Quick Help

Welcome to the NAO comic DIY page. This page contains a powerful interactive editor to help you write comics. The following document attempts to explain the controls present on this page in the order in which they appear.


At the upper left of the editor is the edit pane, where you'll do most of the work of writing the comic. The currently selected panel is displayed here. Above the pane you'll see the panel number, and a pair of buttons you can use to select the previous or next comic panel. To the right of the edit pane is a monochrome text-edit pane where you can edit the panel contents directly as a text field, by typing characters, as opposed to "drawing" with the mouse. Beneath the panes is a text box in which you can enter the caption for the current panel.

Editing the comic is as simple as clicking in the edit pane. As you hover your mouse over the pane, you'll notice a red cursor following your mouse pointer, highlighting the map tile that will be affected. When you click on this tile, it will be replaced with the current contents of the "drawing pen". The drawing pen is simply a glyph comprised of character and color that can be placed on the map. You can see the symbol that the pen is currently set to in a display beneath the text box; by default it's set to "." (period). By holding the 'ctrl' key while clicking, you can instead fill a tile with an alternate pen — by default " " (a blank space — solid rock or an unseen area) — handy for an erase function, but you can use it for any purpose you wish. To switch the normal and alternate pens, press the 'x' key.

To edit the panel's caption text, click in the text box below the edit pane and type. There is no limit to the amount of text you can enter; the panel layout will adjust to accomodate it. HTML is allowed, including links and images. Unusual characters can be pasted in or alt-coded. When you're done editing, click anywhere outside the text box to update the editor; you can then scroll down to the preview pane (below) to see the effects of your changes.

The insert pen will insert the current pen character into the panel's caption text box.


Beneath the edit pane are a series of buttons that you can use to perform operations on the comic panel, change the drawing pen, or select the input mode.

Input modes

This section allows you to change the effect of clicking on the edit pane.

Panel actions

This section allows you to perform operations on the panel as a whole.

The Pen

The next few sections control the contents of the drawing pen.

The first line is mostly devoted to saved pens. By default eleven symbols are saved here for quick access — the floor tile, solid rock, walls, closed and open doors, corridor, human, cat, and dog (. |-+|-#@fd respectively). Clicking one one of these will place it in the drawing pen for immediate use; the first ten can also be selected by use of the number keys. To change the alternate pen, hold 'ctrl' while clicking. Hovering the mouse over one of the saved pens will show a dialog allowing you to move it around in the list, remove it, or change its access key. (Note that moving a pen resets its access key to the default — its own default, not the one for its current position.) Click the 'save' button to save the current drawing pen for quick access. The saved pens are stored in a cookie, and will persist across multiple editing sessions.

The one button on that line that has nothing to do with saved pens is 'random'. This button will place a random glyph in the drawing pen — not necessarily one that has any meaning in NetHack.

The next line is devoted to colors. Here you will see the character currently in the drawing pen, repeated in every color the editor supports. Click on one of these to change the color appropriately. (The alternate pen cannot be changed with this control.) You can also click the "no color" button to remove the color tag from the current character (it will become gray), or the "random" button to have the drawing color selected at random when you draw on the panel.

The next line shows all the characters the editor recognizes, in the currently selected color. Click on one of these to place it in the drawing pen; or ctrl-click to place it in the alternate pen. (Note that you *can* use characters not listed here in the comic, but you must edit the code directly to do so.)


This section takes the guesswork out of finding the correct character and color combination for a particular monster, object, or dungeon feature. You can select the appropriate entity from the drop-down box; or you can hover the mouse over a given symbol in the chart to see what thing(s) it could represent, and then (ctrl-)click on it to place it in the (alternate) drawing pen. You can also click on the random monster button to place a random, valid monster glyph in the drawing pen; the monster will be identified in the drop-down box. Using the checkboxes, you can choose if you wish to see NetHack and/or Angband specific symbols.


This section, too, can be shown or hidden with a check box labeled "Strip data". Here you can enter various parameters for the comic strip as a whole.


This section can be shown or hidden with the "preview" check box. You can use this section to see how the changes you make affect your comic's layout and appearance — it shows the comic as it would appear were it to be published in its current form. Every panel is displayed with its caption text, in the size and configuration you've chosen, with the author's name and the footnote, if any. The panels are updated as changes are made (although the text boxes aren't updated until you've clicked out of them). The current comic panel is highlighted in a light green box; you can select another panel from the preview pane simply by clicking on it.

Clicking the "popup preview" check box will cause a preview to pop up in a separate window, allowing you to look at it without the clutter of the editor; leaving this box checked will cause a preview window to pop up every time a change to the comic is made.


This section can be shown or hidden with the "Code" check box. It shows the raw, parseable code from which the comic is generated. If you want to edit the code directly (perhaps to perform a function that the editor does not support), click the 'code edit' check box, then click in the code box and make your changes. When you're done, click the parse button to commit your changes and update the editor to reflect them. (If you uncheck the "code edit" box without clicking "parse", it will discard and revert all the changes you've made.)

When you're finished editing the comic strip, you can press the download button to download the comic code to your computer, or you can press the submit button to submit the strip directly for publication. If you have logged in, you will see text that says so, otherwise you will need to input your username and password into the fields next to the submit-button.

The submitted strip will show up after the admins have approved it.


Best of luck in your efforts!


The default keys can be changed in the configuration window. The pen quick keys override the other key bindings.


Edit Panel



Dudley D-I-Y by paxed. Last update on 2011.09.20.
Thanks to Antheridium for writing this doc.