*updated the ExGFX Tutorial
We'll use the [FG] General Grassland Set for this walkthrough.
Let's explain what the various files do that usually come with an ExGFX pack.
- ExGFX###.bin: This is the ExGFX file which contains the graphics. We'll get to the part of inserting in a few minutes.
- Map16Page.bin: This file contains all the Map16 tiles pre-finished. You save a Map16Page file with the F2 key and load one with the F3 key.
- Map16PageG.bin: This file contains all the "act like" settings for each seperate 16x16 tile in the Map16 editor. You save a Map16PageG file with the F2 key and load one with the F3 key.
- Map16FG.bin: This file contains all the foreground Map16 tiles pre-finished, for all Map16 pages though (0-F). You save this file with the F5 key and load one with the F6 key.
- Map16BG.bin: This file contains all the background Map16 tiles pre-finished, for all Map16 pages though (10-1F). You save this file with the F7 key and load one with the F8 key.
- ###.pal: This is the palette file which loads the palletes into the level. You load it by going to "File -> Palettes -> Import Level Palette from File" in Lunar Magic.
- ###.mwl: This file contains the level data from the level it was saved from. It's useful when people submit complicated FG/BG's and you can't assemble the tiles correctly. Just open the MWL file, load the ExGFX and Map16Pages and the foreground/background shows up in it's original form so you can either copy them or just see the basic layout.
Alright, coming back to inserting ExGFX. We'll use the above mentioned graphics which ZIP contains the files "gengrassland.bin", "Map16Page.bin" and "Map16PageG.bin". Though we need to prepare something before. You probably noticed the red
mushroom buttons in Lunar Magic's toolbar. Those import/export GFX/ExGFX.
We need to export and re-import the normal graphics first, so we press the red
and then the green
mushroom. You'll get a folder called "Graphics" which is located in the same directory as your ROM. You either have seperate GFX files like "GFX00.bin", "GFX01.bin" and so on, or one file called "AllGFX.bin". The difference between those two are that "AllGFX.bin" holds all of SMW's graphics in one file while the seperate graphics files store them seperately. Some people prefer seperate GFX files because it's easier to navigate through, I prefer the AllGFX method.
Of course, you won't have both of them in the folder. There's an option called "Use joined GFX Files" which is located in the "Options" tab that changes the "graphics exporting" method. Ticking/unticking and exporting/importing gives you either seperate files or AllGFX.
So, we have the graphics exported and re-imported, now we can use some ExGFX! Clicking the blue
mushroom will result in a "No ExGFX are present in the ROM." error which will output a folder called "ExGraphics" though, also located in your ROMs directory. There you have to insert the ExGFX files.
As you may know, you can't insert the file simply as "gengrassland.bin", Lunar Magic won't detect it. You'll have to rename it to "ExGFX##/#.bin" (where ##/# is a number from 80 - FF [##] or 100 - FFF [###]). We'll use "ExGFX80.bin" for now. After renaming, place it in the "ExGraphics" folder. Now we are ready to insert the ExGFX file via Lunar Magic. To do that, just click on the yellow
mushroom in Lunar Magic's toolbar.
So far, so good, I hope you didn't have any trouble up to that part. By now, you surely noticed the red poisonus
mushroom button. This function lets us decide what ExGFX file to use for the levels. So you open it and get nine dropdown boxes labeled as "FG1", "FG2", "BG1", "FG3", "SP1", "SP2", "SP3", "SP4" and "GFX file to extend animated tile area". We'll focus on FG3 now in which dropdown box we select "ExGFX80". After having that done, press OK and the foreground in Lunar Magic should turn into a garbled mess. That's because we overwrote the original SMW foreground in that one level.
Now we're almost done, just inserting the Map16 tiles is left. Remember the "Map16Page.bin" and "Map16PageG.bin" files from the ZIP? We have to get those into the same directory as your ROM. No renaming, nothing, just paste 'em in there. Open up the Map16 editor (yellow question block in LM's toolbar) and switch to one of the pages 3-F with the up/down arrow keys. What do we have to do now? Right, pressing F3 loads the data stored in those two files. Press OK in the upcoming window and all tiles coming with the set appear on the page. Now there's only one vital
step we must be sure not to forget. Pressing F9! You save the tiles with that button so they'll actually appear in-game. Remember, foreground tiles have to be inserted on pages 3-F. 2 can be used too but that one is tileset specific and I can't be arsed to explain that now.
Now we have inserted the ExGFX and loaded the tiles. How do you use them? Simple. Open up the "Add Objects Window", select the "Direct Map16 Access (Lunar Magic)" tab and scroll to the page we inserted the tiles at. Now you can choose the tiles and paste them in the level.
Now most sets probably will appear with wrong colors so you'll have to import the included palette to get the right colors (covered at the top of this tutorial).
Inserting backgrounds work with the same concept, except that you usually insert the ExGFX files in the "BG1" slot. Though remember, background tiles have to be inserted on one of the pages 12-1F (you can alternatively use 10 and 11 too but those contain the original SMW BG's, so unless you're not sure if you'll use them, better don't touch those). When trying to paste tiles from the Map16 editor in the background editor, it most likely won't work unless you select the correct page in the background editor with the PageUp/Down keys which page number also locates the appropriate Map16 tiles you wish to insert.
Now bigger ExGFX sets also use more ExGFX files. It works the same as above, except that you insert them in more than just the FG3/BG1 slot, namely FG1 and FG2. You can never be sure which ExGFX file to insert in what slot, so just tinker around with them until the graphics look right.
Inserting sprite ExGFX also works the same like the above methods except you use the SP1-4 slots.
I hope I covered most important sections and this tutorial helped you to insert the ExGFX successfully. I might update it later with a bit more in-depth explanation on how to view the seperate graphic slots in the 8x8 editor, how to modify existing SMW sets and insert them as ExGFX and also on how to use sprite ExGFX efficiently. Until then, farewell and have fun with your new graphics.