Graphics & Zelda Classic
The complete guide to what you see
and what you feel in
The complete guide to what you see
and what you feel in
(Currently written for ZC 2.11's lower builds. Menu format
may change in the near future.)
may change in the near future.)
When I was first learning to use Zelda Classic, one of the things which I learned early on which had astounded me so very, very much, is that there is no such thing as a "mountain" or a "river" in any given quest. There is no "Link," no, "Octorok," no "Halberd," no "Amulet of acid resistance +10," and no "poorly built custom boss with a 2x4 for a head." There are only graphics, and combos.
Combos are essentially a single representation of a graphic, with a series of attributes attached to them. A combo can be anything. The standard impression of a "mountain" is a combo, as is a piece of a lake, as is a piece of a custom boss, or a sprite, etc. Anything. It's what appears in the world that you walk around in while you play ZC Quests. Everything you see there is a combo, except that which you can interact with, such as Link, Items, Enemies, Fireballs, Ganon, etc. However, things like Damage tiles, (Spikes, lava, custom boss attacks, etc.) stairs, fireball statues, ... are all combos. They're placed down into the world from the combo list on the right side of the main ZQuest screen to act as these entitles.
To edit a combo, there are a few ways you can do that. You can do the same exact things to any single combo from either location, but the way to manipulate (Move, Delete, Copy, Paste, etc.) mass amounts of combos at once, is via the second method.
The first method of editing a combo is done via the main game screen. Refer to the image below.
The part in Green is the main viewscreen. It's where you lay down the combos which will make up the world.
The part in Sky Blue is (Are?) the "Lower Panels," where many of the unique screen-based settings are performed, such as placing the position of the screen's items, entrance, Link start positions, whistle stairs placer, layer toggles, room descriptors, etc. Press Pageup and Pagedown to switch panels. The contents of each panel are fairly self-explanatory,
Labelled in red on the right is the list of combos as displayed from the Combo Page. (To view the Combo Page, go to Quest--> Graphics--> Combos.) The list of combos on the right is a scrollable snippet of the combos displayed on that Combo Page. However, editing the combo snippet will also change the Combo Page. You may consider them a single entity, with the bit circled in red is simply a "window" into the Combo Page for you to select combos from to place on the screen.
To edit a combo, you can right-click on any combo on that list of combos circled in red in that image, then select Edit. A large dialog will appear.
The second method for editing combos is to go to Quest--> Graphics--> Combos. You will see a large screen full of combos. You can copy, paste, cut, and move combos from here. Press the Spacebar to switch views. The original view is a view of all of the combos arranged horizontally in ascending order numerically, with the second view a view of how the combo page looks in the main screen of ZQuest.
Editing a Combo:
Please refer to the following image and follow along as I describe what each part of this combo dialogue which pops up while editing a combo refers to.
The Graphic: This is what the combo will look like. It points to one and only one tile in the Tiles Page. (To see the tiles page, go to Quest-->Graphics-->Tiles.) Try to click on it and see what happens. To leave the Tiles Page hit escape to go back to the Combo editor. (Just like you'd hit escape to leave anything.)
This particular graphic is an image of a railing image sitting on the upper half of a blue floor tile. Two things: The floor tile is blue because it uses an alternate Cset than the rest of the combo uses for the graphic, and the railing is generally unwalkable.
Walkability: Note that the top half of the box circled in red is red. The red quarters of the box indicate that those fourths of the combo are unwalkable. If it's red, it's unwalkable. If it's gray, (Or simply not red.) then that part of the combo is walkable. Grass tends to be walkable, whereas cliffs or dungeon walls tend to be unwalkable. If you ever find a walkable dungeon wall, it's probably meant to be an illusionary wall. If you ever find unwalkable grass, it's probably meant to be used in some intricate cutscene or complex layered screen. Don't worry about those for now though.
Alternate Cset: As I'd mentioned earlier with the Alternate Cset, the alternace Cset allows you to choose one to four quarters of the graphic which will use an alternate Cset. Rather, I should say, you can use two Csets at once within a single combo. It's a lot like how you'd select the combo's walkability with the red square. NOTE: The number you input in the "Cset2:" box to the left, isn't the number of the Cset that you want to occupy the blue portions of the combo. It's an additive / subtractive number. If you put a "2" in that box, it will look two Csets higher than the Cset you're drawing in. For example, if you've got Cset 2 selected while placing combos, the alternate Cset will be Cset 4.
Note that choosing an Alternate Cset requires a little bit of forethought on your part if you're modifying your combo page to suit your needs. If you have the idea that you'd not want to switch Csets as much while choosing combos, and assign a number such a "4" to your Alternate Csets so when you're building with Cset 2, you won't have to hit Keypad plus or minus to place an NPC Combo which uses Cset 6. It becomes messy if you give all of those people an Alternate Cset, but it's your choice.
Combo Information: You'll notice these numbers in the upper left corner of every combo while editing it. It helps to track down the location of the combo in the combo page, although you can simply click on the graphic of the combo to pinpoint it. The "flip" bit of text shows you if the combo has been flipped. (To flip a combo, press "r" "h" or "v" for rotate, horizontal, and vertical, respectively. (You can also hold Shift while pressing "r" to rotate it the other way.) Try flipping the combo to see what the number does.)
Animation: The general explanation of combo animation is rather self-explanatory, but the process is interesting. Not difficult at all, but interesting, and somewhat space-consuming. Animating a Combo is done by placing each frame of animation to the right of the tile (Not combo.) that you want animated, then, in the A.Frames: prompt, you place the number of frames that this combo will have to animate. (A "frame" is a combo to the right of the tile (Again, not combo.) in the tiles page.)
The Speed of animation (A.Speed:) is the speed at which the combo animates. The lower the speed, the faster the combo will animate. 0 is the fastest speed though; no negative number will be accepted.
Next: The Next box is the indicator for which combo the combo you're editing will become when it finishes animating. Click the box, then select the combo (And the combo's Cset.) that you wish it to be. A combo who's next is Combo 0 (The very first combo.) will not Combo Cycle, and is the default state for all new combos.
Type: Allows you to provide a property for that combo, such as Damage, Stair, Direct Warp, hookshot grab, bush, lockblock, etc. Combos cannot have two properties.
However, if you want such an effect, you can cycle very, very quickly between two combos, each with one of the properties that you wish. For example, you could make two combos right next to each other on the combo page, give them an animation speed of zero, (Actually, it's the default, so don't worry about that.) and in the tiles page, duplicate the combo and place it to its right, so it animates for two identical frames. The animation will finish very quickly and will immediately become the next combo. Refer each combo to each other. You can make walkable prickly bushes this way. Make one combo walkable and "damage" and make the other unwalkable with no combo property.
Flag: (ONLY AVAILABLE If Using ZC 2.11 (Now called ZC 2.5) Beta 10 And Beyond!) This is also called "Inherent Flag." It is a way of applying a permanent flag to a combo so it starts with that flag on the combo when you place it on the screen, but it doesn't make it so you can't place a flag on it. You can have two flags on it at once with this method. For example, you can place a Flag #16 (Secret combo #1, Not explained within this tutorial.) on the screen, which will generate a Bush with a Burn flag on it. When the secrets are triggered, you'll be able to burn the bush that appears because it has a burn flag inherent to it as a combo.
Alright. Now that we know all about ZQuest's building blocks, let's discuss what makes them look like what they look like.
ZC's Palette System is interesting to describe. To use an analogy, it's like Earth's air system. You never really notice it, but it's always there, wherever you go and whatever you see. The Palette in your quest powers just about everything that you see in-game.
The Main Palette, the main powerhouse behind ZC's colors, is composed of several rows of colors. (Color Sets, called Csets.) There are 16 colors within each Cset. The first color is the "Transparent color." (Screenshot of the Main Palette, duplicated below.) This transparent color is "the color not seen" when playing. It's only seen if you place this color onto Layer 0 on the Main viewport as a combo. (Layering is not part of this tutorial.) Other than that first color, all colors in all Csets are available for you to use for whatever you wish. However, the next paragraph will explain to you why you need to be careful with what you use each CSet for.
There are many Csets available for you to use for a reason. Each one has its use, and they are not immediately obvious at first glance. Here is what each Cset is used for:
# - Used in the GUI, but your edits are seen in ZC.
# - Used in the GUI, but your edits are not seen in gameplay.
# - These are "Level-Dependent" Csets, to be explained later.
# - These are Csets most sprites are used for.
# - These are similar to the sprites' Csets, but aren't used as often. You can replace these with your own Csets without doing anything much harm.
.0 - Generally Blue. The bombs of the first three tiles use this.
.1 - Everything else of the first three tiles uses this. Generally red, yellow, and green.
.2 - The first Level-Dependent Cset.
.3 - The second Level-Dependent Cset.
.4 - The third Level-Dependnet Cset.
.5 - The first Cset that you can use for whatever you'd like. Nothing uses it.
.6 - Link's Cset. Try to ONLY use it for Link.
.7 - Used for the Blue-colored anything. Mostly used for enemies and blue sprites. Blue, green, and white are generally included here.
.8 - Red enemies and sprites. Colors are generally Red, yellow, orange, and one or two blue and green colors.
.9 - The final Level-Dependent Cset. It's used for Enemy colors and Level-dependent things, like shallow water splashes and flower/bush leaves.
10 - You can actually also use this for whatever you want.
11 - Same as above.
12 - Same.
13 - Used for the GUI. Don't bother editing.
14 - Same as above.
So, to practice, let's try altering one of Link's colors via Cset 6 and we'll see how it affects the game. We're only altering one single color. You'll see how dramatic of an effect it takes.
Here's what Link looks like now. (Again, Quest--> Graphics--> Tiles) (In our little example. I'm not saying that you should actually follow this in any given tileset, or even follow along at all. It'd be nice to just look at the menu structure though, just to see where everything is.)
Go to Quest--> Graphics--> Palletes--> Main, and click on Cset 6.
Now click the Edit button. A bar of colors will be on the bottom, as well as a veritable rainbows of colors up top. Click on the brightest green color (That matches the circled color in the previous image.) and go to a Cyan color in the colorful box above. Fiddle with the sliders until you find the Cyan color in the image below. Make sure you've got the brightest green color selected, then click the Insert Color button between the color bar and the rainbow color box. Click Okay when you have inserted the Cyan color.
It should look like the above image when you're done. Now go back to the Tiles Page and switch to Cset 6 via the Keypad plus or minus keys. Take a look at our Link now.
Note how parts of his tunic have turned Cyan, but only parts of him. The other areas of his tunic have remained green. After all, it was only one color that we changed. If you want to change the rest of his colors, repeat the step where you change the green color to cyan, but change the other green colors to similar shades of whatever color you'd like.
Suppose you wanted to swap the colors of the red enemies and the blue enemies. Yes, all of them. You would go into Cset 8, (The red Cset.) edit it, click on each individual color and copy down the three Hexidecimal values that compose that color, then go to Cset 7, copy down their hex values for each individual color, then change each blue value to the original hex value of the red values, and go to Cset 8 and change the red values to the hex blue values. The only tedius process involved is copying down the numbers so you know their exact values. You can even fake it if you want and not copy down any numbers, and just make them whatever value of blue you think looks best.
All of you have been playing ZC for a while now. You're all bound to have come across red dungeons, blue dungeons, purple dungeons, and the occasional hypnotic flashing rainbow dungeon, even if the walls that are flashing all look the same. You'd be surprised to hear that those are in fact all the exact same wall combos, despite their different color. The only difference between all of them ( I do mean, only. ) is that when they were placed down in the viewport to form the dungeon, they were placed down in a Level-Dependent Cset. (2, 3, 4, or 9.) If you placed them in any other Cset (Except perhaps 6.) they wouldn't change depending on the Palette.
Lay down a dungeon in Cset 2. Any dungeon tiles will do. Press F4 and switch the Palette to say, an overworld Palette. Look at the colors now. They're probably looking pretty horrible. Now Press F4 again and switch to a Dungeon Cset. Looks much better now, doesn't it?
NOTE: This method of switching colors in ZQuest Does NOT apply to what you see while playing the quest! It is a preview only. If you want to change a Dmap's Palette, you would do so in the Appearance Tab. There is a Palette pulldown in there which determines the Palette that Dmap will use.
You can view the Level Palettes Here: