XC-1701 II Level Editor v1.60 Documentation

MS-DOS v7.10Stuntworks for Icarus Productions
XC-1701 II Level Editorv1.60(build 80923)1 October 1998
Main Programmer Beta-testers
Nathan Haines Wayne Chen
Andreas Ess
John Hortenstine
Bryan Rabeler
Jim Reardon

This program is a graphical editor for creating and updating XC-1701 II v1.00 external level files. This program will let you edit an uncompressed XC-1701 II level that has been saved as a string file and save those changes as an 85S file, an 86S file, and/or an Usgard ASM file (which you can further edit and compile with TASM). This editor now saves binary string files, but it does not support intro and ending ASM code and will insert the following code into the level file:

.db $01,$00   ;Length of Intro code (1 byte)
.db $C9       ;ret
.db $01,$00   ;Length of Ending code (1 byte)
.db $C9       ;ret

The syntax for this program is:

XCEDIT.EXE foobar.8?s

You should give the file extension on the commandline. If you don't, then the 85S file will be loaded before the 86S file is. XCEdit does not read ASM text files, only binary levels. If you specify a file that does not exist you will be alerted, and asked if you would like to create that level file. If you choose to create a new level, then a blank 85S structure will be recreated in memory and you will be able to edit the blank level file.

The main screen lets you edit the VAT entry name (the name of the variable as it will appear on the calculator) and the title and author for the loaded level, as well as the high score information. You can go to the graphical stage editor by pressing 4. Pressing Q will quit and save your level file as foobar.* in every format you have selected with the keys 5, 6, and 7. If you deselect all these formats, the program will not save any changes you have made.

All string editing is handled by Stuntworks' proprietary single-line editor. As with all other programs that employ this editor, certain special commands are available. Pressing CTRL-X will clear the current string, for example. Future versions of this editor will allow cursor key movement and INS and DEL support. Press ENTER when you are finished editing the string.

The above screen shot is of the graphical stage editor. The stage featured is a stage that I had begun for the release of XC-1701 II, but could not finish due to lack of time, and the difficulty of editing levels in ASM without a program such as this. I turned it into a quick test stage for using this editor.

Use the arrow keys to position the cursor to the row you want. The stage is displayed in rows of 4, as attack waves, but you need not have attack waves enabled. Pressing the hexadecimal code for an enemy (between 0 and E) will insert that enemy at the cursor location. The hexadecimal representation of the current level is shown to the right of the display.

An online help feature is available in XCEdit. If you press F1, the editor will display the name and the armor strength of the highlighted enemy. This information will help you as you design levels. This display will stay on the screen until you press F1 again. If you highlight an empty space the editor will display statistics for the player's ship.

You can also edit the different attributes of the level. You can choose between 4 bosses (or "0" for no boss) and 9 background images (between 0 and 8). The current background image is printed to the right of the number.

When you are finished editing the level, you can save it as an 85S or 86S file that is ready to be transfered to your calculator. However, your level can also be saved as foobar.ASM. This can be advantageous, as this file can be edited, and if you are familiar with Usgard 1.5 assembly programming you can add advanced features such as intro and ending code. If you have little or no ASM experience yet only save as an ASM file, that file will compile perfectly as is under TASM. Then you can load the resulting 85S file and not lose all your work. ;) The included batch file XCE.BAT was written for Stuntworks by John Hortenstine, and it is perfect for compiling XC-1701 II level files.

This program is the first to make use of the advanced Stuntworks error handler. This error handler displays simple error codes and gives basic technical support for resolving them. This error handler also catches errors that were not anticipated, and displays the error number, so that you can contact Stuntworks and the support representative can help you better.


The level creation guide included in XC-1701 II v1.00 is incorrect. It says to add "1" when you define the number of stages in a level. This has been verified by myself to be incorrect (and it took me a while to catch, too). Since I had to begin writing levels without a specification, I was forced to write my own working specs, and am therefore second only to Andreas Ess in level format.

If you have compiled levels which have this problem, they can cause the game to crash, as well as this editor. This problem generally causes a error #9 in XCEdit. As this problem can only be caused if you have compiled an ASM file with incorrect data, XCEdit no longer has code to patch level files. If you have this problem, you'll have to fix it and recompile the ASM file yourself.

Changes since v1.50Stuntworks

Here is a list of changes I've made since the initial release of build 80907a on 7 September 1998:

Changes since v1.00Stuntworks

Here is a list of changes I've made since the initial release of build 80803e on 3 August 1998:

More info can be found in the program by running XCEDIT SWX. Happy fighting!

ABEND /a'bend/, /*-bend'/ /n./

[ABnormal END] Abnormal termination (of software); crash; lossage. Derives from an error message on the IBM 360; used jokingly by hackers but seriously mainly by code grinders. Usually capitalized, but may appear as `abend'. Hackers will try to persuade you that ABEND is called `abend' because it is what system operators do to the machine late on Friday when they want to call it a day, and hence is from the German `Abend' = `Evening'.

Go to The New Hacker's Dictionary

(I'll note, in my defense, that I am not a code grider, I merely picked up the the term from Trade Wars 2002. ;)


Thank you to the following people:

XC-1701 II Copyright © 1997-1998 Icarus Productions

XC-1701 II Level EditorCopyright © 1998 Stuntworks