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Exult Studio Documentation

last changed: 13 March 2016(GMT)

A text only version can be found here

1. Introduction
1.1. What is Exult Studio?
1.2. About this Documentation.
1.3. Terms we use in regard to Exult and Ultima 7

2. Configurations
2.1. Installation
2.2. Running Exult Studio
2.3. Step-by-step instructions to run Exult Studio
2.4. What you can do at the moment
2.5. Settings in exult.cfg.
2.6. Command line options

3. Exult Studio basics
3.1. Description
3.2. Shape files
3.3. Map files
3.4. Palettes files
3.5. Groups files
3.6. The detail window

4. Exult Studio's menus
4.1. An overview
4.2. File
4.3. Edit
4.4. Mode
4.5. Tools
4.6. Map
4.7. Tool bar

5. Basic editors
5.1. The shape editor
5.2. Creating Combination files
5.3. Custom Usecode

6. Egg editing
6.1. Explaining eggs
6.2. The different types of eggs
6.3. Add, remove and edit eggs
6.4. Properties of eggs
6.5. Placing a monster spawning egg
6.6. Schedules of Creatures
6.7. Jukebox, Sound Effects and Voice eggs
6.8. Usecode eggs
6.9. Missile eggs
6.10. Teleport eggs
6.11. Weather eggs
6.12. Path eggs
6.13. Button eggs
6.14. Intermap eggs
6.15. Multi-map support

7. NPC editing
7.1. Editing an existing NPC
7.2. Creating a new NPC
7.3. Basic NPC settings
7.4. NPC Properties
7.5. NPC Flags
7.6. NPC Schedules

8. Basic map editing
8.1. Learning the basics of map editing
8.2. Moving objects around
8.3. How to place objects from Exult Studio
8.4. Mark, delete, copy, make multiple objects
8.5. Making floating objects like bridges
8.6. How to change the frame of an object
8.7. How to change chunks (the big red outlined square)
8.8. How to make a structures consisting of multiple objects
8.9. More things you can do with Combos
8.10. Use the paint feature to quickly create a forest

9. Miscellaneous
9.1. Creating a boat, flying carpet, or horse drawn carriage
9.2. Importing and creating your own custom shapes
9.3. How to create a custom font?
9.4. Other tools that might be useful
9.5. Porting Exult Studio to other platforms
9.6. About this client/server stuff?
9.7. About this 'terrain-editing' stuff and why you can't just drag objects to where you want.
9.8. ifix and ireg reference chart
9.9. What's next?
9.10. Known Bugs with the Windows port
9.11. Known Bugs with the Linux port

10. Credits
10.1. Thanks

11. Changes to the Documentation
11.1. - 13 March 2016
11.2. - 21 November 2013
11.3. - 19 February 2011
11.4. - 23 January 2011
11.5. - 18 December 2010
11.6. - 11 March 2010
11.7. - 01 March 2005
11.8. - 23 May 2004
11.9. - 06 February 2004

1. Introduction
1.1. What is Exult Studio?

Exult is not only capable of playing Ultima 7 but it is also intended as an engine in the style of the one used by Ultima 7. Exult Studio started it's life as a simple map editor but it is slowly developing into a full fledged editor enabling users to create a new game. Tristan came up with the cool name!

The main purpose of Exult Studio is the ability to create an entirely original game world without using the original Ultima 7 data files. Its semi-possible already but still requires a lot of work. Not the least of which is that an entire games worth of art needs to be created.

Editing a copyrighted game may or may not be allowed. Please exercise caution especially if you want to distribute your changes.

1.2. About this Documentation.

Exult Studio is work in progress. How things work may change and new features are added very frequently. Due to that the maintainers (Jeffrey, Dominus) of this documentation may not have been able to update it. As we do not have an official release yet this documentation refers to recent snapshots.

This guide is what we hope will be an ongoing effort to provide up to date and in-depth information on how to get the most out of Exult Studio. Accuracy is an essential part of this guide. If you find something that could be clearer or doesn't seem worded properly please tell us, we will be happy to change this guide. Tips and tricks by other users will be appreciated as well and will of course be credited.

1.3. Terms we use in regard to Exult and Ultima 7

Of course the terms explained in Documentation are also used in this Documentation but we will list them along with the terms that additionally need to be explained for the usage of Exult Studio

  • tile:
    8x8 pixels
  • chunk:
    16x16 tiles
  • superchunk:
    16x16 chunks
  • world:
    12x12 superchunks
  • NPC schedules:
    NPCs can have schedules which make them do certain things at certain times.
  • BG, SI, FoV or SS:
    we refer to "Ultima 7: The Black Gate" as BG and to "Ultima 7: Serpent Isle" as SI. The add-ons "Forge of Virtue" and "Silver Seed" are called FoV and SS.
  • eggs:
    these are trip-wires that can cause monsters to spawn, execute scripts, play music, change weather, trigger traps or teleport when you get near them.
  • flex files:
    also known as flexes, these are used by the original to store the data files. Also when you choose to not use compressed save games (see save_compression_level in Documentation) our save games are also "flexed".
  • gumps:
    the windows used in the game interface for containers, characters, menus, etc..
  • paperdoll:
    when pressing 'i' you get the inventory display. It's the picture of your characters body (or the bodies of your party members) onto which you can drag all kinds of equipment. The way this is displayed in SI is what we call paperdoll. We integrated this for BG as well. (see FAQ).
  • shapes:
    shape files are the format used for storage of all graphics elements (from UI buttons to terrain features) of the games Exult supports. Shapes may contain one or more frames (a frame is a single image).
  • snapshot:
    see FAQ.
    Please note that our documentation usually refers to the latest snapshot.
  • usecode:
    that's the scripting language that drives all of U7 (conversations, objects...).
  • Exult data folder:
    that's the folder where Exult stores its data files (exult.flx, exult_bg.flx and exult_si.flx).

2. Configurations
2.1. Installation
  • You need Exult and you need to install it properly (see Documentation). Also make sure that you are using the latest snapshot of Exult.
    Exult Studioonly works with the latest snapshot, not the latest release.
  • For U*ix platforms you need to build Exult Studio from the source available from our source snapshot at http://exult.sourceforge.net/download.php.
    You will also need the GTK+ library installed as well as libglade.
  • For Windows platforms (98,98SE,ME,2k,XP,Vista,7) you need to download http://exult.sourceforge.net/snapshots/ExultStudio.exe and install it in the same folder where you installed Exult. Exult Studio does not run Windows 95
2.2. Running Exult Studio

You can run Exult Studio all by itself, but it isn't useful that way, as it uses Exult as a server. What you really want to do is:

  • Put 'exult_studio.glade' in the Exult 'data' folder.
  • Be sure 'exult_studio' is in your path. (on Windows 'exult_studio.exe' needs to be in the same folder as exult.exe)
  • On U*ix platforms you need to be running Exult on X.
  • Run Exult in windowed mode (not fullscreen).
  • Enable the Exult cheat mode (see Documentation).
  • Press 'alt+ctrl+m' to go into 'map-editor' mode. If all is set up correctly, exult_studio will start up, and will have a list of files on the left side of its window.

Starting up one or the other separately will reconnect them:

  • If Exult isn't running, start it up. Then, in Exult Studio, use the 'File' menu to choose the static folder (for the game you're playing).
  • If Exult Studio isn't running start it up with: exult_studio -x (path to the folder containing exult_studio.glade) -gGAME (GAME is the same string (ie, 'blackgate') that we use in .exult.cfg or that you've given to your own game).

You can also reconnect by selecting File-Connect in Exult Studio's menus.

2.3. Step-by-step instructions to run Exult Studio

The above instructions may still be too technical for everybody. You have to make sure all these steps are taken care of before you're going to get very far with your world building.

  1. While it is not explicitly needed it is useful to have a working copy of either BG or SI properly installed onto your computer.
  2. Next, you need to have the latest Exult snapshotinstalled properly onto your computer and working correctly. If you are currently playing either BG or SI on your machine this is probably done right. To make sure you have the correct version, ensure that it says X.XX GIT (X.XX stands for some version number) during Exult's start-up screen (for example see http://exult.sourceforge.net/images/screenshots/mainmenu.png).
  3. You need to make sure the newest version of Exult Studio is installed properly onto your computer as well. Exult Studio should be installed in the same folder as the Exult snapshot.
  4. The patch folder needs to be in folder which you are allowed to write, so Exult Studio can save any changes to existing games. See 2.4. What you can do at the moment on how to change exult.cfg accordingly.
  5. In order for Exult Studio to work properly, you need to have Exult running in windowed mode. If you can see your desktop while playing, then you're doing it right.
  6. Make sure you have Cheats enabled. This can be enabled in the Gameplay options of the Game see (see Documentation).
  7. While running Exult in windowed mode, hit 'ctrl+alt+m' to enter map-editing mode. Exult Studio should open up if you did everything correctly. In map-editing mode the world is frozen, but you are still able to move your characters around in order to place objects. You're now ready to start your world editing. You should be seeing something like this:

game window with red grid

2.4. What you can do at the moment

With the latest source you can

  • browse shapes in the main window.
  • drag a shape from the shape browser to Exult, and that object will be placed in the game.
  • edit an 'egg' by double-clicking on it. An edit box should appear.
  • create a new 'egg' using the pull-down menu in Exult Studio. In the Egg edit box, after you hit 'Apply', you'll be prompted to click in Exult where you want the egg to appear.
  • if editing a 'monster' egg, you can set the monster by dragging the shape from the browser to the area that displays the monster.
  • edit an NPC by double-clicking on it, and also create a new NPC using the pull-down menu. Attributes, flags, and schedules can all be viewed and modified.
  • edit other objects' position and quality by double-clicking on them.
  • browse the 'u7chunks' file, and drag them into Exult to change the terrain. In this browser, you can also create new terrains and modify their order.
  • select a chunk, choose 'Paint with chunks' from the 'Mode' menu, and then paint terrain with that whole chunk.
  • edit a 'terrain' (stored in 'u7chunks') by clicking the "Edit terrain" checkbox in Exult Studio. This is a special mode where dragging with the left mouse button 'paints' the currently-selected shape (generally one of the flat tiles near the top of the shapes browser). Note that a 'terrain' is generally used in multiple places in the map and changing it in one place changes it in all the others as well.
  • save the map using Exult Studio's "File-Save map" pulldown menu. In order to avoid writing over files inadvertently, the files that would normally go into the 'static' folder, will, instead, go into a 'patch' folder that you specify in your 'exult.cfg' file. Here's an example for editing BG:

IMPORTANT:Exult Studio requires the "patch" folder to be writeable. If you don't have writeaccess you need to place it somewhere you are allowed to write to and change the path accordingly in exult.cfg.

Exult will also read files from 'patch' if it exists on starting a new game. The patch folder is expected to be within the main game folder, parallel to the static and gamedat folders.

In any mode, you can add the currently selected shape by shift-clicking.

2.5. Settings in exult.cfg.

You can change the settings of Exult Studio either with the preferences dialog or via exult.cfg. Those settings are:

<width>** width of the program window
<height>** height of the program window
<default_game>** default game to edit (games must be specified in<game> part of exult.cfg)
<image_editor>** command that calls the image editor. Only useful on Unix/Linuxplatforms for now.
gimp-remote -n
<background_color>** background color for the shape-chooser. Use the preferencedialog of Exult Studio for this.
2.6. Command line options

Exult Studio offers some "hidden" command line options:

  • -c configfile
    Specify alternate config file (relative or absolute paths work).
  • -p
    Portable option for Windows only. Exult Studio will read cfg file from the folder Exult got installed to.
    specifies GAMENAME and Exult Studio will read the game base folder from exult.cfg. GAMENAME can be chosen from the games specified in <game> part of exult.cfg.
  • -m modname
    Must be used together with '-g gamename'; runs the specified game using the mod with title equal to 'modname'. 'modname' is the name of the mod cfg file (e.g. keyring.cfg means 'modname' 'keyring'.
  • -x FOLDER
    tells exult_studio to look in FOLDER for its user-interface specification (exult_studio.glade).
    You can enter the full path (e.g. "exult_studio -xc:\exult\data") to the glade file or you can use the relative path (e.g. exult_studio -x./data).
    This option is only useful to developers who want to edit exult_studio.glade themselves.

3. Exult Studio basics
3.1. Description

Once Exult Studio runs correctly , a tree of game files is displayed to the left of the main window, while the currently selected file is viewed in detail to the right.
Exult Studio default view
The types of files Exult Studio supports are described next.

3.2. Shape files

Shapes are the basic graphical elements of the game. Each shape has one or more frames that typically represent different states or angles of the same thing. E.g. a button shape could have frames for pressed, and released; a character could have frames depicting her sitting, standing up facing one way, or another, swinging a punch, etc.
When a shape file is selected, the right part of the main window will show frame zero of the shapes contained therein. Shapes can be selected by clicking, which will show there number, number of frames, and name if known. Other frames can be viewed by changing the frame number.

When the selected file contains shapes that have names in their info you can also use the find option to find shapes that have that name (e.g. in shapes.vga you can search for 'door' to find all shapes that have door frames). You can search down or up in the selected file.

When viewing shapes you can press the button 'Frames' in the lower right corner of Exult Studio to show all the frames of a shape next to each others.

Shape files also have a special right-click-menu. See 5.1. The shape editor.

Typical shape files are:

  • Sprites.vga
    displays all the animations that can be used to overlay the screen.
  • Shapes.vga
    displays the objects that can be placed onto the world.
  • Fonts.vga
    displays all text graphics used throughout the game.
  • Faces.vga
    contains all of the graphics for conversation pictures..
  • Pointers.shp
    contains the graphics for the mouse cursor.
  • Combos.flx
    where custom made combos will be stored.
3.3. Map files

These files contain so called chunks that serve as templates in the final map. The chunks of the selected map file are shown in the right part of the main window.
When a chunk is selected you have two options below:

  • Locate
    shows places in the Exult game where that chunk is used.
  • Move
    Moves a chunk in the chunk file. This does not effect the display on the map.

Right clicking on a chunk gives you another two options (also the File-save/revert option):

  • New...
    Creates a new chunk. Drag the new chunk onto the game and edit it by dragging shapes on it.
    Duplicates a chunk. Drag the duplicate chunk onto the map to edit it.
  • Delete
    Deletes that chunk. Be very careful with this option.
3.4. Palettes files

The palettes used by a game are stored in the files listed there.
When you select a palette with number zero is shown in the right part of the main window. Other palettes are shown by selecting another palettes number When a palettes file is selected you have some options:

  • Edit
    New/Remove adds or deletes a palettes.
  • Move
    Moves palettes in the file.
  • File
    Overwrites the current palettes with palette text file.
    Exports the current palette to a text file.

The palette text files are compatible with the Gimp.

Right clicking on a palette only gives you the default File-save/revert option.

3.5. Groups files

Editing a game can become quite cumbersome when you have to choose between a lot of shape files containing several frames. To make this task easier we have implemented so called groups to groups several shapes together. For example you can group all shapes containing door frames together in a group called 'doors'.
For this you have to select Groups and create a new group by writing the name in the lower part of the window and then click 'add'. You now have the option in the Shape Menu to add a shape to this group.
When you double-click a group the group window opens that shows the shapes in the group and by selecting a shape you see the shape info. You also have some options to edit the group:

  • Move
    Moves the shapes within the group.
  • Remove
    Removes the shape from the group.
  • Name
    Changes the name of the group.
  • Frame:
    select the frame displayed.
  • Frames
    shows all the frames of a shape next to each others.
  • Find
    Lets you search for a specified shape in the group.
  • Locate
    Locates the selected shape inside the game. It locates only the shape not a specific frame.
3.6. The detail window

Below the detail windows you have the following options:

  • Frame:
    select the frame displayed.
  • Frames
    shows all the frames of a shape next to each others.
  • Find
    Lets you search for a specified shape in the group.
  • Locate
    Locates the selected shape inside the game. It locates only the shape not a specific frame.

Right-clicking on the detailed view of any file gives these options (along with other options specific to the file):

  • File...
    Saves all the changes you made to it without saving any other file.
    Discards all changes..

4. Exult Studio's menus
4.1. An overview

Before you get started with constructing your own little world its important to know a little bit about the structure of Exult Studio and the arrangement of menus. An overview of some of the Exult Studio menus follows.

4.2. File
  • New Game...
    This lets you begin the work on a new game. Jeff wrote an extensive description of how to use this and how it works.
    See New Game manual.
  • Open Game...
    Choose the Game folder of the game you that you have been working on.
  • Save all 'Ctrl+S'
    Saves map, shape info and groups you edited. Saves all the changes you've made to the world you have been working on. If you're happy with your changes do this before you quit or all work will be lost.
  • New...
    Shapes file...
    Lets you choose the folder where you want to create a new vga file and requires you to enter a name for it (e.g. mygame.vga).
    Single shape file...
    Lets you choose the folder where you want to create a new shape file and requires you to enter a name for it (e.g. mygame.shp).
  • Save...
    Saves the map of the edited game.
    Shape info
    When you right click a shape in a vga file you can change the info of the shape. This saves this changed info.
    You can "bundle" shapes of vga files into groups to make world building easier. These groups get saved with this option.
    This saves the combination files.
  • Reload...
    Map 'Ctrl+R'
    Reloads the map. All changes made since the last save get discarded.
    Very useful when you edit the usecode of a game or add new usecode to an existing game. Normally this would require a restart of Exult.
  • Connect
    Connects Exult and Exult Studio if one of them had to be restarted.
  • Preferences
    Image Editor Command:
    This executes the chosen image editor when you want to edit a shape when you right click it.
    Image-Edit Filetype:
    Choose which filetype gets executed with the above chosen image editor.
    Default Game Name:
    Choose the game Exult Studio opens by default. Use the name specified in exult.cfg.
    Shape List Background:
    Sometimes the default black background may make certain shapes hard to see. Choose a different background color here.
  • Exit 'Ctrl+Q'
    Exits Exult Studio.

Note that the default location for saving and creation of new files is the STATIC folder of a game if there is no PATCH folder specified. See 2.4. What you can do at the moment.

4.3. Edit
  • Cut 'Ctrl+X'
    Removes the selected object(s) and puts it into memory.
  • Copy 'Ctrl+C'
    Copies the selected object(s) into memory.
  • Paste 'Ctrl+V'
    Shows the crosshair cursor and copies the object(s) from the memory into the game where you left click the crosshair.
  • Properties...
    Shows the properties of the selected object. If more than one object is selected it shows the properties of the last selected object.
    Only NPCs and eggs show different properties than if you select Basic properties.
  • Basic properties...
    Shows the properties of the selected object. If more than one object is selected it shows the properties of the last selected object.
  • Create egg...
    Create or edit eggs with this. See 6. Egg editing for detailed information.
  • Create NPC...
    Create or edit NPCs with this. See 7. NPC editing for more information.
  • Create Barge...
    Create a barge such as a magic carpet or a horse drawn carriage. See 9.1. for more information.

When in map-edit mode, you can select shapes in Exult by left-clicking, or multiple shapes by ctrl+left-clicking.

4.4. Mode

It describes how the mouse behaves inside Exult when map-editing.

  • Move
    This is the normal mode where you can drag things with the mouse, or single-click to identify objects. In this mode you also select objects. A selected object is shown with a red outline. To select more than one object hold down 'Ctrl' while selecting. Move the selection 'Ctrl+arrow' (x,y coordinates) and 'Ctrl+page' keys (z coordinates).
  • Paint
    a single-left-click inserts the last-selected shape from 'shapes.vga', and dragging with the left-button inserts that shape in every tile (so you'd probably only want to do this with 8x8 flat shapes). Also, in 'Paint' mode, the footprint at ground level is shown (though this may be changed in the future).
    If you hold the alt key down, random frames from the currently-selected shape will be painted (handy for grassy areas).
  • Paint with chunks
    works the same as the normal Paint mode only with chunks. Left-clicking the mouse paints the current chunk onto the map.
    Take a look at 8.7. How to change chunks (the big red outlined square).
  • Pick for Combo
    Picks objects for a new combo file. Double-left-click to add objects to the combo, single-left-click to identify object. See 5.2. Creating Combination files

Note that you can only drag objects in the game window when you are in "Move" mode.

4.5. Tools
  • Locator... 'Ctrl+L'
    shows where the current game window is within the entire map, and lets you move the view by double-clicking a location or by dragging the little box
  • New Combo..
    Creates a new Combo file. See 5.2. Creating Combination files.
  • Unused shapes...
    searches the entire world being created to see if any of the shapes in shapes.vga are not in use. Have patience when doing this and treat the results with caution.
  • Compile Usecode...
    Compiles the usecode script usecode.uc in the patch folder (see 5.3.)
4.6. Map
  • New
    Used to create a new map to use for multi-map support (see 6.15. Multi-map support).
  • Main
    The default map or the map that is loaded upon starting of a new game.
4.7. Tool bar
  • Play
    This is the same as pressing 'Alt+Ctrl+M' in Exult. It exits the Map Edit Mode and lets you play the game. By pressing it again you enter Map Edit Mode again.
  • Grid
    Shows a grid of white lines in the game window for better control on placing objects.
  • Edit lift:
    Changes the lift of a selected object in the game window. Lift means the distance of an object from the ground.
  • Hide lift:
    Hides objects that are above the chosen height.
  • Edit terrain
    See 2.4. What you can do at the moment. Note that a terrain is used in multiple instances of the map and changing it in one place changes it in all the others as well.

5. Basic editors
5.1. The shape editor

When you right click on a shape in the Shape browser (e.g. Files-Shapes.vga) you get some options of how to edit the shapes.

  • Add to group...
    If you set up groups you can add shapes to them with this.
  • Info...
    Displays the information of an object. You can change a lot of stuff there and caution is advised. The information is saved by 4.2. File.
  • Edit...:
    Brings up your image-editor on the chosen frame. When you save in the image-editor, ES will read the changes back within 5 seconds. This is especially convenient if you have 'gimp-remote', as it will open a window for the frame in an already-running gimp.
  • Edit tiled:
    This is only for 'flat' (8x8) shapes. It forms an image from all the frames and brings it up in the image-editor. This is really handy for making lots of terrain frames like grass. A dialog lets you choose the dimensions.
  • New frame:
    Creates a new frame after the currently-selected one. The 'insert' key also does this (and the 'del' key deletes a frame, though it's buggy if there's just one frame left).
  • Import/Export frame:
    Let's you import a single frame from a .png file or export to a .png.
  • New shape:
    Gives you a dialog for choosing the shape #, as well as the initial # of frames.
    You can also create a new font shape from TrueType or Type1 font files. It's mainly a convenience for someone creating a whole new game, as their only single-colored. Maybe in the future we'll have some functions to create two-colored fonts like the main one in U7, although it might take hand-editing to make the letters look that nice.

Note:Edit... doesn't work on Windows system. It stores the shape as PNG file in GAMEDIR/itmp/ (e.g. blackgate/itmp). If you manually open the file with an image editor of your liking and then save it, ES doesn't read the changes back.

5.2. Creating Combination files

Create 'combination shapes', like a fence or an entire roof by selecting "Tools-New Combo" (see 4.5.). When you run Exult Studio the first time a file called combos.flx gets automatically created in the "Patch" folder. Choose the 'Pick for Combo' choice in the 'Modes' menu, and an empty window should pop up. In the game window, double-click a group of objects, and they should appear in the window. You can then select an object there and tweak its position. When you are done hit apply and the combo gets temporally saved until you hit "Save all" or "Save - Save map".
You can drag and drop combinations into the game window.

5.3. Custom Usecode

As hinted at (see 1.3.) Usecode is actually what runs Ultima 7 and therefore any game created with Exult Studio.
As of yet we do not have a Usecode editor/debugger. So writing your own Usecode is not that easy.

For an example of how Usecode may look like download our experimental patch for BG at http://exult.sourceforge.net/snapshots/patch.zip.
In that zip you'll find a readme.txt which tells you how to run it.
You will also see two files called usecode.uc and usecode.

Usecode.uc is the usecode script that will help you understand our usecode language.
When you run ucc (see 9.4.) with that file (e.g. "ucc -o usecode usecode.uc") you will get the file called usecode. This file 'usecode' should be the same as the one in the zip file.

Someone does have to write extensive documentation for this but I (Dominus) am not really up for that task.
Wizardry Dragon and Marzo made a good list of intrinsics http://www.thefeudallands.ca/srcdocs/files/intrinsics-uc.html and Pertex has written some documentation at http://web.archive.org/web/20071217233843/http://www.sophen.de/exult/ (unfortunately Pertex original documentation has vanished but at least the wayback machine can be of great help) that might be able help you.

6. Egg editing
6.1. Explaining eggs

An egg in its simplest form is an object that is placed in the world, but is invisible to a normal user. When the player meets the requirements of an egg, it causes the egg to become activated. Eggs can activate anything from monster spawns, to changes in the current music, to the activation of custom usecode. You may want to place the eggs in map-editing mode because eggs don't activate in this mode. Then switch off map-editing mode to test how your egg will work during game play.

6.2. The different types of eggs

Currently Exult Studio supports the following types of eggs (more details follow):

  • Monster(spawning)
    allows for the creation of a creature when certain conditions are met, usually when your character gets within a certain distance of the egg. It also allows for the creation of simple objects like walls or furniture to appear when the Avatar gets near. This could make for some interesting effects.
  • Jukebox
    sets the background music when the character enters a certain area.
  • Sound Effect and Voice
    will play a selected sound or voice when the character meets the required values set in the egg creation menu.
  • Usecode
    allows for the activation of custom usecode when an egg's requirements are met. The creation of custom usecode is discussed (though not in depth) at 5.3..
  • Missile
    create interesting objects like flamethrower traps.
  • Teleport
    transport the avatar anywhere on the map when certain conditions are met.
  • Weather
    temporarily set the in-game weather.
  • Path
    set the destination of a teleport egg to a specific object.
  • Button
    is used to activate eggs in the vicinity that are set to external
  • Intermap
    Now that Exult has multi-map support, this egg can be used to create a teleporter between maps.
6.3. Add, remove and edit eggs

The most convenient way to create an egg is to select Create new egg from the edit menu. This will pop up the Exult Egg window. Here you can select the type of egg you wish to create and the properties you are going to give it. When you are happy with the egg press apply and then enter Exult and place the egg wherever you like. To remove an egg, select it while in map-edit mode and press 'ctrl+x' to cut the egg. You can still paste it elsewhere if you like. To edit an egg, double click it in map editing mode. This will bring up the egg window where you will be able to change an existing egg's attributes.

6.4. Properties of eggs

Before you select the type of egg you want you can edit basic properties of eggs. These are:

  • Probability
    of the egg being activated. By giving an egg a probability of 100 you can ensure that whenever the requirements necessary to make an egg activate are met, the egg will activate. With a probability of 0 nothing will ever happen when the egg's requirements are met. A probability anywhere between 0 and 100 will cause the activation of an egg to be a random event.
  • Distance
    allows you to set how far a character needs to be from an egg in order to activate it. Each distance unit is equal to one tile (8x8 pixel) of the map.
  • Criteria
    is very important as it sets what needs to be done to activate the egg. The options are:
    Cached in - An egg with this characteristic is activated when the chunk it is on is loaded into memory. This usually happens from several screens away.
    Party near - causes an egg to be activated whenever the player controlled character or any of his party members wander within the area specified by the distance option.
    Avatar near - exactly the same as party near except only registers where the main character is moved, ignoring actions by the party members.
    Avatar far - Its like Avatar near except with a twist. This property allows you to walk into the area specified by the distance property but then as you leave the area the egg will be activated as you distance yourself from it. Can be great for sneak attacks from behind.
    Avatar footpad - In this case the distance property is ignored and the Avatar has to physically step onto the egg.
    Party footpad - This option is identical to the Avatar footpad option except if either the main character or one of his companions stumbles onto the egg it will be activated.
    Something on - This egg is activated whenever an object is placed AND removed within the area specified by an egg.
    External - Eggs set to the external characteristic will be activated by button eggs in the vicinity.
  • Flag
    final attribute you can give an egg to determine whether it will be activated or not. As a note you can mix and match flags, you can set an egg to nocturnal once only or nocturnal auto-reset.Not that an egg will be reactivated after you walk about a screenful away and then return if the the flags "once-only" or "auto-reset" are not set.
    Nocturnal - Any egg with this setting will only be activated during the nighttime. Great for setting the spawning of creatures of the night, or giving some nice night time music.
    Hatched - This creates an egg that has already been activated. It is inactive and will not do anything.
    Once-Only - Any egg with this flag applied will only hatch once and then disappear from the game world.
    Auto-reset - Eggs with this flag attached will continue to activate every time the conditions set in the egg menu are met.
6.5. Placing a monster spawning egg

The first thing you want to consider before placing monster spawn is some of the basic egg attributes. What probability do you want? What distance? Will it be a nocturnal creature? Next you have to set the monster specific egg attributes. The first question is probably what type of monster you want to place. You can now switch to the main Exult Studio window, select shapes.vga and choose a shape. Drag and drop this on the "Exult Egg" window. Frame # isn't overly important when placing a monster, but for placing an object it can be very important. Enter these attributes into their respective form. You next have to set the monster's schedule. The various schedules that are important for a monster spawn are discussed next. You also have to set the spawned monster's alignment.
Any creature set to a neutral alignment will ignore the Avatar and friends, following their schedule until attacked. Any creature set to hostile will immediately attack the Avatar if you get too close. Using the friendly alignment naturally evil creatures such as ethereal monsters will still attack, but good or neutral characters such as stone golems will continue out their assigned schedule if given the friendly alignment.
As a final monster spawn option, you can set the number of creatures you want to appear using the count option. You can set anywhere from 1 to 31 monsters. When you're finished setting the egg how you want, simply press "Apply" and place the egg on the world map.
Exult Egg window

6.6. Schedules of Creatures

When setting a monster spawn you will most like want to use one of the following schedules.

  • Horiz. Pace
    Any creature given this schedule will pace back and forth in a horizontal manner. Great for guards and sentries
  • Vert. Pace
    Same as the horizontal pace, except in a vertical direction.
  • Hound
    Any creature given this schedule will slowly follow the main character wherever he goes. Good for creatures that won't take no for an answer.
  • Stand
    Creatures given this setting will stand in one place until given a better reason to move.
  • Loiter
    Creatures given this setting will wander aimlessly. They will move in random directions a bit at a time.
  • Wander
    Any creature given this setting will slowly move around a fairly large area.
  • Wait
    Creatures given this setting will complacently stay in one place.
  • Shy
    Creatures given this setting are afraid of the main character and will slowly wander away from the Avatar.
  • Waiter
    Give a creature this schedule and watch him run back and forth around a crowded area like he has a purpose.
  • Graze
    An awful lot like loiter except the character seems to stay a little more to one area.
  • Duel
    Doesn't do a whole lot by itself, but put two neutral creatures with these settings beside each other and its rumble time. This also works by placing them near training dummies or archery targets. For an extra laugh place 10 spawns each set for 31 guards to appear in dueling mode.
  • Patrol
    An NPC with this schedule will follow "path" markers (shape #607). The default behavior is to go to "1", then "2", etc., and return to "1" when no higher numbers are found. There are also some fairly complicated rules that depend on the "quality" that you give to each of the path markers. (Exult Studio should have a dialog to create these, so I wouldn't worry about them right now.)
    Guards duel
6.7. Jukebox, Sound Effects and Voice eggs

Using these eggs couldn't be more straightforward, select the sound effect, music score, or recorded digital voice you desire and then place them onto the map. When a character activates the egg they begin to play. You can set music and sound effects to play on a continuous loop for continuous effects such as water fountains or short pieces of background music that you don't want to quit until a new music egg is triggered.
In the game window you can test and find out the # of the audio by pressing 'Alt+1' .

6.8. Usecode eggs

Usecode eggs have many different functions that will be discussed later. The important thing to remember about the usecode egg menu is that function number is where you insert the hex value of the usecode function that this egg is going to execute.

6.9. Missile eggs

When you place a missile egg, the first thing you have to set is the egg's activation attributes. Do you want an egg to activate when the Avatar is near a certain spot, or should someone have to directly step on the trap?
To choose the type of missile you want to shoot from your trap, select shape number 1 for a fireball that doesn't do damage, 3 for a lightning bolt, and 6 to shoot arrows. Select shape 9 for a fireball that actually does damage. You can also set the direction you want the trap to fire when it is activated, you can choose any of the 8 cardinal directions.
You can also use the delay timer to set how steady you want the stream of projectiles to be. 1 makes a constant stream of projectiles, while a value of 10 makes for the occasional danger. Don't set the timer to 0 seconds, Exult REALLY doesn't like this.
Using these options you can make some pretty dangerous obstacles for the Avatar to avoid.

Note: Shape numbers assume you are using either BG or SI data. When making a new game you can set weapons info of shapes yourself and choose which shape numbers are used by each weapon.

6.10. Teleport eggs

The primary purpose of the teleport egg is to simply move a character from one place to another instantly without forcing them to walk there. Think of any dungeon teleporter that moves you from one place to another.
The teleport egg has two primary modes. The first mode possessed by the teleport egg is to choose the location that the party will be warped to by specifying a location on the over world map using x and y co-ordinates. If you place an egg on the map and a character meets the criteria specified by the egg they will be whisked away to the x and y coordinates set by the egg. This option can't be used to move your character onto roofs because there is no z option provided.
To switch to the other mode of teleporting, press the use coordinates button. This directs the teleported towards a numbered path egg. By giving a path egg a unique number and then placing it on the map any teleporter set to this egg will transport the player there. The advantage of teleporting using a path egg is you can teleport your character onto the second floor of a building if the path egg is placed up there.

6.11. Weather eggs

There are two attributes of the weather egg that one needs to worry about.

  • Weather
    The most important attribute as this sets the effect you can expect when an egg is activated.
    Halt - Halts and current weather and set the world to a pleasant sunny default.
    Storm - Lots of thunder and lightning and the world darkens.
    Cloudy - Some rain, not a lot else going on
    Magic storm - Lots of thunder and lightning and the world darkens. As well this type of storm eliminates the character's magic casting abilities while the storm is in affect.
  • Duration
    sets the how long the chosen weather will last. The time is measured in game time and can last up to 255 minutes.
6.12. Path eggs

The path egg is useful for placing an individual teleport location by hand. Give the path egg a unique number and then direct a teleport egg towards it. If the person steps on a teleporter set to the same number as the path egg, they will be teleported there.
Note that it only works up to a distance of 256 tiles in each direction (in a square, not a circle). It also doesn't world-wrap, meaning a teleport egg at the far east edge won't find a path egg at the far west edge.

6.13. Button eggs

The button egg has the interesting ability to activate all eggs in the immediate vicinity that are set to external. You can set the area around the egg that will be affected by increasing the distance setting, keeping in mind that each distance setting is equal to 1 tile (8x8 pixel).

6.14. Intermap eggs

An intermap egg works precisely the same as a regular teleport egg except it can be used to teleport the main character between maps. The Coordinates options are used to set the precise tile the Avatar will be teleported to on the opposing map. The Map Number condition is used to set which map the main character will appear at.

6.15. Multi-map support

Exult now supports multiple maps. To create new maps select New from the Map menu. You now have an option to copy information over from an existing map. The Terrain option allows you to retain the lay of the land. If this option isn't selected your new map will be entirely ocean. Fixed and Moveable objects allow you to retain the remaining objects from the previous map (Jeffrey's favourite idea is to entirely copy the current Exult map and create a new 'Bizarro-Brittania'). You can quickly switch between maps in game using the command 'ctrl-alt-t' .

7. NPC editing
7.1. Editing an existing NPC

To edit an NPC with Exult Studio you need to be running a game in Exult and of course Exult Studio. Enable map editing and double click the NPC you want to edit. The Exult Studio NPC window will pop up with all the stats of the NPC.
NPC window

7.2. Creating a new NPC

If you want to create a new NPC you have to select Create NPC in the edit menu. This will pop up the same NPC window as when you double click an NPC. Now enter all the properties of the new NPC as will be described in the following text. When you are satisfied with your new NPC hit Apply and you will be asked to choose a spot in Exult to place the NPC.

7.3. Basic NPC settings
  • Face #
    Drag and drop a face from Faces.vga in the main Exult Studio window to the face field in the NPC window.
  • Name
    Choose a name for your NPC.
  • Usecode
    Here you enter the usecode that is associated with the NPC.
  • NPC #
    This cannot be changed.
  • Ident
    I (Dominus) have no idea what this means.
  • Shape #
    Either drag and drop a shape from shapes.vga into the line (or the black box to the right of it) or enter a shape number.
  • Frame #
    The frame of the above given shape the NPC starts with.
  • Alignment
    Any NPC set to a neutral alignment will ignore the Avatar and friends, following their schedule until attacked. Any NPC set to hostile will immediately be attacked by the Avatar when you go into combat mode. Some NPCs will not talk to you or will even attack you on sight when set to hostile.
  • Attack Mode
    You can choose the mode in which the NPC attacks when it goes into combat. Choose between Nearest, Weakest, Strongest, Berserk, Protect, Defend, Flank, Flee Random and Manual. I don't advice using Manual as for most NPCs you will not be able to actually change the attack mode manually.
7.4. NPC Properties

The vital properties of an NPC are set in the Properties tab of the NPC Window.

  • Strength
  • Dexterity
  • Intelligence
  • Health
  • Combat
  • Mana
    How much mana you have left for casting spells. Only useful for members of the party and if the game allows party members casting spells.
  • Max. Mana
    Maximum amount of mana you can have. Only useful for members of the party and if the game allows party members casting spells.
  • Training
    How much Training points the NPC has left and can use at trainers. Only useful for party members.
  • Experience
  • Food Level
    How hungry is the NPC. Only relevant for party members. Normal NPCs don't starve and need to be fed.
7.5. NPC Flags

Here you can set special properties of NPCs. Some are only set for special NPCs, party members or just the Avatar. A lot are also only available in SI. Here a brief listing of the flags and when needed a short description.

  • Asleep
  • Confused
  • Dancing
  • Fly
  • Invisible
  • No Magic
  • Petra
  • Protection
    When you cast the protection spell on an NPC this flag gets set.
  • Swim
    Allows an NPC to walk on water.
  • Tremor
  • Bleeding
    The NPC looses blood, and leaves a trail of blood when he moves.
  • Conjured
  • Don't move
    Causes an NPC to become invisible
  • Freeze
    The NPC is cold and needs warmer clothing.
  • In party
    The NPC is a member of the party.
  • Met
    The Avatar has previously spoken to the NPC.
  • Poisoned
  • Tattooed
  • Walk
    An NPC without this flag set cannot move
  • Charmed
  • Cursed
  • Ethereal
    This makes it possible for the NPC to behave like a ghost (walk through walls, walk on water...)
  • In action
  • Naked
  • Paralyzed
  • Polymorph
  • Summoned
  • Tournament
    In combat this NPC is unable to die.
  • Zombie
7.6. NPC Schedules

In this Tab you can set the schedule the NPC follows normally.

  • Activity
    With the button Set you can choose the schedule. Keep in mind that some schedules also require items, e.g. for the Blacksmith activity you need a smithy to work in. If there is no such item near the location you set, the NPC will use the next near item in the vicinity, for example the sleep activity will have the NPC wander to the next available bed.
    To clear the activity set it to --None--.
  • Location
    Enter the x and y coordinates of the place you want the NPC to follow his schedule at. Unfortunately you cannot (yet) set the z coordinate (on which floor of a house the schedule begins). By placing the Avatar at the spot for the scheduled activity and pressing the Game button, Exult Studio will fill out the coordinates.
    Also by pressing 'F2' at a place, the cheat screen will show you the coordinates in hex and decimal and you can use either system to enter the location.

8. Basic map editing
8.1. Learning the basics of map editing

The first thing one will probably want to do once they have Exult Studio running is to begin creating their own little world. The first step towards this is learning how to move objects and chunks, and placing items from Exult Studio into the game world. And the best way to learn is by using an existing game like BG or SI.

8.2. Moving objects around

Perhaps the simplest way of making your world truly unique is to start out by moving existing structures around. Move is the default option in Exult Studio, but to ensure you are in move mode select it from the mode menu. You know you are in map-editing mode when a red grid is highlighted across the world. You can select any object (notice the red highlighting of selected objects) with the mouse and move it around. This works using a simple drag and drop approach. Simply grab a tree with a right click and place it on the other side of your viewing area. The only thing you can't drag and drop are chucks, which are the large ground sections mapped by the red grid system. If you want to place one object on top of another, just drag it on top and release. If the object can be supported in that position it will stay there. For a brief guide on placing an object that won't have support, but will be floating see further down. You can also change an object's x and y coordinates by selecting the object and pressing 'ctrl+arrow keys' . An object's z coordinate can be changed by selecting the object and pressing 'ctrl+page up' or 'ctrl+page down' .

8.3. How to place objects from Exult Studio

This could not be simpler in Exult Studio. Simply select a shape from the shapes.vga menu and drag it into Exult. In Windows I personally prefer to drag the item onto the taskbar, hovering over the Exult window, wait for the window to switch and then place the item. You will get a green grid that will show you exactly where you can expect the object to show up. Once you found where you would like the object to appear, simply let go of the mouse and the object is placed. If you're unhappy where you placed the object, simply drag and drop it somewhere else.
green grid

8.4. Mark, delete, copy, make multiple objects

To mark multiple objects hold down 'ctrl' and click on the objects you want to mark. This is very useful when you want to handle a whole bunch of objects (like deleting, copying or multiplying objects).

If you placed an object onto the world map that you now feel should be removed, select the object with your mouse and press 'ctrl+x' or select the cut option from the Exult Studio Menu.
This will remove the object from the world and place it into memory (if you don't want to keep the object in memory simply press 'del' when it is selected). If you want to the object somewhere else, press 'ctrl+v' or select the paste option, this will create a set of crosshairs that you can use to place your new object. To create multiple copies of an object, select an object so it has a red outline and press 'ctrl+c' or select the copy option. You can now paste another copy of the object on the world using paste.

8.5. Making floating objects like bridges

So you want to create an unsupported section of balcony, or you want to make it look like that Kilrathi ship you just placed is actually hovering above the ground. To do this set the object's z height by changing the value in the grid height menu. If you want your character to be able to walk underneath an object it must be set 4 grid heights above the surface which your character is walking on. If you want your character to be able to walk on an object, the top of the object must be no more then 1-grid height above the surface the character is currently on.
crate bridge

8.6. How to change the frame of an object

So you see an apple tree on the map, but you think you'd much rather have a palm tree. Exult Studio supports many different frames for each object. To change the frame of an object, select an object so it highlights red and select the "Basic Properties" option. The Exult Object box should appear. This gives you the option to select a different frame for the object to see what other frames this particular object has. The Exult Object option also allows you to manually set the height of an object that already exists on the map. Another way to select an objects frame, is to select the object from the shapes menu and then using the frames option in the lower right hand corner select just the frame you're looking for. Then you can then drag the object into your world normally.

8.7. How to change chunks (the big red outlined square)

To change the large pieces of map that are sandwiched between the red lines of the map-editing grid you have to place a chunk, instead of a shape. The various chunks available in Exult Studio are located under the heading U7chunks. The chunks are many large pieces of preformed landscape that help give the world a more consistent feel. They also make the job of editing the world somewhat easier. To place a chunk simply place it the same way that you would a shape, but keep in mind that chunks can only be placed within the red squared formed by the map-editing grid.
chunk placing

There are a lot of interesting chunks already available in the chunks.vga file, but what if you want to make some minor changes to the design of a pre-made chunk? Maybe make the Britannia transport system a little more safe by painting a yellow line down the centre of each road chunk. By selecting the Edit terrain option you can change a chunk by placing objects directly onto a chunk, doing this permanently changes the chunk you are editing so be careful. It may not look it, but if you then select the chunk you edited from the chunks.vga menu the chunk you place will have the changes you made. Also be careful because when you edit a chunk you change every chunk in the game that is the same as the chunk you're editing. To solve this problem go into the chunks menu and right click the chunk you want to edit and select new, then duplicate. You now have two identical chunks. You can then place your new chunk onto the world and edit it how you like without editing the other chunks. You can now place this duplicate chunk wherever you like and it will have the changes you made.

8.8. How to make a structures consisting of multiple objects

Many structures present in Exult consist of multiple objects. Examples of these are roofs, long sections of wall or fence. Constructing a roof can be a long and difficult process because it involves properly positioning multiple small objects and then manually setting each object's height. That's where the New Combos option located in the Tools menu comes in handy. Select the New Combos option and then enter the window where Exult is running. Your mouse will have become a cross hair. Double click on all the objects you plan on adding to your new object. In this example we're making a roof by double-clicking all sections of the roof.
combo builder

As you double-click each object, the selection appears in the combo window showing you exactly what you have selected. Now give the object a name and select Okay. The object will now be temporarily saved in the combos.flx menu. The object can now be placed on the map normally. If you make a combo you want to keep, make sure to save before quitting Exult Studio. You can continue editing your combos even after you originally finish them, by double right clicking them from the combo menu.

8.9. More things you can do with Combos

One problem with the Exult Studio combo option is that when the combo is created many of the items are not in the rendering order you would want them to appear in game. To fix this problem, you can select individual items in the combo-builder window and by changing their viewing order you can make sure that all items appear exactly how you want them. You can also use the x,y,z coordinates to move individual items in your combo around to make sure that your combo looks exactly how you want. If you added an object to your combo that you don't wish to keep, simply select the item from the combo menu and press remove.

8.10. Use the paint feature to quickly create a forest

The best way to create multiple objects fast and conveniently is to use the paint option. If you want to make a forest of trees fast, select the tree from the shapes menu and then select the paint option from the mode menu. Select the Exult window and you can now quickly place multiple objects with the green grid.

9. Miscellaneous
9.1. Creating a boat, flying carpet, or horse drawn carriage

By double clicking on a barge (horse drawn carriage/magic carpet) in map editing mode one can alter the properties of the barge through the barge editor. The Barge Editor allows one to alter the size of a currently existing barge. By increasing the size of the Magic Carpet you can use the added space to create some sort of a flying battleship. Theoretically the maximum size of a barge is 100x100, but an object that large will fill the entire screen and become extremely difficult to steer.

To create your own barge, you first need to chose Create Barge, select the dimensions of your barge and place them in the map. To create a magic carpet, place the small blue tiles from the magic carpet (shape# 840, frame 57) within the barge area and place the required number of seats on top of the magic carpet tiles. You now have your own custom carpet. Magic carpet tiles are only required for the seats your party will sit on, by expanding the area of the barge further you can create a custom area where you can place walls and other flooring tiles. Unfortunately there are limitations, all objects must be placed no more than four values in the vertical direction from the floor. For a craft to work you must have at least as many seats as party members.

To create a cart you need only place a floor tile from the carriage (shape 652, frame 7) within the barge area and place a seat on top of it but you must have a deed from one of the carriage vendors. If you place a draft horse on your cart then you will need a cart deed (shape 797, frame 0) that had the same quality set as the draft horse. The quality for an object can be set using the Exult Studio object tool.

You can also create a ship by placing the deck (shape 700, frame 2) a chair, and an unfurled sail within a barge created on the water. You also need a deed for the boat. To create a boat deed need a scroll that has the same quality value as the sail of your boat.

9.2. Importing and creating your own custom shapes

Importing a shape into Exult Studio is quite easy. Simply select the type of object you wish to create (shape, chunk, gump, etc.) and right-click on the display window and select New Shape or New Frame depending on which is pertinent. Once the new shape is created, right click on the new shape and select Import frame. Now select the desired shape from the folder. You must now save all in Exult Studio and both Exult Studio and Exult need to be restarted before the newly imported shape can be used in a game.

All shapes imported into Exult Studio must be in either .png or .shp format. .png is a standard format while .shp is an Exult specific file format. We recommend The Gimp (The GNU Image Manipulation Program) for editing graphic files for several reasons. It is free, it is relatively easy on hardware, and it has all the necessary functions for creating and importing shapes into Exult Studio.

For a shape to be compatible with Exult Studio it must be saved as a 255 colour interlaced .png/.shp file. RGB or grayscale images are not compatible. Transparent sections will remain transparent in Exult.

9.3. How to create a custom font?

For your convenience Exult Studio accepts .ttf (true type font) files, which is the standard file format for text in a Windows machine. Select new shape from fonts.vga, here you can either manually overwrite a single frame of a font or you can import an entire .ttf file by selecting the From font option. To overwrite an existing font set the shape of your newly imported font to that of a preexisting font. Unfortunately newly imported .ttf files don't have the correct offsets and you letters will look stuck together. To fix that you will have to manually edit all font frames to give them proper spacing.

9.4. Other tools that might be useful

In the process of creating Exult the team came up with some useful tools that might help in editing/making a game.
These can be built from the Exult source or you can download the Windows binary snapshot. The source and binary snapshot can be found at http://exult.sourceforge.net/download.php.
The tools are:

  • expack:
    lets you extract and create Flex files. See the manual.
  • ipack:
    a tool for creating and updating Exult and U7 image archives, such as 'shapes.vga'. See the manual.
  • shp2pcx:
    converts all frames contained in a Shape file into PCX-format image files. See the manual.
  • splitshp:
    can be used to combine frames of a Shape file into one file, or split a Shape file into its component frames. See the manual.
  • textpack:
    can be used edit text flex files. See manual.
  • ucc:
    can be used to create custom usecode (see 5.3.).
    See the manual.
  • The GIMP Plug-in:
    can be used for editing shapes in the GIMP. Handles multiframe Shape files. See http://www.gimp.org for information on the GIMP.
  • Photoshop Plug-in:
    can be used for editing shapes in Photoshop. Can't handle multiframe Shape files. And also can't handle indexed images with Alpha correctly.
9.5. Porting Exult Studio to other platforms

Currently Exult Studio runs on U*ix and Windows platforms. First it only ran on U*ix but with some effort by Colourless, Kirben and Mark Siewart it was successfully ported to Windows.

A port to other platforms depends on when someone volunteers to do the work :-) There are three issues:

  • GTK has to be ported to the platform.
  • Exult Studio uses sockets to communicate with Exult.
  • X drag-n-drop is used to put new objects on the landscape. The 'drop' part of this had to be rewritten for Windows Exult, OR, drag-n-drop could be an enhancement to SDL someday.
    As an alternative to dragging objects, you can now select a shape, then insert it into the game window by left-clicking while holding the Shift key down.
9.6. About this client/server stuff?

A map-editor needs to provide the ability to display the game, place objects on the map, and move objects around. That functionality is already in Exult, and it makes sense to reuse it. So we could have made Exult a part of Exult Studio. However, Exult is already a huge program, and is getting unwieldy to work on.

With this architecture, Exult Studio can have all the messy code for displaying/editing dialog boxes, while Exult only needs a little bit of work to handle requests.

Also, I (Jeff) wanted to get a little experience programming with sockets:-)

9.7. About this 'terrain-editing' stuff and why you can't just drag objects to where you want.

This confused me too, and I originally planned on doing away with it. But do a little arithmetic: U7's world has 3072x3072 tiles; that's over 9 million that need to be set. My guess is that they came up with the idea behind 'u7chunks' to save artists time and to give the map a consistent look.

The basic idea is that each 'chunk' of flat terrain, 16x16 tiles, is stored in 'u7chunks', and is indexed by its position in this file (0, 1, 2, ...). The 'u7map' file specifies, for each 'chunk' in the U7 map, which of the terrains is to be used. Since the entire map has 192x192 chunks, or a total of 36,864, and since 'u7chunks' has 3072 entries, each terrain is shared an average of over 10 times. When you go into map-editing mode in Exult, the numbers displayed are the indices from 'u7chunks'.

So here are the three sorts of scenery that you can see and edit:

  1. The 'terrain' (flat landscape, rocks, shrubs, and first-story buildings) specified in 'u7chunks' and 'u7map'.
  2. Other non-moveable objects (second-floor structures, trees) specified in the 'ifixnn' files.
  3. Moveable and changeable objects specified in the 'iregnn' files.

The challenge of writing a map-editor is keeping the above straight, and reading/storing from/to the correct files. It's sorta-kinda working now :-)

For a more detailed explanation, see Gary Thompson's paper, 'u7edit.txt' in our 'docs' folder.

9.8. ifix and ireg reference chart

Crowley from our forum made this chart to easily reference the u7iregnn and u7ifixnn files in both BG and SI. Thanks a lot!

green grid

green grid

9.9. What's next?

The next things to be implemented are:

  • Exult Studio needs to be able to automatically create palettes 1-n from palette 0 using the code from ipack.
  • It will also be very nice to have a Usecode debugger someday as well (Willem is actually working on it).
  • A 'flags' editor for viewing and editing the global Usecode flags by name.
9.10. Known Bugs with the Windows port

Exult Studio runs fine on all versions of Windows, except Windows 95 (and of course Windows 3.x). However there may still be unexpected crashes. If you can reproduce a crash, please contact us.

9.11. Known Bugs with the Linux port

On Linux two issues have surfaced:

  • on case sensitive OS the static folder of the games need to be lower case or Exult Studio won't find the files in it.
  • when you load games or mods with more than one map, Exult Studio has problems creating and saving the extra maps.

10. Credits
10.1. Thanks
  • Colourless, Kirben and Mark Siewart invested a lot of effort to port Exult Studio to Windows.

11. Changes to the Documentation
11.1. - 13 March 2016
11.2. - 21 November 2013
11.3. - 19 February 2011
11.4. - 23 January 2011
11.5. - 18 December 2010
11.6. - 11 March 2010
11.7. - 01 March 2005
11.8. - 23 May 2004
11.9. - 06 February 2004

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Last modified: 2016-03-13