Tweaks and Tricks

This page contains tweaks and tricks for use with Mr. Matt by the more technically oriented crowd (yes, you!). This is no rocket science, but you should at least have basic knowledge how to use Windows: tasks like copying and renaming files, creating folders, text editing and such. This information, describing features not officially supported, is not available in the Mr. Matt Help file or anywhere else.

The new items will be added to this page from time to time, and added at the top. Suggestions are welcome.

Adding your own graphic sprites

As distributed, Mr. Matt allows you to switch between eight different sets of graphic sprites accessible from the [Options | Graphics] menu. You can, however, add any number of sets of graphics schemes to the program.

While Mr. Matt is not running, go to the img\big or img\sml subfolder, depending whether you wish to install new "big" or "small" sprites.

Note that the folder you've just entered contains subfolders with names like those of various graphics settings.

Create a new folder here, for example, Tofu. For starters, copy (not move!) into this new folder all .bmp files from one of the other folders.

Note: the name of the new folder will show up in the Graphics menu, so make it look presentable (for example, with the right capitalization). It will be always shown the way you defined it, i.e., it will not be translated into another language when you switch.

Now, using a painting program (e.g., Paint Shop Pro?) modify, or replace, any and all files in your new Tofu folder. This can be done while Mr. Matt is running; to see how the changes look on the program screen, just load (or reload) a game.

Here are some rules to follow when designing your own sprites:

  • The "big" bitmaps have to be 24 x 24 pixels, small ones - 16x16 pixels, saved under the same names in the newly created subfolder;
  • It is recommended to ensure that the files are saved in 8-bit color (256 colors), preferably using the standard palette;
  • You do not have to provide all eleven bitmap files; some of the old, copied ones may remain unchanged.

If you come up with a set of bitmaps you would like to share with other Mr. Matt addicts, I will gladly post your work on the Mr. Matt Web Page (only if I like it enough!), or post a link to your page containing the graphics.

Adding your own sounds

You can add your own sounds to these included with the program or downloaded from the Mr. Matt Goodies page.

First, go to the wav folder inside the Mr. Matt one, and create a new folder there for your own sounds. Give it some nice name, preferably a single word starting from a capital letter, like Bubba.

Then copy (not move!) all *.wav files from the wav\Classic folder to the one just made. You have created a new sound scheme (named "Bubba" in this example). Run Mr. Matt, you will see Bubba appearing in the [Options | Sound] submenu.

At this moment your custom sounds are the same as in the Classic scheme. The next step will be substituting the *.wav files in the new folder with ones of your choice.

Double-clicking on any or the *.wav icons will play this sound, giving you an idea of where it is used in the game. If you have a .wav file which you would like to use instead, copy it to the new folder giving it the name of the sound you want to replace.

Try to use sounds of approximately the same length as the originals. For example, the sound accompanying a falling stone, mm_ston.wav, should be fairly short, about one-tenth of a second; otherwise the effect will not be right.

Don't be afraid to experiment: in the worst case you can just delete the newly created folder and things will be back to normal. There is one limitation: the number of sound schemes cannot exceed sixteen; any more will be just ignored.

In Windows 98, ME, or XP, you may find quite a few sound files in the windows\media folder. Thousands are available on the Internet. You can also use the Windows Sound Recorder to make your own sounds, although this may take some effort. A good tool to tweak the sounds (cut, shrink, change the loudness) is the shareware program Cool Edit.

Changing the winning splash screen

Many people who register this program do it for their children or grandchildren - or, at least, so they say :-) Well, here is something you can use to give the kids more fun: replacing the winning splash with any picture and text of your choice (registered copies only).

Your picture has to be in the .bmp or .jpg format. You can use Paint Shop Pro or PolyView, or many other programs to convert it. If your display works in the 256-color mode, use the 256-color .bmp standard palette: the image will load faster and look better (use .jpg if your display shows more colors).

There are no strict limits regarding the image size, but I would recommend the height of 250-400 pixels, and the width - 250-480 pixels.

Then you need to edit the file mrmatt.ini. You have to add one section to that file (a section starts from anything in square brackets), anywhere preceding a section header. A safe place is just the bottom of the file.

This section should contain lines like this:

[Splash]

Section name.

Image=c:\pics\vac98\buster.bmp

or

Image=buster.bmp

Your image file. If the whole path (starting from drive letter) is not shown, the file has to be in the img subfolder of the Mr. Matt program folder.

Line1=Congratulations, Brian!

Line2=Now you may see your sister

Line3=feeding your ice cream to Buster!

The text which will go at the bottom of the picture. Line 1 will be shown in a larger font than the others. You may use fewer than three lines, but not more.

Color1=Red

Color2=Blue

Color3=Green

Line colors. They can be different to make each line visible on the picture background. You may use Black, Gray, Silver, White, Maroon, Red, Navy, Blue, SkyBlue, Aqua, Green MoneyGreen, Lime, Olive, Teal, Yellow, Cream, Fuchsia and Purple.

Bold=1

The value of 1 makes all lines show in bold; otherwise use 0.

Choosing the right picture, text and colors for the best readability may take some experimentation and patience.

To help you with this, here is an undocumented trick: pressing the Control-Alt-T key combination (after the .ini file is saved to disk) shows the splash screen immediately, so that your experimentation may be a little less painful.

If you want to restore the original picture later, either remove the section you have added, or just change its name to something else, like [-Splash].

Good luck, and don't blame me if anything goes wrong!

Changing UI skins

This is a simple way to add new "skins" which will be available in the [Options > Skins] menu.

Use Windows Explorer or any other file manager to go to the img\skins subfolder in your Mr. Matt installation folder. Create there a new folder, giving it some meaningful name, with proper spelling and capitalization, as this name will be now Shown in the Skins submenu.

Place three (preferably small) image files in that new folder, and name them as follows:

  • mm_pan.jpg — image to be used for the bottom panel just below the Mr. Matt game map;
  • mm_list.jpg — image for table windows (Hall of Champions and Game Authors);
  • mm_box.jpg — for all other dialog windows.

The images will be, if needed, stretched to the area they are used in. Note that you cannot change the black font color in all these windows, so the images cannot be too dark.

Next time you run Mr. Matt, you will be able to choose the new skin.

Tweaking the game speed

The speed with which Mr. Matt and some other game elements (stones, bombs) move around the screen can be set from the [Options | Speed] menu to Slow, Normal, Fast, or Booster (in the last settings the game sounds are disabled). This, of course, affects most the fast game replay, and to a lesser extent the "manual" gameplaying.

The time delays corresponding to these settings can be changed by modifying the [Speed] section of the mrmatt.ini file. Here is how this section looks:

[Speed]

Section name

Speed=3

Speed setting, from 1 (Slow) to 4 (Booster)

Slow=180

Minimum delay between Mr. Matt moves, in milliseconds, for the Slow setting

Normal=120

Same, for Normal

Fast=60

Same, for Fast

Booster=10

Same, for the Booster setting; may be set to as low as 0

Multi=40

This is (approximately) the minimum delay between multiple sound effects following one another; increase it if the sound seems choppy

You are free to tweak these values to your heart's desire. If you get lost in the process, just delete the offending line (or the whole [Sound] section); when the program runs again, it will rebuild all missing lines using the defaults.

Only for the investigative kind (you do not need to know this to play with the settings):

To be more exact, the effect of the settings on gameplay speed is a little more complicated than explained above. Sometimes one Mr. Matt move is followed by one or more sound effects. Depending on that, the effective delay may be due to either the chosen speed setting, or by the Multi setting, whichever is greater. For example, if Mr. Matt just eats an apple in the Fast setting, the delay (with the values as shown above) will be 60 ms (because 60 is greater than 40, needed for the apple sound). If, however, Mr. Matt eats an apple and a stone is falling, the delay will be 80 ms: the greater of 60 (move) and 40+40 (eating sound plus stone sound). Got it?

Only for the very investigative kind (i.e., Ippotis):

Actually, what I said above is not quite true. The delay between sounds is not just the Multi value, but that increased by 1/4 of the current speed setting. In the example above it will not be 40 but (for Fast) 55 ms. You may need this information only if you want to squeeze all the speed your sound card can afford.

Changing program colors

Some of the visual elements of the program may have their colors changed by modifying the mrmatt.ini file while the program is not running.

Look for the section named [Colors] which may look like this:

[Colors]

This is the section name

Menu=Aqua

Background color for drop-down menus

MenuFont=Navy

Color of the menu font

MenuSel=Maroon

Color for selected (highlighted) menu items

MenuSelFont=Lime

Color of the selected menu font

List=Aqua

Background color for drop-down lists (like in game selection)

ListFont=Navy

Font color for drop-down lists

Grid=Maroon

Background color for table grids (like the Hall of Champions)

GridFont=Yellow

Font color for table grids

Now feel free to change color names following the '=' sign. The available English color designations are: Black, Gray, Silver, White, Maroon, Red, Navy, Blue, SkyBlue, Aqua, Green, MoneyGreen, Lime, Olive, Teal, Yellow, Cream, Fuchsia and Purple.

Note: on 256-color displays (is anyone still using those?) some of these may be shown dithered, which is very ugly!

You may also use BtnFace (the current Windows button face color) and Menu (current Windows menu color).

If the color name is not recognized (e.g., mistyped), it just will be ignored, and default used instead.

There is no option to change the attributes of selected items in grids and drop-down lists: these are defined by your Windows display settings, and there is no easy way for the program to take over.

When you next run the program, the new colors will be in effect.

Custom menus: Mr. Matt uses custom menus, where the program (as opposed to Windows) decides how they are drawn. This is why you can choose any menu color, or show menus in a language of your choice, regardless of your Windows language settings (very few programs do this!).

If, for any reasons, you prefer to have the standard Windows menus instead of custom ones, change the line CustomMenu=1 in the [Global] section to CustomMenu=0. Remember though, that in this setting you cannot run Mr. Matt in a language which requires a font different from that used by your Windows (for example, in Greek on a U.S. version of Windows).

Enforcing the image file type

This section may be of use to those who run Mr. Matt on very old computers. You may safely ignore it if your system is less than four years old.

Mr. Matt loads its graphics files (picture splashes, window backgrounds) from either .jpg or .bmp files, depending on the display your computer uses. Both types of files are provided in the distribution.

If your display has 256 colors, .bmp files will be used, as they were specially adjusted for this color depth (standard palette, dithering) and will usually look better in this mode. If your display uses more colors (16-bit depth or more), .jpg files will be used, as they look better in this setting.

The .jpg files, however, are compressed and cause a small delay at loading, noticeable if your computer is very slow (say, below 250MHz clock rate). You may want to force the program to show .bmp files, regardless of your display setting. Or the opposite: you may be happy with the way your display system shows .jpg files regardless of display depth, and you may want to use them.

Therefore Mr. Matt allows you to override its default choice; this is done by adding a line JPEG=1 or JPEG=0 in the [Graphics] section of mrmatt.ini. This will force the program to use the .jpg format always or never, respectively.

Removing that line from the mrmatt.ini file will restore the default way in program chooses the image format.


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Posted 1999/02/14; last updated 2006/04/18 Copyright © 1999-2006 by J. Andrzej Wrotniak