fRaBs  advanced level editing
Main - Updates - Single Player - Deathmatch - Level Editing - FAQ - Credits - Links

    [1-4] Level Editing Basics
      [5] Adding Foreground and Background Art
    [5.a] Foreground and Background Basics
    [5.b] fRaBs Fore/Back Art Tile Listing
    [5.c] Standards For Adding Art to fRaBs
      [6] Adding Objects and Enemies
    [6.a] Scenery Objects
    [6.b] Objects Activated by Switches
    [6.c] Creating Enemies
    [6.d] List of Functions Referenced By Objects
    [6.e] Testing, Hints and Ideas
      [7] Creating Unique Artwork and Objects
    [7.a] Creating Unique Artwork and Objects
   [8-10] Making Special Types of Levels

Adding New Foreground and Background Art to Abuse and fRaBs

[5.a] Adding Foreground and Background Art

        If you want to add your own art and objects to Abuse, chances are
the game has become a labor of love for you. Even with some of the editor's
little inadequacies, you still are having a blast making level after level.
It's time for you to branch out and try creating your own artwork, so your
levels become truly original.

        To understand how the artwork system in Abuse works, you need to
first make yourself familiar with Satan Paint. Named for it's incredible
ease of use and rock-solid stability (cough, cough), you can make nearly
anything you want for Abuse in it. With fRaBs, you can find SPAINT.EXE in
the /art directory. One of these days I'll write up an entire tutorial on
this pain-in-the-ass program, but for now I'm just going to stick with it's
functionality in relation to foreground and background.

        Anyways, to start out, try loading a file in /art/fore or /art/back
and see what they look like. Each one of these files has a litany of tiles
that you see in a normal game of Abuse, and perhaps a few that you don't
recognize. Press 'i' to see a mosiac of all the tiles in the file, and to
navigate between the different tiles, press 'n'. Each tile has a 'name' and
a 'type' which vary depending on the file you're looking at. For example,
if you're browsing one of the files from art/fore, then chances are your
tile will have a numerical name from 0-1100 and it will be a 'Fore Tile'
type. All foreground tiles are 30*15, and all background tiles are 60*30.

        There are three big things you need to do to get your artwork in
fRaBs. Firstly, you need to import the art into Satan Paint so it is
corrected for the fRaBs palette. Second, each tile needs to be numbered
correctly so that the Abuse engine picks it up right. Third, you need to
write some LISP that calls up your artwork and puts it with the rest of
Abuse's artwork.

        Satan Paint can import most file formats easily... just don't use
too many colors in your original bits of art and you'll be ok. There is a
palette.bmp file in /art that should help you tune your art to the fRaBs
color palette. Every time you import a file using the 'Import Detectable
Images' command, it will follow the file you are looking at in Satan Paint.
After you import each file individually, you save the composite of all the
files you have imported into a .spe file. Use the File 'SaveAs' command
just to be safe.

        Once you do that, you need to give your tiles numbers. The
following note is very important if you want to work with your art in
fRaBs without causing conflicts.


There are a couple of ways to renumber your tiles. In the Image menu, you
will find a 'Name' option. You can use it to renumber the current tile to
whatever you like. There is also a 'renumber' option in the Commands menu
which is probably quicker, but it's a bit confusing.

        Not only do you have to renumber your tiles, but you also have to
reformat your tiles as either 'Back Tile' or 'Fore Tile'... if you simply
import art into Satan Paint, it will be of type 'Image' and the methods
that Abuse uses to load foreground and background tiles will not work
unless you format your tiles correctly. This is fairly easy... press '/'
to bring up the Satan Paint command line and type 'with all type fore tile'
and your tiles will all be formatted to be 'Fore Tiles'. I believe you can
change the 'all' to the number/name of a image in your SPE file. After you
renumber and reformat, make sure you save your file.

        Now it's time to add your tiles to Abuse. The easy way to do this
is to make a text file and copy the lines from addon/newart/newart.lsp into
it. All newart.lsp has in it is a simple 'load_tiles' function, and it looks
for specific files. Just change one of the filenames in quotes to the file
where your tiles are located, and save the text file you have made into a
subdirectory of /addon. Finally, open up abuse.lsp, copy a 'load("")' line
and add the path to your new LISP file. You can load LISP files in any little
text editor. I've found that Windows Wordpad is a good utility for working
with LISP files.

        Run Abuse, and look around in the foreground/background menus for
your new art. If you number your tiles according to the guidelines below,
then your artwork should be near the end of the foreground/background menu.

[5.b] fRaBs Fore/Back Art Tile Listing

        This is the listing of all the tiles in fRaBs, foreground and
ONES or Abuse will start up with some funky error messages and the levels
won't look right. Mark these words well, for it is a knell that summons thee
to heaven or to hell...


/art/fore/foregrnd.spe      0
/art/fore/techno.spe        1-99
/art/fore/techno2.spe       100-167
/art/fore/techno3.spe       200-236
/art/fore/techno4.spe       300-460
/art/fore/cave.spe          500-634
/art/fore/alien.spe         700-774
/art/fore/trees.spe         800-931
/art/fore/endgame.spe            950-1014
/art/fore/trees2.spe        1100-1134


/addon/leon/lnewft.spe      660-671
/addon/leon/lnewft2.spe     672
/addon/leon/stones.spe      676-694
/addon/newart/mtile2.spe    1150-1154
/addon/newart/frabs_1.spe   1200-1239
/addon/newart/frabs_2.spe   1250-1285
/addon/newart/final.spe     1300-1336
/addon/aliens/fortiles.spe  2000-2077
/addon/claudio/pal81f.spe   2200-2217
/addon/claudio/pal82f.spe   2250-2283


/art/back/backgrnd.spe      0
/art/back/intro.spe         5-37
/art/back/city.spe          40-70
/art/back/cave.spe          84-103
/art/back/tech.spe          110-139
/art/back/alienb.spe        150-179
/art/back/green2.spe        200-268
/art/back/galien.spe        300-320


/addon/aliens/bactiles.spe  340-374
/addon/claudio/pal2.spe     380-387
/addon/claudio/pal5.spe     430-444
/addon/newart/space.spe     450-468
/addon/claudio/pal90.spe    475-494
/addon/claudio/pal21.spe    500-529
/addon/newart/blcave.spe    560-574
/addon/newart/frbsblue.spe  580-611

[5.c] Standards For Adding Art to fRaBs

        As mentioned before, you need to number your tiles so that they do
not conflict with the existing ones. If you want your artwork in the main
version of fRaBs, check the latest updates log to make sure that I haven't
added any more new art. Then, number your tiles correctly and you only need
to send me the SPE file of the artwork. I will add a line to /addon/newart/
newart.lsp and place your SPE file in that directory.

        And that's all it takes to make your own artwork, test it out, and
get it added to the main fRaBs distribution. It's a lot easier than it
sounds... :)

Adding Objects and Enemies

[6.a] Scenery Objects
**Coming Soon... sections 6 and 7 will take a while to write**

Special Types of Levels -->

Justin Cassidy