Mindbelt | The Keener's Editor (version 1.3)

Utilities for editing Keen:Vorticons levels.
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ckguy
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Post by ckguy »

<unimportant point>

Woah, has the forum *always* said "MindBelt" with a capital B? It's definitely a lowercase B. No offense guys, but I do in fact know the exact title of my program. ;-P

</unimportant point>

(I remember something like this happening with Ck456Tli as well. I guess I just use nontraditional capitalization ... )
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adurdin
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Post by adurdin »

Are you hallucinating? It's Mindbelt with a lowercase B. It's always had a lowercase B.



Ok, fixed it for you.
AST
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Post by AST »

Have to agree the name was changed in the Jun 09, 2007 post and it has a lower case b.
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ckguy
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Post by ckguy »

AST wrote:Have to agree the name was changed in the Jun 09, 2007 post and it has a lower case b.
On June 9, 2007, Mindbelt didn't have its own forum - do you mean the topic name had a lower case B? Because it always did (well, at least ever since it was renamed from CKludge).

(I can't believe I decided to continue this conversation. How about people post about the program itself and not the name. :-)
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Post by levellass »

But it's such a very apt name. =)

Personally I like the double capitalization; perhaps I've worked too much with acronyms in my time.
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ckguy
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Post by ckguy »

levellass wrote:But it's such a very apt name. =)
Those flashes of creativity, even when it's for something trivial like the name of the program, are pretty amazing sometimes. Not gonna lie, I felt pretty cool when I thought that name up. ;-)
levellass wrote:Personally I like the double capitalization; perhaps I've worked too much with acronyms in my time.
Meh, I dunno which is better.
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Shadow Master
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Post by Shadow Master »

I as the KeenWiki admin suggest you to have an unique location for the always latest version you publish, i.e. some URL to which you upload Mindbelt updates, no matter what version it should be.

So that I can put a download link in the KeenWiki that doesn't become obsolete when a new version comes out.
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Post by ckguy »

Alrighty, I'll start this when I release the next version. Whether that's 1.2.2 or 1.3 remains to be seen - it depends if there are any big new features.
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ckguy
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Post by ckguy »

Okay, here's version 1.2.2. Not much new - just fancy .chm documentation. And the regular "+" and "-" now zoom as well as the numpad ones.

And hopefully the current URL will be the "permanent" address for all future version as well.
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Post by ckguy »

Alrighty, I've been working on some coolio new features for version 1.3. All that really remains is to hunt down some sporadic bugs and (gulp!) update the documentation--always the worst part. It would be nice to get this thing out of the door before the new year.
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Post by ckguy »

Well, I wasn't able to log in to my CKFS, so I uploaded version 1.3 to my dormant wikispaces:

http://theckguy.wikispaces.com/space/sh ... ndbelt.zip

Lots of cool new stuff in this release; check out the relnotes!

[edit:] Version 1.3 is now up at the normal place as well - my CKFS:
http://files.commanderkeen.org/users/th ... ndbelt.zip
Last edited by ckguy on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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levellord
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Post by levellord »

Sleek, very sleek. As you say this is the editor you want. It handles Ken 1-3 levels with unprecedented versatility and the magic tool, though difficult to set up is brilliant. (It would be nice if there was some way you could set up a line of magic tool in the dat file just by clicking the upper leftmost tile and assuming the 3x3 block down and right of it was those tiles.)

Sadly it seems that when opening graphics it only displays a certain number of tiles, not matter how big the bitmap is, we can add extra tiles to Keen 3 now but that feature can't be utilized with this editor. (You can also remove as many rows of tiles from Keen 1-3 as you want if you have extras.) The various options for reloading graphics are useful too, and more efficient.

MB's ability to edit .DD2 and .NIN levels is almost as good. (Though of course you have to tweak the tiles and it can't handle the different sprite setup.)

The tile search mode can be a bit problematic if, for example you're looking for a key you placed in the level earlier and lost, since the purple surrounding square is the same color as the light purple in Keen's tile palette and thus blends in. I don't know how this could be improved (An orange square perhaps, or maybe the palette is set and is unchangeable?) Will there be a tile replace tool any time soon?

The Keen 3 Mangling Machine sprites and chain sprite are handled Ok, but it would be nice to have an option that automatically put their blocks into the level when the sprite was selected (Perhaps also with a small graphic for the foot and hands, like KeenWright does; the existing graphic choice is ok,.) This could be modified with an entry in the dat file if people liked. (Certainly you seem to have entries in the file for them.)

This brings up the topic of map teleporters, it would be nice if in map mode there were links shown between them, like for bridges. (In Keen 1 the locations can be patched though nobody has done so to my knowledge, but In Keen 3 the rules are unpatchable, if slightly more complex.)

And that's that for me, a very well built, almost bug free and solid bit of programming you have there. (It makes me wonder what happened to vortlev.)
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ckguy
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Post by ckguy »

Okaaay ... I was reading over your post, LL, and I've thought about a few things:
  • Having more/less tiles shouldn't be too hard to implement. It's mostly a matter of actually doing it.
  • As for the tile search mode: I was having trouble trying to decide what color to make the outline. Any suggestions as to what color to make it? (No the palette is not fixed; I can specify any #RRGGBB value.)
  • Editing other games' levels with the same format: A main issue is the restrictions MB puts on filenames. It also looks at the last character in the file extension to decide what script file to load. Maybe I'll rename the script files to things like scriptck1.txt, scriptck2.txt, scriptck3.txt, and let the user create their own scriptdd2.txt, scriptnin.txt, etc. I might also want to put in entries allowing the filenames of the image files to be slightly different. I don't know what sort of naming scheme is used by the extended ModKeen that works with those other games.
  • Setting up the magic tool: I'm considering writing an external program to assist in the editing of the episXdat.txt script files.
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ckguy
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Post by ckguy »

Well, I've pretty much taken care of the "number of tiles" and "other games with the same engine" things above. Now, all of the tile/sprite image names are completely customizable, and script files are called EXT.txt, where EXT is the extension for the game in question (ck1.txt, ck2.txt, ck3.txt, dd2.txt, nin.txt, etc.). Note that version 1.4 will still only come with the script files for Keen, but it will have the ability to be expanded (i.e., by LL) to work with other games.

The only thing left is reimplementing the creation of new levels. I haven't quite decided how this is going to work--should they type in a extension. In all version up till now, you picked the Keen episode from a dropdown menu, but that won't work any more, because there could theoretically be an unlimited number of episodes. I'm thinking of forcing the user to specify a filename right away when creating a new level.

Another change that came about because of the reworking of episodes is that you can now have two different mods based off the same episode loaded at the same time. You would just have to give each one its own EXT.txt file.

As for a tile replace tool, how would you propose the mechanics of this would work?

Sorry if this was a bit rambling--just to let you know that stuff is happening.
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levellord
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Post by levellord »

Righty, let's see...


* Firstly the issue with the tile search mode; I think that any color sufficiently different from the existing Keen palette will suffice, (Such as yellow-green or orange.) light purple is a pretty good choice as-is, since little purple is used, but it can be difficult to spot in Keen 3 (With its purple ground.)
* I've written partial script files for SK and DD for the existing Mindbelt (Including making sprites add to the points.) and I'm pretty sure I can expand them for the next version. The sprite images are the problem since the only tool that extracts them reliably (Wombat) extracts them to folders (1 per sprite file.) but the game itself orders them according to its egahead (As if all the files were combined into one egasprit file.) Thankfully sprite numbers are customizable huh?
* Mods often use different endings for their level files, that makes for some interesting possibilities
* The tile replace ideally would allow you to select a tile and another tile, then replace all instances of the first tile with the second (Perhaps using two of the four tile spaces the editor has?) It should just need to scan through a level replacing as it goes, but I don't fully (Or even mostly) understand how it's set up.
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