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Standard 2D Map Editor w/Metatile Support Not sure if Technical Discussion or Creative Works

#1 User is offline Flygon 

Posted 25 February 2018 - 01:05 AM

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Alright. Still not use to making topics on these forums, but let's give it a jolly old go whatnot. :v:


Whilst doing investigations for tools with a Master System project I've been doing some work for, I've been unable to find any standard Map Editors that can support Metatiles.

I would trust almost anybody actually reading this topic - from this forum - to understand what I'm going on about, but for the uninitiated, I am referring to large tiles - say, 16x16 tiles, that're actually indexed to four smaller 8x8 tiles.
For example, most of the Sonic games use 128x128 metatiles, that index back to 16x16 metatiles, which themselves index back to 8x8 tiles.

Given the machine we're working on, and the fact we don't have unlimited ROM sizes, metatiles are a space saving we're very much taking advantage of. :eng101:


Anyway, all that much will be bleeding obvious to anyone reading this topic. What concerns me is if there is any mapping tools that can actually handle metatiles. I've looked through the likes of Tiled, and Mappy, but neither seem to quite support the concept.
Whilst I've asked around in other quarters for if there's any tools that can handle them, I've generally not gotten positive answers from those I've asked.

It would drastically speed up map design, having a tool that can handle these sorts of things live. Whilst we can probably manage without, it would be a real effort saver. Hope this isn't being a bother!

#2 User is offline MainMemory 

Posted 25 February 2018 - 01:12 AM

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Well, you could maybe make a fork of SonLVL. It looks like ValleyBell's Sonic Pocket Adventure fork already works with just tiles and blocks.

#3 User is offline Ritz 

Posted 25 February 2018 - 01:16 AM

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Pro Motion NG. Start an 8x8 tile project, build your larger tile chunks and save them to the brush container for reuse.

#4 User is offline Flygon 

Posted 25 February 2018 - 08:56 PM

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Yeah, I actually considered the SonLVL fork idea beforehand. Given your own suggestion, and the lack of other suggestions - Bar Ritz's (Which I will be coming to) - it seems that may be the go-to suggestion.

View PostRitz, on 25 February 2018 - 01:16 AM, said:

Pro Motion NG. Start an 8x8 tile project, build your larger tile chunks and save them to the brush container for reuse.

The issue with that is that we actually need the metatiles saved in the actual map output. So you have the table for the 8x8 tiles, but also a separate table for the 16x16 metatiles. From what I understand, Pro Motion MG doesn't support that.

#5 User is offline Asagoth 

Posted 26 February 2018 - 02:34 AM

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I'm not an expert like you guys are... I'm not a programmer... nor a "Tech Guy" ... but what about the "old" tUME (the Universal Map Editor) ?

#6 User is offline Flygon 

Posted 26 February 2018 - 11:07 PM

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We had actually considered the TUME option. The main issue is - There's no Windows port!

It's a shame, because the feature set, on the face of it, would be about exactly what we actually need.

#7 User is offline Asagoth 

Posted 27 February 2018 - 03:02 AM

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View PostFlygon, on 26 February 2018 - 11:07 PM, said:

We had actually considered the TUME option. The main issue is - There's no Windows port!

It's a shame, because the feature set, on the face of it, would be about exactly what we actually need.


It's an underrated tool... and is available since the year 2000... unfortunately no one seems to note it (no offense) ... It's an "Historical Artifact"... and yes... it just needs to be ported to Windows... until a "Lonely Hero" decides to port it... i guess...

#8 User is online Ralakimus 

Posted 27 February 2018 - 08:54 PM

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Luckily, the tool IS open source. It was made to be built with Borland Turbo C and TASM, but it's probably more desirable to port over to GCC or MSVC.

#9 User is offline Asagoth 

Posted 28 February 2018 - 04:53 AM

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Yes... is open source... you guys have all what is needed for porting it to windows in that .zip file... Echidna was also kind enough to share some libraries and utilities they used during their time as programmers in the 90's ... you can read about them here ... as I said before I'm not a programmer... I'm just sharing this with you guys... you guys might know what to do with them... better than me for sure...

#10 User is online nineko 

Posted 02 March 2018 - 04:15 PM

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Flygon: I made a few map editors in the past, but they were tailored for specific games. I don't think I would be interested into making a generic one, but if you give me an outline of the features you need (other than the metatiles), and they are somehow reasonable, I'll gladly whip something up for you. Given that you mention the Master System I guess we can remove tile mirroring from the list, also any rough idea about the map size and the output format (RLE or something)? No promises, but as I said, if the requests are reasonable, I can do it.

#11 User is offline Techokami 

Posted 04 March 2018 - 12:16 PM

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View PostFlygon, on 26 February 2018 - 11:07 PM, said:

We had actually considered the TUME option. The main issue is - There's no Windows port!

It's a shame, because the feature set, on the face of it, would be about exactly what we actually need.

tUME runs fine in DOSBox...

#12 User is offline Flygon 

Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:22 AM

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Hey, I'm sorry about my quietness. I've been hammered with work. It's basically been wake up, work, return home, handle evening stuff, sleep.
Basically wanted to come up with a decent reply.

View Postnineko, on 02 March 2018 - 04:15 PM, said:

Flygon: I made a few map editors in the past, but they were tailored for specific games. I don't think I would be interested into making a generic one, but if you give me an outline of the features you need (other than the metatiles), and they are somehow reasonable, I'll gladly whip something up for you. Given that you mention the Master System I guess we can remove tile mirroring from the list, also any rough idea about the map size and the output format (RLE or something)? No promises, but as I said, if the requests are reasonable, I can do it.

I considered the offer, but I think we'll still stick with the option of branching SonLVL. It's an already existing tool, and something that we're already relatively familiar with.
I do need to say, however. The Master System actually supports native tile flipping! Something that caught some of the devteam offguard - We've used it liberally, too, for those much needed VRAM savings. :v:/>

View PostTechokami, on 04 March 2018 - 12:16 PM, said:

tUME runs fine in DOSBox...

I had considered that option, but decided against complicating factors by involving DOSBox. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it's potentially enough of a pain to make working with a SonLVL branch more desirable.


I've been very grateful for all the assistance here! For now, I think we have our solution.
I'll leave this topic open, simply because I know others are inevitably going to need help on a similar kind of thing to what we have, and the fact that I suspect there'll be further developments on this sort of subject as time runs along.
This post has been edited by Flygon: 06 March 2018 - 02:25 AM

#13 User is online nineko 

Posted 06 March 2018 - 05:52 AM

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View PostFlygon, on 06 March 2018 - 02:22 AM, said:

I do need to say, however. The Master System actually supports native tile flipping!
Indeed it does, I somehow forgot about it, or maybe I was thinking about some other console, but you're absolutely right, it's all in the docs, I can't believe I was wrong about something I used to know about, this shows once more how rusty I'm getting when it comes to these things, I should really try to regain some interest and get out of my semi-permanent hiatus.

But that's not relevant! Back on topic, I'm glad to hear that you found your solution. Good luck with your project :)

#14 User is offline Techokami 

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:49 PM

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View Postnineko, on 06 March 2018 - 05:52 AM, said:

View PostFlygon, on 06 March 2018 - 02:22 AM, said:

I do need to say, however. The Master System actually supports native tile flipping!
Indeed it does, I somehow forgot about it, or maybe I was thinking about some other console, but you're absolutely right, it's all in the docs, I can't believe I was wrong about something I used to know about, this shows once more how rusty I'm getting when it comes to these things, I should really try to regain some interest and get out of my semi-permanent hiatus.

Yeah, you probably mixed it up with sprite flipping, which the Master System cannot do.

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