Using the Automated Level Creation Tools

The Level Ripper tools have been embedded into the game program to help create levels for use with HCGE. They are designed to take a PCX or TGA image and break it up into tiles, creating a ".til" file, and rebuild a level out of those tiles, creating a ".lev" file. If no filenames are given, the data will be saved to the following files in the program folder:
These files must be moved and renamed accordingly and fit with proper definition files and Functions to be used within the game. However, if the appropriate parameters are used, they can be automatically saved to their proper places if a game already exists for them.

This utility takes input from files with specific names, which are described at the end of this section. The input files must have the correct names.

The level ripper may be called by running the appropriate game exe with the proper command line strings, or by using the in-program interface under the "Level Ripper" option in the "Utilities" menu.

To manually operate the utilities from the command-line, use the following command-line options. Please also read them even if you intend to use the launcher; the descriptions will be helpful. "HCGEWIN" may be replaced with the appropriate filename to run other versions.

(The above does not apply to other versions.)

The level ripper parameters are as follows:
Editor Parameters

If the "-warp" parameter is also specified during the level ripper process, the program will start the game, warp to the appropriate level, and open the level editor once the rip process is complete. If the "-editor" parameter is specified instead, the program will start the level editor with the newly-created files in non-gameplay mode once the rip process is finished. In the case of the "-warp" command, if the desired game is not the default game, the "-game" parameter must also be used to signify this.

Image Format

When creating images for use with these files, they must be either 256 color PCX files (version 5) or 256-color RLE-compressed or uncompressed TGA, and all art must only use colors from indexes 0-63 for 64 color tiles. Higher-color tiles must use 0-63, and continue beginning at index 128. These are the colors reserved for level art. Color 0 is always transparent, meaning that you can see through that pixel. If you want to use a black, you must create a black color at a different index. Colors 64-127 are always reserved for global colors, however, they may be used in the source image if the proper parameters are used during the rip process to place them in valid areas of the tile palette. (More image and color information)

While creating art, you must make sure that all repeating patterns fit on an 8x8 grid, because the images will be broken into 8x8 tiles. If the height and width of the patterns are not multiples of 8, and they are not arranged on an 8x8 grid, they will not fit together properly, and it is very possible that it will cause the ripper to create too many tiles, and possibly crash.

Image Naming

Once you are ready to begin ripping the image files into tiles and levels, you must save them into the program folder with the proper names:
or Where XX is a two-digit number representing where the image falls on the grid (for placing multiple pictures together) horizontally, and YY is its position on the grid vertically. Normally its wise to use only one large picture, so both numbers would be 0, meaning that the files will be named
or These images are where image data for the tile plane is stored (or just any patterns you want to rip and paste onto a previously-made level). If both a PCX and a TGA file exist, the PCX file will be used.