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Old 08-09-20, 01:04   #1
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Default Tomb Editor - Sprites

Everybody remembers spooky Inca mummy from first Tomb Raider. I was scared to death when I saw it, because it looked like it always turned in the same direction as you! What was that, I thought?

That is the room sprite. Inca mummy is not the single occasion of room sprites, you can see it all around in the first game - stone debris, snowballs, pottery in City of Vilcabamba, and many more. Now, when Tomb Editor supports TR1 target, it is possible to add room sprites to your level as well. This feature is unique to Tomb Editor, as no any version of dxtre3d never ever had it. This tutorial will describe the process of adding room sprites to your level.

First off, you must add your sprites to your wad2 file. If you are using just stock .phd files as wads, you may ignore this step. Otherwise, launch WadTool and open your wad2 file (or .phd file which you want to convert to wad2). To add new sprite to wad, use Create -> New sprite sequence menu entry. Select a slot to put your sprite in (you should use slots like plant/pottery/furniture etc, and not system slots like bubbles/symbols/explosions/etc), then double-click new empty sprite sequence and sprite sequence editor will show up.

In sprite sequence editor, you will see + button at the right side of the list, it is used to add new sprites. You may add as many sprites as possible for every sequence, because they will be treated as separate sprites in game anyway, so you can simply use sprite sequences to group your various sprites. Remember that maximum sprite size is 255x255! Also, the bigger your sprites are, the more texture space they will occupy, which is fairly low in TR1 (for TR2, limit was significantly lifted by TR2Main).

Since version 1.3.6, there is a control group in sprite sequence editor called Alignment. These controls are used to define how your sprite will appear in game. You don't need to mess with raw LTRB numerical parameters, just use scale, horizontal and vertical alignment controls. Usually sprites like furniture, trees, mummies etc. require bottom vertical alignment, while sprites like hanging ceiling plants obviously require top vertical alignment. Scale is something that you need to play around with, but I recommend to start from values of 5-6, otherwise sprite will appear super tiny in actual level. Don't forget to push "refresh" button at the right side to recalculate actual raw LTRB parameters or they will not be saved.

IMPORTANT: Avoid rearranging your sprites after you've started to place them in actual level. Engine keeps all sprites in a single list, regardless of parent sprite sequences, so if you will add new sprite between two already existing, sprite order will change, and sprites already placed in level will be messed up. I will try to address this issue in next Tomb Editor versions, starting from 1.3.7.

Now the next step - actually adding your sprite to your level!

In Tomb Editor itself, you may either push right mouse button on any block and there will be "Add room sprite" entry, or you may do it from menu bar, Items -> Add item -> Add room sprite. Also you can customize toolbar and add a button for this purpose to it. Note that if your project is not switched to TR1-2 target, all these entries will not appear in UI, they only become available when you've switched to TR1-2.

After placing sprite in level, you can edit it as any other object by pushing O button or double-clicking it. Every sprite in every sequence will appear separately on the list. Room sprites cannot be animated. From my tests, you can have fairly large amount of sprites in level, they don't cause crashes or weird engine behaviour, so I recommend using it instead of static meshes where possible, and generally everywhere, because room sprites are spooky, and this spooky retro PSX aesthetic is on the rise now

Addendum regarding TR2 support

In TR2 there are virtually no instances of sprites in level files, except pickups and cellar artifacts in Lara's Home. In TR3 onwards, the feature was completely removed. However, the feature is still present in TR2 engine. To make it work, you must add new sprites to already existing (and preferably unused) sprite sequences. You may very well use cellar artifact slots from Lara's home, and put as many sprites as you want in each of those slots.

Last edited by Lwmte; 08-09-20 at 01:19.
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