The common interface includes both the Unix/X11 and Windows versions; game design works the same for both.
The common interface provides a design mode that allows you to do many game design tasks interactively. At present, you can use it to lay out maps, specify the contents of the different area layers, and set up units. You can then save chosen elements of the design into a file.
There are several ways to get into design mode; you can specify `-design' on the command line, you can choose Design from the Edit menu, or you can type in the long command `design'. When you do any of these, several things will happen: the side list will mark your side as a designer, the Show All item in the View menu will appear, and you will get a popup window with a palette of designer's tools. The popup applies to all maps equally.
The identification in the side list is for the benefit of other players, since it is actually possible to enable designing in a multi-player game.
The Show All view control allows you to see everything accurately. It is switchable so you can compare what things look like to the player vs what they are in reality. This is also important for side view painting, which is useful for exploration-based scenarios.
Note that the online design mode is powerful, with few restrictions. This means you can scramble things if you're not careful. Frequent saves are a good idea.
The design palette consists of a number of buttons next to a varying frame whose contents vary depending on the button pressed. Each button corresponds to a different sort of painting/placement mode.
Below the buttons is a popup with a numeric label. This sets the radius of the paint brush. A radius 0 brush affects only a single cell, while radius 1 applies to the cell and all adjacent, and so forth. The radius goes up to 9, which is spectacularly large for most maps, and always at risk of painting over something you wanted. A brush size of 2-3 is more useful for roughing-in shapes. There is currently no undo for painting, so be careful!
If you go to save the game while designing, you will get a much more elaborate dialog than for normal saving. Use the checkboxes to decide which elements of the design to save.
X11 Xconq can use images in either its portable image family format, or as bitmaps. However, since images in portable format will work with other interfaces, you should only use bitmaps while prototyping, and translate them into portable form using `x2imf'.
To translate image families into bitmaps, use the tool `imf2x'.
The program `xshowimf' displays image families.
Control the display of three-color images (mono+mask) with the resource `maskColor' (see `XShowimf-co.ad' or with the command-line argument `-mc'.
To edit the image families, do something like
mkdir tmp xshowimf [imf/xbm/xpm files...] -o tmpdir & (cd tmpdir; xpaint) &