How to Use the Level Editor

Have you ever wished you were a level designer at an obscure 1980s game company? (Of course you have!) Well, now you can live your dream via the Plangman Level Editor.

So put on your time-traveler’s cap, and let’s take a journey back to the days before tile editors, drag-and-drop, and WYSIWYG.

Where is it?

To start the Level Editor, begin at the Main Menu. Press S to go to the Settings Menu, and then press E.

What is this madness?
What is this madness?

Words

At the top of the Level Editor is a list of words (or phrases), each on its own line. These are the words the player will attempt to guess when they play your level. To add, remove, or change the words, simply edit the text in this box (being sure to keep each word or phrase on its own line).

By default, the words are:

time
fell
love

But you could easily replace these with your own:

hello world
can you guess this?
plangman
apple II
bla bla bla

Note: if you use words that don’t occur during the normal course of the game, and your level contains a “clue atom”, the player will get a generic visual clue (an Apple II with a question mark on the screen) for those words.

Level

This section may look like indecipherable gibberish at first, but it’s really quite simple. Each symbol that you type in this text box represents a game element.

For example:

  • @ represents Plangman’s starting location
  • % represents an undroppable block
  • L represents a letter block
  • * represents a clue atom
  • and so on

Using just the symbols explained above, we can re-create the first level of Plangman in the Level Editor. Here’s what that would look like:

    @
*   %
LLLL LLLL

This represents Plangman (@) standing on an undroppable block (%) with four letter blocks (L) on each side, and a clue atom (*) over the leftmost letter.

Using text like this is a simple way to define the structure of a level, and is actually how the “real” levels in Plangman are defined behind the scenes (and in many other games).

Here’s the full list of symbols you can use when defining your own level:

Symbol    Meaning                        Explanation
//        Comment                        Lines that start with // are ignored and don't affect the level.
@         Plangman                       This defines where Plangman starts the level.
L         Letter                         This is a letter that can be right or wrong.
R         Right letter
W         Wrong letter
®         Part of a right letter group   (See explanation below.)
©         Part of a right letter group   (See explanation below.)
%         Undroppable block  
#         Block                          
0         Sphere
|         Vertical pillar                Seven blocks high, centered at the point where the symbol occurs.
_         Horizontal pillar              Seven blocks wide, centered at the point where the symbol occurs.
1-9       Moving block                   Moves up the number of spaces indicated by the number. For example, 777 creates a platform of three blocks that moves up seven squares.
*         Clue atom
+         Zoom star
!         Bomb
\         Letter gravity switch
$         Jetpack
?         Zoom question block
¿         Hidden zoom question block     "Hidden" means there's no question mark, i.e. it looks like a regular droppable block until you select it.
£         Jetpack question block
¥         Hidden jetpack question block
¡         Bomb question block
ß         Hidden bomb question block
H         Hoverboard question block
}         Enemy 1 ("Dudley")
{         Enemy 2 ("Budley")
]         Enemy 3 ("Moe")                Moe clings to ceilings.
<         Left arrow
>         Right arrow
^         Up arrow
V         Down arrow

A note on ® and ©

These are used when you want to ensure there’s a section of a level that contains a right letter, but don’t want it to always be in the same location. For example, the first level of Plangman is actually defined this way:

    @
*   %
®®®® ©©©©

When the level loads, one of the ® characters will be randomly replaced with an R, and the rest of the ®s will be replaced with Ls. Likewise, one of the © characters will be randomly replaced with an R, with the rest being replaced by Ls.

This ensures that the player has to traverse both sides of the undroppable block, and that all the right letters don’t randomly end up only on one side or the other.

Play

Starts a new game featuring your custom words and level. Also saves your edits. To return to the Level Editor while playing, just press E.

Cancel

Discards any edits you have made since the last New Game, and returns to the Settings menu.

Save/Load

Save generates a compressed text payload containing your custom words and level that you can paste somewhere for safekeeping or share with friends. Load allows you to import such payloads back into the Level Editor.

Restore Defaults

Restores the default words and level that appear the first time you access the Level Editor.

That’s it! I hope you enjoy creating your own levels and sharing them with your friends. Please send any feedback you have to ehren at vonlehecreative dot com.

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