Sandbox uses layers for two main reasons: Organizing your level content and Streaming performance.
Any object you place on a layer (vegetation/terrain excluded) can be hidden/unhidden via the Layer Control and also via Flowgraph, which allows loading/unloading of level areas to keep performance high and memory consumption low.
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Objects like brushes and entities can be placed on layers which are basically a mechanism to group objects logically.
You can find the Layer Tab on the RollupBar. On the Layers tab are a few useful buttons and the layer list. By default, the levels level's objects will be located on the "mainMain" layer.
In the screenshot that several layers have an asterisk after them. This shows layers that have had changes made to them.
Creating a New Layer
To create a new layer, click the New Layer button. After clicking on it, a dialog box will be displayed:
Be sure to enter a useful and recognizable name for your layer, possibly indicating its function or a description of what it contains. For example "beach area" or "sounds".
In the dialog box you can also specify if the Layer is visible, is frozen, Export Layer Pak, Default Loaded, is external, will be exported to the game, or Brushes Have PhysicsSee the Layer Settings description for more information on the functionality of each individual setting. You can always change these settings later on by clicking the Layer Settings button or right-clicking the layer and selecting Settings.
Deleting a Layer
Click the Delete Layer button to delete the currently selected layer. A dialog box will show up and ask for confirmation.
Once a layer is deleted, it cannot be restored without reloading a previous version of the level, or re-importing the layer if it was external.
To change layer settings, click the Layer Settings button or right click on a layer and select Settings in the popup menu. The same dialog box as for creating a new layer will be displayed. Change the settings and click OK.
|Visible||Does the same thing |
For organization purposes only. Examples are to choose the same color for a layer and all its children or to attribute the color some meaning.
Same as the layer hide/show icon. See below for more information.
|Does the same |
Same thing as the layer freeze/unfreeze icon. See below for more information.
Export Layer Pak
The layer's resources will be marked for use in the layer switching system for fast streaming. See Layer Streaming.
The layer will be loadedby default
at startup even if it is not visible. See Layer Streaming.
When this checkbox is enabled, the layer will be stored as a separate .lyr file on disk, enabling better use of version control systems.
Export to Game
|When this checkbox is enabled, the |
The layer will be exported to the game when you use File -> Export to engine.
do not wish tosee
export the objectscontained
to pure game mode. This useful for objects used for development. This option is distinct from the visibility setting in the editor. See also 'Platforms' to export depending on the deployment target.
Brushes Have Physics
Brushes within a layer with this disabled will not have physics. This is good for distance background objects to save on performance.
You can choose if you want the layer to only be exported to specific platforms. This is useful to have different assets or logic depending on your deployment target for performance reasons or for exclusivity.
Assigning Objects to Layers
When you have more than one layer in your level, you can assign your objects to a specific layer.
Select an object and look at its Entity settings on the RollupBar. Click the Layer button to open up the layer list which will allow you to select a different layer.
The image below shows a Particle entity selected, and the Layer's Layers button selected on the RollupBar.
By default any object is placed in the layer "Main", unless you have selected another from the layers menu.
If a different layer is selected from the Layers tab, any objects added to the level will automatically be assigned to that layer.
After assigning layers to your objects, there are a few additional ways to manage them. Go to the layer list in the RollupBar.
- Toggling the eye icon will hide/show the objects on that layer.
- Toggling the arrow icon will allow interaction with objects when the icon is visible (objects are unfrozen), and disallow interaction when the icon is hidden (objects are frozen).
Additionally, we have 2 extra icons on the top of the stack that controls the visibility or frozen state of all the layers. When all layers are visible or editable, the icon will show.
Once a layer is hidden, the icon will disappear. You can toggle the icon yourself to hide / show all the layers at once.
Optional double clicking of layer states
Double clicking on an icon will make make all layers layers change their state of hide/show or frozen/unfrozen, depending on which icon was selected..
We also have the option to disable the double clicking of layers completely. Inside the preferences panel of the editor, there is a new option for this.
Once disabled you can still use the 2 icons at the top of the stack to toggle all the layers at once.
Grouping Layers (Child Layers)
To un-group the layers, hold CTRL and drag the layer you wish to un-group into the empty space below (or the very bottom of the layer list). It will then be released back into its own main layer.
When saving a level, a new folder and file are stored inside the level folder. This will be something like
This file is used to store layer settings (frozen/hidden) for the level and having this file external to the .cry file allows for more flexible settings between multiple users who may be working on a level.
Learn how to create, manage, and use layers to manage complex levels.