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File formats

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These documents serve the simple purpose of a reference for the files specific to SuperTux (levels, worldmaps, ...). Some of these files can be modified using an editor such as [ Flexlay]. For the rest, you can use a plain text editor of your choice.

For a description of the syntax used in most of SuperTux' data files, see the article on

You can find in-depth discussions of the following files' formats at their respective articles:

The remainder of this article will give a general overview and describe miscellaneous file formats.

Brackets, brackets, brackets (About the Language)

As you might have already noticed, the SuperTux definition files (just about for everything) are full of brackets ('(' and ')'). This might freak out a few BASIC or Python programmers who have pretty much developed a natural aversion against them.

"The Crazy File Format" used by SuperTux is S-expr. This syntax is mostly used by programming languages (such as Lisp or Scheme), but the devs simply thought why not to implement it as a data storage language. And so, the SuperTux data language was born.

Basic Syntax

So now you expect me to teach you S-expr. "You'd like that, wouldn't ya?" Okay, okay, let me teach you a bit.

Language syntax is (nearly) always best consumable when demonstrated on an example, like so:

    ; This is a comment. It is initiated by a semi-colon. (Yes, you un-believer.)
    (some-integer 120)      ; Integer values are simple to input and to understand.
    (floaty-float 58.5)     ; Floating-point numbers should be self-explanatory too.
    (string-thong "omg")    ; Strings are simple and C-like.
    (intl-string (_ "wtf")) ; Internationalised strings are implemented not unlike in C with gettext.
    (boo-bool #t)           ; That's a "true"...
    (second-bool #f)        ; ... and that's a "false". (Well duh.)
    (integer-list 10 20 30) ; A list of integers, much like an array.
)  ; Don't forget the closing bracket!!!

Scrolling texts

Scrolling texts are used for the credits and were used for the intro and extro in Milestone 1. The format is simple:

  (background "extro.jpg") ; Background image (see data/images/background)
  (speed 1.5)             ;; Default speed of text
  ;; Here we demonstrate the formatting characters
  (text (_ "

-This is a heading
<tab>This is a normal line.
 This is a line in a small font.
#This is a left-aligned line.
*This should be printed in a blue font.
!Filename of the picture to be embedded into the scrolling text (relative to scrolltext file path)



Worldmaps are basically level files with a few nuances. To explain the syntax, let's just picture somebody with the idea to write a level set that takes place in London (represented by a lonely island):

  (properties                               ;; Global worldmap properties.
    (name (_ "London"))                     ;; Name of the worldmap
    (music "bigben.ogg")                    ;; Music to be played while on worldmap
  (spawnpoint                               ;; At the moment, defining multiple spawnpoints on a worldmap is useless.
    (name "main")                           ;; Call your spawn point "main".
    (x 3)                                   ;; Note that the coordinates are, unlike in a level, bound to the tilemap.
    (y 3)
    (width 5)                               ;; Number of tiles in a row. Four is just for demonstrational purposes.
    (height 5)
    (layer "interactive")                   ;; This has to be "interactive".
    (solid #t)                              ;; This has to be true.
    (speed 1.000000)                        ;; This has to be 1.0.
      0  0  0  0  0                         ;; The tiles as defined in data/images/worldmap.strf.
      0  11 16 12 0
      0  15 60 17 0
      0  14 18 13 0
      0  0  0  0  0
  (level                                  ;; Add this block for each level. Continuing from a level tile is only possible when the level is completed.
    (x 3)                                 ;; Coordinates of the level entry point.
    (y 3)
    (name "heathrow.stl")                 ;; Filename of the level, relative to the location of the worldmap file.
    (extro-script "
// A Squirrel script to execute once this level is completed. Optional.
  (special-tile                           ;; This is a sample message tile.
    (x 4)
    (y 3)
    (map-message (_ "Hello."))            ;; Display the following text when Tux steps on this tile.
    (passive-message #t)                  ;; Set to #f to draw a message sprite on the worldmap and to stop Tux when he steps on this tile.
    (apply-to-direction "north-west")     ;; The message is displayed only when Tux comes from one of the specified directions
                                          ;; (north, south, west, east, concatenate with a hyphen).
  (special-tile                           ;; This is a sample portal tile.
    (x 2)
    (y 3)
    (map-message (_ "Warp to the Tower"))
    (teleport-to-x 1)                     ;; Worldmap coordinates to which Tux is teleported.
    (teleport-to-y 1)

Level subsets

Whilst creating a worldmap is optional, you'll need to write a level subset file to make your level package to appear in the contribs menu (or, ironically, inhibiting this behaviour). A file containing a level subset is called info and lies in data/levels/<subset_name>.

  (title (_ "Domain of the Hosek siblings"))                        ;; Give your levelset a nice name...
  (description (_ "Levels by Ondra and Klara, the Hosek siblings")) ;; ... and a short description.
  (hide-from-contribs #f)                                           ;; Set to true to hide the levelset from the "Contrib Levels" menu.