Getting Started with Camoto Studio

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Game Editing / Starting a new mod

Camoto Studio is based around the concept of projects, where each project is a mod of a particular game. This allows you to have multiple mods in progress at the same time, as each one is a separate project.

Even if you just want to examine a game, you'll need to create a project for it.

Create a new project

Create a new project from the File menu. You will be asked for the location of the original (unmodified) game, and somewhere to store your new mod. All the game files are copied to your mod folder, so there is no risk of accidentally changing the original files. It is important to keep the original files available in the folder you select here, as eventually there will be an option to distribute your mod. This will compare your changes against the original game files to produce a small patch containing only the changes you made, avoiding the need to (perhaps illegally) distribute the entire game.

Decompress the .exe file

Some games require the main .exe file to be decompressed. If you cannot open any files you should be able to, or you get warnings about the .exe file being an unknown version, try using UNLZEXE to decompress the game's .exe file first. Remember to decompress the .exe in your mod/project folder, not the original game file. Eventually Camoto will be able to do this automatically, but for now it's a manual step each time you create a new project.

Edit an item

Once you have created your new project (or opened an existing one), all the aspects of the game that you can edit are displayed in a list. Simply double-click on these to edit them. If an item cannot be edited (such as a certain unsupported music format), it will appear grey in the list, however you can still right-click on the item to extract or replace it, if you have an external editor capable of editing the file format.

Save and test

When you save your changes, they are written directly into the copy of the game files stored in your mod folder. Thus, the modded game is always ready to play with your latest changes applied. If you have DOSBox installed, you can view your changes by launching the game from the Test menu. Alternatively you can use other modding tools by pointing them at the copy of the game in your mod folder. It's best to do this while your project is closed, because if it's open in Camoto at the same time as you use external tools there could be conflicts if both programs try to modify the same files at the same time.

Remember, Camoto Studio is still beta software, so it may crash unexpectedly. Save often!

Level Editing

Key points:

  • Move the mouse while holding the middle button (wheel) to pan/scroll around the level
  • Right-click on a tile to pick it up (in the level or in the tile panel)
  • Left-click to place the current tile/selection
  • Right-drag to select multiple tiles on the map
    • If you drag to the right and down, the box will be a solid line, and tiles must be contained entirely within the box to be selected
    • If you drag to the left and up, the box will be a dashed line, and any tile even partially within the box will be selected

The level editor is a bit rudimentary and has a bit of a learning curve. At any time, the available actions are displayed in the status bar at the bottom of the window. You will see things like "M-drag=scroll". L, M and R refer to mouse buttons, so M-drag means to drag the mouse while holding the middle button down (this is normally the mouse wheel). This is how you pan around the level. Keep an eye on the status bar for other actions, but for a quick summary:

Map layers

The map layers are listed in the Layer pane. Left-click to select a layer, and the tiles that can be placed in that layer will be displayed in the tile selector.

At any time, the left and right click actions operate on all active map layers. These are the layers with a tick in the "A" column. To activate or deactivate a map layer, double-click on it.

By default all map layers are visible, as shown by a tick in the "V" column. To show or hide a layer, right-click on it in the Layer pane.

Map paths

1 = Start, 2 = Point along path, 3 = Point that will be inserted by pressing Ins, 4 = Last point in path

Some games have paths in a map. These are indicated by blue arrows. To edit these, activate the Paths layer, then right-drag the mouse around the point(s) you want to select, the same way that tiles are selected. Move the points to the new location then left-click to place them there. When you have finished moving those points, select new ones (or just right-click in an empty area) to deselect the points.

The first point in the path is indicated by a small line perpendicular to the base of the arrow stem. If this point is selected, the entire path is moved.

When the mouse is near an arrow stem and there is no selection, a yellow arrow head appears on the stem. Press the Ins key to insert a new path point where the yellow arrow head is located. When one or more points are selected, the Del key can be used to delete these points.