c4 [-INTYPE] INFILENAME [-OUTTYPE] OUTFILENAME
c4 allows one to translate between the several different types of files used to represent
level sets for the game Chip's Challenge.
c4 expects there to be two files named on the command-line. c4 reads the levels stored in
the first file, and then writes the levels out to the second file. The format to use with
each file usually can be inferred by c4 by examining the filenames. If not, then it may be
necessary to use switches before one or both filenames to indicate their type.
There are four different types of files that c4 understands.
-D MS data file (*.dat).
This is the file type used by Chip's Challenge for Microsoft Windows 3.x. It is the file
type used by most other programs, such as ChipEdit and Tile World.
-R Lynx ROM file (*.lnx, *.lyx)
This "file type" is actually just a ROM image of the original Chip's Challenge for the
Atari Lynx handheld. It is used by Lynx emulators such as Handy.
-P MS-DOS fileset (directory of *.pak files)
This is the format used by the MS-DOS port of Chip's Challenge. In this case, the filename
given on the command line actually names a directory, containing *.pak files.
-T textual source file (*.txt)
This file type is native to c4. It is a plain text file, which allows levels to be defined
pictorially using a simple text editor. A complete description of the syntax of these
files is provided below.
c4 mylevels.txt mylevels.dat
Create a .dat file from a textual source file.
c4 -P levels -D doslevels.dat
"levels" is a directory of MS-DOS *.pak files. c4 translates the directory contents into a
single .dat file. Note that the switches in this example are optional, as c4 would be able
to infer the desired formats.
c4 mylevels.dat chipsch.lnx
Embed the levels from the .dat file into a Lynx ROM file. Note that c4 does NOT create
chipsch.lnx. You must provide the ROM image file, which c4 then alters to contain your
levels. (Obviously, you should not use this command on your master copy of the ROM file.)
c4 chipsch.lnx -T out
Output the levels in the .dat file as a text file. Here the -T switch is needed to
indicate that a text file is the desired output format.
When producing a text file, c4 will attempt to produce legible source, but the results
will often not be as good as what a human being would produce. (In particular, c4 cannot
Be aware that there can be various problems when translating a set of levels using the MS
ruleset to one of the Lynx-only file formats. There are numerous objects and
configurations in the MS ruleset which cannot be represented in the Lynx ruleset. Usually
c4 will display a warning when some aspect of the data could not be transferred intact
because of this.
The remainder of this documentation describes the syntax of the textual source file
LAYOUT OF THE INPUT FILE
The source file is broken up into subsections. Each subsection defines a separate level in
The subsections are separated from each other by a line containing three percent signs:
A line of three percent signs also comes before the first level and after the last level,
at the end of the source file.
Any other line that begins with a percent sign is treated as a comment, and its contents
Beyond these things, the source file consists of statements. Statements generally appear
as a single line of text. Some statements, however, require multiple lines. These multi-
line statements are terminated with the word end appearing alone on a line.
INPUT FILE HEADER STATEMENTS
There are a couple of statements that can appear at the very top of the source file,
before the first level subsection.
ruleset [ lynx | ms ]
The ruleset statement is the most important of these. It defines the ruleset for the level
set. If the ruleset statment is absent, it defaults to lynx.
The maxlevel statement specifies the number of the last level in the .dat file. By
default, this value is provided automatically and does not need to be specified.
In addition to the above, a set of tile definitions can appear in the header area. See
below for a full description of the tiles multi-line statement. Any tile definitions
provided here remain in force throughout the file.
INPUT FILE LEVEL STATEMENTS
Within each level's subsection, the following two statments will usually appear at the
The title statement supplies the level's title, or name. The title string can be
surrounded by double quotes, or unadorned. The password statement supplies the level's
password. This password must consist of exactly four uppercase alphabetic characters.
If the level's number is 150 or less, the password statement may be omitted. In that case
the level's password will default to match that level in the original Lynx set. (N.B.: The
Lynx ROM file format does not provide a mechanism for setting passwords, so in that case
the default password will be used regardless.)
The following statements may also appear in a level subsection.
The chips statement defines how many chips are required on this level to open the chip
socket. The default value is zero.
The time statement defines how many seconds are on the level's clock. The default value is
zero (i.e., no time limit).
The hint statement defines the level's hint text. As with the title statement, the string
can either be unadorned or delimited with double quotes. If a section contains multiple
hint statements, the texts are appended together, e.g.:
hint This is a relatively long hint, and so it
hint is helpful to be able to break it up across
hint several lines.
Note that the same can be done with title statements.
The tiles multi-line statement introduces one or more tile definitions. The definitions
appear one per line, until a line containing end is found. Note that the tile definitions
given here only apply to the current level. A complete description of tile definitions is
map [ X Y ] map [ X Y ]
The map statement defines the actual contents of (part of) the level's map. The line
containing the map statement can optionally include a pair of coordinates; these
coordinates indicate where the the section will be located on the level's map. If
coordinates are omitted, the defined section will be located at (0 0) -- i.e., the upper-
left corner of the level. The lines inside the map statement pictorially define the
contents of the map section, until a line containing and or end is encountered. When the
map is terminated by and, then the lines defining the map section are immediately followed
by lines defining an overlay. The overlay uses the same origin as the map section (though
it is permissible for the overlay to be smaller than the map section it is paired with). A
complete description of the map and overlay sections is given below.
The border statement specifies a tile. The edges of the map are then changed to contain
this tile. Typically this is used to enclose the level in walls.
The following statements are also available, though they are usually not needed. They
provide means for explicitly defining level data, for the occasional situation where the
usual methods are more cumbersome.
creatures X1 Y1 ; X2 Y2 ...
The creatures statements permits explicit naming of the coordinates in the creature list.
Pairs of coordinates are separated from each other by semicolons; any number of coordinate
pairs can be specified. There can be multiple creatures statements in a level's
traps P1 Q1 -> R1 S1 ; P2 Q2 -> R2 S2 ...
The traps statement permits explicit naming of the coordinates for elements in the bear
trap list. Coordinates are given in one or more groups of four, separated by semicolons.
Each group consists of the x- and y-coordinates of the brown button, an arrow (->), and
then the x- and y-coordinates of the bear trap. Any number of traps statements can appear
in a level's subsection.
cloners P1 Q1 -> R1 S1 ; P2 Q2 -> R2 S2 ...
The cloners statement permits explicit naming of elements in the clone machine list. It
uses the same syntax as the traps statment, with the red button's coordinates preceding
the coordinates of the clone machine.
The level statement defines the level's number. By default it is one more than the number
of the prior level.
field NN B01 B02 ...
The field statement allows fields to be directly specified and embedded in the .dat file.
The first argument specifies the field number; the remaining arguments provide the byte
values for the actual field data. These statements are only meaningful in conjunction with
producing a .dat file.
A tile definition consists of two parts. The first part is either one or two characters.
The characters can be letters, numbers, punctuation -- anything except spaces. The second
part is the name of a tile or a pair of tiles. The characters then become that tile's
Here is an example of some tile definitions:
rb red button
@ chip south
(Note that a single tab character comes after the characters and before the tile names.)
Once these definitions have been provided, the newly-defined characters can then be used
in a map.
The above definitions all use singular tiles. To define a pair of tiles, combine the two
names with a plus sign, like so:
X block + bomb
G glider north + clone machine
Notice that the top tile is named first, then the bottom tile.
The tiles statement is the only statement that can appear in the header, as well as in a
level's subsection. Tile definitions in the header are global, and can be used in every
subsection. Tile definitions inside a subsection are local, and apply only to that level.
A number of tile definitions are pre-set ahead of time, supplying standard representations
for some of the most common tiles. (If these representations are not desired, the
characters can always be redefined.) Here are some of the built-in definitions:
# wall $ computer chip
, water H socket
= ice E exit
& fire  block
6 bomb ? hint button
See below for the complete list of tile names and built-in definitions.
A few groups tiles allow one to specify multiple definitions in a single line. For
This one definition is equivalent to the following:
Gn glider north
Gs glider south
Ge glider east
Gw glider west
(Note that "G" by itself is still undefined.) All creatures, including Chip, can be
defined using this abbreviated form.
Doors and keys are the other groups that have this feature; the following definition:
is equivalent to:
Dr red door
Db blue door
Dy yellow door
Dg green door
Once all the needed tiles have defined representations, using the map statement is a
simple matter. Here is an example:
# # # # # #
# & & # # #
 H E #
# & $ # # #
# # # # # #
This is a map of a small room. A block stands in the way of the entrance. Three of the
four corners contain fire; the fourth contains a chip. On the east wall is an exit guarded
by a chip socket.
Note that each cell in the map is two characters wide. (Thus, for example, the octothorpes
describe a solid wall around the room.)
Here is a larger example, which presents the map from LESSON 2:
B bug north
C chip south
map 7 7
# # # # # # #
# $ #
# # # # # # # # # # # #
# # # # B , , $ #
# E H # # B , , C ? #
# # # # B , , $ #
# # # # # # # # # # # #
# $ #
# # # # # # #
There are a couple of different ways to fill a cell with two tiles. The first way is to
simply use tile definitions which contains two tiles:
X block + bomb
G glider east + clone machine
map 12 14
6 E #
# # X
The second way is to squeeze two representations into a single cell. Obviously, this can
only be done with both representations are a single character.
G glider east
+ clone machine
map 12 14
6 E #
# # [6
In both cases, the top tile always comes before the bottom tile. Note that you can "bury"
a tile by placing it to the right of a space:
# # # # # #
6 6 6E #
# # # # # #
Any number of map statements can appear in a level's subsection. The map statements will
be combined together to make the complete map.
Every map statement can optionally include an overlay section. This overlay permits button
connections and monster ordering to be defined.
The overlay is applied to the same position as the map section it accompanies. The overlay
can duplicate parts of the map section it covers, and any such duplication will be
ignored. The only characters in the overlay that are significant are the ones that differ
from the map section it covers. These characters are treated as labels. Labels are always
a single character; two non-space characters in a cell always indicates two separate
labels. Any non-space characters can be used as labels, as long as they don't match up
with the map.
An overlay section defines a button connection by using the same label in two (or more)
cells. One of the labelled cells will contain either a bear trap or a clone machine, and
the other will contain the appropriate button. If there are more than two cells with the
same label, all but one should contain a button.
Characters that only appear once in an overlay, on the other hand, indicate creatures. The
characters then indicate the ordering of the creatures in the creature list with respect
to each other. The ordering of characters is the usual ASCII sequence (e.g., numbers
first, then capital letters, then lowercase letters).
For example, here is a map with an overlay that demonstrates all three of these uses:
G glider east
+ clone machine
r red button
b brown button
G v #
G+ * r * G+ b & # r
G+ * r # # r
# > b b G < # #
2 v #
A c C d C d & # A
B a C # # B
# > a c 1 < # #
In this example, capitals are used for the clone machine connections, lowercase for the
bear trap connections, and numbers are used for the creature ordering.
(Note that the gliders atop clone machines are not numbered. While it is not an error to
include clone machine creatures in the ordering, they are ignored under the MS ruleset.)
It is not necessary to reproduce any of the map section's text in the overlay section.
Blanks can be used instead. The ignoring of matching text is simply a feature designed to
assist the user in keeping the overlay's contents properly aligned.
The traps, cloners, and creatures statements can be used in lieu of, or in conjunction
with, data from overlay sections. In the case of the creature list, items are added to the
list in the order that they are encountered in the source text.
If a level contains no overlay information and none of the above three statements, then
this information will be filled in automatically. The data will be determined by following
the original Lynx-based rules -- viz., buttons are connected to the next beartrap/clone
machine in reading order, wrapping around to the top if necessary. (Likewise, the creature
ordering is just the order of the creatures in their initial placement, modified by
swapping the first creature with Chip.) Thus, if you actually want to force an empty bear
trap list, clone machine list, or creature list, you must include an empty traps, cloners,
and/or creatures statement.
Here is the complete list of tiles as they are named in definitions. Two or more names
appearing on the same line indicates that they are two different names for the same tile.
Note that the tile names are not case-sensitive; capitalization is ignored.
computer chip ic chip
ice corner southeast ice se
ice corner southwest ice sw
ice corner northwest ice nw
ice corner northeast ice ne
force floor north force north
force floor south force south
force floor east force east
force floor west force west
force floor random force random force any
hidden wall permanent invisible wall permanent
hidden wall temporary invisible wall temporary
wall north partition north
wall south partition south
wall east partition east
wall west partition west
wall southeast partition southeast wall se
closed toggle wall closed toggle door toggle closed
open toggle wall open toggle door toggle open
blue door door blue
red door door red
green door door green
yellow door door yellow
blue key key blue
red key key red
green key key green
yellow key key yellow
blue button button blue tank button
red button button red clone button
green button button green toggle button
brown button button brown trap button
blue block floor blue wall fake
blue block wall blue wall real
clone machine cloner
water boots water shield flippers
fire boots fire shield
ice boots spiked shoes skates
force boots magnet suction boots
block moveable block
cloning block north block north
cloning block south block south
cloning block east block east
cloning block west block west
bug north bee north
paramecium north centipede north
fireball north flame north
glider north ghost north
walker north dumbbell north
teeth north frog north
(The last nine lines, listing the creatures, only show the north-facing versions. The
remaining 27 names, for the south-, east-, and west-facing versions, follow the obvious
Note that tile names may be abbreviated to any unique prefix. In particular, this permits
one to write names like "glider north" as simply "glider n".
There are also tile names for the "extra" MS tiles. These tiles are listed in parentheses,
as an indicator that they were not originally intended to be used in maps.
(chip swimming north) (chip swimming n)
(chip swimming west) (chip swimming w)
(chip swimming south) (chip swimming s)
(chip swimming east) (chip swimming e)
Finally, note that one can also explicitly refer to tiles by their hexadecimal byte value
under the MS rules by using the "0x" prefix. Thus, the names "0x2A" and "bomb" are
PREDEFINED TILE DEFINITIONS
The following is the complete list of built-in tile definitions:
# wall E exit
$ ic chip H socket
, water = ice
& fire 6 bomb
; dirt : gravel
~ wall north ^ force floor north
_ wall south v force floor south
| wall west < force floor west
| wall east > force floor east
_| wall southeast <> force floor random
? hint button @ chip south
 block [ block
^] cloning block north + clone machine
<] cloning block west + clone machine
v] cloning block south + clone machine
>] cloning block east + clone machine
c4, Copyright (C) 2003-2006 Brian Raiter <@muppetlabs.com>
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this
software and documentation (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction,
including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute,
sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software
is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or
substantial portions of the Software.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR
PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE
FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR
OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER
DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.Tile World 2017-03-22 C4(6)