Subscreen Editor

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Version-2.50.png The information below describes features introduced in Zelda Classic version 2.50.

The Subscreen Editor in ZQuest is exactly as it sounds; a powerful tool that lets you design your own subscreens to be used in-game. Now, the system still has some bugs, and there are some things that aren't finished, however it is more than capable of creating a fully working subscreen!

Basic Editing

Before you begin any editing whatsoever, you need to create a new subscreen. To do this, click on Quest from the main ZQuest screen, then highlight and click Misc Data, and finally, Subscreens. This will take you to the Select Subscreen menu, which, from here, you'll be able to edit and delete previously created subscreens, and create a new one. To edit a subscreen, simply double-click it's name, or click the Edit button. To make a new one, simply preform either of those actions on the <New> name, and you'll be taken to a small box to select the subscreen's type, and if desired, a template.

Subscreens come in two styles: Active and Passive.

  • Active subscreens are the screens that appear when you pause the game, and allow you to check your quest status and select items from your inventory.
  • Passive subscreens are always displayed on-screen. These are the "bars" on top of the screen that commonly display health, magic, rupees, the minimap, and etc.
    • Both types of subscreens are composed of elements. These elements are literally the pieces and parts you see in the game, ranging from Frames to Triforce Pieces.
      • Choosing between Active and Passive subscreens is not entirely critical when you begin editing, unless you are using a template, because they can be switched at any time while editing.

Templates differ depending on which type of subscreen you choose to create. Like their name suggests, they are pre-made subscreens intended to be edited without having to build one from the ground up. The problem with these subscreens is that, if you are using a custom tileset, they will most likely appear wrong when editing, and can be confusing if you don't have prior knowledge of what their elements do.

  • Every subscreen used prior to the implementation of the Subscreen Editor is available as a template.

Once you create your subscreen, the first thing you should do is give it a name to identify it, however you don't actually have to. Leaving the Name: field blank will not affect your subscreen at all. And, obviously, if you intend to use multiple subscreens in your quest (Which is the case for most quests, using a unique subscreen for both dungeons and overworlds), it is wise to name them accordingly.

Element Manipulation


Left-Click will select an element.
Hold Shift: Will allow the selection of multiple elements.

  • The color of the selected element and multiple-selected element highlights can be changed by clicking Selection on the menu bar, and selecting Options.

Right-Click will simultaneously select an element and open a menu allowing you to either edit an element's properties, or inspect an element.
Properties and Inspect will only affect the element currently highlighted by the click.

Buttons - Refers to the buttons found on the right side of the subscreen editor, ordered by top to bottom.

First Set: Values.
Up and down increase and decrease an element's value (explained below) respectively.
Left and right will highlight the next lowest and highest element in terms of their value, again respectively.

Second Set: Move.
Up, down, left, and right will "nudge" selected element(s) one pixel in the direction clicked.

Third Set: Expand/Contract. Note that the below functions will effect only the bottom and right sides of an element. The top and left sides will remain in-place.
Up will contract an element vertically.
Down will expand an element vertically.
Left will contract an element horizontally.
Right will expand an element horizontally.

Fourth Set: Mimics the effects of using the directional keys (in-game) while paused. Used to test selecting Current Items and their positions. Also note that the Cursor 1 & 2 elements are what shows which item is selected, just as it would appear in-game.


  • All of these hotkeys can be reached via the menu bar and the above buttons.

Arrow Keys will "nudge" selected element(s) one pixel in the direction pressed.
Hold Shift: Will "nudge" selected element(s) one grid unit in the direction pressed.
Hold Ctrl: Will expand or contract an applicable element in the same layout as the third set of buttons.
Hold Shift and Ctrl: Will expand or contract an applicable element in the same layout as the third set of buttons, multiplied by the grid unit values.

Insert will bring up the New Element Type window.

Delete will do as promised, and delete selected element(s).

Shift + D will duplicate, all values included, selected element(s).

Z will take a screenshot of the subscreen editor, but not the subscreen exclusively. This will also capture the selected element highlights.

X will pop open a Save As... window which will, when named, export the subscreen as a script with the .zss (.ZQuest Subscreen Script?) format. Use of the .zss format is unknown.

The Grid

The subscreen editor employs a very basic grid system. The grid is displayed by a single dot, showing where the top-left point of each grid unit is (essintially, the 0x0 location within the unit).

  • The size and color of the grid can be changed by clicking Grid on the menu bar, and selecting Edit. This will allow you to edit the X (horizontal) and Y (vertical) size of the grid, as well as offset the grid.


When an element has text in it, the options below will always be available for it.

Text, Shadow, and Background Color: Under the Color tab, each color used by the text can be set.

Font: Choose from a variety of different fonts to use, however be wary at the size of some of them when designing your subscreen.

Style: Select how the text is displayed.

  • None: No shadow.
  • Shadow: Produces the effect of the shadow without overlaying text.
  • Shadowed: Same as Shadow, however the text is overlaid as well.
    • (U): Shadow is "thicker" directly below the text.
    • (O): Shadow is displayed around the entire text.
    • (+): Same as (O), however the shadow appears thinner.
    • (X): Similar to (O), however certain parts of the shadow are removed around the text. The idea here is to have a background color halfway between the Text color and Shadow color, giving the text a "smoother" appearance.

Subscreen Elements

Below is a list of every subscreen element in ZQuest that is functional as of September 27, 2009, complete with names, a description of the element, and the attributes of the element if applicable.

(None) - The default element placed in a subscreen when created without using a template, it has no use in the subscreen. Prior to 2.50.1 RC 2, editing this object showed glitched properties tabs with attributes for every element. This object has been adjusted to no longer show any editable attributes.

2x2 Frame - The name refers to the amount of tiles and their layout used by the element. When assigning this element to use tiles, it will use the top-left tile in a 2x2 tile block, and "divide" them into 8x8 pixel blocks, with priority given to the bottom and right blocks. Expanding the element is done in 8x8 pixel steps regardless of the grid unit values, and when expanded beyond the complete 2x2 tile size, will replicate the "side" blocks (not the corner blocks) of the element.

BS Zelda Time - A text-based element that will display the total play time of a certain quest as hours:minutes (Unverified).

Button Item - This element shows what item will be used when either the "A" or "B" button is pressed. Editing attributes will allow you to determine which button the element represents. Depending on the quest rules, either simply selecting an item will assign it, or pressing the corresponding button will assign an item to either button.

Counter - A text-based element. This element displays how many of a certain item (Rupees, keys, bombs, etc.) the player will have in their inventory. Attributes allow you to define which item the counter represents (Item 1), how many digits to permanently display on-screen (Digits. For example, imputing a value of 1 will display one zero when empty, while a value of 3 will display three zeroes when empty), which tile or character (Infinite Graphic/Character) to display when the player has an infinite supply, to show 'none in inventory' (Show Zero), and if the counter is even shown unless the player selects it in the subscreen (Only Selected). In the editor, the infinite character will always be displayed, however the size of the counter's maximum digits is shown when selected.

Counter Block - A text-based element, which is a preset group of counters which will display Rupees, Keys, Bombs, and Super Bombs in that order. This also comes preset with the default placement of the corresponding icons in the tile editor as Minitiles, and cannot be changed. Digits and Infinite Character do exactly the same as the Counter element. Use X will place an X between the icons and the counter text (As seen when playing the original Zelda).

Current Item - The items, basically. The element's attributes will determine which item to display when it is added to the player's inventory, as well as it's "position". "Position" refers to whether or not the item is un-selectable (value of -1), and the item's selectable position. As well, attributes will determine which item position to select when pressing up, down, left, or right in the subscreen. It may help to think of the player's selectable inventory as a map, and position refers to the item's literal position on the map, as well as where to go next when a direction is pushed. Experimenting and using pre-made subscreens is really the best way to understand this.

  • It is possible to pick up an item in-game and add the item to the player's inventory without having a 'Current Item' object for that item in any subscreen.

Erase Subscreen - Unsure of actual purpose, however this element is found on every pre-made passive subscreen, however it's presence does not seem to be critical (subscreen behaves as normal). What it does do, however, is instantly fills the background of either and active or passive subscreen with the selected color.

Game Time - A text-based element which displays the cumulative questing time of the player in the format of hours:minutes:seconds.

Game Time (Quest Rule) - Same as above. Unsure if there is a difference beyond displaying beyond the status of the Quest Rule Show Time On Subscreen.

Large Map - Displays (when selected in Attributes) a map, the position of the player, and the rooms they have currently visited. The graphic displayed is based on the Dungeon Map graphic chosen in the Map Styles screen. Rooms are shown as 6x6 pixel blocks with 1x2 or 2x1 pixel blocks to show passages between rooms, following an 8x8 room grid (which corresponds to the size of a Dungeon-type DMap). Player location is displayed as a 3x3 pixel dot placed on top of the room they are currently in. The Large option increases the size of the map graphic and repositions the rooms to center it. This element is intended for Active subscreens, and will not fit on a Passive subscreen.

Life Gauge Piece - A single part of the player's life gauge, also known as "one heart", and arguably one of the most complicated elements in a subscreen. A detailed explanation of how this element works can be found on the guide to Life Gauge Pieces.

Life Meter - A pre-made life gauge, for those who don't need to customize their meter's appearance too much. Attributes determine how many rows of hearts to display (One row is eight hearts, meaning a maximum of 16 or 24 hearts), and how they drain. BS-Zelda Style forces the hearts to drain from the bottom and the right, while regular forces the hearts to drain from the top and the right.

  • Both Life Guage Piece and Life Meter elements restrict how many Heart Containers Link can collect-- there cannot be any more than what is placed on the subscreen. Currently, it is unknown how Zelda Classic will handle a 'missing' heart container (ex: subscreen has containers 1, 2, 3, and 5, but not 4). Assume bad things, and make sure they are all there.

Line - Draws a single-pixel thick line. Expanding the line will stretch it in either direction, and by expanding it both vertically and horizontally will draw the line at a slant. The slant is restricted to the top-left to the bottom-right of the area, and cannot be flipped, unfortunately.

Magic Gauge Piece - A single part of the player's magic gauge, and like the Life Gauge Piece, is fairly complex. Likewise, more details can be found on the guide to Magic Gauge Pieces.

Magic Meter - Like the Life Meter, it is a pre-made magic gauge for those who don't want to go through the trouble of setting one up. It uses the Misc: Magic Meter sprite and tile layout, however currently, it is undetermined how to set it up, exactly, as there are no attributes to edit.

Minimap - A smaller version of the Large Map element. It allows the same customization, but does not lack a Large option, and replaces Show Rooms with Show Compass. Intended for Passive subscreen use, it's rooms are shown entirely once the player collects the Map item, but does not show passages between them. Each room is layed out on the same 8x8 room grid, but each room is now 7x3 pixels in size.

Minimap Title - A text-based element which changes the content of the text depending on the name of the DMap the player is currently in.

Minitile - This element breaks down a normal-sized tile into four, 8x8 pixel segments (each of which can be selected by right-clicking on it), and displays only that section. The purpose of the Special Tile attribute is yet unknown, however experimentation shows no change in the tile displayed on the subscreen. Possibly, it is used simply as convenience to get to certain tiles, as the two options SS Vine and Magic Meter have matching Weapon/Misc. sprites.

Rectangle - Exactly what it promises. Expanding this element will draw a rectangle, which can be outlined and filled determined by it's attributes.

Selected Item Name - A text-based element which changes what it reads to match the name of the item currently highlighted by the Selector 1 / 2 elements.

Selector 1 / 2 - Both of these elements are exactly alike, except for that they can both have different appearances. Each appearance is determined by the Item graphic selected, and by selecting the Large option, it will double the size of the graphic displayed.

Text - The basic block of text. Size is determined by the font, and how many characters are in it.

Text Box - Similar to the Text element, the primary difference is that you can determine the size of the box (and therefore, how much of the text is displayed). As well, wrapping can be customized by the attributes tab.

Tile Block - This element is purely intended to be used for aesthetics. Selecting a tile under the attribute tab will set it to use that tile as a starting spot. Expanding the element is done 16x16 pixels at a time, regardless of grid size, and will display the tiles next to the starting tile, and under the starting tile. It may help to think of expanding the box as revealing more and more of an image.

Triforce Frame - A pre-made element that utilizes both Tile Blocks and Triforce Pieces, and automatically positions and sizes them as per the original Zelda. Attributes allows you to select the graphic for the frame, the graphic for the Triforce pieces (flipped horizontally and vertically), and whether or not to use a larger frame. A larger frame means the frame itself will be four rows of tiles taller, and one wider, while the triforce pieces will be three rows tall and two rows wide, and repositioned accordingly.

Triforce Piece - Determines where each piece of the Triforce will be placed on the subscreen upon collection. Each piece can have it's own unique graphic, and multiple Triforce pieces can share the same value, allowing for the appearance of larger pieces.

  • Regardless of how many pieces the player may collect in-game, and the value of the elements on the subscreen, only eight will be displayed. Only four will be displayed when the quest rule "Big Triforce Pieces" is checked. Only six will be displayed when the quest rule "3 or 6 Triforce Total" is checked. Only three will be displayed when both of these quest rules are checked.

Non-Functional Subscreen Elements

Below is a list of the Subscreen Elements that have not yet been implemented.

Current Item -> Text - Possibly going to be displayed somehow based on Current Item status in-game.

Current Item -> Tile - Same as above.

Current Item Class -> Text - Unsure of intended use.

Current Item Class Name - Possibly similar to Selected Item Name , but displayed somehow based on Current Item status in-game.

Current Item Name - Same as above.

Icon - Possibly going to display the current Game Icon.

Item - Unsure of intended use.

Selected Item -> Tile - Possibly changes appearance depending on which, or if a certain item is selected in the subscreen.

Selected Item Class Name - Possibly displays the class name of a selected item, similar to Selected Item Name.