V. Graphics Data

It is easy to create new adventures for the Dragon Bane II engine by modifying data in the Adventure pdb file. Except for the map data which uses a sophisticated mapeditor program, all other data in the adventure pdb is very easy to edit. Therefore, most adventure designers may wish to simply create and distribute their own adventure.pdb data file and re-use the graphics (wall and tile pdbs) that are distributed with Dragon Bane II: Return of Kra'an.

But more adventuresome level designers may wish to go one step farther and customize the graphics in their adventure. If that is the case, you will need to create and distribute your own wall and/or tile pdb data files (see Chapter 2). You may add, remove, or edit any of the graphics that are part of Return of Kra'an to whatever degree you need. You may re-use everything that was in Return of Kra'an graphic files and add your own graphics and wall data to the end of the graphic lists, or you may start from scratch creating whole new sets of tiles and walls in order to create a completely different atmosphere or genre of game.

When creating and editing graphics data for your adventure, keep in mind the following rules:


A mask is a region in your graphic that is not drawn when the graphic is painted on the screen. It is only important for creating wall graphics and charm graphics (both listed in the brush*.txt index). Those graphics are drawn in the 3D view where it is important to be able to see areas behind your rectangular graphic bitmaps. To indicate that a pixel is a mask in your graphic bitmap file, paint that pixel pure red (255, 0, 0). Those pixels will be skipped when drawing the graphic, so that whatever is behind that object will show through.

An example where masks should be used in your graphics bitmap files are trees which require red masking pixels around the outside of the tree so that you will be able to see the ground and sky and other objects behind the tree.

Try to use masking pixels sparingly because even if only one pixel in a brush is masked, the entire brush will require more memory when your graphic pdb files are stored on the Palm device. For 4 and 16 gray graphic pdb data files, every masked brush requires you to store the graphic as an 8 bit color BMP file (on your desktop computer) instead of a 4 bit gray BMP file. Though the size of your BMP graphic file on your desktop computer is much different from the compiled and compressed version stored in your wall and tile pdbs, all masked graphics (for all color depths) do require more memory in their compiled form on the Palm device.

Tile graphics

Tile graphics are those drawn in the top-left corner (top-right if the game is in "lefty" mode) of the Party View screen for characters, buildings, monsters, and objects. All tile graphics must be at most 80x80 pixels, and they should never be masked. Instead, any unused pixels around the border of a graphic should be white (255, 255, 255) so that it's background matches the background of the white party view interface.

You may store and index your tile graphics in any fashion you choose, however you should keep your different color depth tile graphics in separate directories to make them easier to manage. Although tile graphics must be indexed sequentially and continuously, you may break up the tile index file into multiple smaller index files (one for each color depth), so long as the sub-range of tile indicies in each tile index file match the order those tile index files are listed in your pdb.cfg file.

The only restriction to numbering your building tiles is that special building tiles must be first and appear at specific indicies. The following building tile indicies are reserved, and your tile pdb may not replace or move them:

Wall graphics

Although it is easy to create or edit new tile graphics, as well as change charm icon graphics and floor and ceiling graphics (if you are a good artist), it is much more difficult to create or edit wall graphics. The reason is that walls are complex objects. A wall is not simply a bitmap indexed in some text file. Walls may be viewed from a dozen different angles, and each "view" is constructed from a list of graphic brushes.

Walls are composed of several simple data types, all of which are included in the WALL section of your pdb.cfg files:

Wall graphics can eat up a lot of memory, so when designing new walls, try to keep in mind the following guidelines in order to minimize the memory your walls will require: