal, and other Source engine games have the Hammer Editor program, which allows players to create maps, custom events, and other things. Valve has started to take community maps and host servers for them. Portal 2 features a simplified in-game editor, added in May 2012 for the Perpetual Testing Initiative.
  • All three TimeSplitters games have level editors, the first for multiplayer levels and the second and third for multiplayer and single player levels. It goes beyond typical object placement and weapon placement; the player is allowed to place enemies, edit their health (in 3), determine how many will spawn, place objects, keys, doors, edit what doors need keys and which don't, place objectives, make objectives for multiplayer (in 3), place weapons, edit the look of the stage, choose if it's outdoor or indoor (in 3), place spawn points, change the lighting, place autoguns, place cameras and vehicles (3), and even a remote control cat. The best part: you make the map layout from scratch entirely, no preset map, and work your stage up from there with a large variety of map tiles and multiple floors.
  • Tribes 2 and all the games running on its Torque Game Engine feature a robust in-game real-time level editor accessed with a keystroke in singleplayer or via super-admin privileges on online servers. The editor allows players to modify the terrain, skybox, water, and so on, and place/rotate/resize pre-made and custom objects (buildings, turrets, sounds, etc). If the level designer stuck to vanilla pre-made objects, the map could also be played by anyone joining the server without requiring a separate download.
  • Every game in the Unreal franchise, sans the console-exclusive games such as Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict for obvious reasons, comes with whatever version of the editor was used to make it. Some even include tutorials. There's also the Unreal Developer's Kit (engine, editor, script tools, SpeedTree, and a few other nice goodies), which is free to download and use, although you don't get many premade resources to go with it, and you'll want the Mastering Unreal Technology book series if you're inexperienced.

    Minigame Games 
  • At least several combat flight simulators (such as IL-2 Sturmovik) are famous for their inbuilt "mission builders." One can find numerous missions and even campaigns built by players that are offered up for download on some parts of the Internet.
  • Neopets has a multitude of games with level editors, along with Featured Level of the Week for most of those. Most of the games are simple variations of other games, but a few are original content. The most popular of the games with a level maker, Hannah and the Pirate Caves, have several guilds dedicated to making levels for it, and has even sparked an off-site community dedicated to it.
  • WarioWare: D.I.Y. lets you make whole Microgames from scratch and share them. And thanks to a certain hack, you can make boss games as well.

  • The added Architect feature in City of Heroes does this for the game. Since it's an MMO, players can play one another's missions and even fight enemy groups created from the ground up (or a chimera of usual bad guys given a new purpose.).
  • Star Trek Online has the released Foundry Toolset, which allows players to craft their own missions in a large variety of ways. Quite a few have created broad story arcs, and it has quickly become a major facet of STO. Cryptic has duplicated the Foundry for Neverwinter.

  • Mile High Pinball for the Nokia N-Gage has a variation — you couldn't edit the game's tables, but you could rearrange them to an easier (or harder) sequence, then post them online for other players to try.
  • In the Game Maker category, Electronic Arts' Pinball Construction Set (by Bill Budge) was all about letting players make and play their own pinball tables. It was later updated and released as Virtual Pinball for the Sega Genesis.

  • Dewy's Adventure allows you to make your own levels. They actually have a different format from the normal levels — they focus on collecting stars, and are ideally supposed to be more obstacle-based.
  • Abuse has one that the player can access by using the ABUSE.EXE -edit command in DOS, and you can create your own levels with the game's level editor.
  • Clustertruck: Integrated with the Steam Workshop to easily share and browse custom maps.
  • CopyKitty, even in the free version, has one available from the start, with most stuff used to make the built-in levels, including a smorgasbord of visual options and Hard Mode options, plus the ability to export. Word of God says there will even be more features at some point.
  • Dustforce has an editor that offers all of the tools used to make the default levels, including lighting/fog, music, ambiance, and camera triggers. User-made levels are published to the Atlas.
  • The premise of Everybody Edits is being able to edit and share worlds. Most worlds can be edited at any time, even while others are playing. Worlds can also be owned and protected, requiring permission from the world owner before it can be edited.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit II has one. It's the only reason there are still people playing this game online.
  • The first two Jumper games came with stand-alone programs for creating own stages. Jumper Two Editor allows for creating entire sectors, also with Scoring Points.
  • The premise of Levelhead is that the player is an employee at the Bureau of Shipping tasked with creating L.E.V.E.L.s (Limited Exercises for eValuating employEe Limitations) to train their delivery robot GR-18. As such, the game's level editor and level marketing system are some of its main features.
  • LittleBigPlanet uses this as a major selling point. Players can make levels and share them online. And share them they do: there are tons and tons of levels online, including ones that are themed after other games, or various movies. As of February 2017, the game has ten million user-created levels. The possibilities were expanded when LittleBigPlanet 2 added the Controllinator, which lets you change rules and play control, allowing you to essentially create your own game.
  • Mega Man Powered Up also featured one, though to unlock the more complex material and diverse enemy groupings, you had to find them in the main game.
  • Mega Man X has one... kind of. What's that? Can't find it? It's a secret, Dummied Out Level Editor, as documented here.
  • Millie And Molly: Once you've completed all 100 stages in the game, you unlock the level editor function, allowing you to be able to make your own levels.
  • In New Super Mario Bros. U, there is a "Coin Editor" feature that lets a player edit a level by choosing to place coins in it for players to fight over in Coin Battle mode. The Coin Editor, however, acts as a precursor for a long-overdue actual, hacking-free level editor that Word of God seemingly promised to eventually become a reality in the future. The fruit of their efforts came to be known as Super Mario Maker, which proved popular enough to merit a sequel.
  • Nuts & Milk has a level editor in the NES version (which wasn't even officially released outside Japan); the very different computer version came with a level editor too.
  • Offspring Fling! has its own, though it must be downloaded separately from the game. Community-created levels can be played straight from the main game.
  • Beginning with Rayman Gold, most PC releases of Rayman include a level editor. However, for reasons not explicitly stated but presumably having something to do with pacing, custom levels use slightly different mechanics than original ones (though new official ones usually use custom stage mechanics too).
  • Speedy Eggbert (also known as Speedy Blupi), a Mario-style game created for Windows 98, came with a very easy-to-use level builder, allowing players to create levels entirely from scratch. Players could also modify the pre-existing levels.
  • This is one of the main features of the fan game Super Mario 63. Its Spiritual Successor, Last Legacy, greatly expands on the level designer, to the point that every level in the main story mode can be created in it.
  • When Tower of Heaven was ported to Flash, a level creator (entitled "Pillars of Creation") was added; it is unlocked by beating the game once, and you have to beat the level you create in order to share it with others.
  • Train Your Minibot: You can alter the existing levels to allow Minibot to reach the end. You can also make whole new levels.
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse is all about this:
    • Level editing is a major feature even mid-game. Many levels are impossible to clear at the start, but each round, each player gets to place one object to make the level easier (or harder). Even if the level is possible to complete, you don't get any points for it unless one player died, so players also need to add hazards and avoid them.
    • There is a regular level editor also available. You can either create your own level from scratch or add more blocks and obstacles to pre-existing levels, and then save it for use in future games.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Baba is You had a rudimentary one for its prototype version, and a more refined one was released via an update in late 2021, which includes many new pieces and logics that weren't in the main game.
  • The 3DS download Block Factory is a heavily disappointing game based on this idea. For example: ever dreamed of playing an endless version of Tetris with gravity enabled? Too bad, enable gravity and the blocks always completely fall apart, ergo, no holes will ever be made, and thus, no cascading, strategy, or challenge. You can't even finish the name of the game, given that you can only input 5 letters.
  • Boom Blox came with a basic level editor that let you place blox (In-game blocks) and set basic rules, while the sequel, Boom Blox Bash Party's level editor gave you access to all the tools the game developers used.
  • Boulder Dash had a separate level editor titled Boulder Dash Construction Kit released for most 1980s computers.
  • Cubic Ninja has a level editor, which allows levels to be created and shared as QR codes. By far the most common use of this feature, however, is not to share levels, but rather to exploit a bug in the QR code reader to enable the 3DS to run homebrew software. In fact, since the game was never really popular or successful until this exploit came out, this is the only thing the game is known for at all.
  • Helter Skelter has one. Level numbers from 81 to 128 are reserved for user-designed levels.
  • Hoshizora Block has an editor limited to 60 stages, which is the exact length of the main game itself. Interestingly, stage 4 of the main game is included in the editor as stage 4 in the editor, serving an example of how to use the bomb scripts.
  • Every one of The Incredible Machine games come with an editor that lets you create your own Rube Goldberg Device! In addition, its spiritual successors, like Contraption Maker and Crazy Machines, also have this feature.
  • Both Jardinains! and its sequel Jardinains 2! have fully functional level editors that one can access by pressing [E] at the main menu. Note that 2!'s is available only in the full version of the game.
  • The PSP remake of Lemmings includes a level editor, for the first time ever. The closest thing available before it was a built-from-scratch clone of the Lemmings engine that was eventually cease-and-desist-ed.
  • Lode Runner was one of the earliest games with a level editor, having been released on the Apple ][ in 1983. This was a key feature of every port since (though, sd with the other NES games, one could only save his creations on the NES port in the Japanese version of the game).
  • The Marble Madness Construction Set, released for the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum versions.
  • Many games in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series include level editors. Tipping Stars even makes it one of the focuses of the marketing, with the title itself referring to the means of giving feedback for custom levels.
  • Patrick's Parabox: Included with the game is a Unity file that serves as a level creation tool.
  • Petal Crash has one for the game's Puzzle Mode, allowing players to make their own puzzles and share them via text code. Sharing is not available on consoles, and the editor is completely absent on iOS.
  • Portal 2, in addition to the more advanced Hammer editor common to all games that use the Source engine (see entry in First-Person Shooters above) has another level editor built into the game which, while not nearly as powerful or flexible as Hammer, is a lot easier to learn, and can be used to make reasonably good-looking maps much faster. There's also an unofficial program that lets you customize the editor's object palette and add additional items.
  • Pushmo and the later games in its franchise all feature level editors, with various ways to share the created stages.
  • Repton 3 included both level and graphics editors. The next instalment, Repton Infinity, allowed you to create your own puzzle objects with a built-in miniature programming language.
  • Scribblenauts has a fairly simple level editor, though you can really only use it to create "obstacle courses." They sadly can't be as big or as complex as the real levels. Super Scribblenauts, however, has a much more complex one, complete with simple coding abilities and a selection of level types.
  • Shift introduced this in the second game.
  • Sokoban has had a level editor since some of its earliest versions.
  • Solomon's Key 2 has one with many of the objects present in the developer-made levels, excluding the gimmicks seen in boss stages.
  • World of Goo ended up with an editor, simply titled World of Goo Level Editor (or "Woo GLE" for short), that way.
  • ZZT had a level editor as the focus of the game. It also had 4 worlds built-in to the game (though only one of them, Town of ZZT, was in the shareware version). Its spiritual sequel, Megazeux, was closer to a Game Maker.

    Racing Games 
  • The Toy-Con Motorbike included in the Nintendo Labo variety kit for the Nintendo Switch has a feature where you're able to modify the terrain in the stadium and create your own tracks with the Toy-Con Scanner and Toy-Con Mini-bike respectively. You can even change things like the road width, time of day and where dash items are placed!
  • Crashday includes a tile-based in-game editor with several texture sets that aren't really textures: each tile design represents an obstacle that's going to appear in the game, and can vastly influence the race itself.
  • Diddy Kong Racing DS has a fairly simple track maker — you draw a course, decide how bumpy or flat it is, and race. That's about all, sadly.
  • Electronic Arts' early effort, Racing Destruction Set includes a track editor.
  • The original Excitebike on the NES was marketed partially on the fact that it had a built-in level editor. Unfortunately, that turned out to be useless for most of the world, because saving a level requires a hardware expansion that was never released outside Japan.
  • The randomized X-Cup in F-Zero X was actually what was left after the level editor had to be cut when Nintendo refused to release the 64DD, and the game had to be sold as a normal cartridge title. Later, when the 64DD was shipped in Japan, the editor was sold as F-Zero X-Pansion Kit, which could work in unison with the original game to make new tracks and vehicles. F-Zero Climax also has a track editor with a password feature to send your custom tracks to your friends. Unfortunately it never made it outside of Japan either.
  • Gran Turismo 5 has one which lets you make your own racetracks. Well, it's called an editor, but it's more of a random course generator: you change the length of the course and the complexity of the corners along with other features. Gran Turismo 6 later received an updated version of the editor as part of an update.
  • Race Driver: Create & Race, a Nintendo DS Spin-Off of the TOCA Race Driver series, had this as its main draw: using sections of track and decorative pieces, players could build their own circuits. The later DS ports of Race Driver: GRID and Colin McRae: DiRT 2 included updated versions of the editor, with the former also incorporating it into Career Mode, requiring you to design circuits according to specific criteria.
  • LEGO Stunt Rally has a feature that allows the player to build their own race tracks, and winning races in the game's campaign earns more track pieces to use.
  • Mach Rider on the NES also has a track editor that could also be only saved in japan, only this one doesn't have very good controls in the track designing department
  • ModNation Racers has a track editor that even auto-generates scenery and power-up locations to go along with your finished track (Though to be honest, it's not recommended). To put the cherry on the top, it comes with very robust kart and character editors, which deserve a great deal of mention.
  • Moto Racer 2 has a level editor where you can not only amend the track's shape by controlling points, but are given options to select the environment (there are four in the final product) and class (motocross or superbike) you want for it. Unfortunately, you don't get to make courses with roads crossing one another, sharp curves, and very steep hills possibly because of collision detection.
  • Re-Volt has a built-in track editor, though tracks created with it are pretty similar to each other.
  • Ridge Racer Unbounded is similar to Trials in that all the tracks were also made with the level editor.
  • One of TrackMania's biggest draws is its incredibly robust track editor. The only real requirements for fan-made tracks is that they have a start, a finish, and a means to get from one to the other. The editor is also fairly intuitive and easy to use, resulting in lots of fan-made tracks, all available for download. You can find numerous tracks on TMX if you're playing TM United or Nations Forever and Mania Exchange if you're playing TM 2. That was the main draw of its Spiritual Predecessor too (4D Sports: Driving, aka Stunts).
  • A major selling point of Trials HD and subsequent games is that all the in-game levels were made with the editors. Some people have managed to really stretch what it can do, to the point of making games that have nothing to do at all with biking, such as first-person shooters and 2D platformers.

    Rhythm Games 


    Role-Playing Games 
  • Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten has a level editor that also works as a base editor, considering you can use your own level for your base if you are so inclined. Sadly, the international versions are going to wind up neutered a bit, and Japanese maps will not be usable in said versions. A similar level editor appears in Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has an editor. It's very powerful (it's the same tools the game devs used, for the most part) but has a steep learning curve.
  • The level editor for Dungeon Siege is extremely powerful, and surprisingly easy to use.
  • The Elder Scrolls games since Morrowind have included the "Construction Set", the very same editing program the games themselves are created with. This makes modding the game with the editor incredibly easy, leading to the series having one of the largest modding communities in the gaming world. (In fact, the official "Expansion Packs" for both Morrowind and Oblivion are essentially "mods" of the respective original games made with the same level editor by the development team.)
  • Fight The Dragon's main selling point is the ACK, or Adventure Construction Kit, which allows users to make their own levels. Options include the ability to place floors, walls, props, weather effects, enemies, traps, puzzle elements, treasure chests, and NPCs with dialogue.
  • Neverwinter Nights, for which the campaign creation tools were arguably the very reason a lot of people bought the game in the first place. Neverwinter Nights 2 has a toolset as much more in depth as the game.
  • The Witcher has one.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • Bangai-O Spirits has an editor integrated right into the game itself. Which is to say, if you activate the appropriate cheat (press Select), you can edit any official level while you are playing it! Something else that's worth mentioning is Spirits's "Sound Load" function: individual levels can be encoded into a sound file, which can be transmitted between DSes via their microphones, or recorded to a PC, uploaded to the Internet, and read by other DSes worldwide.
  • Since Crystal Quest levels are largely down to which creatures are spawned in which ratio, its content creation tool was called the Critter Editor.
  • Fraxy is a famous example of this. Brace yourself for super-tough bosses - all fan made, fan tested, and fan fought.
  • Zeta Flow, a Web Game that's available here, is basically a level editor, with a little game added on for those who don't bother. 99.8% of the game is fan made!

    Simulation Game 
  • In Airfix Dogfighter, you are given the ability to edit the existing rooms by putting various objects and items in there.
  • Both Descent: FreeSpace and FreeSpace 2 came bundled with the very same level creator that the designers used to create the main campaigns. It's so powerful and easy to use, people are still making campaigns (and even expanding the functionality) today, despite the game originally being released nearly twenty years ago.
  • Petz 4 and 5 have the option to create custom playscenes using pictures on your computer, along with the game's own library of background sounds and various other options, just in case you want to play with your virtual dog or cat in a noisy rainforest, or on the moon. The files for these playscenes can be then copied from the game's folder and made available to other people who have the game.
  • The second and third games in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series have built-in scenario editors. Unofficial programs were available for the first game to create custom scenarios, which were often built from and distributed as saved games to get around the limited number of scenario slots available; those require the Drexler patch to run, or the game will refuse to open the saves or scenarios on which they were used due to the "anti-cheat" code added by Chris Sawyer in his crusade against sandbox players.
  • The SimCity games were created as a result of a level editor; Will Wright was designing levels for the game Raid On Bungeling Bay (an overhead helicopter-based Shoot 'Em Up), and found that he was having more fun designing the levels than playing the game itself.
  • Sim Copter and Streets of Sim City can load cities made in SimCity 2000, technically making it a level editor for those two games.
  • Vector Thrust boasts a Map Editor, Mission Editor and a Campaign Editor, keeping with the creator's focus on moddability.
  • The X-Universe series has the Galaxy Editor, an in-engine editor to modify sectors (planets, skybox, asteroids, etc). It's a bit awkward to use, so many users instead edit raw XML files after memorizing the appearance of every planet/skybox/whatever. There's also the far more powerful Script Editor, a coding engine which can modify the behavior of commands, ships and entire races; the Galaxy Editor edits the appearance, while the Script Editor modifies the gameplay.

    Sports Games 
  • The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series had one since the second game. Originally it was just grid based, with basic items, but as the series progressed onto the sixth generation consoles, a fully free form Rail Tool was added, allowing rails to be put anywhere at any height, making the editor much more useful and allowing skate lines to be better set up.

    Strategy Game 
  • Level editors in general are considered almost a required feature, especially for RTSs, such that reviewers are known to complain if the game doesn't have one included (see the Gamespot review for the first Dawn of War, whose editor is a separate download).
  • The Age of Empires games all have editors.
  • Battle for Wesnoth: As an open-source game, the vast majority of its content is user-generated. The level editor isn't exactly user-friendly, but it still has a large and active community of people creating everything from maps to factions to entire campaigns.
  • The ever-popular Defense of the Ancients is a user-created map.
  • Gadget Trial has its own level editor similar to Advance Wars above.
  • The Heroes of Might and Magic series came with map editors. Since player-created maps contribute a lot to the games' longevity, the fifth game raised a significant outcry for not being released with a map editor immediately. It was added later with a patch.
  • Heroes of the Storm took it to another level by creating an entire game out of what was once technically a demonstration of StarCraft II's map editor. Eventually, it outgrew the Galaxy Editor and now runs on its own custom version of the StarCraft II engine.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 received several editors along with its Unfinished Business expansion. Together with hacking some data files, this culminated in a load of completely new fan-made campaigns, one of which (Wildfire) was eventually bought by the publisher and sold on the shelf.
  • In every Advance Wars game, players can create maps and, starting with Days of Ruin, share some of them over Wi-fi.
  • Sacrifice has Scapex. Notably, it even allows you to edit the game's campaign map.
  • Songs of Conquest: The game comes with a versatile map editor.
  • StarCraft has a level editor. StarCraft II seems to have taken this to a new level, as genres as varied as shmups, beat-em-ups, to outlandish things like kinetic novels are all possible. People have even used SCII's to do such things as a Fan Remake of SCI [1], and a Fan Sequel to Warcraft III [2].
  • The second and third Warcraft games have editors. The games have editors that allow for creating scripts and changing rules, essentially allowing players to create totally different ways to play. Custom maps are incredibly diverse and often bear little resemblance to the original game. Warcraft III gave everything from custom campaigns (set in Warcraft III or not, with some people even recreating tie-in novels or Warcraft 1 and 2 as campaigns), hero arenas, Sheep Tag (where you play as sheep, or as wolves trying to eat the sheep), to Pest control, where you play as an infestation of insects trying to wipe out the human tenants.
  • Warlight, a mostly free Indie Risk-like, allows you to create and upload your own maps, and also (if you are high level enough or cash in) to create customized scenarios on existing maps.
  • World in Conflict saw a map editor codenamed "WiCEd" released by the developers, which allows creation of both single and multiplayer levels. The notion proved so popular that the developers haven't released a single "official" map in about a year, instead endorsing fanmade ones and offering them for download at the official website.

    Stealth-based Game 
  • Hitman (2016) has introduced Contracts Mode, where you can select any level, walk through and select several of the hundreds of characters, and play through how they are assassinated and whether or not you are spotted or used a disguise. Players are automatically locked out of an impossible scenario because to upload it you have to be able to do it yourself using the equipment you have unlocked or bought, before writing up a title and briefing.
  • The third entry of Death to Spies, Alekhine's Gun has a downloadable level editor for the PC version from the developer's forums.

    Survival Horror 

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Voxatron has this as one of its most advertised features. Players may create their own levels with custom objects, monsters (including API and such), and items. The levels may then be shared with other players.

    Tower Defense 
  • Infinitode: You can create new maps with tiles you get from beating levels in the Map Editor.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Dreams. The whole idea is taking LittleBigPlanet's "Play, Create, Share" (it's made by the same company) and mashing them together.
  • inFAMOUS 2 includes a mission editor. It's fairly extensive, allowing for a wide range of mission types.
  • Roblox does this very well. With the basic blocks and a few scripts, you can make whatever you want. You can also publish these "Models" so other players can use them.
  • The Adventure Creator in Spore Galactic Adventures.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons gives players an unprecedented level of customization options to their village, from where villagers' homes and shops are located (with the ability to relocate almost any building for a nominal fee) to late-game terrain manipulation.

Examples of games in which the community ended up creating an editor of their own:

    Action Game 
  • Apogee Software had bad luck with fanmade editors:
    • For Duke Nukem 1, they threatened the creator of the first editor with legal action, and the editor was only released under the condition that he modified it to work only with the full game, not the shareware version.
    • For Wolfenstein 3-D, there were two contests planned: a secret item which told you to call Apogee and tell them the codeword, and a final score verification code so they could award the best player and confirm they weren't cheating. Then several fans started releasing level editors/viewers, and they realized neither would work and they had to call the contests off.
  • Chaos Engine for the Amiga now has one too, Chaos Construct.

    Action Adventure 

    Fighting Games 
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl has its own built-in editor, but that didn't stop people from making their own; this was mainly because the editor in the game has limitations such as how close certain blocks can be placed, and only so many are allowed to be placed, whereas the editor on the computer removes both these limitations, and you can even stack multiple objects onto each other. You can even edit the stage thumbnail with any picture you want from your hard drive. All of these stages will play but, be warned, placing more objects than usual may slow down gameplay big time, and there are chances you can cause a stage to be Unintentionally Unwinnable, unless you did that on purpose.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Doom was so popular in its time that tons of editors were created for it, numerous competing level editors among them. Levels could even come with built-in music, sounds, and graphics to change the experience even further. Currently, one of the most popular editors is Doom Builder. Starting from early 2020, Bethesda began incorporating the most popular mods and wads into a list of curated add-ons available as free Downloadable Content for the Unity-based ports of the first and second games, as well as semi-official episodes and expansions like Sigil and its sequel, both halves of Final Doom, and No Rest for the Living.

  • Various Nintendo games of consoles past, in the form of ROM hacking. Popular level editors include SMB Utility (Super Mario Bros.), Lunar Magic (Super Mario World), and Hyrule Magic (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past). People have already made two, including this, in literally a week for New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Other fan-made Mario level editors include Super Mario Construct and Yoshi's Fabrication Station.
  • Commander Keen has almost a dozen editors for the various series produced by its community over the years.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit 1 had its own editor produced to match the official for the sequel.
  • Numerous editors have been written for Jet Set Willy.
  • Mega Man has a ROM hacking community as well. In addition, a recent fangame that's essentially a level builder for the classic series came out in the form of Mega Man Maker (formerly Mega Maker) in first trailer posted on July 8, 2017 and the game releasing on July 15. Its website can be visited here and its Discord channel can be found here.
  • Pizza Tower has its own community-made level editor titled "Create Your Own Pizza". It’s fairly robust, containing most (if not all) of the mechanics in the base game, and even including some that didn’t end up making it into the final product.
  • Super Mario Bros. X comes with an extensive level editor that enables users to create levels with numerous NPCs, items, and mechanics of the early two-dimensional Mario games.
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island has a fairly primitive (it renders objects and sprites as simple blocks) one called Eggvine, and another called Golden Egg, a much more user-friendly editor in the vein of Lunar Magic.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Chip's Challenge has had several fan-made level editors over the years: ChipEdit, CCEdit, Chip's Workshop, etc. They were used by the fan community to draw their own levelsets, eventually amassing the most popular levels to create Fan Sequels.

    Racing Games 
  • Because the aforementioned track editor for F-Zero X was so rare, a member of the community who goes by BGNG created one for ROMS called Execution Project, which contains all of the features from the original track editor.
  • Mario Kart Wii has a fairly active modding community that has lots of custom tracks and other features people can play with.

    Rhythm Games 

    Strategy Game 
  • While LEGO Rock Raiders didn't technically have one on release. Modders discovered that one had been created but Dummied Out and are using it to create new levels.

Other examples:

Web Video


Video Example(s):


Building and sharing levels

A snippet from the game's 2011 promo video that showcases level editing and sharing.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / LevelEditor

Media sources: