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KiSS tools

A list of the more recognizably "KiSS" tools - cel converters, cnf editors - will follow at some time in the future. Most KiSS fans know the most popular tools (WSVC, to name one) and where to find them, anyway. For the moment, this page will list and describe only paint programs and LHA archivers.

Paint programs

Two very important features of any paint program used to make KiSS set images are layers and easy palette editing, with as optional third feature the ability to transform the images into KiSS cels and palette files, either inherently or through a plugin. That said, most image editors used by KiSS artists don't have these features; some people happily use MS-Paint. My personal favourites were Neopaint for DOS (works on even the slowest computer) and Paint Shop Pro 3 to save the palettes to editable ASCII files. (Neopaint palettes can be saved to ASCII files too, but, being 32-bit colour, they use the range 0-63 as opposed to 0-255, and saving an image alternately in Neopaint or PSP will subtly change its palette.) Then Paint Shop Pro 5 with its layers and transparent selections came out, and I've never used anything else since (except on those slow computers). It was followed by versions 6 and 7 which included vector graphics, a must for any modern paint program, although for KiSS I'd call it overkill. (By now it's at version X which requires Windows XP.) Other popular programs are Adobe Photoshop (Mac users) the GIMP (Linux users), and DPixEd, a W95 editor which was written especially for KiSS artists.

Below is a list of paint programs and related applications, not in any particular order, with their main characteristics.

LHA archivers

Most of these can be found at
LHAWorld, which also has the LHA-related DLL files that some viewers need to open a KiSS archive. See also - LHA, an English page listing LHA archivers for all OSes.

Two LHA issues:

Although the standard format for KiSS sets is LZH, on some servers a set has to be uploaded as a zipfile (all files put in an LZH archive and this archive zipped, so that the server will recognize the format) because it can't be downloaded otherwise. This is a question of sloppy server configuration, but here's a possible solution (quoted straight from a mailing list post, I can't remember the author):

Assuming the server is running Apache, you can solve this by creating a file called .htaccess in the same directory as that containing the dolls. The .htaccess should contain a single line as below:

AddType application/octet-stream .lzh

There is also a problem with the newest LZH compression format for Unix/Linux. I'll quote the post sent to the mailing list by Nick Lamb:

During the 0.6 or 0.7 GnomeKiSS development cycles I discovered that a small number of dolls in my collection of test data could not be opened at all, the version of 'lha' I was using was too old.

I upgraded LHA and was able to access the majority of the affected dolls OK, the new version reported that the rest were incomplete or corrupted. That's fine for me, but what about in Windows???

It turns out that the new -lha7- compression method has some problems, which mean that I must recommend against using it for KiSS dolls. The current batch of Windows KiSS viewers can't handle -lha7- properly and don't understand what's happened so Bad Things Happen

In WKiSS and KiSSLD the effect is as if there was no doll - the viewer remains empty but it doesn't crash. In PFK 0.8x the viewer crashes immediately with an Access Violation.

To this I'd like to add that when offered a choice of LZH compression algorithms, it's best to choose Frozen5 (which I assume is the same as -lh5- in Unix). Older viewers with internal LZH support can't handle anything else.

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