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How to Use the Level Editor (1.9+) - A Tutorial for Sonic Boll


Revision 1 1y
  • Addition Added headings and a table of contents.
  • Addition Added a few images.
  • Addition Added a list of decorations.
  • Adjustment Fixed some incorrect information.
With the level contest coming up soon, I felt that it was best to fix a few things in this tutorial. Good luck to anyone making levels!

Now please stop asking about how it works, everyone.

Hey there! A lot of people have questions about how exactly the Level Editor in 1.9 works, and as 1.9.3 has recently released and a few new features with it, I'll be explaining how to use it. Sorry if it's a bit long, but I want to make sure that everything is understandable. The length mainly comes from the amount of lists there are. I will not go over the Special Stage Editor, as it is much simpler and easier to understand and use.

1. Controls

The mouse is primarily used throughout the editor, using both the left and right clicks. You can also use computer shortcuts, such as Ctrl-C for copying, Ctrl-V for pasting, Ctrl-X for cutting, and Ctrl-A for selecting all objects. Pressing either the spacebar or scroll wheel and moving the mouse will control the camera, and dragging the white square at the bottom right corner of the level border will change the size for your level.

2. Tools

There are various tools at the top of the screen. I'll go over all of these in-depth.

New File: Creates a new level.
Open: Opens up File Explorer, allowing you to open a saved level.
Quicksave: An autosave function that creates a backup save file. You can toggle this as on or off.
Save: Lets you save your current level.
Play: A play testing function. You can select the character you want to test the level as.
Boundary Tool: Set a screen on the level as either inaccessible or secret.
Thumbnail Tool: Choose where the thumbnail for the lemon file will be by right clicking. This is also used to set the player's spawn point using left click.
Time: How much time is given to complete the level, ranging from 30 seconds to 600 seconds.
Name: Sets the level name.
Description: Sets the level description.
Exception: Changes the level theme.
Reference Graphic Tool: Select an image from your computer that will be put in the editor as a reference for your level design. It resets after play testing, so be mindful.
Select Tool: Selects objects in the level. Right clicking objects lets you change certain properties of them if they have them. The shortcut for this tool is S.
Draw Tool: Places selected object. Left click places them, right click erases them. You can use Ctrl to pick an object already in the level. Pressing shift with right click has the same effect as the select tool. The shortcut for this tool is D.
Fill Tool: Fills the open space clicked with the selected object. Dragging while clicking will create a rectangle filled with the object. Right clicking an object will erase all objects touching it. The shortcut for this tool is F.
Grid: Toggles the background grid. The shortcut for this tool is G.
Zoom: Sets the zoom level.
Regions: These are separated parts of the level. You can set a different palette, background, and music track for every region. You can go to a different region by creating a warp.
Object palette, Background type, and Music Track: For all 3 of these, you are able to select from the different level styles, which are Day, Pipe, Underground, Castle, Heaven, Underwater, and Bonus.
Percentage Bar: This shows how much available space for objects there is in your selected region.
Skin: Selects which skin to use for the level. Fullscreen: Puts the screen across your entire monitor.
Window Size: Choose from either a square or rectangle window.
Special Stage Editor: Changes to the
Special Stage editor. Anything not saved in the Level Editor will be lost. Fullscreen in this editor is broken, so don't use it with it.
Quit: Exits the editor.

3. Objects and Properties

At the bottom of the screen are the objects that you can place onto your level. Clicking on one will put it into your selected selection slot, which you can change using the scroll wheel or the number keys. I won't go over all of their functions, but I will review the ones which not as obvious mechanics. As stated before, you can change the properties of some of these objects. You can use this to add some of the new blocks included in 1.9.3, such as the soft block from the item box, the stone from the brick, and the donut block from the platform.

Objects and their property changes are listed here:

Item Boxes (Set contents, set as brick block, set as invisible, set Bonus Target)
Bricks (Place Stone inside)
Green Springs (Set Bonus Target)
Coins (Set alignment)
Red Coins (Set alignment)
Pipes (Set name, set target, set next level, set as streaming, set as spawner)
Checkpoints (Set alignment, set type of Checkpoint)
Warp Doors (Set name, set target, set next level, set token requirement)
Flagpoles (Set next level)
Coin Heaven Markers (Set name, set target)
Drop In Markers (Set name)
Item Spawners (Set type of item, set as moving, set as launched)
Platforms (Set alignment, set type of platform, set length, set pulley height)
Spikes (Set alignment, set type of spike, set orientation)
Water (Set width, set height)
Skull Blocks (Start state)
Goombas (Set alignment)
Koopas (Set alignment)
Paratroopas (Set alignment)
Beetles (Set alignment)
Spineys (Set alignment)
Shells (Set type of shell)
Piranha Plants (Set alignment)
Bosses (Set to shoot fire, set to throw hammers, set music)
Firebars (Set length, set rotation, set block)
Retainers (Set next level, set amount of hostages)
Phasers (Set direction)
Texture Tiles (Set X offset, set Y offset, set texture, set as above or behind objects, set texture repeat, set mirroring)
Text Block (Set text, set alignment, set color)
Object Anchors (Set object)
Decoration Anchors (Set decoration)
Text Box (Set text)

3.1. Property Explanation

Now, a few of these properties are a bit complicated and aren't explained very well in game. I'll go over a few of them right here.

Warping is quite simple. A few objects have the option to set their names, such as Pipes, Warp Doors, Coin Heaven Markers, and Drop In Markers. These names are used to set the target for the warp, which is put in a Pipe and Warp Doors, and Green Springs for Coin Heaven Markers. Once this is set up, interacting with the entrance warp should take you to the targeted warp. A similar mechanic is used for warping to a different level, using the filename of the level instead.

Anchors are used to place objects that are not in the given object selection. There are two types of anchors: Decoration Anchors and Object Anchors.

Decoration Anchors are graphics stored in the world skin, such as the background objects and castles. To put one into your level, you have to set the name of the decoration's file into the Decoration Anchor.
This is every decoration that can be placed in alphabetical order:
big castle

As for Object Anchors, these are used for mechanics not given in the main selection. Many of these are used in the base levels, and if you want your level to be more like the in game ones, you should probably use a few of them.
Here's all of the objects selectable for the anchor and what they do:
castledoor (The door that the player walks to after passing the flagpole.)
flag (The flag that appears from the castle at the end of a level.)
camspace (Similar to boundaries, they stop the camera from scrolling. They are not bound to the screen grid.)
2pwall (In multiplayer, areas with this object act as a boundary.)
miner (Used in 1-2 to access the Minus World.)
minusbowser (The glitchy Bowser used in the Minus World.)
tokenreset (Resets the number of tokens you have.)
auto (Disables all button inputs. By adding directions, specifically up, down, left, and right, the player will automatically input those directional buttons. Example: If you set the name as "auto right," right  will be held upon touching the anchor.)
wind (Pushes the player to the left.)
dotter (Spawns a new powerup, the Dotshroom. Based on Dotkid from fangames of I Wanna Be The Guy, the player's hitbox becomes the size of a 2x2 pixel square after touching the powerup.)
undotter (Spawns the Notshroom, which brings the player back to normal size.)
pswitch (Does nothing; it has not been fully coded.)
delfruit (Now a seperate object.)
mushroom (Now used in Item Spawner.)
flower (Now used in Item Spawner.)
1up (Now used in Item Spawner.)
star (Now used in Item Spawner.)
test (Crashes the game.)

If you made it here, then congratulations! You now have a basic understanding of the level editor. I know this was quite long, but it's just to explain everything as thoroughly as I can.
  • BOIIII avatar
    BOIIII Joined 4mo ago
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    2mo 2mo
    what decorations are for the decoration anchor and where is the file location so i can change?
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  • The Vault avatar
    The Vault Joined 7mo ago
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    7mo 7mo
    oh yes. finally someone just told me about the decoration anchor bloccs
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    Child Shredded Meat
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  • Casteor573 avatar
    Casteor573 Joined 9mo ago
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    i cant get the warping to work
    has been revamped avatar
    has been revamped
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  • PolyPixl09 avatar
    PolyPixl09 Joined 1y ago
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    1y 1y
    I have a question about text boxes. Is it possible to make the text boxes format correctly? Usually, when I write a slightly long text in the thing, it makes a very wide box with formats the text in one line.

    Is there a way to write text without it turning into a wide, one-line text? (Here is an example of what I'm talking about for reference)
    Mantra? I barely know 'er! avatar
    Mantra? I barely know 'er!
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  • ViktorGameBanana avatar
    ViktorGameBanana Joined 2y ago
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    1y 1y
    I made my level pack, but the problem is, completing the first level takes me to the credits. Who can I tell that to? You or the creator of Sonic Boll considering what can I do to solve this issue?
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  • jack5gamebanana avatar
    jack5gamebanana username pic Joined 7y ago
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    I wish you had some pictures of what each of the decoration anchors did.
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    I am become GameBanana
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  • tom avatar
    tom username pic Joined 20y ago
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    tom avatar
    End Boss
    Hey there, nice tutorial :) What do you think about adding some headings and the table of contents feature (under settings) to make it a bit easier to run through, like this tutorial? Otherwise great work :)
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