Tidalis includes a number of editors that you can use to create custom content for the game. Here's a basic explanation of what's available:
The level editor allows you to create levels with an immense degree of customization.
The Editor Palette Window
Most of the controls for the level editor are on this window. You can drag this window around as-needed to keep it out of your way as you work. At the very top of the palette, you can see what the current function is for left-clicks with the mouse cursor.
Basic functions you can assign to the mouse cursor are:
- Place a color block (with a direction chosen, including double arrows or single).
- Place a special block.
- Embed an item in a block.
- Direction-lock a block.
- Reshape the board by placing a Wall
- Remove mode, where clicking blocks or walls erases them (you can also just Ctrl+Click at any time to accomplish this).
Mouse & Keyboard Controls
You can right-click and drag through blocks in the editor to reorient the arrows at any time. Left-clicks do whatever function is currently selected in the palette window, while Ctrl+clicking clears the clicked tile. Ctrl+S is a quick way to save your progress.
Clicking this button randomly scrambles the arrows of all the blocks on the board, which can be helpful for brainteaser-type levels.
Edit Level Details
You can set one or more game styles (including Brainteaser), plus all the other general options for the level.
Edit Level Text
If you want to show messages to the player before/during play, and after a win or loss, you can set those messages here.
Block, Item, and State Frequencies
If you want to explicitly set how frequent each kind of block, item and/or state (like direction locked) is in the level, you can do that here. This isn't relevant for brainteaser-type levels.
Many times, this window is just blank. But for some specific modes, like Water mode, clicking this window gives you some options for that specific game style.
Edit Level Objectives
If you want to set up custom win objectives and loss conditions, this screen is where you can do it.
Normally these options are controlled by the difficulty level chosen (0-10), but you can set raw values here if you wish.
You can immediately test the levels you create, so that saves a ton of time as you fine-tune your creation. Just hit "Start Test" and "End Test" at the top right of the screen.
One tip: if you just want an even-more-powerful-and-complex version of the Custom Game screen, then you could use the level editor to create on-the-fly levels that you play once and then discard. Up to you!
The adventure editor is for setting up entire adventures of your own creation. You'll either need your own artwork, or to copy the artwork from the main adventure that ships with the game, in order to have some sort of background. You can also use other custom assets for things like fog, etc, that you find in the official adventure's folder.
Each adventure pulls levels from a single folder, and then you can assign those levels to visible nodes, control which nodes are revealed by the completion of which other nodes, and so forth. You can also assign cutscenes to individual levels, but the cutscenes themselves must be manually crafted in an XML editor.
Creating levels is something that can be done by very casual players, but creating entire adventures is more for the modder-style individual.
The theme editor can be used to create new visual/music themes for the game. Please don't use this to violate the copyrights of other companies! You'll need your own original or public domain artwork and music to create themes. The theme editor is not an image or a music editor, but rather it is used to combine pre-existing music and images and to animate them and otherwise bring them to life.
Simply dropping the music into a theme folder as Music.ogg and MusicDire.ogg is enough to make those work.
For the art, when it comes to the background layers and the static background images, you can see how they are set up in the official themes. There again, just drop them into the folder and they are ready to go.
For more complex animations, you'll actually need to use the theme editor. All of the non-background art is arranged into layers, each of which contains 0-n sprites inside it. A layer can also be used to denote at what depth the cutscene visuals are drawn for any cutscenes that use this theme.
There is a simple keyframing scripting language that can be used for complex animations, and then there are other various capabilities such as rotation, uv animation, layer parallax scrolling, and similar. As with the adventure and level editors, all of the official themes for the game were crafted using the theme editor, so all the power that we had for creating the official content is at your fingertips.