This guide will explain what is involved with importing graphics into the engine. It also shows a fast and easy way to convert your old RM2k(3) resources into SMBX ready tiles.

This guide is to explain the process I go through to take RM2k3 chipsets and make tiles ready to import into the editor. If you are using your own method to create the custom tiles then skip this first section.

****************Steps for converting chipsets and charsets********************

I use IDraw because it's small and simple to use. It has lots of features that make it easy to do this kind of work. You can download the windows version here.

Useful commands in IDraw

z - Zoom In
x - Zoom Out

Useful features:

Select Color - This is in the tools window and lets you highlight all of the same color so you can easily change 1 color at a time.

Block Interval - This is in the Settings menu at the top of the window. Enable this and set it to 8x8 or 16x16. With this on, when you hold CTRL, your selection tool will align to a grid and make it easier to do your editing.

The downside to IDraw is that it can't handle just any image. Sometimes you will try to open a file in IDraw or even copy from another program into IDraw and just get an error. Usually this is because the source has too many colors. Most other image editing images can reduce the color depth, it needs to be 256 colors. Ifranview is a small and easy program to get this done, I also do it in Gimp, but I'm sure any major program can do it.

So first you open the chipset in IDraw.

Set the block interval so it's easier to select the pieces. I prefer 8x8.

Highlight the piece you want. Right click on it and choose "Magnification".

We have to double it to match SMBXs higher resolution. Check off "Percentage" and put 200 in the box as shown.

If the object will not fill the square completely then you have to make the background black.

Right click the selection again and click on "Save selected as...". You can name the file anything you want for now but make sure you type in .gif at the end of the file name. It's not an option in the Save as type dropdown menu so you have to manually type it in. Save them all in the same folder. .

************End of RM2k3 conversion section****************

Now that you have a graphic that is ready to be put into a level, there are some things you need to know before you start importing your tiles.

1 tile in SMBX is 32x32.

In your project folder you have to create a folder with the same name as your level, as you can see in the picture below. While in the editor you will only have access to the sprites while that level is open and they will automatically show in the tile selection boxes within the editor.

Tiles for the world map do not go in any folder. They sit in the same place as the .lvl files.

In the engine's default graphics folder all graphics are divided into categories. Just browse through the folders to figure out where everything is. When choosing a tile to replace make sure that it has the same general properties as the tile you want to import. For example, if you want to import a simple 1x1 square don't choose a default tile that is a slope. Choose another 1x1 square. You are only changing the look of the tile, it will behave the same way as the original tile did.

Masks are a second image that tells the engine which parts to make transparent. Only some graphics have masks and you cannot just place a second image like this and expect it to work. Only images that have a mask by default can use them.

2 rules for making a mask.

1. The image must have a black background
2. The mask must have a white background (and the rest goes black)

It's pretty easy to make a mask. Just take the image and use the paint tool to make the background white, then use whatever tool to make the rest black. The mask will have the same file name as the image but will have the letter m in it. Look at the examples to see how they are named.

Here's how I go about putting them in the engine.

I start by having 3 folders open. They are:

1. The folder with all the tiles I've converted in IDraw
2. The folder containing all the default SMBX graphics.
3. The folder where I want the end product to go(inside your project folder).

So it would be something like this.

In this is example we are going to import a 1x1 square block.

Step 1:

Take a COPY of a tile you are going to replace from the default graphics folder and place it in the level folder(never delete the original).

Not part of this example but, If you need the mask file copy that over as well

Now put a copy of the tile you made into the level folder. You would also copy the mask file over if it has one.

Copy the filename of the default tile. You can click the file to select it, wait 1 second, then click the file name again to enter rename mode (or right click>rename, of course).

Once you copy the file name, delete that file. Enter rename mode for your imported tile and paste the name in.

That's it. You've imported a tile. Open up your editor to find that tile in place of the default tile you chose. If you already have the editor open and you import a new tile just hit File>Save and any changes will take effect.

The tiles in the default graphics folder are named out of order. You cannot start naming your tiles block1.gif, block2.gif, block3.gif, and have them appear next to each other in the editor. It's somewhat random. So, using this method, when you are selecting tiles from the default graphics folder make sure to choose tiles that will appear close together in the engine. Just pick tiles from the same game and they will at least appear in the same tab in the engine.

So that's basically it. Again this is my method and there are many ways to do things differently. You could just name the files properly when you save them initially and you could skip my step of copy/pasting the file name but I usually do things in mass. I will use IDraw to save a few dozen single tiles and then use my method to rename them. Whatever works!

If you have any further information or questions or problems, post a comment.


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only 90s kids will like this admin
This will be handy when I finally take the time to sit down and make that Zelda game in SMBX I've been wanting to do.
i use Adobe Spriter. it's free, without any download, and you can convert it into most picture formats.
and it actually looks like 12-bit graphics, or other types of sprited graphics
I am Pyrdoom, Hedgehog of Fire and the Time Controller.
Now, cool. Now can we make custom graphics and music for our world maps?
To change stuff on the world map you have to change the files in the engine folder, SMBX/GRAPHICS. As opposed to your level folder, SMBX/WORLDS/LEVEL. If you want others to see it, they need to do the same or you can do what Talking Time Bros did and include a copy of the entire SMBX folder in the download.
only 90s kids will like this admin
This will be handy when I finally take the time to sit down and make that Zelda game in SMBX I've been wanting to do.
So, this has gone swimmingly...NOT!
This will be handy when I finally take the time to sit down and make that Zelda game in SMBX I've been wanting to do.
So, this has gone swimmingly...NOT!

haha Like I said, the invitation to design levels for my Zelda game is still open to you. I haven't touched it in a while but I can send it your way if you want.
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