The Photachyon Transceiver
The Photachyon Transceiver (TPT) is a Windows-based level editor for Keen's 4-6 that was developed by CK Guy. A preliminary version was released in January of 2008 culminating in a final 'unofficial version 3' in February of 2008. Since it was discontinued, the framework was instramental in the creation of the editor The Omegamatic by Mink, which is in many ways The Photachyon Transceiver's spiritual successor.
Levels in Keens 4-6 are composed of three planes of tiles: background, foreground, and info.
The background plane contains for the most part, as the name suggests, the background of the level. The foreground plane contains the tiles that Keen and other sprites interact with—however, not all of the foreground tiles appear in front of Keen (in fact, most don’t). The infoplane contains the sprites, the point items in secret passages, and the information for the various “connections” in the levels: switch-to-bridge, switch-to-platform, keygem holder-to-door, door-to-door, etc.
Before you start editing, you will need a few things: the gamemaps file you want to use, the maphead file you want to use, and the tile images extracted with ModKeen.
You can get the gamemaps file out of your Keen folder. The maphead file is stored inside the .exe file, so normally you would have to extract that using CKPatch’s %dump command, for example. However, in this download file, the default maphead files for Keens 4-6, version 1.4 are included (not version 1.4 distributed by Goodtimes Software). You can use other versions of Keen and extract the maphead file yourself, but this is not recommended.
Lastly, use ModKeen (or LModKeen) to extract the images from the EGAGRAPH file. The only bitmaps you will need for this program are the ones with the tile images: ?til0000.bmp and ?til0001.bmp. Put these either in the same folder as gamemaps and maphead, or in some subfolder.
Now you can start TPT. An “open file” dialog will appear: browse to and select the appropriate gamemaps file.
Once the editor has loaded the levels, the world map (level #0) appears on the screen.
You can switch to different levels by pressing pageup and pagedown, or by the levels menu. The arrow keys and the mouse wheel scroll around in the level.
- zooms in and out on the level. Everything in the file menu should be fairly self-explanatory.
At the bottom of the window is the status bar. This shows which three tiles (one in each plane) are currently selected. Each plane is also either active, inactive, or hidden. When a plane is active, editing operations will affect it. When a plane is inactive, editing operations will not affect it. When it is hidden, it does not appear in the window (and editing operations do not affect it). You can toggle whether a plane is active or inactive by pressing
1 (for the background plane),
2 (for the foreground plane), or
3 (for the infoplane). Similarly, you can press
6 to toggle whether the three planes are visible.
You can place tile(s) (depending on which planes are active) by left-clicking. You can pick up tile(s) (again, depending on which planes are active) by right-clicking. You can bring up tile palettes by pressing [Spacebar]. Press
3 to select the palette for the background, foreground, or infoplanes. Pressing
Spacebar again returns to the level.
Other Editing Tasks
The entries in the settings and tools menu should be fairly self-explanatory. Their hotkeys are also given in the menus. Note that the resizing-level commands will automatically update infoplane links, that is, all values greater than the largest icon (except for $B1B1, the code for a level’s exit) are checked to see if they point below/to the right of the place where the row/column was inserted/deleted, and if so are adjusted by
- 1 or 256.
There is one last thing to note. To enter a custom infoplane value (one that does not have an icon on the palette), press
Enter and type it in (in hex). Note that the default value is the mouse cursor’s current position on the level. This makes the creation of most types of links easier: put your cursor at the target, press
Enter (twice), and then place the tiles.