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Theme modding isn't necessarily a difficult thing to do but can be challenging to those without experience to graphics design programs. This guide will hopefully inform you the basics and help you make neat themes.
I recommend looking up a tutorial on paint.net to teach you the basics of how to use the tools. As walking into this blind can lead to some difficulties
Before we start, let me give you the program I will be using;
This program is free and does get the job done. Of course, you can use Photoshop if you own it or any other program.
Custom logos are only compatible with R9. But everything in this tutorial can be applied to R8
Now then, lets begin. For this tutorial, I will be making a theme based off of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. A fun game I never got the chance to beat.
Before you start making a theme. Back up the default theme of Sonic World as a template to help guide you. This is found in your Sonic World directory > mods > MenuThemes > CustomTheme1. If you already replaced the default custom themes, don't worry. I will provide a download for the default theme at the bottom of this tutorial.
Now then let's start with the title screen background called, "Sky.png".
When you start up paint.net on the top right, click "file" then "open". Then search for your template and open "Sky.png"
Now then, you can either search for a background for your theme, or create your own. For this tutorial I will use spriters-resource.com to find something related. Once you make or find your background, right click on the file, copy, and then paste the picture in paint.net, pan it over the sky.
That looks good, save your background. Go to file > save as > make a seperate folder for your theme and save it and DO NOT CHANGE THE NAME and MAKE SURE YOU SAVE IT AS A PNG AND NOT PDN! Doing either will cause the background to not show up in game. Making the menu background is fairly the same. Make sure you open the background.png file as the sky.png resolution is slightly different.
After you're done, save as, save as png.
Now then, let's move onto the buttons. This is where things spice up a little bit. Open the "buttons.png" file in your template.
Before we start replacing buttons, let me teach you about the layers feature. This is where layering your pictures start to become important as not doing so can make things look more messy.
Make sure you add a layer for each button. Add your new button on top of the already existing button. Reminder, make sure you make a new layer for each button. Try to fit the button around the same size as the existing ones. Otherwise a white border will appear around the buttons ingame.
After you've added your buttons. Remove the "Background" layer after placing buttons.
Once you've finished, save your buttons where you saved everything else. Make sure you keep the name as Buttons.png. It will ask you if you want to "Flatten" this image. This just combines all the layers you made as one. Which it required in order to save it as a png.
Let's move on to the circles. These are the images that appear behind your character in the Character Select Screen, and your Gallery.
Keep this in mind.
Circle.png - Character Select Screen Circle2.png - Gallery
Open both Circles. Chose any image you want and cover the already existing circle. And remember to use layers. Once you add your image you need to flush out all the color so the image changes color ingame. You can do this by clicking "Adjustments" then "Black and White"
I also did the same for my gallery circle
Once you’re done, remove the layer containing the default circle and then save.
Let's move on to the logo. This is where things get a bit difficult, so you can skip this step if you want. Before I make the logo let me explain what each logo related file does.
The name of the files may say "Logoh" instead of "Logo". This is a typo. Silly SW devs. Just rename them as seen above. As I was saying
Logo.png - The logo, duh Logo_flash.png - the flash outline that appears at the end of the logo animation Logo_Ring.png - the circle that that appears at the beginning of the logo animation
For logo_sonic.png and logo_world.png, their uses are pretty unknown and might've been left in. I'll be still editing them in this tutorial.
Now then, I will attempt to make a title similar to the original logo
The logo itself is something on your part but feel free to google the font for your title.
I think that looks good enough. So, save as, keep name, png, remove layer containing the original logo, you know the drill. For the logo flash, I recommend looking up an outline plug-in. But to save you time and the hassle I'll teach you an alternative. Copy your logo and paste it into a new layer.
Using the check boxes to hide and show the layers might be a bit helpful. Take your pasted logo and go to Adjusted > Hue and Saturation > And crank lightness up to max
I'd also scale the white out logo to be a tad bigger than the original. After that, remove the layer containing the previous logo, save it as Logo_flash.png.
Now the Logo_ring.png. Usually, it's suppose to be part of your already existing logo. People often leave this out. But then it would look awkward. Open Logo_ring.png and make a new layer, then overlap the template ring with your own. Make sure you remove the old layer.
Logo_sonic.png and logo_world.png. This part is pretty simple. Just take each word from your original logo and fit them in.
They look a bit squished, but again. They're unused. Still worth to edit.
Well then, you made it this far. Now it's on to the music. Sonic World takes .ogg files and only .ogg files. .mp3, .wav, etc, will not work. If you get your hands on an mp3 file, use an online video converter to transfer them. If you are getting them off of youtube, use this website to turn them into .ogg files. You need to find 4 tracks and name them the following
MenuIntro.ogg - Title Screen Menu.ogg - The main menu MenuOptions.ogg - Options menu MenuCredits.ogg - Credits
Well, that's really all to it. Now it is time to test your theme. Your folder should look like this.
Copy the contents inside the folder you made and paste it into any of the "CustomTheme" folders in Mods > MenuThemes > CustomTheme#. You can make up to 8 "CustomTheme" folders.
Open Sonic World and go to Options > Menu Theme > Custom Theme #. And test your theme.
If everything looks good, congrats. You did it! That's officially the end of this tutorial. I hope this somewhat helped. This is my first time ever doing something like this so if you're still confused or stuck please feel free to ask in the comments. Oh yeah, almost forgot. Here's the original theme just in case you replaced it https://gamebanana.com/gamefiles/9865