Blades of Exile Scenario Editor

FAQS concerning my VB version of the Blades of Exile Scenario Editor

This is my attempt to fix many of the problems I had with the Blades of Exile Scenario Editor. Unfortunately I did not have access to a C compiler, but I did have access to Visual Basic. I apologize to the MAC community, unless there is some way of running a Windows program on MAC. I had actually done the reverse engineering of the scenario files to build this application before Jeff Vogle had released the source code of his original work. I wrote this program for my own use, so please forgive the lack of some functionality that I never found useful. I have been wishing I could share it with the rest of the SW communitiy, since Jeff still has copyrights on the original work. Now that his code is open source, I feel free to share this with the SW community.

I have uploaded my Visual Basic version of the Blades of Exile Scenario Editor here. Just unzip it into the same place as the original editor. I use a different filename so as not to over write the original program. I also have the Visual Basic source code available for anyone who is interested in using my ideas. Finally, I have both sets of graphics available; the Classic version with grey cave floors, and the Exile 3 set with the blue/green cave floors. And finally, I have a second version of the editor that produces a differently formatted database. This second version has the facility to dynamically allocate things such as Text, Dialog Nodes, Special Nodes, Monsters/NPCs, Items, Fields, and Special Node entry points. This second version is not compatible with the standard BoE game, but I am willing to share the concept in case anyone gets around to writing a game engine for it or for something similar.

I also have a version 2 with an alternate scenario file structure that is more dynamic with respect to the number of objects that a town/area may have. The document describing the file structure is included in the file. I also have another page attached that you can see without having to download the zip file.

If anyone out there working on the now open-source code wants to pick up on my ideas and incorporate them into the C++ code, please feel free. I haven't updated the help file that goes with it, but most of the help from the original program still pertains here. The interface is heavily modified from the original version, but it is more intuitive, at least to me.

Update: I have just gotten Code::Blocks installed with the MinGW compiler and wxWidgets. Let's see how long it takes to re-write this thing to C.

12.11.11: Apparently it's going to be a while until I can get a round tuit. I've just had a major load of work dumped on my desk, and I'm up to my eyeballs in database code.

This file contains an entire directory exscened. To install this version simply unzip the file into the BLADEXIL directory. Execute the ExScenEd.exe program. You can create a shortcut to this program and add it to your Start menu. Also you may need to check the following things:

  • comdlg32.ocx may be missing. I have a copy of that in the EXSCENED\support_files directory. Copy the comdlg32.ocx file to your WINDOWS\system32 directory to fix that problem.

  • You may be missing the Visual Basic 5 runtime libraries. Msvbvm50.exe is a self-extracting file that installs the latest versions of the Microsoft Visual Basic run-time files that all applications created with Visual Basic 5.0 need in order to run. It is available at Download the file and execute it to install the run-time files. I have mirrored the file on my site as well at Download the file, unzip it and install it by right-clicking on the msvbvm50.inf file and choosing Install to install the run-time files.

To edit the program, the Visual Basic project ExScenEd.vbp is in the EXSCENED folder. The source code is in the EXSCENED\ExScenEd folder. Also in the Documentation folder I have a Word document describing the .exs file as I had discovered it.

While I have not developed any scenarios with this tool, I have used it to figure out other scenarios so that I could write complete walkthroughs of them. One of these walkthroughs, for "The Adventure Club", I sent to Gizmo to post on her "True Site for Blades". For a look see at how I used this version to work out the logic of the events, start ExScenEd.exe and open the Scenarios\Advclub.exs file. If you want, you can use the Display menu to resize your screen. (Don't worry, I will reset the screen resolution on exit. I have not been able to work out the resize form logic yet.) From the menu click Town > Edit Town Terrain.

Use the numeric keypad to navigate Northwest until you see the Pedestal with Book and the special at location 21,21. (Another feature I never worked out was using the mouse to scroll the terrain screen. I always used the keypad since I had more control with it. Remember, I was just writing this program to fit my style.) On the tools in the lower left side of the screen, click the Create/Edit special tool, first button on the third row. Notice that if you hover the cursor over a button, the name of that button will pop up. Click on the book to look at the code associated with that special.

Here is the main reason I wrote my own editor.You will notice that I now have a description of the Stuff Done Flags instead of just a number. I actually have an additional file in the Scenarios directory, Advclub.exd, where I keep this information. You can actually edit the file in two ways: here in the editor, or you can use a text editor such as notepad.
You can get a feel for this by looking at my presentation Special Nodes.pdf.

You will find that I have changed a lot in the navigation, but I hope it is more intuitive. I was in the process of updating the Help file, but I was never really motivated to finish it. If any interest arises from this program, I can be easily compelled to complete the documentation.

Here is a list of features that I incorporated to make it easier to use the tool: (click on the thumbnails to see the entire picture)

  • ***Just added*** You can select three options to change your display resolution. When you exit the program, it will automatically reset it to what it was when you started.

  • All menus are consolidated at the top, the way most applications are.

  • I use drop down combo boxes for much of the input, rather than text fields where you put a number that you have to reference from some list on paper. These boxes have the lists of all valid values, so you don't have to look them up. For example, for the Play a Sound  node, in Extra 1a all you would get is a number. I show the number and the name of the sound. This hold true for other things such as Give a Mage Spell. This technique is used in other places such as editing terrain types or editing monsters. Not only is the number displayed, but the name as well.
  • #########   #########   #########
  • !!! Stuff Done Flag descriptions in the Editor. !!!
    I have added a file to record all your Stuff Done Flags. In the screens where you define your special nodes, the description is visible on the page where appropriate. No more looking at lists of notes!!!! The SD flag descriptions are kept in an additional text file that you can look at or edit outside of the Scenario Editor. To see how this works, use my editor to look at the Adventure Club scenario as I have described above.
    The screen shown below on the left is a non-modal screen that you can switch to while doing other things. When you need to define another SDF, switch to this screen and update that flags description. This description will show up in the other screen whenever you exit it and re-enter it. I never got around to adding a Refresh button on my screens.  I store these definitions in a text file (scenario_name.exd) that you can browse or print.
    Actually, the way I have integrated the SDF definitions, I find that I only rarely need to look at the ~.exd fil
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  • On the screen where you select the graphics, I have fixed it so you can click on the graphic as well as the radio button. Using Custom graphics is easier since I have added the ability to view them just as you do for the standard graphics.
  • On the screens where you select the town or outdoor area you wish to work on, I have made into lists that show the Name of the town or area, not just the number. (Another side list gone!)
    #########   #########
  • I have added the ability to import outdoors sections as well as towns. Not all of the information is ported over, Just the graphics and the text.
  • Fly over hints on the terrain selection grid and the tool bars below it.  I tried to get a screen shot of this, but you're going to have to take my word for it.
  • The area where you edit the terrain is resizable to fit the three sizes of towns when you zoom out.
  • Boats and horses are place with tool bar functions, and are visible on the terrain map. You can still edit them from the Scenario menu options. Notice that you can see the name of the town as well as the number.
    #########   #########
  • I have a toolbar button for saved items areas. Their areas show up on the map now.
  • And lots of other little tweaks.


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