Tutorial

Grayscale Era looks pretty simple from the outside, but since it allows you to create anything from scratch, it requires a bit of getting used to. This tutorial will show you all that is required to know about this game. It is meant to be read from top to bottom, but you can skip to a certain section using this list:

Play Create Players Create Arenas Create Adventures

Play

Play Menu

In the Play menu, you have two modes to choose from: Arena and Adventure. Here's a short breakdown of each:

  • Arena: A simple free for all battle, where the host chooses an arena, and everyone fights with their own players. Both private lobbies and public play modes are available. If you want to play this mode and are hosting, please choose an arena that is fair and enjoyable for others.
  • Adventure: In this mode, an adventure creator creates a map with their own purpose in mind. This might be a race map, a boss rush, or anything else. Private lobbies and single player modes are available. This mode might be slightly more demanding on your computer, depending on how large the adventure is.

Choose a mode, and then select how you want to enter the game:

  • Host Lobby & Connect Lobby: Allow someone to host a game with the world of their choice, and then for others to enter the game simply by connecting to the lobby name given to them by the host.
  • Direct Host & Direct Connect: The host simply hosts a server, which others have to directly connect to by IP. If you want others from outside your local network to connect, please port forward (I won't be explaining what that is) port 38694.
  • Single Player (Adventure Only): Play alone.
  • Public Play (Arena Only): Play with random people online. The game will first look for others who have already hosted a server on public play (with the same number of players you chose), and attempt connecting to them. If it cannot connect to anyone, it will host a server itself. If you are the host, you get to choose the map. As stated before, choose a map that everyone will enjoy.

In the Arena Settings, "Max Player Points Allowed" is basically a way of telling others what strength of players is allowed in this match. This will be discussed in detail in the Create Players section, but every player has an amount of player points depending on how strong they are. The more they have, the stronger they are. By default, including the unchangeable default in Public Play, players must be at 40,000 player points or below to enter. PenGIF (the player that comes with the game) meets that requirement, so he should be fine for most matches.

In Game

In this game, you have 5 abilities. Each player has different abilities, so you might want to try all of them if this is your first time playing with a player. All characters have the same controls, however. For example, here are PenGIF's abilities:

  • First Ability (W to use): Jump
  • Second Ability (Left Click to use): Shoots an eraser forward, which follows nearby enemies
  • Third Ability (Right Click to use): Stabs enemies in front of him with his pencil
  • Fourth Ability (Q to use): Gives PenGIF some health, a temporary speed boost, and some temporary protection
  • Fifth Ability (E to use): Removes his head, places it in his position, and draws himself a new head. The head placed will shoot projectiles at nearby enemies (a turret). It disappears after a short timespan

The cooldowns for these abilities, as well as your health, are shown at the bottom of the screen. You can see other players' health and buffs/debuffs above them.

In Arena, you have to simply get as many points as possible before the time runs out. Kills are worth one point, deaths negate one point, suicides negate two points. In Adventure, simply do what the adventure asks of you to do.

Other useful controls to know about:

  • Player List (TAB): Pulls out the player list, showing everyone in the game, their connection quality to the host, and their points (in Arena)
  • Send Message (ENTER/RETURN): Shows the chat, and allows you to type in the chat box. Press ENTER/RETURN again to send your message. To cancel the message, make sure the message is empty, and press ENTER/RETURN again
  • Trigger (S): A button that, by default, does nothing. Adventures might ask you to use it to do something adventure-specific
  • Pause (ESCAPE): Shows the "pause menu" (it never actually pauses the game). You can exit the game from here

End Game

At the end of the game (for Adventure, the game might not end), you get to chat with others before leaving the lobby. In Arena, you will also see a chart showing the results of the game. If you are a client, you can also save the world you are playing in to your own computer. Simply go to the top right of the screen, give you world a name in the text entry, and click the save button.

Create Players

To open the player creator screen, open the Create menu, choose Player, click the Create Player button, and give your player a name. The player creator screen will show your player at the bottom of the screen, on a small platform. You may control the player as you would in a game, to test out their abilities. If you created a new player, the player probably looks like a glitching box with an X inside it. Let's get the glitching part sorted out first.

Statistics

Your player is glitching, because they simply don't have health, and are continuously dying! Click the Statistics button, and change the values to your liking. Here is what each value does:

  • Health: How much damage you can take before you die
  • Speed: How fast you walk
  • Gravity Decrease: Slows down your falling speed. Will also increase your jump/hop height (if you have any of those abilities)
  • Player Collision Size: How large your player actually is. Smaller sizes are generally harder to hit, and can fit in smaller places

After giving your player some health and speed, you should be able to move normally. But your player is still a boring box with an X inside it. Time to draw your character!

Animation

Some notes&definitions before reading this section:

  • All of the animations for players are for when they are facing RIGHT. The animation will be flipped when they are facing/moving left
  • Frame: A moment in an animation, which consists of a single drawing
  • Pixel: The smallest component of a computer image. An image consists of many pixels, tiny boxes on the screen. For players, every drawing/image is 100 pixels wide, and 100 pixels tall (100x100)

Click the Idle Animation button, which will open the animation screen. In here, you can draw your player's animation frame by frame. To add a frame, click the + button, which will add a solid black frame to your animation. Edit the frame by clicking the pencil button, which will bring up the paint screen. Here, you can draw your character as you would in any drawing program. You can choose a shade of gray from the right, and draw on the canvas. You may also choose a shade of gray from the canvas itself, by right clicking on the pixel you want to choose the gray from. Finally, you can resize your brush by scrolling up or down.

The buttons on the left of the screen do the following, from top to bottom:

  • Save the frame
  • Copy the frame to the clipboard
  • Paste the frame from the clipboard
  • Undo (can only be done once)
  • Cancel all changes done to the frame

If you can't get the detail you want for your character in this simple paint screen, you can create the image in another program (GIMP, Adobe Photoshop, Krita, etc.) and upload the image to the game. Make sure the image is exactly the same resolution as the paint screen (in this case, 100x100 pixels), take the image, and drag and drop it into the game's canvas. I would recommend the image be a grayscale (only shades of gray) PNG file.

After finishing your first frame, you will see the final result of your animation on the very top left of the animation screen. You can add more frames (maximum of 10 for players). You can also change the length of each frame using the slider at the bottom of the screen. Press the X button to remove the frame you're currently at. When you're done, go back to the main player creation screen to see your player with its new animation.

Of course, this is just the idle animation. It isn't the animation that the player uses when they walk, or when they use any ability. Go ahead and create an animation for the player when they're walking to the right (The Walk -> Animation button). After you're done, you can start giving your player abilities.

Abilities

At the top of the screen, you can see and change all of your player's 5 abilities. The first ability (the one which activates by clicking W) is at the left, and the last ability (the E ability) is at the right. Let's start by giving your player a jump ability. Click on the 3 line button for the first ability. Here, you can choose what type of ability you want:

  • Self Buff: Gives your player a buff (healing, speed, gravity decrease, etc.)
  • Jump: Normal, vertical jump
  • Projectile: Shoots something. You can change your projectile's properties to your liking, such as whether it's homing, its speed, its lifetime before it disappears (range), the debuff it gives the people it hits, etc.
  • Melee Attack: Gives everyone within a specific range a debuff
  • Hop Towards Cursor: Leap towards the cursor. Unlike jumping, this can be done midair, multiple times
  • Summon Static Minion: Summons an invincible, still minion, which can aid the player by:
    • Giving enemies near it debuffs
    • Giving allies (usually just the player) near it buffs
    • Shooting projectiles at nearby enemies

For now, choose the Jump ability, and go back to the player creator screen. Click the gear button for the first ability to change the ability's properties. For jumping, that will only be a Buff on Use (similar to the Self Buff), and the Vertical Power of your jump. Change it, and test the jump in the player creator screen to see if this is what you want. If you want to test the player in a specific arena, you can also click the play button at the bottom right of the screen, choose an arena, and test the player over there.

Finally, you should give your player a jump animation. Click the pencil button for your jump ability to reach the animation list screen. Every ability has a different set of animations you can give it. For jumping, this will be the Initial (the animation that plays the moment you jump) and Airborne (the animation that continues to play until you touch the ground). Click the pencil button next to the animation you want to change to change it. After you're done, your first ability should be complete!

Buffs&Debuffs (Status Effects)

I won't be writing what every single property of every single ability does, but the Buff and Debuff properties require some explanation. Buffs & Debuffs are effects that either help (buff) or hinder (debuff) other players. Clicking on a buff/debuff list will give you all of the status effects available to you:

  • Instant Health/Instant Damage: Heals/Damages the player
  • Health Regen/Damage over Time: Heals/Damages the player over a period of time, which can be changed
  • Speed Increase/Speed Decrease: Speeds up/Slows down a player's movement for a period of time, which can be changed
  • Gravity Decrease/Gravity Increase: Makes the player more/less "floaty" for a period of time, which can be changed
  • Defense Increase/Defense Decrease: Makes the player more/less resistant to damage for a period of time, which can be changed

Player Points

You're probably wondering why most properties have numbers or fractions next to them. You might also be wondering why you would ever need "Jump", if there is a "Hop Towards Cursor", or why would you ever need the "Self Buff" ability, if literally every other ability has a self buff property with it!

Every ability, property, or stat, increases the player's Player Points. Player Points are a way of measuring how strong your character is. Next to each property is a colon, followed by a number or fraction. If it's a number, which is the case for multiple choice & tick box properties, that means choosing/enabling the property will give your player that many player points. If it's a fraction in the format X/Y, that means that your player will get X points for every Y given to the number property. As an example, if your player has 1000 health, that costs 2000 points, since every 100 health costs 200 points (200/100).

Create Arenas

To create an arena, open the Create menu, click Arena, click the Create Arena button, and give your arena a name. You will then be redirected to the level creator screen.

You'll first need some blocks to put in the level. To add a block to the arena, click the + button at the top right corner. You can then select a block that has already been created, or you can create a block of your own. Clicking the Create Block button will open an animation screen, where you can create an animation for your block. There are a few differences between this animation screen and the player animation screen:

  • Blocks are only 20x20 pixels large
  • You can edit your block's properties (block movement and status effects when touching block) by clicking the gear at the bottom right of the screen
  • Blocks can only have 5 frames in an animation

Creating a new block will save it separately, for use within any of your worlds.

After a block has been selected, it will pop up at the right of the screen. You may have up to 250 unique blocks in each arena. Click on a block to select it, and then start placing the blocks in the level. Scroll to change the "brush size" for placing blocks, and right click to select a block that has been placed in the level. Press Q on a block that you want to remove.

Blocks can be edited from within the arena screen. Simply select a block, and click the pencil button at the top left corner. The arena keeps a copy of every block it uses inside itself, and editing the block will edit the copy used inside the arena. The original block you selected when adding the block to the arena will not be affected.

Clicking the X button at the top left corner with a block selected will remove the block from the arena entirely.

There are multiple placement modes in the arena creator, which you can change by pressing the F block at the bottom left of the screen:

  • F (Foreground): Places blocks in the foreground, meaning that players cannot go through the blocks.
  • B (Background): Places blocks in the background, allowing players to go through them.
  • S (Spawn): Places spawn points within the level. Players have an equal, random chance of spawning at any of the points.

After you're done creating the arena, you can test it by clicking the play button at the bottom left corner of the screen, and choosing a player to test the arena with.

Finally, you can create an image for your arena. Click the pencil button at the bottom left corner, and draw an image that represents the arena.

Some extra tips for creating arenas:

  • Zoom in and out using the slider next to the magnifying glass at the top left corner
  • Pressing E at two points will measure the distance in blocks between the points. This is useful for specifying how far a moving block should move

Create Adventures

NOTICE: Creating adventures might be confusing, and slightly more complicated than creating players and arenas. It's not a neccessity for playing this game, however, so you can skip this part if you aren't interested.

To create an adventure, open the Create screen, choose Adventure, click Create Adventure, and give your adventure a name. You will then be sent to the adventure creation screen.

Adventures can be much larger than arenas, and have many of an arena's limits increased. Here are some of the differences:

  • Adventures have multiple levels, called rooms. Each room is much larger than a normal arena (arenas are 200x200 blocks large, while a single room is 500x500 blocks). You may create up to 20 rooms in an adventure.
  • Adventures can hold 1000 unique blocks, while arenas can only hold 250.

Let's start by adding a room. Click the Add Room button, and give your room a name. It will pop up in the adventure creator screen. You can rename the room later by pressing the pencil button next to it. You can also remove the room by pressing the X button next to it.

Click on your new room to open the level creator. In general, not much has changed from arenas in regards to adding and placing blocks. But, there is one key difference, instead of having a Spawn Placement mode (S), you have a Point Placement mode (P). This is because adventures have points, which are much more general objects that can be made to do multiple tasks, from setting spawn points, to teleporting players, and even summoning NPCs!

Creating Points

Switch to Point Placement mode, and click the + button at the top right corner to add a point. Select the point, and click the gear at the top left to edit its properties.

The first property is the point's tag. This is important to identify this point in any way later on. Make sure you give every point you add a special, unique tag.

Next is the Point Rules property. Clicking it will open the Rule Screen, a place where you dictate an object's behaviour (in this case, the point you're editing) by giving it rules to follow. Every rule can have a set of conditions, and a set of results. If the conditions are true, the object executes the results.

Click the Add Rule button. A set of conditions you can choose from will pop up. To add a condition to the rule, simply increase the number of that condition. When you're done selecting the conditions you want, click the Add Selected Conditions button. Do the same thing for adding results.

Numbers

Before delving into what each condition and result does, it is important to know about numbers. Numbers are (you guessed it) numbers that are given a name, and can be checked and set inside the adventure. You can add, subtract, and set numbers inside results, and then check the number to see if it is equal to, greater than, or less than a certain value/another number of your choice. If you come from a mathematics or computer science background, you can think of them as variables.

Numbers can be global or private. Global numbers are numbers that aren't special to any object, and can be accessed from anywhere in the adventure. Private numbers are unique to a single object, even if they are of the same type. For example, every player can have a unique number called "score", which counts how much the player's "score" is in the adventure.

By default, all numbers, whether they are set or are not set, are equal to 0. Currently, a number can have a value from 0-100.

Point Conditions&Results

Here is what each point condition checks for:

  • Adventure Just Started: Checks if this is the first moment in the adventure
  • Check Global Number: Checks if a global number is a certain value
  • Check Private Number: Check if one of this point's private numbers is a certain value
  • Check For Player: Check if a certain player exists based on certain criteria. This includes:
    • If they are the closest player to the object
    • If they are a certain distance from the object
    • If they are a certain distance away from the object
    • If one of the player's private numbers meets certain criteria
    • If the player just died
    • Checking the player's trigger (S) button
    This "Check for Player" list appears in many other places. We will call it the player selector list from here on
  • Every X Milliseconds: This condition is true every time a certain amount of time passes
  • Random Percentage: Whether this condition is true or false is random. You can set a percentage for how likely you want it to be true

Here is what each point result does:

  • Set Global Number: Set a global number to a certain value
  • Set Private Number: Set one of the point's private numbers to a certain value
  • Set Player Private Number: Set one/many players' private numbers to a certain value. You can select which players to set the private number for using a player selector list
  • Place Block: Places a certain block in the point's position. You can even specify if it is a foreground or background block
  • Remove Placed Block: If you have placed a block using the "Place Block" result, this removes it
  • Summon NPC: Summons an NPC. Explained in detail later
  • TP Player to Point: TPs player(s) (selected with a player selector list) to a certain point. The point is selected by its tag. Currently, if there are multiple points with the same tag, the behaviour is unknown. So make sure only 1 point with this tag exists in the adventure
  • Set Player Spawn: Sets player(s) (player selector list) spawn point to a certain point. Specified with a tag. Make sure only 1 point with the tag exists
  • Print Message: Prints a message to certain player(s) (player selector list) in chat
  • Print Announcement: Prints an announcement to certain player(s). An announcement is a large, short text written at the top center of the screen. To remove the announcement, set the announcement to an empty announcement
  • Give Player Effects: Give certain player(s) a status effect
  • End Game: End the game, sends everyone to the end game lobby

After setting the conditions and results for your rule, the rule will appear in the list, where you can edit the rule's values, move rules around (rules are checked and executed from top to bottom), and remove rules.

When you're done setting the point's rules, you can then place and remove it in the adventure just like you would with blocks.

Summon NPCs

NPCs (Non-Player Characters) are characters who are defined by a rule list. In the Summon NPC result's properties, you can set the NPC to be a certain player (taking that player's looks, abilities, and statistics), and you can set the NPC's name, and whether the NPC's name or health&effects are visible above them. You can then go ahead and set the rules for the NPC's AI.

Most of the AI's conditions and results are self explanatory/very similar to the point's conditions and results, so not all of them will be explained. But, the Use Move result is what truly dictates how the NPC acts. With this result, you can make the NPC use a certain ability (including movement) in a certain direction (which can be a static direction like up or down, or something else like targeting a certain player).

Each NPC has their own unique private numbers.

Adventure Settings

Go to the adventure creation screen, and click the gear at the bottom right corner. Here, you can set some general settings for the whole adventure. This includes:

  • Spawn Point Tag: Which point to set as the first spawn point. There should only be one point with this tag
  • Time Limit: Time before adventure ends. Setting it to 0 removes the timer completely
  • Respawn Time: Time for player to respawn after death
  • Force Player: Force everyone to play as a specific player. Keep it unchanged to allow people to choose from their own player roster, just as they would for arenas
  • Max Player Points Allowed: If a player isn't forced, set a limit for what players can enter
  • Player Rules: A rule list that executes for each player. Will not be explained in depth, as it is similar to other rule lists

Other Useful Things to Know

  • The adventure image can be set at the bottom left corner of the adventure creator screen
  • There are numbers that have special meanings in the game. Currently, there is only 1, and that is the __TEAM private number. Players AND NPCs with a __TEAM of the same value cannot attack each other. By default, all players start with a different __TEAM value above 0, and all NPCs have a __TEAM of value 0. If a player or point (even if teams don't affect points) summon an NPC, the player's/point's __TEAM value passes on to the summoned NPC
  • In the Player Rules, to select the player themselves in the player selector (for example, to check/set their own private numbers), simply check for the closest player. Since the rule list is running for the player, the closest player is always (well, except for the rare cases when players are in the exact same position) the player themselves.