AJ/freem's Neo-Geo Development Page - NGFX v0.1510x beta Preview
(posted date: 2015/10/25)
I was contacted by blastar recently about beta-testing the NGFX program he's been developing. Seeing as how this program could be a big help to Neo-Geo homebrewers, I agreed to help test the program. Here's a preview of what to expect.
NGFX is a Neo-Geo graphics viewer and editor by blastar. It supports opening the following filetypes:
- .S1/.FIX files (sprites)
- .C*/.SPR files (fix layer)
- TITLE_*.SYS (Neo-Geo CDZ title card)
- LOGO_*.PRG (Neo-Geo CD loading screen; view only?)
The program has support for both English and German (Deutsch) interfaces, as well as "extern" (which is probably for development purposes; a good thing for language testing).
The interface is reminiscent of Paint Shop Pro 7's, though a bit different. The available tools (cursor, magnifying glass, color picker, paintbrush, and paint bucket) are on the left, and the current color palette (and selected colors) are on the right.
With some files open, it looks like this:
(I currently don't know enough about NGCD stuff to make my own LOGO_*.PRG, sorry.)
Aside from being able to open and edit the above files, NGFX has a few other features that make it extremely useful. You're able to import and export .BMP files, meaning you don't have to do all of your editing in the program. There are also options to view the transparency and a grid (color is editable; the default is hot pink).
Two features stand out as extremely useful. The first is Show Tilenumber, which allows you to see what hex ID a tile uses. Tile numbers are extremely useful; the number one thing I've wanted out of a Neo-Geo graphics program, since I'm sick of trying to count tiles in YY-CHR.
The other killer feature is the Palette Editor. As mentioned on my "ideal tools" page, palettes are probably the worst part of Neo-Geo graphic creation. It sucks a whole lot less with a dedicated tool. NGFX's palette editor is similar to furrtek's NGPG, in that you get 16 colors, a few sliders, the dark bit checkbox, a hex representation of the current color, and copy-able assembly code. What sets the NGFX palette editor apart from furrtek's NGPG is the ability to save palettes as .ngpal files. While NGPG can open .PAL files, there's no facility from creating them in the program. With NGFX, it's as simple as Palette → Save as..
Well, this is a beta, so not everything is complete. The main missing feature is a lack of undo/redo. It's also a bit hard to determine what pixel the paintbrush will change... I'm way too used to PSP7. :p In that same vein, Ctrl+F4 does not close child windows. The settings in the View menu currently don't persist between program launches. There's also no way to cancel loading if you've accidentally opened the wrong file.
Moving around the canvas is okay (some redraw issues aside), but you can only move in +/-1 or +/-10 increments, as well as jump to the beginning or end. The ability to page through the file (via Page Down/Page Up) would be welcomed.
Currently, there is no user-facing documentation. Someone who ends up using the program might spend a minute or two to load a file from Garou without realizing it needs to be decompressed/decoded/whatever. I'm not sure if such facilities are being planned or if blastar is going to be more sensible and make the user pre-process the file before it can be viewed and edited.
For non-Windows users, the program runs well in WINE. However, the toolbar buttons are missing. I'm not sure if this is a problem with NGFX or WINE.
Overall though, most of these issues are minor, and NGFX will be a welcome addition into your Neo-Geo development toolbox.