Keen: Next (level editor)

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Keen: Next (level editor)
Keen Next.png
Initial release
Latest update2009-08-04
Development statusFinished
PlatformWindows (32-bit), Linux via WINE
LicenseCopyright © 2006 by Zoltan Solyom
Tool TypeLevel Editor
Discussion(s)PCKF: release
Keen: Modding: general discussion, tutorial
DownloadKeen:Next v.0.99 newest

Keen: Next is a Windows-based level editor for Keen's 4-6 that was developed by z-1. The editor was originally made for the Keen: Next (fangame).

Using Keen: Next

When the editor opens, the first thing to do is go up to 'file' then 'new'. A 'project properties' window will appear. Give your project a title (it doesn't matter what you name it) and then check the "keen project" box. Select the episode number in the box next to "keen project". Next choose the tileset by to 'browse' and select the tileset you want to use. After all this, click 'ok'. Note: you will have to do this each time you open the editor.

The tiles should load on the right side of editor menu. You can adjust the tile menu width with the mouse by selecting the left edge.

Before importing the gamemaps, you must extract them in a way that Keen:next can read them. Go to 'file', then 'create keen files'. Browse to the Keen executable for the episode you wish to edit levels for. Note: this will not work if you have run tedsetup. You will need to have UNLZEXEed the executable. Your keen map files should now be created. Note: You only after to do this 1 time for each episode.

Now it's time to load a map. Go to 'file', then 'Import Keen Map'. In your "mymod" folder, select 'maphead.ck4'. You should now be presented with a 'map select' box. Choose the level you'd like to edit.

In keen galaxy, there are two tilesets and thus two types of tiles: background and foreground. You can scroll between these on the right. These represent two layers of of the level. You can toggle these layers on and off by going to 'view' and checking/unchecking layer 1 and layer 2. Note: This is the buggiest part of Keen:Next and if you frequently toggle layers, glitches can wreck a lot of work put into a level. Its usually best to leave both layers visible. Make sure that, in the "view" section, you have 'fade unused layers' unchecked. This makes level viewing easier.

To edit a map, start by clicking a tile one from the tileset on the right. In the upper left is a toolbar. The default tile tool is the pencil/paintbrush. You can click and place, or you can click and drag with this tool. There is also a water dropper tool. This is useful for selecting a tile currently on the map instead of looking for it in the tileset. Note: the water dropper will 'pick up' the tile from the tileset you're currently in; if you currently have a background tile selected from the tilesetand use the water dropper in the level, it will pick up a background tile. If you want a foreground tile, scroll down in the tileset on the right and select one of the foreground tiles, then use the water dropper on the map.

The paint can tool is not recommended because it is very buggy.

The next tool can be used for selecting a rectangular area of the map. This is useful for cutting a piece of the level and pasting it elsewhere (you will need to do this twice if you want to cut and paste both the background and foreground). You can also create stamps this way. Just select an area with the tool and then go to "selection" and then "create brush". A stamp of the area will now appear on the left.

You can create stamps of a large area of tiles from the tileset also. To do this, click the top left corner of the area of tiles you want in the tileset. Then go to the bottom right corner of that area while holding shift, and select that tile. Doing this successfully will result in the stamp image appearing on the left side of the editor. You can now use the paintbrush tool to place this stamp, and you can reselect this stamp at any time you're editing. Use stamps frequently to save time.

On the world map, you'll notice little white icons that look like this (!). These are the level sprites. To place these, use the little cog tool up in the upper left (next to the rectangular area selector). When this tool is used to click the map, you'll get an 'info plane' box asking for an x and y coordinate.

On the world map, this is how the coordinates work: The x coordinate determines what kind of sprite is used. An X of 192 designates the sprite as a level entrance. Note: you cannot place a level entrance on a tile that appears over keen or on an animating tile. An x of 208 is a level block (like those used in the slug village); this sprite does not actually block keen, but is placed over a foreground tile that does. When the level is beaten, this info number removes the foreground tile. An x value of 240 is for the flag holders. Y coordinates only designate what level the sprite is associated with. A Y of 1 will designate the level as level 1.

To place sprites (enemies) in a level, go to the tools menu and click the little icon that looks kind of like an arachnut. The sprite menu should appear in place of the tileset. To place a sprite, make sure you have the paintbrush icon selected, then click the sprite you want to place. Note: some enemies appear more than once in this sprite menu; this is for enemies that appear on easy, moderate, and hard. You can see little numbers that designate this, but a general rule is that the order they appear in on the menu matches the easy/medium/harder order.

To switch back to tiles from sprites, click the little black square icon to the left of the arachnut icon you used to get to the sprite menu.

Placing a keygem holder: First place the foreground keygem tile somewhere on the map (it can be anywhere). Next place a door (these are also foreground tiles) somewhere (anywhere). When making the door, there are three door tiles: a bottom, middle, and top. If' you're making a door more than three tiles high, use the middle door piece for additional height. Using your mouse, hold it over the top tile of the door. In the lower left side of the editor, you'll notice that the map coordinates for this tile appear. Memorize or write these down. Now select the cog tool and then click your keygem holder. Enter in the coordinates for you door. You've now got a working door.

Doors: Place two door tiles on the map. Now you must determine the coordinates. Go to one of your doors and hold the mouse over the tile below the bottom left door tile (below the bottom left door tile, not on it or keen will drop out of the air). Go to the door you want to connect to this spot and use the cog tool and click the lower left door tile (the lower left door tile, not the one below it). Do the same for the bottom right door tile. Now this door is connected to the other, but you also need to check the coordinates at this door and add them to the tiles of the other door.

Switches Use the cog tool on a switch and use the coordinates for the thing you want the switch to affect. For a bridge, get the coordinates of the top left bridge tile and put this in the info box for the switch. For goplats (moving platforms), get the coordinates of a B sprite (these are sprites which goplats bounce off and then go in the other direction). The switch will remove that sprite so the goplat can move.

Level Resize To resize a map, go to "edit" and "Resize map". Then select the new level boundaries and the side of the level which should be expanded or shrunk.

Undo Keen:Next is currently the only editor with an undo option. The undo is infinite. Just go to "Edit" and click "Undo".

When you're ready to save, go to 'file', then 'export keen map', then select 'maphead.ck4', click yes, and reselect the level you want to save and click ok. Note: if you like, You can rename the shadowlands here before you click ok. The name you choose will only appear in the editor, however, and not in the in-game text.

Do not click 'save' or 'save as'. These options do not actually save the level to the game, but as files only Keen:Next can read. Additionally, saving levels in this manner can cause Keen:next to crash.

After exporting you can test your levels by adding the patch that corresponds to your patch file:

%maphead maphead.ck4 %gamemaps editmaps.ck4

Then run your batch file.