Mondrian Maker - Getting Started

Update 4 (1/4/2018): Added info on Block Types and Modifiers, as well as new Keyboard and other shortcuts
Update 3 (10/12/2017): Added "Save Backup" description, section on Keyboard Shortcuts, and design tip on click-and-hold to free move blocks.
Update 2 (9/14/2017): Changed "Play Your Level" wording to reflect a functional Play button!
Update 1 (8/22/2017): Added information on new Align Horizontal and Align Vertical functions, as well as the Eraser tool.

Greetings, Maker! It's time to take your first steps toward building your own Mondrian - Plastic Reality level. Lucky for you, Mondrian Maker is an incredibly simple level editor that takes no time to learn and only seconds to build something.

Note: This post will receive updates as the interface changes and new features are added. Make sure to bookmark this post!

The Buttons

On the lefthand side of the screen, you'll see a row of buttons. From left to right, these are:

  1. New Level: Start a level from scratch.
  2. Open Level: Open a previously saved level to keep working on it.
  3. Save Level: Save your current level to a *.lvl file.
    1. Save Backup: Saves a backup of your level to your Inactive Levels folder.
  4. Palette: Change the color palette of the current blocks on screen. Useful for visualizing how your level will look in different colors, and can even be used to help you line blocks up.
  5. Difficulty: This button scrolls through all 4 difficulties in the game: Relaxing, Easy, Medium, and Hard. In each difficulty except Relaxing, you can switch any blocks you like to Gray Blocks.
  6. Play Your Level: Allows you to play your current level. This loads up a Save screen as you must save your level in order to Play it, however the button says "Save & Play" instead of just "Save." This loads your level into a vanilla state, with no powerups. If you beat your level, your currently selected Difficulty will earn a Star!
  7. Share Your Level: Share your level with friends and family. NOTE: This button is currently not functional. You may upload your levels in the Mondrian community forums instead.

Underneath the menu buttons are two bars: Level Title and Author. Feel free to name these anything you like! Both will eventually be loaded into the game when your level loads, and displayed like music video credits.

The Blocks

Underneath the Title and Author forms is a Hexagonal block. This is called your "Brush." Click the Brush to make a Hexagon, and click again inside the circle to add a block to your level. Easy peezy!

If you hold your mouse over The Brush, other block shapes will appear. Click any of these to change your Brush. You can currently choose between Hexagons, Squares, Stars, Triangles, and Diamonds.

To the left and right of the Brushes you will see up/down arrows with a number in the middle. The left number indicates the preset Brush Angle, and the right number indicates the preset Brush Scale. The default is 0° and 25%. Adjusting these numbers will adjust the angle and scale settings for all blocks you are going to place, but not for brushes you have placed. Those can be changed individually. See below.

The Canvas

Once you place a block on the canvas, you can still interact with it! Click on a block to pop up the Context Menu, which displays 4 buttons in a cross section. These include:

 Gray Flip: Flip a block between Normal and Gray on Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulties. This button is grayed out on Relaxing.

 Free Move: Reattach a block to your mouse cursor.

 Nudge: Nudge a block 1 pixel at a time using the keyboard. Hold down Shift to nudge a block 10 pixels.

 Rotate/Scale: Use the arrow keys to adjust a block's angle and scale. Left/Right = Rotate, Up/Down = Scale. Hold Shift to speed up.

 Trash: Delete a block. Outside of the context menu, you can also delete blocks by holding down the right mouse button.

 Horizontal Center: Center a block on the canvas horizontally.

 Vertical Center: Center a block on the canvas vertically.

Align Horizontally: Click other blocks to align them horizontally with the selected block.

 Align Vertically: Click other blocks to align them vertically with the selected block.

Portal: Flip a block to a Portal on Easy, Medium, and Hard Difficulties. Portals teleport the ball to another at random.

Splitter: Flip a block to a Splitter on Easy, Medium, and Hard Difficulties. Splitters spawn multiple blocks when hit. Coming Soon!

 Shift: Apply a Shift Modifier to a block. You can select Up, Down, Left, or Right; and how far a block should shift.

 Phase: Apply a Phase Modifier to a block. You can select how long a block should be visible/invisible before blinking. Coming Soon!

Note: Nudge + Rotate/Scale will appear when you mouse over Free Move. Vertical Center and both Align buttons will appear when you mouse over Horizontal Center. The block mods appear when you hover over Trash. The other Block Types appear when you hover over Gray Flip.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Shift + Click Block Generator: Stamp Mode
    • Hold shift while placing blocks to stamp multiples of the selected block. IE your cursor does not clear after placing a block. 
  • Click and Hold a Block: Free Move
  • Q + Click Block: Horizontal Center
  • W + Click Block: Vertical Center
  • E + Click Block: Set as Vertical Align Key Block
  • R + Click Block: Set as Horizontal Align Key Block
  • S + Click Block: Scale Tool
  • D + Click Block: Nudge Tool
  • V + Click Block: Assign Shifting Modifier
  • F + Click Block: Assign Phasing Modifier

Design Tips from the Pros

  • If you have no blocks selected, you can use the arrow keys to nudge the entire level!!! Shift also works here. This is a great way to get your level recentered (or off-centered, if you prefer).
  • Make sure to increase the Difficulty level and flip different blocks to Gray per difficulty. These values will automatically be stored, so you can flip back and forth at your heart's content.
    • A good rule to follow is ~10% of blocks should be flipped on Easy, 25% on medium, and 50%+ on hard. It is ultimately up to you how many blocks do or don't get flipped, but this setup makes for the best difficulty curve per level. The inclusion of new gems worth 4 points helps balance out the lack of normal blocks on Hard.
  • Avoid stacking blocks. This confuses and frustrates players. If you do wish to stack blocks, try giving them some horizontal and/or vertical offset from each other, to create a kind of staircase that players can visualize getting through.
  • Use the preset Scale and Angle if you plan to have many blocks of the same or similar size/rotation. This will help you save you a lot of time in the long run!
  • Test test test! Move any levels you DON'T want to test to the "Inactive" Levels folder so you don't have to worry about them loading.
  • An average level should take 2-3 minutes to beat. Big levels 6-7 minutes.
  • Gray Blocks are now destructible over time (2HP on Easy, 3HP on Medium, 4HP on Hard). However, it is still not necessary to destroy every Gray Block to beat a level. Keep this in mind while you are designing, as Gray Blocks will no longer be as effective a "trap" as they were in AiB.
  • Hold down right click to use your Eraser tool. You can use this to quickly remove one or several blocks instead of having to just use the Trash function in the context menu.
  • If you hold the left mouse button down on a block for a split second (but slightly longer than just a click) you're able to Free Move that block.

There is a lot more on the way from Mondrian Maker! Like I mentioned at the top, make sure to Bookmark this post and come back here to check for anything new. I'll also be adding new posts to this series to go in-depth on individual features in Mondrian Maker, and to showcase great levels from the community.

Good Luck and Happy Making!

- Danny Silvers, CEO of Lantana Games

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