Prepared by Christopher Allen 2011
CruzEditor is an Adobe AIR application built to edit levels for the game Cruz. If you don't know what Cruz is, look it up at http://www.chriskallen.com/cruz.
You must have a version of Adobe AIR installed on your computer to
run this application. This can be downloaded free of charge from Adobe's
First, double-click on the "CruzEditor.air" installation package. You will be presented with a number of steps. You should pick the default settings whenever possible.
If you get a screen that challenges the authenticity of the application because the publisher is unknown, choose to proceed with installation. I'm the publisher. Duh.
It really doesn't matter which folder you choose to install the application. Remember where it is, though, because your work must be saved there if you're going to use the development version of Cruz to test your own episodes.
It helps to create an icon on the desktop, which will be the Kroz "yellow smiley face." This lets you launch the program quickly.
When CruzEditor starts up, it should display the main grid for a one-level episode:
The window is split into a "main view" on top, which shows a graphical representation of the level, and a "metadata view" on the bottom, which shows the equivalent metadata character representation. Any action applied to one of these views will be reflected in the other view; you can choose to edit in either view.
The editor looks best when maximized; this gives you the most
screen detail. A resolution of 1024x768 or greater is recommended.
An episode contains multiple levels. Switch between these levels by using "-" and "+" keys. To start editing, click the "Placement" button on the right, or press "P." You are given a list of various item names. Select one with the mouse, and then you can draw on the grid with the mouse to place that item.
There are two placement selection windows: the main item set and the extended item set. The main item set has, for the most part, all the item types used in the original Kroz games. The extended item set, accessible by clicking the "More" button, contains new items used only in Cruz.
With an item picked, you can draw over either the "main view" section (top half) or the "metadata view" section (bottom half).
You don't need to understand all the character encodings. This just indicates how the items are saved, in case you want to directly edit the XML later.
There is another way to pick a placement item: position the
mouse directly over a grid square and press "Enter." This will
change the placement item to the type under the mouse cursor.
To select a region of the grid, click the "Select" button on the right (or press "S"), then click or drag the mouse over a section of the grid.
With the select tool, you can do the following by using the keyboard:
Ctrl+C: Copy selected region to clipboard.
Ctrl+V: Paste clipboard to grid at upper-left part of selection.
Space: Paste patterned clipboard data within entirety of selection.
The patterned paste method, invoked by pressing "Space, " fills the entire selection with the clipboard contents. If more than one grid square was copied to the clipboard, the brush pattern will be tiled across the selection.
There are four layers in a typical Cruz level:
1) Main layer
2) Color layer
3) Text layer
4) Field Effects layer
You can show or hide the layers by clicking the appropriate checkbox on the right.
Your mouse and keyboard actions apply to all visible layers when the select tool is used. For example, if the color, main, and text layers are all checked, your mouse actions affect all layers.
The color layer was planned for adding color hues to parts of the level. However, this feature was not ultimately used in the game, so editing in this layer is not possible. The color palette does not currently do anything in CruzEditor.
The text layer lets the user enter text that will appear written on the walls during the game. After the "Text" button on the right is clicked (or "T" key is pressed), click on the grid to pick the text entry spot. You can then write ASCII characters to the text layer by using the keyboard. To erase previously entered text, just type a space over the character.
The text layer does not set any character encodings on the main
layer. However, the game itself will modify the main layer during pre-map if
there is a text character at a particular spot.
If you want to enter a non-standard ASCII text character into the layer, you can copy it from the file "textchars.xml," provided with CruzEditor. You cannot enter any characters that don't appear in this file, as it would cause corruption of the metadata (XML parsers become confused).
The field effects layer contains a number of rectangular regions that modify the grid in some fashion. To place a field effect, click the "Field Fx" button on the right, then select a field effect type from the list. Then, you can drag the field effect over a section of the grid, making the effect apply to the rectangular area.
To delete a field effect, change to selection mode, click on the rectangle, and the text will turn from red to white. When the text is white, press the Delete key to remove the effect from the level.
Kroz games did not originally support field effects. Cruz uses them
as a way of equalizing a level's difficulty, adjusting aspects about the level
that might otherwise be too random to work well, and introducing interesting
new design features.
Not all field effect types shown in the list were implemented in the game. See "Properties of Field Effects" to learn about the implemented field effects.
Level features are characteristics about a level
that control how the entire level looks, plays, and functions. Most level
features have meaning all by themselves. Other level features are used in
conjunction with certain object types or field effect types.
To access level features, click "Level Options" and select the "Level Features" radio button. Level features are modified by editing the XML in the window, and clicking "Accept" to save the changes made to the features. The "Discard" button discards any changes.
Note that CruzEditor displays an error message if any part of the accepted content is not well-formed XML. Of course, if you're going to edit XML, you should understand the syntax, since it's pretty straightforward.
Also, Cruz develops loading problems if features are specified the wrong number of times. Most features can only be specified once per level (such as BackTile). Only a few can be specified multiple times, such as QuakeType).
Kroz supported a handful of level features, most of which are available in Cruz as well. These are described below.
The "rate" is actually a number of random spot-check "attempts" to find a particular terrain for growth or shrink actions during a frame of action. A higher rate implies more check attempts per frame of execution, and thus a nominally faster growth rate (or shrink rate). There is a 1/10 chance on any given frame of action that lava, trees, or water will undergo growth or shrink actions.
The rate will pick up dramatically when more of the growing or shrinking item exists on the level, since more "hits" will be successful.
Lava growth occurs automatically if LavaRate is set to a number greater than 0. It is possible to defer lava growth by setting <LavaFlow val="false"/>. The reason for this is because some levels have special effects that cause lava to grow on a scripted event, instead.
<HideMBlock val="true"/> (Hide moving breakable walls)
<HideGems val="true"/> (Hide gems)
<HideOpenWall val="true"/> (Hide open-wall spells)
<HideRock val="true"/> (Hide boulders)
<HideStairs val="true"/> (Hide exit stairs)
<HideTrap val="true"/> (Hide teleportation traps)
<HideCreate val="true"/> (Hide creature creation traps)
<HideLevel val="true"/> (Hide EVERYTHING in level)
It is possible to hide a certain item, or even all items, from view on a level. Some levels are all about secrets, and hiding certain items from view can increase the challenge significantly.
Note that anything that moves to another square is no longer hidden from view after moving. The moment an item moves or is touched, it becomes visible for the remainder of the time the level is played.
Hiding the exit stairs is useful in three contexts:
1) Exit is a winding corridor, and reaching the corridor is sufficient to end a level.
2) Level is sideways, and the boundaries of the screen are sufficient to end a level.
3) Special challenge to uncover a hidden exit.
Even if creature creation traps are not hidden, they appear as "chance" items until they are whipped.
Several events occur as bulk operations, like monster movement, and occur with specific timing. A "timeout" level feature changes how much time must elapse before the FIRST event occurs. After this time passes, movement proceeds at its default rate.
This controls the probability that an enemy will be generated on any given frame, if there are enemy generators on the level. In this example, the probability would be 1/28.
Lost Adventures of Kroz and Kingdom of Kroz II support levels with partial or total gravity. The level designer has two options when constructing gravity:
1) Set GravOn to true and Sideways to true to make a sideways level.
2) Set GravOn to true and GravRate to a specific value to make a level with partial gravity.
A sideways level only allows the player to move sideways or down, unless a rope or drop-rope item is grabbed, in which case, the player can move in any direction. Enemies also have restricted movements in sideways levels.
A level with partial gravity is just like a normal level, except that the player is gradually dragged downwards. The player can still move in any direction. Enemies are not affected by partial gravity.
GravRate is a bit misleading because it is a delay counter--a higher value actually reduces the rate the player falls. By default, GravRate is zero for sideways levels (meaning the player falls very fast), and 20 for levels with partial gravity.
Set this to true to make high-voltage electrified walls randomly appear and disappear. There is a 1/8 chance on any given frame of action that these walls will cycle. If cycling does occur, such walls will be replaced by the type closeable wall #1 (or closeable wall #1 types with electrified walls).
The fact that a closeable wall type is used as the "off toggle" type means that the level designer should avoid using the type CLOSEABLE_WALL1 in the same level in its normal context, since the result would be unpredictable and (probably) undesirable in the event the player collects a CLOSE_SPELL1 type. On the other hand, it might be beneficial to place CLOSEABLE_WALL1 types in the level to allow for electrified walls to appear unexpectedly.
Some levels have items with an altered physical appearance. Enemy ASCII character representations can be changed to assume a modified character.
Cruz employs improved graphical changes to enemies resembling the altered characters. The following values can be used to alter appearance:
<Slow val="154"/> : Dotted-U character
<Slow val= "254"/>: Square character
<Slow val= "255"/>: Invisible
<Medium val="240"/>: 3-lined character
<Medium val="255"/>: Invisible
<Fast val="9"/>: Bubble creature
<Fast val="1"/> : Smiley face character
<Fast val="255"/> : Invisible
There is a level in Lost Adventures of Kroz where empty spaces are drawn as "bread crumbs." Use the Breadcrumbs tag for this.
<FloodRate val="40"/> (Rate of water growth)
<PitRate val="10"/> (Rate of pit growth)
<TreeEvapoRate val="30"/> (Rate of forest disappearance)
<LavaEvapoRate val="20"/> (Rate of lava disappearance)
<PitEvapoRate val="15"/> (Rate of pit disappearance)
<TreeFlow val="false"/> (false defers forest growth or shrinkage)
<WaterFlow val="false"/> (false defers water growth or shrinkage)
<PitFlow val="false"/> (false defers pit growth or shrinkage)
Cruz supports many more terrain growth or shrinkage rates and deferral flags, including rates for water growth, pit growth or shrinkage, forest shrinkage, and lava shrinkage.
A nonzero rate starts growth or shrinkage when the level starts. If TreeFlow, WaterFlow, or PitFlow is set to false, the growth or shrinkage is deferred until a scripted event.
Unlike the other deferral flags, WaterFlow defaults to false, which is the original Kroz behavior. It must be set to true to start water growth or shrinkage at level start.
Cruz lets you hide or show any item type when the level first appears. The "type" attribute can be set to any string shown in the toast message box when you select an item type for placement in the grid.
Some items appear as "chance" pouches when visible. If you want to reveal item type with no ambiguity, use ShowRealItem instead of ShowItem.
<Replace src="QUAKE_TRAP" dest= "SOLID_WALL"/>
<NoReplace src= "QUAKE_TRAP" dest="ENEM4"/>
On any given level, you can fine-tune how one item interacts with another when a "source" item needs to replace or otherwise impose its effects on a "destination" item. The Replace element guarantees that the item or its effect will replace the other, while the NoReplace element guarantees the opposite: no replacement can ever occur.
Use Replace to ensure that one item or spell can be used to replace or eliminate another type of item. Use NoReplace to safeguard certain items against lava flow, quake traps, etc.
StartStayPut can be used with most types of enemies. StayPut enemies will not move, but will still attack the player if the player is one square away.
QuakeType can be any type of item. It is "BOULDER" if not explicitly specified. Earlier Kroz games had it set to "BREAKABLE_BLOCK." If more than one QuakeType element appears, an earthquake trap will spawn all the types mentioned with equal probability. You can make some types fall with greater probability by specifying the types repeatedly. For example, specifying BOULDER twice but BREAKABLE_BLOCK once will drop, on average, two boulders for every one breakable block.
TunnelBehavior can be "roundrobin" (the default), or "random." The round-robin system makes all tunnels traversed sequentially if the player keeps revisiting them. The random system is the original Kroz behavior, which randomly selects a destination every time.
TextBehavior can be "onehit" (the default, requiring one whip strike), or "solid" (can't be destroyed).
<StartText>...</StartText> (when level starts)
<EndText>...</EndText> (when stairs to level found)
<AmuletText>...</AmuletText> (when AMULET type collected)
<StaffText>...</StaffText> (when STAFF type collected)
<Tablet1Text>...</Tablet1Text> (when tablet 1 collected)
<Tablet2Text>...</Tablet2Text> (when tablet 2 collected)
<Tablet3Text>...</Tablet3Text> (when tablet 3 collected)
<Tablet4Text>...</Tablet4Text> (when tablet 4 collected)
<Hint1Text>...</Hint1Text> (when Effect1OnEnter region entered)
<Hint2Text>...</Hint2Text> (when Effect2OnEnter region entered)
<Hint3Text>...</Hint3Text> (when Effect3OnEnter region entered)
<Hint4Text>...</Hint4Text> (when Effect4OnEnter region entered)
<SecretMessageText>...</SecretMessageText> (when SECRET_MESSAGE type touched)
You can display text on the screen in response to a specific event. Text can be either a single line (no line breaks) or two-line (one line break).
Tablet/text associations are ordered according to their spawn
order, which is left-to-right and then down for ordered levels, and arbitrary
for unordered levels.
If text is two-line, a line break in the XML itself is interpreted as a line break in the text output.
The window used to display the text can be changed by preceding the text with a special character. By default, an ordinary blank white window appears over the status bar. To display a quoted text bubble, indicating the player is talking, precede the line with a caret (^). To display a tablet message, precede the line with an at symbol (@). Note that there is only room in the tablet window for a single line, not two lines.
You can separate multiple messages from each other by placing the characters "\n" at the end of a message. Do not confuse this markup with an actual line break, which simply moves the remaining text to the next line in the window.
Cruz supports several scripting commands in the body of text messages. To specify a script command, use the "#" character. See "Scripting Commands" for more information.
<TopCenter>Top Title Bar Text</TopCenter>
<MainText>Main Text Displayed</MainText>
<BottomCenter>Top Title Bar Text</BottomCenter>
This element specifies what text is shown on the conclusion screen. A conclusion screen is displayed whenever the #WARPBACK scripting command is used.
The main text is required. The top-center and bottom-center lines are optional.
<StartItem type="GEM" count="20"/>
<StartItem type="WHIP" count="2"/>
<StartItem type= "TELEPORT_SCROLL" count="0"/>
<ChanceItem type="KEY" oneoutof="25"/>
<ChanceItem type="POUCH_GEMS_25" oneoutof="1"/>
<ChanceItem type="BOMB" oneoutof="40"/>
The StartItem element declares number of inventory items the player starts with at the beginning of the episode. Only the types GEM, WHIP, TELEPORT_SCROLL, and KEY are recognized.
The ChanceItem element manipulates the probability that a particular item type will be shown as a "chance" pouch when the level starts. Setting a ChanceItem value to zero means the item will never appear as a "chance" pouch.
By default, stairs take the player one level down, in the order the index specifies. Field effects can be used to associate some stairs with alternate destinations (1 through 5). The name attribute identifies the destination by level name.
Kroz was originally a linear game, which prevented the player from backtracking or revisiting areas. Alternate destinations can make a Cruz game more like an RPG. Even though "The Underground Empire of Cruz" only used alternate destinations for secret levels, it is entirely possible to create a game that resembles a map with locations that can be revisited.
<ItemAppearance src="NASTY_TREE" dest="TREE"/>
<ItemAppearance src="NUGGET_OR_ARTIFACT" dest="SOLID_WALL"/>
<ItemAppearance src="STAFF" dest="TOME"/>
The appearance of an item can be changed to a new type when the level is initially shown. If the object moves, though, its actual appearance is revealed.
It is possible to disguise almost any item type as any other type, allowing for some interesting level designs.
The AMULET, STAFF, TABLET, and SECRET_MESSAGE types can be tweaked
to special types not resembling any of the placement types. The special types
are as follows:
SKELETON : A skelton of an unfortunate adventurer.
CROWN : A crown.
GRAIL : A cup resembling the Holy Grail.
FOUNTAIN : A fountain.
TOME : A sacred book.
KEYSTONE : The Cruz Keystone.
KEYLOCK : The Cruz World Creation Chamber lock.
GLOBE : A crystal globe.
It is often helpful to fine-tune the appearance of a level, for performance, appearance, or other reasons.
NoAnim prevents a certain type of terrain from being animated. Valid types are LAVA, RIVER, PIT, and TELEPORT_TRAP. The main reason to prevent animation is performance--a screen filled with these types might slow down the game to an unacceptable level.
Border sets the type used as the border. By default, the border is an electrified fence, the border for all the Kroz games. You can set the border to any type in Cruz. However, be warned that most types do not properly "fence in" the action. An improperly selected border type might cause problems if a game object "escapes."
Backtile sets the floor tile for empty space. The tile can be one of the following:
1 : Blue (goes best with water).
2 : Green (goes best with forest).
3 : Red (goes best with lava).
4 : Orange.
5 : Yellow.
6 : Brown (default if not set).
7 : Cyan.
8 : Purple.
9 : Turned-off electrified background.
10 : Ice background (also appears when ice block used as bridge).
11 : Horizontal bridge (cyan).
12 : Vertical bridge (cyan).
BaseZoom sets the highest value for the scale factor for dynamic zoom mode. This defaults to 0.5, but it can be set higher or lower. Setting it to 0.3030303 will force the display to be zoomed out so the entire level can be seen (the original Kroz behavior).
BlobRate modifies the rate at which BLOB types in the level expand. By default, this is 120. The rate is a count of game tick iterations before the next expansion event. You can set this to a high value (tens of thousands) to effectively prevent blobs from expanding.
CorrupterFactor operates in a similar way as GenFactor, except it applies to mind corrupters. By default, this is 4, indicating a berserk-inducing event occurs with a 1/4 probability.
Music sets the background music for the level. The index is either zero (for no music, the default) or one of the following values:
1 : Forest Theme
2 : Medieval Theme
3 : Percussion Theme
4 : Lava Theme
5 : Peaceful Theme
6 : Metal Theme
7 : Water Theme
8 : Pit Theme
9 : Corridor Theme
10 : Puzzle Theme
11 : Final Level / Title Screen Theme
12 : Bottomless Pit Clip (not designed to loop)
13 : Victory Clip (not designed to loop)
14 : "NES Chiptune" variant of Puzzle Theme
HideLevelNumber simply prevents the level number from being shown in the title bar. For RPG-style games, or for levels for which the number does not matter like secret levels, this should be used.
PatchNumber creates the code to be used later in a code-entry screen, and patches Tablet1Text to reveal this code. Until and unless the code is revealed, code entry in a later level is not possible.
Unordered levels are put together by spawning a particular item at
a random location. This process is repeated a preset number of
times for each item type. Unordered spawn counts control how many times each
item type is placed in the grid.
To access unordered spawn counts, click "Level Options" and select the "Spawn Counts" radio button. Spawn counts are modified by editing the XML in the window, and clicking "Accept" to save the changes made to the counts. The "Discard" button discards any changes.
It is not necessary to have a spawn count for the player. The player implicitly appears in the level.
IMPORTANT: Don't forget to include at least one
spawn count for the stairs, or else some mechanism in the level for generating
If the total number of spawn counts exceeds the maximum number of grid positions (1,472), the level will automatically crop the highest spawn counts until the total drops to the maximum or lower. It is better practice to calculate the counts yourself and make sure the total is not unreasonable.
You can test what an unordered level would look like with the "Test Generate" button. There is no guarantee that a level will actually look like the results shown, since it is randomly generated each time, but this at least gives you some idea.
The "Level Options" button gives access to many additional features.
If any radio button other than "Episode Info" or
"Level Index" is selected, you can edit the level's name by typing
a new name into the box below the main XML display, then clicking "Accept."
A level's name must be unique. CruzEditor will develop problems if you duplicate names in the collection.
You can add a new level by clicking the "New Ordered"
or "New Unordered" buttons. The new level will be added to the
end of the collection.
After creating new levels, you should rename them before saving. If you don't, the default names will be picked again if you add more after quitting CruzEditor, causing duplicate name issues.
You can delete an existing level by clicking the "Drop" button. As a precaution, you must confirm dropping a level with two clicks.
The "Episode Info" radio button allows you to edit
information describing the entire episode. Most of the information just serves
to describe the episode, but there are some tags that have an effect on the
<Title>Dungeons of Kroz</Title>
Title is the formal identification for the episode, and is shown in the title bar if set. If not set, the game filename is shown.
gametype identifies whether this episode is a Kroz or a Cruz game. By default, "Kroz" is assumed. The "Cruz" setting only changes a handful of things, such as the appearance of the bonus letters and various references to either "Kroz" or "Cruz" within the episode itself.
defaultlevelfeatures contains a set of "global level features." Almost anything that can be set in levelfeatures can also be set here.
If you have a level feature that will be common for most if not all levels in the collection, it is easier to set the feature at the episode level, instead of having to set it for each level individually. The most useful tags to set at the episode level are TextBehavior, TunnelBehavior, StartItem, ChanceItem, and QuakeType.
Note that if a feature appears at both levels, the value set in levelfeatures will trump the value set in defaultlevelfeatures.
The "Level Index" radio button allows you to edit
the episode's play order for the levels.
You cannot add, copy, or remove levels from the collection by editing the index, nor can you change the ordered/unordered type. Attempting to edit the level index for a purpose other than rearranging the play order may cause game file corruption.
Useful properties of certain item types are described below.
Since keys are needed to open doors, be careful when making a level that requires keys from previous levels. If the user wastes a key, he or she is stuck, which renders an autosave useless. This might be especially likely if the level has lots of invisible doors.
Enemies can pick these up, which forces the player to kill the enemy in order to retrieve the key. You can make some keys a lot more difficult to obtain by letting purple worms or golems grab them without any direct way to dispatch them.
Different versions of Kroz implemented different types of chest contents. In Cruz, the chests will always give between 2 and 9 gems, and between 2 and 3 whips.
Level features can be set to make these grow. They grow
mercilessly, but there are some types that prevent them from growing.
In the case of lava, closeable wall #1 and #2 will stop it from growing, but closeable wall #3 will not. The activator types #5 through #12 will also stop lava, but activators #1 through #4 will not.
In the case of forest and trees, all closeable wall types will stop it from growing. The activator types #4 through #12 will also stop vegetation growth, but activators #1 through #3 will not.
Bombs are best if strategically placed. The area of effect is
always a 9x9 square. This means a bomb can "reach" 4 squares left, right, down,
and up. By measuring appropriately, you can determine exactly which enemies or
doors can be destroyed.
Bombs have a curious property: they can destroy invisible solid walls, provided the wall had not already been touched and revealed.
The "TunnelBehavior" level feature determines how tunnels are
selected with repeated tunnel-hopping, if there are more than two tunnels in
the level. By default, each possible exit spot for every tunnel will be visited
once. With the "random" behavior, though, there is no guaranteed order or
preference for exits--it is possible to visit any number of exit spots multiple
times before arriving at a unique one.
The reason why one would want to use the "random" system instead of the "round-robin" system is because tunnels do not allow the same tunnel entered to be exited with a different exit spot. While not a problem in most cases, there are some levels that have two different exit spots for each tunnel, but only one of these exit spots allows progress. A round-robin system will, in this case, prevent some exit spots from ever being reached, since the spot must be skipped over (and the order starting over) if the random sequence happens to pick two exit spots from the same tunnel, one after another.
It is desirable, for the purpose of quality level design, to have most if not all tunnels allow for only a single exit spot. This makes the best use of the round-robin system and introduces determinism to levels that require tunnel-hopping.
You can make a tunnel one-way (acting as a source but not a destination) with closeable wall #3. By surrounding the tunnel with this, the player can enter it, but it will never be a valid exit spot.
Use sparingly. A bottomless pit kills the player with no possibility of redemption. A pit should punish recklessness; it should not reward luck.
These are invisible unless the item appearance is changed. Use one or more QuakeType tags to control what the quake drops.
Enemy creation traps actually have another function if the level is sideways. In a normal level, lots of enemies spawn when the player steps on the square. But in a sideways level, the trap instead takes 3 gems away.
Generators, if they are present, cause enemies to appear
sporadically around the level. The rate of creature creation does not depend on
how many generators exist on the level--the rate is the same if any exist, and
it drops to zero when all generators are destroyed.
Use GenFactor to control the generation rate.
Place these squares to stop enemies from advancing. When the player
crosses them, the space "dissolves" and an enemy is free to cross. Of course,
these don't work so well when used to fence in a group of enemies, because the
spaces are only eliminated on a piecemeal basis (the player has to walk over
every one in order to get every one to dissolve).
These items have one other function: they stop the player from teleporting to them. In this manner, the player can be prevented from teleporting past difficult parts of the level until after crossing them once.
These are improvements over Enemy Stop Spaces, because when the
player crosses just one, then EVERY OTHER activator in the level dissolves
instantly. This allows the level designer to have a great deal of flexibility
when it comes to scripted chases. Activators can be completely detached from
each other, so enemies can even be "freed" to attack when the player crosses
another area, far away. There are 12 different activator items, allowing up to
12 different scripted dissolutions on any given level.
Like Enemy Stop Spaces, activators are not valid teleportation destinations.
This is the player's starting point. One and only one player must exist in every level.
A tablet gives 2,500 points and contains a unique message. Some tablets also apply special effects to the level. Use Tablet(n)Text to set the text and effects associated with tablets.
By default, this appears as a "chance" pouch. Use ShowRealItem to make its appearance unambiguous.
There are 3 instances of open spells and 3 instances of close spells. Correspondingly, there is one type of special wall that appears or disappears for each type of spell. By default, open spells are visible and close spells are hidden. Use ShowItem to reveal close spells.
In addition to acting as placeholders for walls that close up, these types have other functions:
Exploding wall spells make it easier to navigate past some breakable walls. A special type of breakable wall marked as "explodable" is opened when the spell is activated. By default, exploding wall spells are not visible, but level features can change this. Cruz provides a second wall/spell pair, allowing two exploding-wall events in a single level.
Many types of invisible surround-spawn triggers exist. Depending on
context and type, a trigger might be intended as a trap, a bonus, or even a
necessary feature to complete a level. These triggers do not overwrite other
items on the grid upon activation, UNLESS there are other adjacent triggers, in
which case, such items are destroyed to make way for the spawned items.
You can inhibit items from spawning at certain points with any of the closeable wall types, or with activators #5 through #12.
There are 5 different instances of drop-rope items. When the player pulls one, all other instances of the same type in the level drop a rope until a blocking wall or item is encountered two squares below. Ropes are only really useful in sideways levels.
In Lost Adventures of Kroz, there was a "secret message tree" that displays a hidden message. You can customize secret messages and possible hints they might give with SecretMessageText.
This is an item that signals when the player is trapped. A compensation item for teleport scrolls appears if and only if the player first walks across one of these in the level, then tries to teleport without any teleport scrolls handy.
Since it isn't possible to hide from this enemy (they can jump over any solid wall to seek the player), all the enemies at the start of the level will eventually get the player or be destroyed if the player never stops running away. You cannot use activators or walls to prevent them from reaching the player. It is better to use scripted change events to spawn these enemies if you want a chase to occur at a certain point in the level.
Since it is IMPOSSIBLE to destroy golems with whips, be wary about how you expect the level to play out. If there are too many golems in tight spots without any way to eliminate them (spears, bombs, acid, etc.), a single wrong movement on the part of the player will force the player to waste a teleport scroll, or even worse, have to restart the level. Golems should be used for puzzles and intimidation, instead of rewarding lucky decisions and timing.
Although a salamander is not hard to destroy, salamander placement is very important. A pack of salamanders, if placed in the wrong way, will make the player waste many gems crossing dropped lava. Anticipate the path a salamander would take before placing one arbitrarily.
Blobs are not as serious an obstacle as lava, since they can be
whipped with minimal gem loss, but they can be a menace if overused. A clear
path through an acid field should be made apparent, and a blob should not be
fast-growing unless the designer does not intend for the blob to be fought off
Keep in mind that blobs are affected by speed/slow/freeze time spells.
A purple worm starts off as a two-segment stub. If you want a longer worm to challenge the player, you must place edible food in a line near the worm's starting point, letting the worm "eat" its way to the correct size. Although volvoxes were picked as the "favorite food" in the documentation, a worm will grow in size after eating anything, inventory items included.
These items have the same radius as ordinary bombs. Illumination bombs do not only reveal hidden items--they also remove disguises on item types, if ItemAppearance was used. Obscuration bombs will make walls and doors into their "invisible" counterparts as needed. Note that spears and bombs can be used on invisible solid walls transformed in this fashion.
These features have the same game properties as their non-moving counterparts. Periodically, they will "shift" randomly to empty squares.
A bridge caster erases certain types of terrains in a directional line, including lava, pits, water, and blobs. Nearly all solid types or items stop a bridge caster. Enemy stop spaces, activators, and closeable wall types also act as "invisible" stopping points.
These types were not ultimately used in the game and have little meaning.
Only the field effect types used in the game will be discussed.
These regions hide items from view or reveal items on startup. The effect corresponds to the item-at-once level feature by the same name (HideItem, ShowItem, and ShowRealItem).
If you use the HideLevel feature, the Show regions are the only ones that will be visible at the start of the level.
WaterEffect (water flooding and evaporation)
NoWaterEffect (water flooding and evaporation)
LavaEffect (lava spreading and shrinkage)
NoLavaEffect (lava spreading and shrinkage)
TreeEffect (tree spreading and shrinkage)
NoTreeEffect (tree spreading and shrinkage)
PitEffect (pit spreading and shrinkage)
NoPitEffect (pit spreading and shrinkage)
NoBlob (acid blob spreading)
EnemyEffect (enemy creation traps and generators)
NoEnemyEffect (enemy creation traps and generators)
QuakeEffect (quake traps)
NoQuakeEffect (quake traps)
GemEffect (reveal gem scrolls)
NoGemEffect (reveal gem scrolls)
VanishEffect (wall vanish traps)
NoVanishEffect (wall vanish traps)
SurroundSpawnEffect (surround-spawn triggers)
NoSurroundSpawnEffect (surround-spawn triggers)
SpearEffect (magic spears)
NoSpearEffect (magic spears)
These regions establish the area of effect for terrain growth or shrinkage as well as certain spell effects. Use these in conjunction with specific level features and items already placed within the level.
If one "____Effect" region appears for a particular type of growth/shrinkage/spell, the effect is limited to only a single specified region. Only one region per type is recognized per level; multiple "____Effect" regions will not work. If no regions for the type are specified, the effect ranges over the entirety of the level.
The effective region for a particular type of growth/shrinkage/spell can also be limited by "No____Effect" regions. For such regions, the effect will not occur within the specified ranges. Unlike "____Effect" regions, it is possible to specify more than one "No____Effect" region in the level.
Effect1OnEnter (on-enter 1 special effect)
Effect2OnEnter (on-enter 2 special effect)
Effect3OnEnter (on-enter 3 special effect)
Effect4OnEnter (on-enter 4 special effect)
These regions cause a scripted message or event to occur when the player walks over it. The message is only shown if the player walks over certain types of empty spaces, including EMPTY_SPACE, ENEMY_STOP_SPACE, and the activator types.
The text displayed will correspond to the appropriate level feature of the same number: Effect(n)OnEnter will invoke Hint(n)Text.
NoGrav (partial or total gravity inhibited)
ReverseGrav (gravity points up instead of down)
For any level that has gravity (partial or total), a ReverseGrav region causes the player to slide upwards instead of downwards. Rope mechanics are similarly flipped. Note that enemies are not affected; they will still act as if gravity is normal.
Use NoGrav to stop player sliding, as well as cancel sideways movement restrictions for the player. Once again, enemies are not affected; they will still act as if gravity is normal.
TeleportOnly (teleport trap or scroll can only come here)
NoTeleport (teleport trap or scroll cannot come here)
TeleportIfEntered (teleport trap or scroll can come here if region entered by some other means)
NoTeleportIfExited (teleport trap or scroll cannot come here if region exited)
While activators and enemy stop spaces can help to limit teleportation destinations, sometimes these types aren't adequate for controlling how the player should be able to move throughout the level.
Only one TeleportOnly region is allowed per level. There can be as many NoTeleport regions in the level as desired.
The NoTeleportIfExited type will not work properly if the player starts in this region. Use NoTeleport instead.
Some levels, like "Tour of Cells," use NoTeleportIfExited to send the user to a unique destination with each teleport. This guarantees that no teleport scrolls or traps will be wasted on non-deterministic teleports.
StayPut (moving enemies given StayPut status)
Charge (moving enemies given charge status at start)
ChargeOnEnter (moving enemies charge when they enter this region--at any time)
The effect of StayPut is similar to the level feature StartStayPut, but with the effect applying to a region instead of an enemy type.
The Charge effect makes enemies charge once only. This is similar to the effect of a mind corrupter, which makes an enemy type charge only a single time.
The ChargeOnEnter effect will force enemies to stay put until the player becomes aligned, whereupon a charge occurs. The effect never goes away--any enemy that wanders into this region during the gameplay will charge.
StairsDest1 (stairs go to alternate destination 1)
StairsDest2 (stairs go to alternate destination 2)
StairsDest3 (stairs go to alternate destination 3)
StairsDest4 (stairs go to alternate destination 4)
StairsDest5 (stairs go to alternate destination 5)
These regions specify which alternate destination level slot the stairs will lead to. These must be used in conjunction with the level features by the same name.
Any stairs not marked by one of these will lead to the next level in the collection's play order.
Confusion (player's input directions are inverted)
Confusion zones reverse all input directions for the player. The player must apply the opposite controls to move in the desired direction if using keyboard movement. If the player is using mouse movement, movement is limited to only one square at a time, requiring a click to each adjacent square.
These regions are the only way to place confusion mist. There is no placement type for it.
GuaranteeDropRope (drop-rope chords guaranteed to
extend over region)
GuaranteeBridgeCast (bridge caster guaranteed to extend over region)
These regions force a drop-rope or bridge caster item effect to pause if there is an obstacle that would otherwise stop them from continuing in a line. The effect will continue the moment the obstruction is removed.
Spawn regions identify a portion of the level that subject to a scripted change event. See the "Scripting Commands" section for more information on how spawn regions work.
Dynamic zoom mode normally just sets the zoom to the BaseZoom level and scrolls with the appropriate pan mode. Item effects can cause other types of scripted zoom behavior. Of course, it is also possible to break up the zoom behavior in a level based on which side of the screen the player is on.
The ZoomIn region sets the scale factor to 1.0, which is the maximum level of detail for the action. Not much of the level can be seen, so it is unusual to want to zoom this far in. Bottomless pit navigation is one context where zoomed-in view can be helpful.
The ZoomOut region sets the scale factor to 0.3030303, which shows the entire level at once.
The ZoomRange region sets the pan and scale factor to encompass the range, zooming in or out as needed. Since the viewport might not have the same proportions as the region itself, the view might be zoomed out a bit more to capture every "corner" of the range.
A level's camera focus behavior should be designed intelligently. Too many changes in zoom will be disorienting and confusing. Forcing the zoom level to a specific region or value will prevent these problems.
For levels that require the user to see the enemy movements on the opposite side, a scripted zoom-out can be helpful.
The text message system in Cruz provides much more than just the ability to put custom text on the screen. It is possible to create many special effects in a level by using scripting commands within the text messages.
The general format of a scripting command is the following:
The command is always uppercase and preceded by a number sign. One or more arguments, contained in parentheses and separated by commas, immediately follow the name of the command.
One important syntax consideration about scripting commands: whitespace matters. Any spaces, tabs, or line breaks, from the start of the command to the closing parenthesis, will potentially screw up the command interpretation. Commands should resemble the example above, exactly as written, with no spaces.
You can execute many commands in sequence by placing them back-to-back, without any spaces between the end of one and the start of another. The reason for lack of spaces is because any such spaces could be interpreted as text itself, which causes a window to pop up showing the text.
It is possible to have a "text message" contain nothing but commands. For example, Hint1Text might have a #CHANGE command and no text at all.
If you want to alternately execute commands and display text, make sure to use the "\n" notation to indicate a pause after all text messages, at which point the user must acknowledge the text window with input. Do not include the "\n" markup after a command; this will cause an unnecessary pause.
The very last operation in a text message can be either text or a command. If the last operation is a text message, there is no need for a final "\n" as markup.
The following is a list of all recognized commands.
These commands cause scripted change events in the level. The CHANGE command affects the entire level; the SPAWNREGION commands affect only those regions set with field effects (see previous section).
The source type and destination type can be any type shown in the Toast message box when you select an item for placement.
Additionally, the source type permits one more type: the "ALL" type. This indicates that all types in the range will be turned into the destination type.
Be warned that not all types will act correctly if chosen as destination types. This includes PURPLE_WORM, STATUE, ENEMY_GENERATOR, and CHARGE_CORRUPTER.
This command invokes the effect normally associated with a particular item. If this command is used, it must be the very last command in the text message. All text and commands after this command are ignored.
The following item effects are recognized:
BOMB (does not hurt player)
EXPLOSIVE_ENEMY (hurts player)
This command gives the player something (a negative value for amount can also take something away).
Valid types are the inventory items (GEM, WHIP, TELEPORT_SCROLL, KEY, POWER_RING) as well as SCORE, which gives points.
The amount must be an integer.
This command awards the player a point value for each inventory item remaining.
Valid types are most of the inventory items (GEM, WHIP, TELEPORT_SCROLL, KEY).
Causes a rainbow flash to cover the screen. The count indicates the number of flashes.
Causes a delay before the next command or message. Note that timing is only tracked to a resolution of a 30th of a second, not to the millisecond.
Modifies a level feature. There are only a few features that can be set dynamically with this command: WaterFlow, TreeFlow, LavaFlow, and PitFlow.
A value of 0 sets the feature to false. A value of 1 sets the feature to true.
This command dynamically sets a ChargeOnEnter region in the level, based upon the zero-based rectangular coordinates.
These commands change the background music. #MUSIC will cause music to loop, while #MUSICONCE will not.
Refer to the Music level feature for index values.
These commands "lock" or "unlock" pan/zoom changes. The argument is a dummy argument; set to zero.
Locking the pan and zoom variables can be useful at times. Some events, like scripted change events, will implicitly grow the view to reveal the entire affected range. If the zoom is locked, no change will occur.
Be sure to call UNLOCKZOOM after calling LOCKZOOM, or else the view will be locked after the game resumes.
Use these to make the player show off or drop a collected item. Usually, this is a STAFF or AMULET type.
Use this to make the player flash, as if about to teleport. The argument is a dummy argument; set to zero.
This command invokes the "victory" sequence, with the player teleporting out, the inventory bonuses shown, and the conclusion screen (if any) displayed.
The argument is a dummy argument; set to zero.
It is difficult to tell everyone what they should or should not design, given that quality in level design often depends on an individual's freedom to create. I can only wonder how far I've pushed the original Kroz engine designs beyond the original author's intentions.
Still, one should consider what kind of game Cruz is, and what its strengths and limitations are. Cruz is, fundamentally, an adventure-style game. It falls between the action and puzzle genres.
The key to a successful design in Cruz is to allow the user's decisions and curiosity to rule the day. Some staples of video games, like scripted surprises, strategic item collection, and creative enemy placement, should apply to Cruz levels. But some level design characteristics should be expressly avoided.
Fortunately, Cruz is not such an action-intensive game that a million revisions will be needed just to properly gauge platform-jump timing, or anything like that. The arrangement of the gridded types gives you a pretty good idea of what will happen when the player moves to certain areas in the level. Observe, and decide.
It is probably easier to talk about what should be avoided. The following are common pitfalls to level design:
No exit stairs in unordered level. Remember, you will need at least one STAIRS type, or else one STRIGGER_STAIRS type. You could be cruel and make a dead-end level if the episode is designed in a nonlinear fashion, but this will irritate people.
Bomb blasts that don't reach, or reach too far. Do test your designs out to see if the desired effect from a bomb, illumination bomb, or obscuration bomb have the desired effect.
Excess of lava. Lava takes 10 gems away, which is cruel. With only a few exceptions, you should not require the user to cross long stretches of lava, but rather use it as a type to avoid touching. Also, don't make it grow too fast, if it grows. Look at the original Super Kroz Trilogy and Lost Adventures game files to see at what constitutes reasonable growth rates.
Not enough whips or teleports. Caverns of Kroz had this problem, big time. You might be designing the episode for an expert, but your goal is to entertain the player.
Too many enemies blocking the player. If the user must walk down a narrow corridor, don't place too many enemies in the corridor. Whips and gems might be in short supply, and having to run through tough enemy after tough enemy will annoy players.
Not enough power rings. It takes 5 power rings to make a whip powerful enough to destroy all breakable walls with one strike. Keep this in mind when forcing the player to whip through lots of breakable walls. Also, don't forget that you can use #GIVE in Cruz to power up the user's whip.
Excess clutter in unordered level. Unordered levels provide a prime opportunity to throw hundreds of enemies at the player. While not a bad thing in itself, there is such a thing as too many enemies. Unless it's the last level in the episode, the player will end up wasting inventory and getting very hurt, despite his or her best intentions.
Not enough room to move in unordered level. Too many solid walls will make lucky teleportation mandatory for finishing the level.
Poor use of invisible doors.The most likely place to find an invisible door is near the exit stairs, so the player will expect them there. But placing invisible doors in any arbitrary location will make the player waste keys, which will force a level restart.
Poor use of invisible walls. The player should hardly ever have to make an impossible guess about where invisible terrains are located, with potentially fatal results if the guess is incorrect. Invisible terrains should either be half-expected or non-debilitating if unexpected. If you require the user to make a so-called "leap of faith," it should be because process of elimination suggests that it is an appropriate course of action.
Sloppy tunnel layout. Tunnels are best arranged with only one exit spot per tunnel. If more than one exit spot exists for a tunnel, try not to make some tunnels have 8 exit spots while others have only one, because the tunnel with only one exit spot will be picked less often. Also try not to design multiple exit spots from the same tunnel to be completely inaccessible from each other.
Excessive bottomless pit navigation challenge. There are no restore points within a single level. If the player must navigate a complex walkway over a pit, make the challenge somewhat short, and preferably at the start of the level, which limits the backtracking time if the player falls.
Invincible statues. It's just plain mean to put a statue in the very first level, without giving the player the ability to collect adequate gems or whip power-ups. Placing too many statues in the level will cause a similar issue, making statues not worth destroying even with a powered-up whip. Surrounding a statue with solid walls should only be done if you want the player to rush through the level to escape taking too much damage.
Poor use of open or close spells as traps. Unexpectedly trapping the player is not necessarily something to avoid--this is a dungeon-based game, after all. But determinism is important when scripting open/close events, because the player must feel like real progress is being made, instead of just lucky or unlucky guesses about where to step. Also, because open/close events do not kill the player outright if they are designed as traps, be sure that the player understands that a level restart is, in fact, necessary.
Okay, now that I've said all that, forget it all and start designing!
Various stuff that doesn't fit into any other part of the documentation...
kroz_kingdom_i.xml : Kingdom of
kroz_kingdom_ii.xml : Kingdom of Kroz II
kroz_caverns.xml : Caverns of Kroz
kroz_dungeons.xml : Dungeons of Kroz
kroz_return.xml : Return to Kroz
kroz_temple.xml : Temple of Kroz
kroz_final_crusade.xml : Final Crusade of Kroz
kroz_lost_adventures.xml : Lost Adventures of Kroz
cruz_underground_empire.xml : The Underground Empire of Cruz
textchars.xml : Sample of text characters that can be used on the text layer
sample.xml : Sample of general level design
The development-version files Cruz.html and Cruz.swf are designed to run local content only. If you have created custom content with CruzEditor, you can only run your content from this version, not any version found online. Cruz.html can be run from any web browser that supports Flash 10.
All music tracks must be separately downloaded from http://www.chriskallen.com if you are going to integrate music into your episode. The installer does not provide these tracks.
If you have come up with an episode that you would like to submit for others to play online, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your designs are good, I'll host it at http://www.chriskallen.com, which will allow it to be played on that site as well as any other online portal site.
Forward to email@example.com.
My name is Christopher Allen (a.k.a. Appetite4Deduction) and I approve this message.
I have made several video games in the past. Check out these sites: