View Full Version : Extra Layer Tool Tutorial

07-22-2010, 06:32 PM
Hey all. I'm sure we are all aware of the power of the extra layer glitch, but if you're like me, you've been avoiding using it whenever possible because it's a downright pain to work with. Well... at least it used to be a pain to work with. Through the help of Teebonesy's Layer Glitch FAQ (http://www.lbpcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?18254-Layer-Glitch-FAQ-Get-the-most-out-of-your-custom-backgrounds-foregrounds), I was introduced to a few of the tricks to getting the most out of the layer glitch. Then, about a week ago, Jaeyden showed me a super complex cascade of all varieties of material thicknesses and locations in the extra layers.

Intrigued, I did a bit of investigating.

For anyone new to the world of using the layer glitch, a cascade describes the position of a sequence of layer glitched objects, like this:


If you select a piece of material and copy it, you can avoid placing, return to your materials bag (without fully closing your popit), and select the material of your choosing. Once you select your desired shape, you should notice that your material tool will place your new material in the same thin layer that you previously copied (but did not place). For many, this is old news. Please note, however, this method does not work when copying-but-not-placing material of single-thick-layer thickness for whatever reason. Thus, we won't even bother with including thick layers in the cascade (I'll explain that in a bit).

Note, that all I'm going to provide you with today is a thorough cascade, consisting of only thin layer material squares. Ironically, this is all you need to create material of any thickness within the range of the furthest back piece and the furthest forward piece. Let us begin.

Working with the cascade is most easily done in front view. I have color coded the normal thin layers and marked off every 5 background and foreground pieces for convenience.


What I will demonstrate first is the process needed to create a piece of material that is 5 layers thick, existing directly behind the back-most normal thin layer. Box-select (by using your popit select tool to hold-and-drag a selection) the 6 pieces of material as shown here:


We have selected these layers because we would like our five layer thick piece of material to be created between the left-most and right-most pieces of material selected. Copy the selection. You need not paste your copied selection, and if you move your popit cursor up, you will see the outline of all pieces copied. As a rule of thumb, you should have always copied one more piece of material than your desired thickness.


Press circle a few times to return to your main popit page, and go into the materials section. Select the material and shape of your choice. At this time, if you return to game view (as opposed to front view), you will see that your selection is now 5 layers thick:


You can either place the material, or you can drag it to "paint" as you would with any other material location:


You can verify that the material is, in fact, 5 layers thick by copying it and pressing R2 to shrink its thickness. Here, I have done this 4 times:


As I mentioned above, the game responds slightly different when trying to place a piece of material that is one layer thick. To compensate, we just have to add in one simple step. You merely need to copy (without placing) the thin piece of material that is directly behind where you would like to place your material. Here, I would like a piece of thick material between the 5th and 6th background thin pieces. Thus, I copied the 6th thin piece.


After I return to my materials bag (as described above), I hit R1 one time to make the object one layer thick.


If you hit R1 and then R2, it will pop forward one layer; this process is known as "walking" a material forward.* We will avoid that here; instead, we will place the material. As desired, it is located between the 5th and 6th thin background squares.


And now comes the true power of using the above technique: creating layers that span from the front glitch layers to the back glitch layers. This is where most people struggle with using the glitch layers, but it's actually very simple. Return to front view and select the layers that you wish your new material to lie between:


Copy (but do not place the selection) and return to your materials bag. Select the desired material and shape, and place it in the level. Upon leaving front view, you should notice that you have successfully created a layer whose thickness extends into the background and foreground. Hooray!


And that's about it for placing your own materials. It's actually a very simple process once you get the hang of it. Building with the extra layers doesn't have to be a daunting process, it just takes some getting used to. Avoid those that promise that they have the penultimate collection of all possible layer glitch thicknesses and locations. Frankly, you only need the thin layers.

Once you obtain the Extra Layer Tool, you can place it in your level and use it as it is needed. Which leads me to the next question: Where can you obtain the tool? From a level of mine, of course:

PSN: comphermc
Level: Extra Layer Tool
Location: South America

To be added: Moving objects into the background/foreground.

General Rules for working with the extra glitch layers (thanks to Teebonesy):

• All background material shares the back flat layer. This can cause some unwelcome disruptions. Imagine the outline of all background layers existing in the back flat layer. If you have an item in the back flat layer "falling" for example, it might appear to land with a *thud* on top of something invisible. This would be your background objects. This also means that:

• Background objects that move with any physics whatsoever CANNOT overlap with ANY other background layer, INCLUDING the back flat layer in the playable field. This will cause pieces of your background to be destroyed. You need EVERY piece to either have dark matter, or, if it will be moving with any physics, it cannot overlap with any other part of the BG. This also means that no bolts of any sort will work in the glitched background. So how do people manage to have so many overlapping layers in the BG? Here's how to do it:

• You cannot MOVE objects into place if they're overlapping. They have to be placed originally into position (as long as they're attached to dark matter). To do this with anything you've moved INTO the background, select the item/scene in question, and then DUPLICATE it. You may now place the duplicate as many times as you want, overlapping with as many other background layers as you wish. As long as everything is glued to dark matter, you may overlap to your heart's content. Remember to always do your dark matter gluing BEFORE moving your creations into the background or else you're looking at a falling/breaking background and no ability to glue.

• The foreground is not like the background - it does all share a single layer, but it appears to be a single SOLID layer just in front of the front flat layer. In other words, it does not share any layers with the playable field. This is a relief for foreground editors - you can still have as much movement as you want in the front flat layer, and still have foreground objects. But it comes at a terrible cost (see below). To see an example of this in action, see my recent level Fear and The Phantom Town - at one point you will see cars driving in the foreground.

• Keep in mind that when sackboy is floating in Create Mode, he is in the first full layer in the foreground. Also keep in mind that all foreground objects share this layer. Yep. that means that sackboy will bump into and be unable to move through ANY and ALL foreground objects in create mode, even if they are flat. If you were to create a long foreground layer, like a floor, across the entire length of the level, Sackboy would be trapped on one side. the ONLY way to move him through would be to create a lift in the playable layers that sackboy can ride up/down to the other side. Or, alternately, just don't ever ever do this!

• When floating around in create mode, sackboy will sometimes move around while you're corner editing/tweaking. If you're wondering why your foreground object's corners REFUSE to budge, it's likely because sackboy is squished up against the object. So instead, move him far out of the way and then continue to corner edit, OR, place a piece of dark matter in the playable field for him to stand on while tweaking foreground.

• Selecting far background stuff can be difficult. The rule of thumb is this: The farther back it is, the more you need to be "zoomed in" in game view to select it. If it's 50 layers back, you may not be able to select it at all, short of creating a massive selection square around the whole area in which it is placed. If you wish to work in front view, which is very handy with far background stuff because it blows it up to its proper size in proportion to everything else, you must first select it in game view (works with corner editing as well), and THEN go into front view. Another method for selecting objects very far back is to place "milestones" in the background that are at least closer to the playable field. If you can highlight these, you may just find that your cursor will suddenly be able to jump into the far background. You can now sticker/remove stickers/corner edit/etc.

• Attaching pistons/winches/springs/cables/etc into background and foreground can be a real glitchy pain, but it can be done. The game tends to have no problem sending pistons into the near background, the first 4 layers or so back. But beyond that, it sometimes just does NOT want to "lock on" to any object edges. So to do it, you have to "walk" the piston tool back. If you can get it to "lock on" 4 layers back, it will likely be able to lock onto the layer behind that, assuming there's an object in the 5th layer very close by. And if you have an object in the 6th layer very close by, it will lock onto that. And so on. This might require temporarily PLACING new background materials on several different levels (by "walking" the material forward from the far back and placing a square in each layer). With this trick you should be able to get pistons/strings/etc pretty far back. For another example of this, see the use of string in my alleyways in Fear and the Phantom Town.

• Again I want to mention the quirk of "walking" materials. It's just a strange thing with layer glitches that seems to be related to the fact that they all share a layer, instead of being discreet. But every time a solid layer is flattened into a flat layer, it actually MOVES that flat layer as well as flattening it. The movement is always TOWARD the playable field - so background materials come forward, and foreground materials go backward. You can alternately tap R1 and R2 to walk your material. Also, at any point in this "walking" process, you can expand your material to 3 full layers but no more than that. In other words, once a glitched material is flattened, it can no longer be any thicker than 3 layers, no matter where it's walked or placed.

• You CANNOT glue items together in the background. The only way to attach items together that are already in the background is to "draw" a material through both, connecting them via the material. This can be inefficient on the shapes thermo - it's better to make sure everything you want to move back is properly attached and has dark matter glued to it before sending it into the background. If you're drawing directly into the background, you're just going to have to draw a bit of dark matter directly into your object somewhere.

Additional Notes/Tips:

• When dealing with items in the far far background, it helps to turn fog down to minimum in order to see the background more clearly as you work.

• Custom backgrounds DO work with Mm's pre-made backgrounds - they simply "intersect" with the premade imagery in the background. Feel free to experiment with augmenting the pre-made backgrounds. Have some ideas of billboards to add into the rooftops of the city level? Want to create a massive monster creeping around the cave background? It's all there for the doing.

• Lighting - Lights work wonders in the back layers, and you can create some interesting effects. You could create a spectacular forest setting with a canopy overhead and lots of sunbeams coming in through the leaves, for example. If you need to light large areas of background, or you want a single light source to extend far distances forward and back, the flat LED light is your tool of choice. Even if you have a dark object in the farthest back layer, 50 layers back, a single LED can light it up like daylight by extending the radius. No other light has the same amount of power as this little beast. Again, for an example - In Fear and the Phantom Town, the phantom town is a silhouette, with orange fog and darkness maxed out. However, the moon is clearly lit up and visible. This was accomplished with a series of lights in the background near the edges of the moon, lighting it up but not quite strong enough to light up the main layers.

Thanks, guys and gals.


*Walking is a technique that will allow you to move a single thin or thick layer object closer to the normal playable layers. It can be useful at times, but is unneeded using this tutorial's methods.

07-22-2010, 06:37 PM
Moved to tutorials ;)

07-22-2010, 07:03 PM
Nice work! I knew quite a bit of this and have some others tools similar, but didn't realize I could do a RANGE.


07-22-2010, 07:20 PM
Yeah, I was initially impressed with this set of glitch layers that Jaeyden gave to me... but then I realized that you only need the thin bits. Using this tool really does speed up the process of working with the background and foreground layers.


07-22-2010, 07:22 PM
Nice guide! Thanks, Comph. I may be able to actually use the extra layers now. :p

07-22-2010, 07:54 PM
Very cool. I'm using the extra layers for the first time on my latest level. Sadly I'm mostly done with the foreground/background...this surely would have come in handy. Did not realize there was an easy way to create stuff more than 3 layers thick...I will certainly grab a copy of your tool tonight, thanks!

07-22-2010, 09:58 PM
Very nice. My work with the 50 layer glitch has been pretty limited so far, but I'll probably make more extensive use of it with this tool. Thanks.

07-22-2010, 10:34 PM
• When floating around in create mode, sackboy will sometimes move around while you're corner editing/tweaking. If you're wondering why your foreground object's corners REFUSE to budge, it's likely because sackboy is squished up against the object. So instead, move him far out of the way and then continue to corner edit, OR, place a piece of dark matter in the playable field for him to stand on while tweaking foreground.

I have also found that popping yourself (retry button) right next to the foreground material and holding the left stick in the direction you want to go in allows you to get past it.
Unfortunately that only works if the material in question isn't too thick, I.e. about 5 small grid spaces wide (more or less) is surpassable. I think.

I also think I may be able to use the glitch layers now! Thanks very much!! :p

09-01-2010, 02:31 AM
I don't know how it's taken me so long to see this (I had the level hearted, but hadn't played it... odd). Thanks so much! Lifesaver!!

09-01-2010, 02:43 AM
Silly Mods... Check the date of the thread before you post :p

@comphermc: Emmiting objects into glitch layers has been listed in "To Be Added." Will that ever come?

09-01-2010, 01:52 PM
Silly Mods... Check the date of the thread before you post :p

@comphermc: Emmiting objects into glitch layers has been listed in "To Be Added." Will that ever come?

Ehhhhhh..... Lee'me alone! This thread died, so I assumed that nobody was interested in how to do the extra layer glitch anymore. So, to answer your question: Maybe. It all depends on if it's worth my efforts (which basically means, can we use these in LBP2?).

09-01-2010, 02:30 PM
This is brilliant! I don't see why it died, this tool is really useful. :gopher:

09-01-2010, 03:23 PM
YEAH! C'mon Uncle Comphy!