Subscreen Editor Gashin Subscreen FAQ for 2.11 Beta

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This Page for Historical Value and Reference

  • When 2.11b was the highest release version of ZQuest, Gashin wrote a Subscreen's 101 FAQ, that has since vanished from the Internet. You may still find it on, but for the sake of fixing broken links, here it is, in its original, unedited form.

Note: This does not correct for typos, or any errors in the original document. This is purely for preservation, and reference for ZQuest 2.11b.

Subscreen Creation/Editing 101

By Gashin


  • 1. Creating a New Subscreen
  • 2. Control Buttons
  • 3. Keystrokes
  • 4. New Elements
  • 4.01 2x2 Frame
  • 4.02 Button Item
  • 4.03 Counter
  • 4.04 Counter Block
  • 4.05 Current Item
  • 4.06 Erase Subscreen
  • 4.07 Game Time
  • 4.08 Large Map
  • 4.09 Life Meter
  • 4.10 Line
  • 4.11 Minimap
  • 4.12 Minimap Title
  • 4.13 Minitile
  • 4.14 Rectangle
  • 4.15 Selected Item Name
  • 4.16 Selector 1 and 2
  • 4.17 Standard Magic Meter
  • 4.18 Text
  • 4.19 Tile Block
  • 4.20 Triforce Frame
  • 4.21 Triforce Piece
  • 5. Tips
  • 6. Credits
  • 7. Other Stuff

Allright, this guide is just to get you aquainted with the new Subscreen editor, and is (hopefully) accurate as of 2.11 b11. Because I can't thing of a better term, each "thing" on the subscreen will be referred to as an "element"

1. Creating a New Subscreen

To begin, we'll start with how to access the editor, and how to start a new subscreen

  • First, open your quest
  • Find the Quest option at the top of the screen. Click it, then click Misc. Data, then Subscreens
  • Select which map you want to use. For now, select <New>, and click OK
  • Keep the first drop-down menu on Active, and keep the bottom set to Blank. Click OK

2. Command Buttons

Now you should see a big black box, with several buttons on the right side. I'll explain what those do

  • The first block change and view the values of each element on the subscreen
* The one pointing up increases the value of the selected element
* The one pointing down decreases the value of the selected element
* The one pointing right selects an element of lower value than the one currently selected
* The one pointing left selectes an element of higher value. These last two are a bit confusing, as right usually means an increase, rather than decrease, but whatever
  • The second block moves tiles. Each directional button will move the selected element ONE PIXEL in that direction
  • The third block is a bit different. Each button has TWO arrows on it, and will be explained now
* The top button will decrease the vertical size of certain elements by 8 pixels
* The left button will decrease the horizontal size of certain elements by 8 pixels
* The bottom button will increase the vertical size of certain elements by 8 pixels
* The right button will increase the horizontal size of certain elements by 8 pixels
  • The only elements affected by this block are: 2x2 Frames, Lines, Rectangles, and Tile Blocks. I'm pretty sure that's it
  • The final block acts like the arrow keys during gameplay, when the game is paused. These will change the currently selected item, each button representing the direction the cursor changes to, obviously. I'll go into this a little later

3. Keystrokes

All those buttons are good and all, but keystrokes are faster, and a bit more efficient

  • Arrow keys move the selected element one pixel in a direction. This is faster than
 clicking the button, as the key can be held down to auto-move it until the key is
 depressed. This also applies to the rest of they keystrokes, I believe
  • Shift +
* Shift + The arrow keys will move the selected element 8 pixels in a direction
* Shift + Page Up selects the next highest value element
* Shift + Page Down slects the next lowest value element
  • Ctrl +
* Ctrl + Page Up increases the value of the selected element
* Ctrl + Page Down decreases the value of the selected element

4. New Elements

Now that we've got the commands down, it's time to start making our subscreen. For this, we need to be able to actually add elements to the screen. To do that, go to Edit, then New

With the window open, you should see a list of things to add to the screen. Since this is just a basic tutorial, I'll explain the most common elements. Take note of the ones labeled (Not Implimented). UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU EVEN TRY TO ACCESS THOSE. They WILL crash ZQuest

Note: Right now, I will explain how to set up any and all text, as well as have it shadowed. I will label each text-based element with (TXT), and I will explain anything else that needs to be said about it. Here are the steps:

  • On the Color tab, select the colors for your text
* Probably the safest way to do this is to select Misc Colors from the drop-down menus that are labeled Text Color and Shadow Color. Two more drop-down boxes will appear, one under each of the ones you just used
* For the Text Color, select Text
* For the Shadow Color, click SS Shadow
* Finally, on the Background (BG) Color drop-down menu, click Sys. Colors. On the mini-palette that appears   below that, click the first color, which should be black with a white X on it
  • In the Attributes tab, you should have three drop-down menus on the left side: Font, Style, and Alignment. Font will let you choose the font type for the text, Style will let you choose if it's a shadow or has a shadow, and Alignment will let you select the positioning of the text
  • Here's a list of the Shadow types:
* None: No shadow of any kind. Just plain text
* Shadow: Makes the text the same color as the Shadow color
* Shadow (U): Makes the shadow text thicker on all sides, except the top
* Shadow (0): Makes the text thicker on all sides
* Shadow (+): Makes the text thicker on all sides, but cuts off the corners, giving it a rounded effect
* Shadow (X): Same as Shadow (0), I think
* Shadowed: Places a shadow under the regular text, to give it the illusion of depth
* Shadowed (U): Makes the shadow appear on all sides of the text except the top
* Shadowed (0): Places a shadow around the entire text, like an outline
* Shadowed (+): Same as Shadowed (0), but cuts off the corners to give it a rounded effect
* Shadowed (X): This one is a bit difficult to explain. It's the same as Shadowed (0)  as well, however it will cut off some corners of the shadow INSIDE the shadow.  This makes the text appear softer, depending on the background color of the subscreen. Try it out for yourself to really see what it does
  • Alignment will position your text accurately. Left will force the text to extend from the leftmost character. Center will force the text to extend from the centermost character(s). Right will force the text to extend from the rightmost character

4.01 2x2 Frame

This is the border that goes around menus, item windows, and everything else. In the original Zelda, this is the blue box with the slightly curved corners. On the bottom of the Attributes tab, click Overlay, which will make the background transparent

4.02 Button Item

This is the element that displays what item you currently have assigned to A or B. To set this up, all you have to do is place it where you want it, and right-click, then select Properties. On the Attributes tab, select whether the item is a useable item (B), or a sword (A). There should be a drop-down menu for you to do this

4.03 Counter (TXT)

This is the text that shows how many bombs, keys, rupees, super bombs, and arrows you have. This is one of the most difficult elements to set up that we'll be using in this guide, so pay attention

  • In the Attributes tab, we select what kind of text we use to display the counter, and what the counter represents. For the font, I suggest Porportional, but you can use any of them. For type, select Shadowed. Do NOT select Shadow, unless you want your text to be just that; The shadow color. For alignment, select Center
  • Finally we can set up the type of counter it is. You'll see a drop-down menu on the top-right side of the window, which should have Rupees on it. Click it, and select what you want the counter to count. For keys, I'd reccommend Any Keys w/ Magic Key, as that will show the amount of keys regardless if you have Level-Specific Keys enabled. In the Digits line, type the number of digits you want displayed. I'd suggest not going above 3. Finally in the Infinite line, type in ~ (located next to the 1 key)
  • Now, these are the option boxes. Show Zero will display the counter even when you have none of that item. Only Selected will show the counter only when you have selected that item
  • After all is said and done, click OK, and position your counter

Now, you'll notice the graphics for Rupees, Bombs, ect..., are not set up. Those are actually Minitiles, which will be explained later

4.04 Counter Block (TXT)

Set up in much the same way as the Counter, there are a few small changes. This is a Passive-style element traditionally, but it CAN be used in an Active subscreen, however for now, just leave it alone. For active subscreens, Counters are the way to go

  • You cannot select which item the counter represents, as it is set up to represent Rupees, Keys, Bombs, and Super Bombs by default
  • You still need to imput how many digits you want each counter to display. Remember, don't go above 3
  • The options have been replaced by one single: Use X. This will make X appear in front of the numbers, like in Zelda 1
  • Arrows are NOT included in this block, so they will have to be set up on their own
  • The graphics are also set up the same way as they would be normally, unlike the single Counter, which you have to set up on your own

4.05 Current Item

These are your items. ALL the items you obtain during gameplay appear here, from Arrows to Wands. This IS THE HARDEST ELEMENT TO SET UP PROPERLY that I have experience with, so pay close attention. While it's not that complicated, it takes planning, the reason will be explained later

  • First, go to the Attributes tab
* Item Class: Select which item this element will represent
* Position: This is where it gets tricky, and where the planning comes in. This is the number of the item. 0-15 have been tested and work properly. Use this ONLY for the items you can use, like Bombs and the spells, NOT for equipmet like the sword and boots. I'm not sure, but try not using two of the same number for two different items (Bombs have a number 4, and the Candle also has a number 4. That may be a bad idea)
  • For the following, I'd suggest waiting until you fill in the Position: for the rest
 of your useable items before going in here. 
* Up Select: The item that will be selectd when you press Up
* Down Select: The item that will be selectd when you press Down
* Left Select: The item that will be selectd when you press Left
* Right Select: The item that will be selectd when you press Right
  • Dosen't sound like much, but trust me: This WILL be the single most time consuming part of making a new subscreen. However, you can make some really cool tricks using this. Hell, you can even trap the cursor on an item by filling all of the Select fields with the same number of the item you have selected (Select the item with 6, and make all Select fields 6, so it will always select 6 no matter which direction you press)
  • Now for non-selectable items. This is simple, trust me. In Position:, type -1, and leave everything else blank, except for the Item Class, of course. After that, just position the item wherever you want. Take note that Triforce Pieces aren't included. These are a seperate element, and will be explained later
  • The options here are Invisible and Transparent. Invisible makes the item, well, invisible. Transparent dosen't work

4.06 Erase Subscreen

This is the background for Passive-type subscreens. Until those are fixed, and I've had a chance to find out how this works, we'll skip this section

4.07 Game Time (TXT)

This is a cool one. This shows how long you've been playing, however I'm not QUITE sure if it shows total time, or just the time you've been playing since you opened the file last. Everything about this is set up the same as text, so go read the steps I wrote down at the top

  • The second type for Game Time is Game Time (Quest Rule). This makes the Game Time appear only if the quest rule is checked

4.08 Large Map

This one is the dungeon map, which in Zelda 1, replaces the Triforce frame when in dungeons. There is only one option in the Attributes tab, which is Large. I'm not sure what that does, but click it anyway. Now, I've never gotten this to work, but I hear that other people have. If you know how to set it up so that the map shows, PM me, and I'll add it to this and give you a spot on the esteemed credits list

4.09 Life Meter

Obviously the Life Meter. This is a pre-set up block of hearts, which measures how much health you have left. Again, there is only one option in Attributes, which is BS Style. I THINK this makes it capable of containing 24 hearts, but it may just be how the hearts are drained. This is simply a Select and Place element. Normally it goes on Passive subscreens, so for now, leave it alone

4.10 Line (TXT)

As the name suggests, this is a simple line. I've never used it, but I have a good idea of how to set it up

  • Place the line anywhere on the screen
  • Use either the keystrokes or the buttons to increase the line's lenth, and possibly height. It will increase by 1 pixel each time, so to get a really LONG line, keep clicking, or just hold down the keystroke

Here's Radien's explanation on this, which is much clearer

"For the "Line" element, changing the width and the height will cause the line to become a diagonal line. As of the current version, you can only have a diagonal line in one direction; it can't be flipped. If you reduce the width to 1, and increase the height to whatever you like, you can make it into a vertical line."

4.11 Minimap

A Passive-style element, so leave it be. This makes the Minimap appear on subscreens, like in Zelda 1. Link's positioning graphic is set up with this, so all you have to do is select it and place it. Though, like the Large Map, I can't seem to figure out how to make it appear. If anyone knows, PM me

4.12 Minimap Title (TXT)

The text that shows the Minimap name. I've never used it, so it MAY be bugged. I'm not sure, but you should leave it alone for now anyway, just to be safe

4.13 Minitile

Remember in the Counter section that I said Minitiles are used for the counters? Well, now I'll explain. Minitiles are simply a quarter of a regular tile. They are 8x8 instead of 16x16

  • In Attributes, click the Tile: window, and select the tile you wish to use
  • With the selected tile, right-click the section of the tile you want to use. By default, the program will use the upper-left corner, but you can use any of the four. Remember that you can only use ONE corner of the tile
  • The dropdown menu allows you to select special tiles, but for now, leave them alone. I'm not sure what that does anyway
  • The two options are Overlay and Transparent. Overlay makes the background of the minitile clear, and Transparent makes the minitile transparent, like it is on a transparent layer

Take note that on the Color tab, you can select which CSet the minitile uses, but you can also do that while selecting a tile to use, using the + and - keys on the number pad

4.14 Rectangle

This is the background for Active-style subscreens

  • In the Color tab, select Misc Colors from the drop-down menus for both Outline Color and Fill Color
  • For both Outline Color and Fill Color, select SS BG from the drop-down menus
  • In the Attributes tab, enable Filled if it isn't already. The Transparent option dosen't work, as far as I know

If you want, you can select a different color for the Outline Color, however I'm not sure how big the outline is, so if you want, you can play around with it

4.15 Selected Item Name (TXT)

BUGGED. Do NOT use this right now. It will crash ZQuest. As such, I won't go about explaining how to set this up, as I'm not sure if it crashes ZQuest all the time, or if it's set up a certain way. For now, all you need to know about this is that it displays the item name of the current item selected. Unfortunately, for now we can only use default names, but that may change in the future

4.16 Selectors 1 and 2

Not sure what 2 does, but selector 1 is the cursor that shows up when you select items

  • On the attributes tab, you can select the tile it uses, however it's pointless because it uses the assigned graphic in the Items window
  • There are three options for this: Overlay, Transparent, and Large. Overlay makes the background clear (also useless if the tile is set up that way in the Items menu). Transparent dosen't work. Large makes the cursor 2x2 tiles, which DOES take affect
* When large is enabled, the original graphic will be the top-left corner. Say a 5-tile animation is used. After the first 5 tiles for the top-left corner comes to next 5 tiles, which are used in the top-right corner. After that, the 5 tiles for the bottom-right, and finally the last 5 tiles for the bottom-left
* Another way to put is like this:
* 1 2
* 4 3
* And the tiles would be set up like this:
* 11111222223333344444

I'm not 100% sure about the positioning of the bottom tiles and how they're displayed; They may be reversed. Play around with the tiles until you get it right

4.17 Standard Magic Meter

Another default Passive subscreen element. I've never used this yet, but I think it's a select and position element

4.18 Text (TXT)

See the steps I wrote above in this section. The only difference here is you can define what the text says, by filling in the field on the lower part of the Attributes tab

4.19 Tile Block

If you're feeling really creative, you can use this instead of the 2x2 Frame

  • In the attributes tab, select the tile for the block to start off with
  • The two options are Overlay and Transparent. You should know what these do by now
  • using with the keystroke or the buttons, you can extend the Tile Block by one tile. By extending the block, it will show the next tile in the direction that the block was extended. It's hard to explain, but if you play around with it, you'll learn quickly how it's set up

4.20 Triforce Frame

This is a pre-set element, where all the Triforce pieces are positioned as they would be in Zelda 1. It saves time, but you still have to deal with the flipped pieces, which, in my opinion, isn't worth it

  • In the Color tab, you have Outline Color and Number Color. I'm not sure what these do. If you know, PM me
  • In the Attributes tab, click the big tile box to select the frame. In the tile viewer, click the top-left tile of the frame you want to use
  • The smaller tile box lets you select the Triforce piece graphic
  • Three options now: Show Frame, Show Pieces, and Large Pieces. Not sure what these do, and if you know, PM me

4.21 Triforce Piece

I prefer these elements over the Triforce Frame because they are MUCH more flexible.

  • You can place them anywhere on the subscreen, and make some pretty cool features if you know what you're doing
  • In the attributes tab, click the tile box to select the graphics for THAT INDIVIDUAL TRIFORCE PIECE. That's right; You can have unique Triforce pieces, but they are only in the subscreen... for now
  • The two options are Overlay and Trnasparent. PLEASE tell me you know what those do
  • The field labeled Piece #: allows you to define which Triforce piece it is. 1-8 should work, and I'm not sure about 9 and above, but for safety's sake, stick to 1-8

5. Tips

Here are a few tips to make subscreen editing and creating easier:

  • If you need to access an element which is underneath a bigger element and can't select it by clicking, use the buttons or keystrokes to cycle through the elements. The currently selected element will show a white border, and that border appears on top of everything, so you can tell when the desired element is selected
  • If you want to get to the properties of an element in the same setup as the previous tip, the Edit menu has a Properties option, which is exactly the same as the right-click Properties option
  • The grid option is very useful for positioning elements in a precise manner. To show the grid, click Grid, and Show. Dots will appear, and by default they are the top-left corner of an 8x8 pixel square
  • To change the grid size, click Grid > Edit. You can change how many pixels each dot represents, their offset (which I haven't tried), and what color they are
  • Copying Subscreens: While a copy-paste feature has yet to be added, there is a way to duplicate custom subscreens
* To do this, go to File, Export, Subscreen
* Label your subscreen, and click OK
* You'll then see a menu pop up, and you'll be able to select which subscreen to export
* Then, go to File, Import, Subscreen, and select the subscreen you just saved
* Click Open, and select the <New> option
* Now, you have two duplicate subscreens
  • 'Highlighting' Items: Make items brighter, or add color to them in the subscreen when the item is picked up
  • This can be done one-of-two ways. I'll try to explain both
* The first way
* The first way is to have a Tile Block, with the gryed-out items drawn into the  background
* After that, just place the actual Current Item elements over the drawn background, Though this might require a bit more work than really needed
* The second way
* Another way is to make duplicate tiles of the items, and recolor them
* Once that's done, use Tile Blocks to place the individual tiles anywhere you want on the subscreen
* After that, place the Current Item elements over them. I think this is a bit easier, because you can reposition everything instead of redrawing the entire background with much more ease
* Now, greyed out items really isn't the only way you can do this. You can make silhouettes, sunken reliefes, raised reliefes, or outlines of the items 
* This can also be done with any item; Selectable, non-selectable, and Triforce pieces
* If you have more tips, PM me

6. Credits

  • Zelda Classic development team
  • shadowfall1976 for the Copying Subscreens trick
  • spriteman for some explination about the effects of the sumbols for the shadow/shadowed text
  • Radien for a better explanation of the Line element
  • Aribar for the original "'Highlighting' Items" trick

7. Other Stuff

I can't imagine anyone would want to do this, but if you are thinking about it, don't copy this and claim it as your own. This was a pain in the ass to write, and I don't want other people ripping me off and taking the credit for it. That said, you can use this anytime, anywhere, and post it on any site you want. Just keep my name attatched to it, okay?

Here are some links, in case you're reading this on a site other than PureZC or AGN

  • -AGN's forums, and home to Zelda Classic
  • -PureZC's homepage. The single biggest website devoted to Zelda Classic. It has forums, and downloads for custom quests, tiles, tilesets, and music, all by people who use Zelda Classic, and made for Zelda Classic
  • Note: URL to PureZC updated in this Wiki Entry.