Rayman Designer hacking
Rayman Designer hacking is the process of modifying the program files of the game in order to change the appearance and the behaviour of in-game events and sceneries.
Normal Platforms (Tiles)
In every world-folder (for example "jungle" or "music") of the game, there is a .PCX graphic file. It contains all the graphic tiles which are used by the Mapper. Tiles may be changed and added, but the following should not be changed:
- The color palette used in the file. The addition of new colours causes the in-game graphics to display incorrectly.
- The first tile on the top-left corner, which is used to set the transparent color in the file.
- The lowest row of tiles, which are reserved for the Mapper's "types mode".
- The image size, otherwise the Mapper will not work.
Also note that all custom maps will use the new graphics if the standard tiles are replaced. However, the 24 levels which come with the game have built-in graphics, and are not affected by PCX changes.
The PCX files used in the educational games are expansions of the ones from Rayman Designer, meaning that they can easily replace the ones in Designer without removing any existing tiles.
All animated sprites of the game (for example, Rayman himself and enemies) are stored in the .DES files, short for DESign. These files are packed in the .WLD files of the game, which are stored in the "pcmap" folder. It is possible to see what DES files are contained in a WLD file by simply opening it in a text editor. It is possible to extract sprites from these files, but little progress has been made on changing them.
ETA files, short for "état" ("state"), are stored in the WLD files in the same way. They appear to contain information about the animations of the sprites.
Before it became possible to extract sprites from the game, the only way to explore the contents of the DES files was experimentation with event codes. The names of the .DES files also give a clue as to their contents. Most of them are in French, but some are English. For example:
Some of these files, such as CLE.DES, contain only one object, while others contain very many different objects.
In every world-folder of the game, there is a file called EVE.MLT. It contains all the codes of the events of the current world and can be modified any text editor. One has to scroll down to see the codes in question. It is unclear which programming language the game is written in, but the events are coded in this way:
specific event code
Offset_BX, Offset_BY, Offset_HY,
Follow_enabled, follow_sprite, hitpoints,
obj_type , hit_sprite, group,
- œdef = define; this must come first
- eventname = name of the event, could be anything; the events which come with the game all use codenames which start with "MS_" (so that they can be localized)
- DES_FILE = name of the graphic file which should be used for the event (without the extension ".DES")
- some number = unsure; it seems to have no effect
- FILE.ETA = name of the ETA file which should be used; it gives the event some behaviours and orders the sprites in some way
- specific event code = not every event has it; it tells the event which way it should "walk" for example
- 33,255 = unsure; All codes must have this line or the game will crash
- main_X_pos = main x coordinate of the event
- main_Y_pos = main y coordinate of the event
- etat = spriteposition A (of a stored sprite in a .DES file)
- sub_etat = spriteposition B (of a stored sprite in a .DES file)
- Offset_BX = is the x coordinate of the point on the sprite on which Rayman can stand (if "Follow_enabled" is 1)
- Offset_BY = is the y1 coordinate of the point on the sprite on which Rayman can stand (if "Follow_enabled" is 1)
- Offset_HY = is the y2 coordinate of the point on the sprite on which Rayman can stand (if "Follow_enabled" is 1)
- Follow_enabled = whether or not (i.e. 1 or 0) Rayman can stand on this event ("follow" its movement)
- follow_sprite = related to "Follow_enabled". Tells the program how far from the Offset_BX coordinate rayman can stand (this actually makes "Offset_BX" redundant).
- hitpoints = for enemies like hunters, how much resistance the event has. However, for many events this number has a different meaning.
- obj_type = this number tells the program the main behaviours of the sprite; essentially, what type of event it is. An incomplete list of possible values, and their meanings, can be found here.
- hit_sprite = unsure
- group = in which group the event can be found in the Events Editor. For example, the "Enemies" group is group 5.
The Main Code
The main code of an event will repeat itself when it comes to the end. Most of these are effective only for certain "obj_type" values, i.e. behaviours. This is all that is known about this part:
- 0, x, -> sprite moves right (x = time in milliseconds, max. 254)
- 1, x, -> sprite moves left (x = time in milliseconds, max. 254)
- 3, x, -> sprite moves up (x = time in milliseconds, max. 254)
- 4, x, -> sprite moves down (x = time in milliseconds, max. 254)
- 5, x -> change subetat (sprite coord. b ) to x
- 6, x, -> skip all code lines until line x
- 8, x, -> change etat (sprite coord. a) to x
- 11, x, -> label x
- 12, x, -> goto label x
- 19, x, -> wait x seconds
- 20, t, x,y, -> sprite moves for t milliseconds (max. 254) with velocity given by x and y.
A bunch of unused events have been discovered. They can be added to the game by adding their code to the EVE.MLT file. A lot of these events are taken from the original game, such as a fully functioning Tarayzan and an unstable version of Rayman riding Bzzit. A lot of other events are however not used in the original game, although many can still be found in its files.
For each created map there's an configuration file, named MAP.INI with the basic map properties. Example:
Most values here can simply be changed using the Mapper program. However, the Mapper program only gives two options for the background and music, while in fact there are usually several ones which can be used. Setting the track to 3 will play the bonus level music.
The Extended Rayman Designer Editor
This is an unoffical tool that makes Rayman Designer modding much easier. It also comes with a large content package which includes a great deal of content from Rayman and Rayman Junior that was not available in Rayman Designer, and also some new unofficial content.
Through some editing of the game, the following things have been discovered:
- If events are placed in groups beyond group 9, it is found that these groups have the same names as the game's levels. This reveals the names of six additional levels. It seems that they have been cut from the final game (or never been finished): "The Gates of the Jungle" (Dream Forest), "Diabolical Tunes" (Band Land), "The Fire Avalanche" (The Blue Mountains), "Miniature Madness" (Picture City), "Cloud of Doom" (The Caves of Skops) and "Dessert Anyone?" (Candy Château).
- A sprite from the 2D version of Rayman 2 could be found in the sprite files (a small platform that looks like a teleporter).
- The spritefiles also contain a considerable amount of content from the Rayman Junior (such as the world map icons) and some never-before-seen sprites. Examples are shown below.