Using custom tiles

Four Winds allows you to use custom tile bitmaps with any theme, provided that the current color mode is 16-bits (High Color) or better. The custom tile bitmaps are available only in a registered version. 

To use custom tiles:
  1. Choose Preferences on the File menu.
  2. Choose Themes under the User Interface section in the category tree of the Preferences dialog box.
  3. Select the desired tile set from the Tiles list. To see a preview and a description of the tile set, click the About tiles button below the control.

Note: When a custom tile bitmap is used, the menu command Show Tile Id's is not available.

Requirements for custom tile bitmaps

The custom tile bitmaps must be Windows bitmaps (.bmp files). Any color format (from 16-color up to 24-bit RGB format) is supported and the bitmap can be of any size, but there must be no empty space around the tiles. The tiles can appear in any order, since the order is described in a separate description file, but they must be in upright position.

Each custom tile set must be placed in its own folder under the Custom\Tiles folder (Custom folder is by default a sub folder under the Four Winds program folder, or when Windows Vista or later is used, under the [Users]\[Public]\[Documents]\4Winds2 folder). The folder name is used to identify the tile set in the user interface. E.g., if you want to have your custom tile set appear as Early 20th Century in the list of available tile sets, you must place your bitmaps under Custom\Tiles\Early 20th Century folder.

The actual bitmaps must be named as follows ([MySetName] represents the name of your tile set):

  1. [MySetName].bmp This is an obligatory file, e.g. Early 20th Century.bmp. The ideal tile size for this bitmap is 36x46 pixels (so, if there are 9 columns and 5 rows, the size of the bitmap would be 324x230 pixels).
  2. [MySetName]2.bmp This is an optional file that is used for miniature sized tiles, e.g. Early 20th Century2.bmp. The ideal tile size for this bitmap is 18x23 pixels (i.e., 50% of the the bitmap above). If the bitmap is not available, Four Winds either scales the [MySetName].bmp or uses the standard Four Winds miniature tiles, depending on the ScaleMiniature setting of the description file (see below).
  3. [MySetName]LR.bmp This is an optional file to be used with small and large game boards, e.g. Early 20th CenturyLR.bmp. The ideal tile size for this bitmap is 29x37 pixels. If the bitmap is not available, Four Winds scales it programmatically from [MySetName].bmp.
  4. [MySetName]2LR.bmp This is an optional file that is used for miniature sized tiles, when using small and large game boards, e.g. Early 20th CenturyLR2.bmp. The ideal tile size for this bitmap is 14x18 pixels (i.e., approximately 50% of the the bitmap above). If the bitmap is not available, Four Winds either scales it from [MySetName]2.bmp or [MySetName].bmp, or uses the standard Four Winds miniature tiles, depending on the ScaleMiniature setting of the description file (see below).
  5. [MySetName]HR.bmp This is an optional file to be used with extra large game boards, e.g. Early 20th CenturyHR.bmp. The ideal tile size for this bitmap is 50x64 pixels. If the bitmap is not available, Four Winds scales it programmatically from [MySetName].bmp.
  6. [MySetName]2HR.bmp This is an optional file that is used for miniature sized tiles when using extra large game boards, e.g. Early 20th CenturyHR2.bmp. The ideal tile size for this bitmap is 22x28 pixels. If the bitmap is not available, Four Winds either scales it from [MySetName]2.bmp or [MySetName].bmp, or uses the standard Four Winds miniature tiles, depending on the ScaleMiniature setting of the description file (see below).
In addition, a description file [MySetName].ini must be placed in the same folder as the bitmaps (for the example tile set this would be Early 20th Century.ini). This is a standard ANSI text tile that tells Four Winds how the custom bitmaps should be used, and contains the following settings (note that all values must be typed on a single row):
[General]
Rows=5 Number of rows in the tile bitmap.
Cols=10 Number of columns in the tile bitmap.
ScaleMiniature=0 0 = If [MySetName]2.bmp or [MySetName]LR2.bmp is not available, use standard Four Winds miniature tiles.
1 = If [MySetName]2.bmp or [MySetName]LR2.bmp is not available, scale them from [MySetName].bmp or [MySetName]LR.bmp.
Description="Description of my tile set" Descriptive text that is displayed in the About Custom Tile Bitmap dialog box. Can be up to 256 characters long. (Quotes are not necessary.)
Creator="John Doe" Copyright information that is displayed in the About Custom Tile Bitmap dialog box. Can be up to 100 characters long. (Quotes are not necessary.)
[TileRowCol]
B1=1,1
B2=1,2
B3=1,3
B4=1,4
B5=1,5
B6=1,6
B7=1,7
B8=1,8
B9=1,9
B0=1,10
C1=2,1
C2=2,2
C3=2,3
C4=2,4
C5=2,5
C6=2,6
C7=2,7
C8=2,8
C9=2,9
C0=2,10
D1=3,1
D2=3,2
D3=3,3
D4=3,4
D5=3,5
D6=3,6
D7=3,7
D8=3,8
D9=3,9
D0=3,10
DG=4,1
DR=4,2
DW=4,3
WE=4,4
WS=4,5
WW=4,6
WN=4,7
F1=5,1
F2=5,2
F3=5,3
F4=5,4
S1=5,5
S2=5,6
S3=5,7
S4=5,8
J=4,8
TB=
TE=
Descriptions for locations of individual tiles in the custom tile bitmap. "B1" stands for Bamboo 1, "C1" for "Character 1" and "D1" for Dot 1. The winds are marked as "WE" (East), "WS" (South), "WW" (West) and "WN" (North). Dragons are marked as "DG" (Green), "DR" (Red) and "DW" (White). Flowers are marked as "F1" through "F4" and Seasons as "S1" through "S4". Red fives ("Red Dora") are marked as "B0" (Bamboos), "C0" (Characters) and "D0" (Dots). Finally, the joker is marked as "J".

 

In addition to the tile faces, you can also use custom tile back and tile ends (used when rotating the tiles). The position of these elements are specified with the keys 'TB' (tile back) and 'TE' (tile end). The tile back must naturally be of the same size as tile faces, and tile ends must be placed in one tile slot so that the one with the face side up is placed at the top of the slot, and one with the face side down is placed at the bottom of the slot. To see the correct placement, check the template bitmap that comes with Four Winds.

Note that if there is no value for a key (or if a key itself is missing), the default Four Winds graphic element is used, instead. You should naturally avoid using tile sets that do not have all tiles that are needed in the game.

The numbers after the tile identifier indicate the row and column of the tile, and must be separated by a comma. E.g., in the example the South Wind (WS) is located in the fifth column of the fourth row. (Note that the first row/column is number 1, not zero).

Related topics:
Choosing the language of the user interface
Enabling or disabling the splash screen
Enabling or disabling editing of hand names
Leaving Windows Taskbar visible
Using color management
Forcing MIDI to always play from the start
Bypassing DirectX sound
Using power save scheme
Configuring game controls
Specifying user file locations
Adjusting the speed of the animation
Keyboard shortcuts
Changing a theme
Customizing the sound effects and background music
Choosing the board size
Choosing a way to display discards