Kitchen Sink Update

by Kyzrati on 20140902 , under

R9 is ready for download! While it doesn't contain any major new features, it was about time to cut down the to-do list, which was growing quite long from user suggestions and plenty of little things I discovered or thought of here and there (I used REXPaint pretty regularly).

So there have been a rather large number of little additions, adjustments, and bug fixes. See the changelog on the downloads page for the full list, or read on for some highlights.

You can now change the default image dimensions so that new images will default to something other than the canvas view size. So those users targeting certain systems/formats that require specific image dimensions will no longer be required to resize every image manually. This has been the most requested feature since R8 (other than support for an unlimited number of glyphs, that is, which may still happen but is pretty low priority).

Editing multiple images is now even easier: Use a hotkey (ctrl-tab) to swap back and forth between two images, increasing the window height (via config) will now extend the file browser to fill that height, and undo histories are remembered separately for each image, as are layer states (hidden/active).

The undo history now remembers every possible image editing action (it used to exclude layer manipulation and resizing). I'm not sure how heavily other users rely on layers, but I use them quite often for alternative elements and contextual notes in my GUI mockups, so while adding layer manipulation to the undo system was pretty annoying it'll definitely be worth it knowing the undo history won't be erased simply because I want to add a new layer. Now no matter what you do to an image, you can revert all the way to its initial blank state (and back again!).

Now that REXPaint features a perfect undo/redo system, auto-saving has also been implemented. This function was originally avoided since it might save changes that couldn't be undone. (If you still prefer not to auto-save, you can always disable it in the config file.)

Any devs working directly with .xp files should take note that with R9 there has been a tiny change to the .xp format. An .xp format version number is now inserted at the beginning of an image file to facilitate future updates if necessary. See Appendix B in the manual for details. This change in no way affects normal users, as REXPaint will still read old .xp files and retroactively update them automatically.
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Legacy System Resources

by Kyzrati on 20140827 , under

There aren't many dedicated programs for drawing for legacy computer terminals and game systems, but REXPaint can certainly be used that way. To save you some time, there is now a large collection of REXPaint palettes and fonts available from the new legacy systems page, courtesy of AtariAge members nitrofurano and barnieg.

You can now paint with palettes from the Atari 2600, Apple II, Commodore 64, NES, Sega Master System, ZX Spectrum, and more! (Well, you always could before, but you'd have to make the palette yourself--now someone's done it for you ;)

REXPaint legacy system palettes.

You can also draw with font sets from the Aquarius, MSX, Phillips VG 5000, ZX81, and more:

A selection of REXPaint legacy system fonts (8x8 only).
I also plan to release a new version of REXPaint soon, featuring image-wide color swapping, new file browser functions, more config options, hex color support, and whatever else I decide to tackle on the now massive to-do list.
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For Science!

by Kyzrati on 20140209 , under

R8--yet another release, and so soon! Not nearly as substantial as the last, but essential if you like working with text.

It turns out the txt file export method used in R7 was pretty useless when dealing with extended ASCII characters, so it's been re-coded to produce unicode (UTF-8) instead.

Part of what got me looking more into text encoding was a little experiment in the form of yet another export format (seven now!): BBCode. This one's a bit unusual, but maybe someone could use it for forum games. While it may be somewhat limiting compared to simply exporting a .png and uploading that, I'm sure there are other creative uses for it out there...

BBCode output currently only supports ASCII and foreground color since there is no standardized background color tag for BBCode, though I could add a configurable background color tag option if there's demand. See the last Appendix in the manual for more about exporting to BBCode.

To use BBCode just hit Ctrl-b to export the txt file, then copy the contents of that file to your forum post. Ideally it would directly load the data into the OS clipboard, but REXPaint doesn't implement external clipboard integration at this point.

Example: An old drawing of a heavy plasma gun for X@COM as it appears in 1) REXPaint, 2) a text file (txt), and 3) a forum (BBCode!)
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by Kyzrati on 20140208 , under

The to-do list for REXPaint was growing rather long after feature requests from various sources over the past few months, finally reaching critical mass and triggering a sudden desire to shorten it. A good bit of it has now been transferred over to the changelog where it's more useful to everyone ;)

With that we have R7 ready for download. Highlights below:
  • Probably the biggest addition is the range of new export options beyond the already supported .png and .ans formats. Images can now be exported as pure text (.txt), as well as .csv, .xml, and .xpm.
  • The text tool has been improved with buffered contents (recall and reuse/modify previously typed text), as well as newlines for quicker paragraph entry.
  • The font window can be set to highlight all glyphs currently used by an image, and image-wide glyph swapping is now also possible.
  • Clipboard contents can be flipped/rotated using new paste modes, useful for creating symmetrical parts of images or simply changing their orientation.

See the changelog on the downloads page for the complete list of new features.

Lately concept artist ShroomArts has been playing with REXPaint:
The Shaman
The snakeman from X-COM: UFO Defense, my personal favorite and one of his first.

I've also been honing my own ASCII skills in preparation for the art marathon we'll need for the roguelike-in-development Cogmind:

Random selection of weapon concepts. All components in Cogmind from weapons to propulsion, utilities and power sources will be drawn in ASCII, though weapons are obviously the most fun ;)

REXPaint 1.0 will be released later this year, and we might even see 2.0 if the planned Cogmind map editor is implemented as an alternate mode in REXPaint that enables roguelike developers to create ASCII-based terrain+object maps for their games. Haven't decided on that feature yet.

As usual, comment with any feature suggestions. Anything somewhat useful that can be easily added will eventually be implemented (half the improvements in the current version came from user requests, mostly via e-mail and forums), and more involved features will at least be taken into consideration.
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