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Author Topic: [Tutorial] Everything you ever needed to know about Custom Skins.  (Read 5537 times)
Bae
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« on: January 31, 2014, 09:00:26 AM »

1) Introduction
Do YOU want to know how to change your Spelunky skins? Ha ha nerd... I mean, THEN COME WITH ME on a magical journey of learning and drawing and messing around with game files and hopefully not breaking anything. Hopefully.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FOREWORD
A while back when the PC version of Spelunky HD was relatively new I remember seeing someone play the game with a skin I was not familiar with. This was very odd to me and I wasn't sure if he was using a new skin I wasn't aware of or knew the developers or something or what. It was a couple month's since then and I thought i'd finally look into it, see if there was a way to add custom skins to the game, and there was.

The problem, though. was that there wasn't much on guides on HOW to actually use custom skins, none that were clear and focus at least.

So here we are.

This guide will attempt to teach you how to do anything and everything you've wanted to do with changing how your copy of Spelunky looks, and will hopefully be easy to follow and not at all complete garbage (no promises though).

I honestly can't think of much else to put here and I would probably just be wasting time doing so anyway so LET'S GET TO THE MEAT OF IT SHALL WE?
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 10:00:11 AM by Bae » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2014, 09:19:52 AM »

2) How to add a custom skin
Requires:
[Sectus' Modding Tool]
[A custom skin to use]

First thing we're going to do is head over to our Spelunky folder.

For Steam users this is very easy to locate, just head to your games library, find Spelunky on the list, and then right-click. From there hit Properties, Local Files, and Browse Local files. This should open a folder with the Spelunky EXE, two .DLL files, and two folders.
For non-Steam users you will want to find wherever you installed Spelunky. I'm not familiar with what other versions of the game exist or where they install the game, but if you have any issues finding it on your own try Googling "Where does X [where X is the name of the store you bought it from] install Spelunky?" or just head to the "My Computer" folder and enter "Spelunky" into the search bar and hopefully it'll find it on its own.

Once we've opened our Spelunky directory we want to open Data, then Textures, then we're going to make two new folders inside of Textures, one to back-up our texture files, and one to put the modding tool and its files in.

When you have your folders made and named, select alltex.wad and alltex.wad.wix, copy both, and then paste into both of the folders you created. Now, extract the modding tool into the folder you made for it.

The modding tool is contained in a .RAR archive, and if you're not familiar with the file type now would be a good time to download a program to open it and maybe read up on how to actually work .RARs. Google has a ton of tutorials on the subject, so we're not going into that here.

Once you have the modding tool in the appropriate folder, select both the alltex copies we put into the folder and drag them onto extract.bat. This will create a new folder called alltex where we will be adding our skins.

Now get the skin you want to add, find the PLAYERS folder within the alltex folder and simply overwrite whichever you want with your new skin, but remember you'll only be able to select your new skin if you overwrite a character you already have unlocked. Please refer to the following list for good characters to overwrite:


Default Characters
char_blue: Safari Hunter dude.
char_green: Bow lady.
char_red: Turban guy.
char_orange: The Spelunker! Why would you want to replace him though?

Easy(ish) Characters to unlock
char_black: Van Helsing Character. Appears at top of Haunted Castle (door to Haunted Castle is under the Royal Tomb found in Restless Dead levels).
char_dlc1: Eskimo Character. Found in Wet Fur levels.
char_dlc2: Round Girl Character. Found in Spider Nest levels.
char_dlc4: Viking Character. Found in (the bottom of?) Rushing Water levels.
char_dlc5: Round Boy Character. Found in Tiki Villages.
char_dlc7: Robot Character. Found in the Mothership (accessible from Fourth of July levels in the Ice area).
char_pink: Meatboy. Found in Worm levels in a green wall pod. Worm levels are accessible by tossing Damsels into pink balls found in the Jungle and Ice areas.

Not so easy to unlock but worth mentioning
char_brown: Jungle Warrior. Unlocked by beating Olmec.

When you have your skin file added in properly, drag the entire alltex folder onto repack.bat. This will replace alltex.wad and alltex.wad.wix automatically. Now copy both alltex.wad files and paste them in the Textures folder we originally got them from, overwriting the old ones. If all went correctly now you should be able to start up Spelunky and select your new skin!
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 09:54:11 AM by Bae » Logged


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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2014, 09:25:23 AM »

3a) How to create a skin
Requires:
An image editing tool of your choice.

First thing's first, we're going to need something to make or edit our skin with. You can use any image editor you'd like as long as it has transparency options, but the most common ones people will use are Photoshop, [Paint.NET], and [Gimp]. Personally I recommend Paint.NET over the others, as it opens much faster than Gimp, and is IMO much easier to actually use (and PhotoShop isn't free so there's that too).

If you do use PhotoShop, be aware that many people have reported issues with making skins with it due to the way it handles transparency. If you have issues in PhotoShop where white bits surround your skin despite none being present in the file, try using any color with an alpha value of 1 instead of zero as people have said this solved their floaty-bit issues.

Now as for actually MAKING a skin, there are some things you should be aware of.
  • All skin files must be 1024x1024 pixels
  • Each sprite is 80x80 pixels large
  • There is an 8 pixel "gutter" on each side of every sprite.
  • This effectively makes each sprite actually only 64x64 pixels, with some "wiggle room".
  • If you're making a skin out of old tile-based sprite sheets this means 16x16 sprites (found in many 8-bit games) can be resized by 4 times and 32x32 sprites (found in some 16-bit games) can be resized by 2 times and fit almost perfectly (remember to resize any old pixely sprites using methods that don't blur them, in Paint.NET this is done by selecting "nearest neighbor" in the resampling options under Image > Resize).
  • If you're using pixel art and there is a black outline you might wish to move most sprites a "dot" (normally each "dot" is only 1x1 pixel, but if you resized pixel art they will be much bigger) downwards as the outline doesn't look to great on top of most surfaces.

Now this is all fine and dandy, but you might be wondering "how am I supposed to keep track of where all the sprites go?"

Well my fine skinning friend, it just so happens I came prepared with several templates that you can use as background layers while you make your skin. I even have a break down of what each animation and sprite is (which we're going to have to go pretty in-depth to).

The basic template is [here]. The Cyan and Yellow squares are were you should make your sprites, and the Fuchsia and Lime boarders are the "gutter". While you should try to get as much of your sprite into the central square as possible, the gutter exists so you don't have to be confined to just that small area. If you look at any of the default skins on top of the template (which you can see in just a moment) you will notice that things like feet and hands sometimes leak into the gutter, and that's what it's there for, to give you that little bit of extra room that's sometimes needed so you don't have to try to squish a limb up against the inside of a cramped cube.

There's also [this] template, which is mostly the same except that instead of having an alternating color pattern, the Cyan and Yellow squares match up so that every frame of an animation set has the same colored square, which might make things easier if you're looking back and forth at a cheat sheet.

Speaking of which, the most useful thing I have to offer you is [here], the cheat sheet/reference guide. It has every animation strip labeled so you don't have to be like me and squint at a sprite for hours thinking "ok is this the throwing animation or the 'oh no I'm going to fall' animation?". Some frames need a bit more explaining to fully understand how to work with them, and I will do so in just a moment, towards the end of this section of the guide.

Also, I have [this] template which features the Golden Monk on top of the second template. This exists for people who want to try to emulate Spelunky's art style when they make their skin, as, let's face it, the Monk doesn't really wear a lot of clothes, and while that might enrage a catholic nun or two it's great for artists since it let's you see the basic anatomy of Derek Yu's style (or at least the style he used for Spelunky HD).

I should also note that if you use any of these templates DO NOT draw on the same layer as them or you will be intensely upset. Always draw on a layer above your template, otherwise your nice skin might be "stuck" to the template and you won't be able to use it.

Finally, try your best to make sure that sprites "line up" properly. It's hard to explain, but if the character moves irregularly between frames due to bad placement of the sprite it can look awful and no matter how good the art is, the skin will look bad. Correct animation is as or more important than having good art and you should do your best to make sure things animate properly without any hiccups.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 09:54:17 AM by Bae » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2014, 09:32:05 AM »

3b) How to create a skin Pt. 2
Steam guides have a limited amount of characters per section, and I have a feeling forum posts here also have a character limit, so here we are.

Anyway, as I said the cheat sheet does need some explaining. For the sake of covering all bases I will give a short description for every animation strip on the sheet, but some aren't going to be so short and will have some information that will be valuable in making skins, so be sure to read carefully.

  • Standing: This is also the state you will be in when riding the camel at the end of the game.
  • Walking Animation: Doubles as a running animation!
  • Dead/Stunned: Plays whenever you are still and not able to control your character due to damage.
  • Crouching Animation: In-between animation for transitioning between standing and crawling state.
  • Crawling Animation: Animation for crawling.
  • "Got Hit": Various sprites for taking damage. The first sprite plays when hit from behind, the second when hit from in front, the third when hit downwards, and the fourth when hit upwards.
  • Ledge Flip: Plays when crawling over a ledge.
  • Lost Balance: Plays when you get too close to a ledge (you will soon drop any item you might be carrying after this animation starts).
  • Ledge Grab: Plays when grabbing a ledge from mid-air, opposed to flipping over the edge.
  • Whip Animation: Animation for attacking. Note that the Whip itself isn't included on character sheets and thus cannot be changed per-character.
  • Throw Animation: Animation for throwing objects.
  • Exit Animation: Plays when entering the doorway to the next level.
  • Character Select Animation: Plays when you select the character.
  • Climb Ladder Animation: Animation for climbing ladders. Despite what you might expect, this is also the animation that plays for climbing the vines found in the Jungle, and not the rope animation.
  • Pushing Block Animation: Plays when you walk towards the pushable grey stones as well as the TNT crates in the Mines.
  • Climb Rope Animation: Animation for climbing up ropes.
  • Look Up Animation: Animation for looking upwards.
  • VS Defeat: If a player loses a match in the Versus mode, this sprite will be displayed along with flying tears (or sweat?).
  • Jump (Rising): Plays during the ascending half of a jump (when you rise into the air).
  • Jump (Falling): Plays during the descending half of a jump (when you begin to fall).
  • VS Victory Animation: If a player wins a match in the Versus mode, this animation will play while they jump up and down.
  • Ghost Idle Animation: Plays while a Player is in Ghost form.
  • Ghost "Attack": Animation for when a Ghost Player blows air.
  • Health: Goes under the HP number. Unfortunately unless you replace it with a very large image you can't do much with the Health sprite, since the HUD itself has another heart that goes under the one displayed in the character sheet. This means that if your sprite isn't large enough the HUD heart will show underneath it and look really bad.
  • Co-Op Pointer: These show up when the player gets too far away from the leader. The third frame is the base, while the first goes over the base until a countdown timer begins. When the countdown starts the second frame goes over the base and displays a number (not part of character sheets). It's worth noting that the base rotates smoothly, so pixelated pointers might not look very good.
  • Volcano Cinematic: This plays at the very end of the game when the player is shot out of the volcano with the giant idol.
  • Dead Player Loot: This is what drops when the player dies in Co-Op or Versus.
  • Wanted Sign: This appears in shops when the Shopkeepers are angry at you.
  • Hit With Camera Flash: This sprite shows up while a Ghost Player is stunned by being hit with the flash of a Camera.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 09:54:22 AM by Bae » Logged


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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 09:42:42 AM »

4) How to test your skins
Nothing worth releasing to the public can exist without rigorous testing to ensure it works well enough. Not games, not guides, not skins. That's why I'm going to include a list of ways to easily try out all of your custom skin work to help you figure out if every sprite is up to snuff.

Single Player Methods:
  • The rest area: Many Sprites can be tested before you even start the game proper. In the rest area where shortcuts are kept you can test Standing, Running, Jumping, Throwing, Attacking, Looking Up, Ledge Flips, Ledge Grabs, Crouching, Crawling, and maybe even more. It's a very useful area for seeing just how your skin looks and the combination of dirt and wood floors allows you to see how your sprites sit on the terrain as well.
  • Climb Ladder: Testing this on Jungle Vines as well as Ladders can be very helpful. I only noticed a huge issue in a skin of mine because it was easier to see against the simple look of the vines than it was against the busier design of ladders.
  • Character Select: Make sure to pay attention when you're selecting your skin to check out its selection animation.
  • Push Block: Easiest to test in the Mines where blocks are abundant and danger is low.
  • Wanted Sign: Shops are most common in the Mines and Jungle. Tossing a bomb in the shop and hightailing it out of there should get them aggro'd on you for the rest of the game. Simply(?) survive long enough to find another shop and marvel at the beauty of your wanted poster.
  • Got Hit: Jumping in front of arrow traps in the Mines will easily get you the Front and Back variations, but the rising and falling ones are a little trickier. Falling on your face will display them for a split second, as will bombs, and sometimes getting tossed around by Yetis or Hawkmen.
  • Volcano Cinematic: The hardest sprite to test since it requires you to beat the game, which can be difficult even when using shortcuts (arguably it's more difficult then due to lack of supplies). The main thing to know about this one is that it's accompanied by a silhouette of the giant idol found at the end of the game, so not having this sprite be black with colored highlights like the idol can make things look a little funky when you beat the game.

Multiplayer Methods:

Multiplayer has two modes, Co-Op and Versus. Many sprites can be tested in either, but some are easier to test in one mode or the other.

Before we get to that, though, we must first go over how we're going to play Multiplayer in the first place. We certainly aren't going to wait to get a buddy over and then force them to help you test your skin, that would just be rude.
What we're going to do is head into the Controls menu. Go down the list and edit at least two of the player controls to be different from the Player 1 controls, but still easily accessible (you can make both players we're editing use the exact same buttons), and that's it really. The idea is to have multiple characters active and switch who you're controlling as needed. In Co-Op you only need one partner (and you can turn on or off any of the additional inputs from the Controls menu) but in Versus you will need at least two other players if you want to test things so the round doesn't end early.
For Versus you will also want to turn off bots and targets to make testing easier.

Sprites to check in Multiplayer
  • Ghost Idle: Have the skin you're checking die.
  • Ghost Attack: When dead, have the skin you're checking attack.
  • Dead Player Loot: Have the skin you're checking die (hopefully far away enough from the other player that they won't immediately collect the loot before you can look at it).

Sprites to check in Co-Op
  • Co-Op Pointer: Simply have the skin your testing get separated from the leader far enough for them to be off screen.

Sprites to check in Versus
  • VS Defeat: Simply lose with the skin you're checking.
  • VS Win: Simply win with the skin you're checking.
  • Ghost hit with flash: First make sure to edit what items can spawn from crates to only include cameras, then kill the skin your testing. When their ghost comes up hit them with the camera's flash and they will display this sprite while they're stunned.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 09:54:26 AM by Bae » Logged


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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 09:43:43 AM »

5) Skinning the REST of the game
Coming Soon... maybe? Honestly it depends on what kind of demand there is for this.

The basics you need to know are that
  • Making yourself a template (like the one I showed for character skins) will save you a lot of headache.
  • Templates will always be in similar sizes, for most sprites this is probably 64x64 or a multiple thereof. They could also be in 80x80, or some other relatively round number, the trick is to find that number and make a template for it.
  • Fuchsia and Lime in a checkerboard pattern make for some of the best templates, if not really bright on the eyes. This is in part because no one really uses those colors for in-game art (and if they do they're blasphemous heathens) and so everything stands out really well on them. The Hex codes for Fuchsia and Lime are #FF00FF and #00FF00, and their RGB codes are 255,000,255 and 000,255,000.
  • There is a lightmap for most items and terrains. If you're going to edit something that uses a lightmap you should make an accompanying lightmap file, whether it's a custom one to fit your edits or you just delete that section of the lighmap altogether so the old item's map doesn't appear over the new one's.
  • Don't make Minecraft texture packs they look really bad.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 09:54:29 AM by Bae » Logged


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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 09:44:56 AM »

6) TL;DR or "The Quick Recap For People Who Prefer Short-And-to-The-Point Tutorials"

1) Intro:
  • I wanted to make a thing and here we are.

2) Installing Skins:
  • Get [Sectus' Modding Tool]
  • Plop it into your Spelunky directory.
  • Make a back up of your alltex files (Spelunky>Data>Textures) so you don't screw everything up.
  • Drag both alltext files into extract.bat to get an alltex folder
  • Replace files in PLAYERS with the skins you want to use
  • Drag the alltex folder into repack.bat and use the new alltex.wad files to replace the ones in Textures

3) Creating Skins:
  • Get Paint.NET because it's the only thing that doesn't hate you
  • Get the [Template] and [Cheat Sheet]
  • Try not to draw on the wrong layer
  • Draw on the wrong layer
  • Cry
  • Test your skin 700 times (See: Installing Skins)
  • Cry more when you can't get it to work right
  • Finish skin
  • Show it to the world only for the world to ignore it
  • Cry some more

4) Testing Skins:
  • Abuse multiple inputs to test Multiplayer-only sprites
  • Throw your poor adventurer into various death traps in cold blood while studying the effects.

5) Creating Texture Packs:
  • lol idk.

6) TL;DR
  • wait, shit.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 09:54:33 AM by Bae » Logged


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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 09:50:00 AM »

7) Closing stuff
This guide has been cross-posted to [Steam].

If you want to contribute to the guide or have any suggestions/corrections/requests leave a comment and I'll be sure to read them!

Changelog:

[Jan 30, 2014]
  • Created Guide. Drank a lot of Soy Milk.

[Jan 31, 2014]
  • Ported the guide over to Mossmouth and added link. Fixed some tiny grammar annoyances (it should be illegal to start 5 paragraphs in a row with the same word).
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 09:54:40 AM by Bae » Logged


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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2014, 01:55:48 PM »

Awesome. Very useful thanks!
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SuperX46
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 05:52:17 PM »

Play my mod! http://mossmouth.com/forums/index.php?topic=3959.0
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Bae
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2014, 06:38:05 PM »

Not sure that exactly goes here, Super, but then again maybe it's better to put skin mods here than in the mod thread?

I don't even know.
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2014, 10:02:17 PM »

The cheat sheet is extremely helpful.
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joey4track
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2014, 10:09:45 PM »

The cheat sheet is extremely helpful.
IKR. Been using this quite a bit.
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2014, 01:19:52 AM »

Great guide, but I have one problem and just want to see if you know the fix. When I put the alltex files in extract, the prompt opens then closes immediately and I don't get the textures folder...
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