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How to add new art to Blood

People have been doing this for ages but with a little success. Most campaigns that do this, fail utterly at providing clean and crisp new textures. This guide should help people steer clear of ugly textures and allow people to be true to Blood even with the new art.

Preparing

This detailed and in-depth guide will explain, step-by-step, how to add your own custom art in Blood with the minimal loss of data (colour and gamma).

In-depth

Before we can actually start adding our own art, we need to get our hands on certain tools.

Extracting the Blood palette

First of all, you will need an clean installation of Blood to ensure no loss of important data.

Now we need a screenshot from Blood, it doesn't matter if it's from the game itself, mapedit or artedit. Just make sure you're not using the DosBox screenshot function since it creates a 16bit PNG file. We need a 8bit (256 colours) picture to get the original Blood palette.

Now that we have the picture, we need to create a palette file for either Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop (depending which one you're using).

Paint Shop Pro

Open up the Blood screenshot normally with the program, then browse through the menus to create a PSP palette file:

Colors → Save Palette

Choose a folder to save the palette in and name it something you can easily identify, like Blood.pal.

Photoshop

Open up the Blood screenshot normally with the program, then browse through the menus to create a PS palette file:

Image → Mode → Color Table → Save

Choose a folder to save the palette in and name it something you can easily identify, like Blood.act.

Quick and rough

Simply and to the point, download these files and you're ready to go:

- Blood palette for EDITART Save
- Blood palette for Paint Shop Pro Save
- Blood palette for Photoshop Save

Adding custom art to Blood

Now that we have done the the preparing work, we can proceed into adding new art files into Blood.

Modifying the new art for Blood

In order for your new art to work properly in-game, it needs to be modified to fit some requirements set by Blood.

Open up your new texture with the program. Assuming it is a 512 by 512 pixels wide and tall 16 bit texture, we will need to tone it down so it can be added into Blood. The following steps are required for a texture to work with Blood.

1. Proportions

The maximum size for a texture that Blood can hold in the ART files is 512x256 (which is generally higher than most BUILD engine games can support). Depending on the image you want to use, resize the texture so it's maximum of 512 pixels wide and 256 pixels tall. While you can go up to 512x256, I really do not suggest using anything higher than 320x256 in general since the game wasn't designed for anything bigger.

NOTE: If you're planning to have a texture that you're going to use either as a wall or a floor texture, it needs to be dividable into two.

Floor-aligned sprites will show up broken unless both the width and height of the sprite isn't the same. Wall textures won't tile correctly either if they aren't dividable into two.

I'm suggesting using the combination of these heights and widths: 8, 16, 32, 48, 64, 96, 128, 160, 196, 224 and 256 (ie. 64x128).

Also remember to sharpen the image if you downsize it, since some details can be easily lost by the compression. Sharpening the image can bring out some of the minor details even in pretty low resolutions.

2. Palette

Now that we have the picture in a size understood by Blood, we need to convert it to hold the Blood palette so that it will not end up looking like a Van Gogh painting.

Paint Shop Pro

To apply the Blood.pal into the picture, browse through the menus:

Colors → Load Palette (Shift+O)

Select the Blood.pal we made before. Then depending on the details on the texture, go for either Nearest color matching (recommended) or Error diffusion dithering under the Apply palette using -selection. Select Maintain indexes only if you're adding a picture that already has the Blood palette in it to (ie. a screenshot or an edited original sprite), otherwise it will look like a cheap LSD trip.

If you're not satisfied with the result, pretty much the only thing you can do is manually edit the picture and remove the bad pixels by hand.

Photoshop

To apply the Blood.act into the picture, browse through the menus:

Image → Mode → Indexed Color → Palette → Custom → Load

Select the Blood.act we made before. Then depending on the details on the picture, try different combinations of Dither options to select the best output.

You can also apply the palette while saving the picture to make sure you don't accidentally overwrite the original source picture (thanks to Dimebog for the heads-up!):

File → Save for Web

Click on the small circular "Play" button on top-right from the Color Table, click Load Color Table and select the Blood.act to apply the palette to the picture. Set Transparency to No Transparency and select your favourite method of Dithering. Save the final picture to your Blood directory and you're good to go (and to skip the next part :).

3. Saving the picture

This is where most people fail and their texture will end up looking really cheap (this even happened with WizardWorks Software with their Nuclear Winter Duke Nukem 3D addon.

Blood only supports .GIF (CompuServe Graphics Interchange) files with the Blood palette applied to them, or original .PCX (Zsoft Paintbrush) files created by Blood. Modified PCX images cannot somewhy be used with EDITART.

Paint Shop Pro

To make the picture work with EDITART without any data loss, we need to export a GIF file. Browse through the menus:

File → Export → GIF Optimizer

Now we need to go through the tabs and see that nothing will interfere with the outcome:

Transparency → None
Colors → Existing Palette
Format → Non-Interlaced

Click OK and save the file to your Blood folder.

Adding the new art for Blood

Finally the fun part, adding the actual texture into Blood. Run EDITART.EXE (it's supplied with the Blood Tools on your Blood CD).

Either browse for a texture you wish to replace (not recommended) or choose an empty tile. Press "U" to import a picture, select your GIF from the list, choose the area to import with your mouse, then press ENTER when you're done.

To change the background transparency for sprites (ie. enemy sprites), press "BACKSPACE" to select the default transparent colour of the current palette, aim your mouse at the colour you want to turn transparent and press "C" to convert the targeted colour to the transparency colour.

Press PageUp, PageDown or V so that EDITART asks you if you want to save the new texture, hit Y and you're done.

Now go either in MAPEDIT or run Blood to see your new texture in game. Enjoy!

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