Yep, idTech4 isn't really artist friendly, but it's not that hard to get into it if you're not a coder. There is plenty of reference in the web, such as: idDevNet, ModWiki and The Dark Mod Wiki. Most of the tools You will need to use are built in the engine. DarkRadiant is definitely the best level editor that is available for this engine. There are also many different forks of the engine to consider, I'll describe some of them here.
The Dark Mod engine fork is a great choice if you want:
- highly reactive AI
- great stealth system
- advanced scripting (stim - response)
- advanced item manipulation
- excellent melee combat system
- basic yet functional inventory
- stable and still improved codebase
- supportive community around the fork's project and game's forums
- mission and campaign based
fhDoom engine fork is a modernised version of the GPL engine fork:
- many graphical enhancements
- audio improvements
- somewhat improved multiplayer code
Storm Engine 2 is an improved version of RBDoom3BFG fork:
- contains most of the changes made by RBDoom3BFG, but is focused more on development of standalone games
- fully reconstructed flash menus
- several graphic & audio improvements
- you may want to use my (incomplete) development starter pack if you decide to use this fork: SE2DevBase
- it is a discontinued project though
- based on RBDoom3BFG, slightly less developed than Storm Engine 2 in several aspects
- Flash menus replaced with CEGUI
You may also consider RBDoom3BFG itself, though it's more oriented towards replaying the original game with improvements. The original GPL engine and Doom3BFG are highly inferior to other forks listed here, it is advisable to not use them unless it's for educational purposes.
You may also ask for help here: idTechForums. However, that forum is more or less visited only by several people (including me), so it is much better to ask here if you decide to use idTech 4.
I haven't used Source Hammer (GoldSrc on the other hand...), so I can't tell you what's different between these two editors. DarkRadiant is the best level editor I have used to this day, and I highly recommend it.
You can use anything that exports to .lwo for static meshes and moveable objects. For characters and animated objects, you will need something that is able to perfrom .md5 export. Blender, LightWave or 3dsMax will be useful (though Blender is the best bet if you want animated/character models for this engine).
Personally, I'm using Wings 3D for static meshes and moveables (non-animated objects with ragdolls/collision models). It matches the engine's scale 1:1, so an object that is 32x32x32 in Wings3D remains 32x32x32 in the engine. It also exports natively to .lwo, and is a nice subdivision modelling software. I'm building and UV Mapping most of my geometry in Wings3D and then export to Blender if I want to make animations. There are .md5 exporters available for Blender, so you can export models with animations into the engine with it.
Edited by Snehk, 06 August 2018 - 04:51 PM.